Part Two, Day Eight: Twenty Days Toward More Mindful Mothering

 

(You can see the first part of Day Eight here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2012/06/25/day-eight-twenty-days-toward-being-a-more-mindful-mother/)

 

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Watching a flower bloom is like watching a child grow in nature….their bodies growing bigger and stronger, developing all of their senses.

 

A wonderful exercise that I did in my Foundation Studies course was to draw a flower every day, bud stage through the final phases of the petals dropping.  I was drawing tonight and thinking about how our children blossom outside…

 

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Please give your children the gift of being outside – crossing streams on logs, hiking up hills and mountains, over rock and gravel, rolling down grassy hillsides and sitting in meadows and mud.  It is so important.

 

Have a blessed week,

Carrie

The Parenting Challenge: Gimme 5!!

 

It can be very easy to slip into a negative pattern of looking at our children’s behavior and to spend our days barking out what needs to happen:

 

“Please put your shoes away!”

“How many times do I have to ask you to take your plate up to the counter when you are done eating?”

“Get ready now!”

“Brush your teeth!”

 

and the list goes on.

More critically, sometimes we also approach our children with the “BUT’s” of life:

 

“Well, you did a pretty good job, but…”

“I was pleased with what happened, but..”

“It was a decent grade, but I know next time…”

 

Sometimes what we don’t say also sounds criticizing to the child and the messages they “hear” are I’m not athletic, I’m not smart, I’m not like my older brother, I’m not cute like the baby, I never do things right.

 

If we want to hold onto our children, and if we know that connection is the first and foremost basis of discipline, then take my Gimme 5 challenge!

 

5 times a day, say these words to your children:

“I like when you……”

“I appreciate when you…”

“You are (smart, funny, caring, loyal, helpful, kind, etc!)

Hug, kiss, pat your child on the back , put your arm around them– 5 times a day!

 

For tiny children under the age of 6, it is not so much about your words but your overall demeanor and attitude:  they don’t always need the words a child ages 6 and above need, but they do need sunny smiles, warm hugs, singing, and you saying short and positive phrases that confirm just how wonderful they are.

 

Because they really are!

Try five a day; it can take the most challenging child and the most challenging discipline season and turn it around.

 

I can’t wait to hear your results!

Blessings,
Carrie

Last Minute Homeschool Planning

 

In my neck of the woods, many of my homeschooling friends are planning to start school in the next few weeks.  The Deep South runs on a bit of a different time table than much of the country, who traditionally starts school after Labor Day.

 

Some mothers are still searching for curriculum to buy, or are realizing that there really is not a lot of money to buy curricula.  Others are wondering how to put it all together.

 

I always start with a calendar of the year, an idea of when we want breaks and a general idea of starting and ending and then decide what block I would like to do when.  I tend to stick to form drawing and math blocks that are shorter than language arts or history blocks.

 

Think about your child’s interests in planning blocks.  A Waldorf homeschool is not a Waldorf School. Sarah Baldwin, owner of Bella Luna Toys, wrote a lovely post about this very topic from her own experience here:  http://simplehomeschool.net/waldorf-homeschooling-learning-to-let-go/  If you know the curriculum and child development along with your child’s interests, you really can’t go wrong.  Bring things in at the right time, but look and observe your child – not only what they like, but what they really need to be balanced and to grow up healthy and strong and capable. 

 

Once you have an idea of your blocks, you can move into what your weekly rhythm looks like and your daily rhythm.  I shared a number of homeschooling forms that I used to plan my school year this year:  http://simplehomeschool.net/waldorf-homeschooling-learning-to-let-go/  and here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2012/06/16/get-your-planning-on-a-daily-homeschool-form-you-can-use/

 

Start plugging things in to your form – what verses will you use for your child to recite?  Can you get a poem related to your subject from the library?  What will you use as the basis for your block – fables, stories from history, etc?  Can you get these from the library or can you afford to order something you would like to have on your book shelf?

 

Where is the rhythm of using sleep as an aid?  Where is the movement, the arts (see this post to remind yourself: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2011/12/21/more-about-the-artistic-pillars-of-waldorf-education-a-virtual-tea/) , and the academic piece?  Where is the practice for the academic pieces:  your  daily math practice and your reading aloud or having your child read to you? I find most families do put these things in daily and do not let them go with no practice for a whole block…Again, this is the reality of how families do things, not some dogmatic way of approaching things.

 

And finally, where is the FUN?  Festival preparation, field trips, going out with your homeschool group, family outings or whole mornings or afternoons at the park or on a hike?  Get your fun going on so you won’t be burned out by the holidays!

 

Happy planning!

Inadequate 24 Hours A Day

 

I told my husband the other day that on my bad days, I feel like mothering is a stint in being inadequate 24 hours a day.  I can’t meet everyone’s needs; there is no way that  I, as one single faulty human being, can fully meet the needs of the other four people in my immediate family (not to mention extended family and other obligations!)

 

Have you ever felt like that?  I have gone through periods of that in my mothering where I have felt more strongly like that than others, and I am sure you have too. 

 

I am constantly encouraging mothers in this really short season of mothering and especially for my homeschooling mothers to do the best they can to slow down, to not wear so many hats and to simplify things.

 

But even in doing all these things, you probably still are not going to be able to “do it all”.  Doing it all is a fallacy.

 

I can set priorities.

I can recognize that everyone in the family has needs, and I can see who desperately has to have their needs met first or right away and then work down the list.  I can’t meet everyone’s needs at the exact same moment.

I can enlist help – my spouse, my extended family, my neighbors, my intimate friends.

I can help my children learn and take on more responsibility as they grow.

I can set aside time to nurture myself so I can be centered and calm. 

I can allow other people to also nurture me.

 

When we homeschool, I do think we so set that as a priority and give up other things in terms of time and energy…more about that in another post.   It is more important than ever when we parent, and especially when we homeschool, to find the best ways to  simplify, prioritize, delegate, and to allow the family to work as a team.

 

If I can work from this space:

Time and space in the rhythm of the day to allow for connections, and yes, to allow for when challenges occur.

Time and space in the rhythm of the school year to make up any work that didn’t go as smoothly as I originally thought.

Time and space for when life intervenes.

Less hats, less obligations because right now parenting smaller children and homeschooling is the priority.

Doing our best to plan ahead so we have the financial resources available to homeschool and parent. 

A laid-back attitude to know that this is how mothering rolls.

A good sense of humor to address the needs of children in multiple ages.

Our family works as a team, and the children have ways to contribute as well.

To remember to have fun!  This season of mothering is really small.  Fun actually is a priority!!

 

…than life flows more abundantly and more freely, and I can feel free to know life is life, no one can be perfect, and that family life has its ups and downs, its connection and fun.

 

Many blessings,
Carrie