Authority: The Challenge of Our Times

Authority is so necessary for parenting in  today ‘s fast-paced world.  Authority, sharing its root with words such as authentic and author, gives us the number one way to guide our children into peace.

It is not a big house, or a small house.

It is not the amount of money we have or don’t have.

It is not what activities our children are enrolled in or not.
It is how we connect to our children through authority.

Authority is a special way of holding the space for our children in such a way that the child can enter fully and wholly into the world without anxiety, worry or distress.  They do not have to enter into the adult world but can be an innocent in childhood play and the childhood repetition of play, work, being outside, submersed in the rhythm of the year.

The challenge of our times is that so many of us grew up in homes where Continue reading

Simplicity Monday: Days of “X”’s

If you look at my calendar, you will see there are consistent days of the week marked with an “X”.  From week to week, those “X”’s are there.

Those “X”’s are a reminder to me that those are my days to be home, and not to schedule something on those days.  If someone asks me to do something on those days, then the answer is that I cannot because I have plans. My plans to be home are every bit as valuable as external plans, and in terms of nourishing a rich family life and connectedness, probably even more valuable.

Where are the “X”’s on your calendar as you are planning for fall?

Blessings,

Carrie

Sunday Books: Completing The Circle

This chapter is entitled, “Watch Your Temper(ament)”, and how Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf Education, thought that class size was not as important as all of the children’s individual needs being met.  And the way he thought this could happen was by understanding the four temperaments.

In fact, author Poplawski writes:

A skilled  teacher has something in each lesson that appeals to each temperament and is also able to draw out and develop the special gift of each temperament. Thus the children learn to appreciate the strengths and virtues of those who are different from them……

The other approach to temperament work is equally important but perhaps more difficult. It requires that the teacher or parent take note of and then work on his own temperamental style. Balancing the excesses of this very intimate (and too often ignored) part of who we are constitutes an important path in our self development and has an important bearing not only in our interactions with our children but also in those with our friends, colleagues, and spouses.

Whew!  A tall order, to look inside and be aware, but so important in our work with our own children. Continue reading

Fragile

Our fragility is part of our humanity.  The fact that our bodies can be so easily broken, our hearts broken, our emotions torn apart, is testament to this fact.  The feeling of emptiness, of wanting and longing, is as natural a part of being human as the tide rolling in to greet the shore.

Authentic experiences, no matter how difficult or heart-wrenching, often provide the impetus for change.  Continue reading

Simplicity Monday: Get Organized!

This month, I am enjoying being with Master Waldorf teacher Lisa Boisvert Mackenzie  over at Celebrating the Rhythm of Life’s “Sketch It Out” planning session for back to school.   Lisa serves on the Board of Directors of Lifeways of North America and also holds a position on the Birth Through Three Task Force for the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America.  You can see more about Lisa here:  http://www.celebratetherhythmoflife.com/p/about.html Continue reading

Sunday Books: Completing The Circle

In this chapter of “Completing The Circle”, available for free on-line, we are looking at “The Four Temperaments”.   Thomas Poplawski writes:

The notion of temperament is very old, dating back at least to the ancient
Greece. Hippocrates, in the fourth century BC, spoke of four qualities or “humors” in the human being—cold, moist, hot and dry. In the second century AD, the physician, Galen, spoke of the mixing or “temperare” of these four humors to yield four temperaments. These in turn were related to the four elements yielding the fiery choleric, the airy sanguine, the watery phlegmatic, and the earthy melancholic.

Poplawski goes on to trace the idea of the temperaments through the ideas of the Greeks, and right into modern times and how the temperaments are used in Waldorf Education.  The job of an adult is to help a child break out of their habitual tendencies, and lead them toward balance

Poplawski then goes through all four of the temperaments of children. Continue reading

Normal Stages Of Sleep For The Child Ages 8-12

One of the most popular posts on this blog over the years has been this little post about normal sleep stages:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2011/03/27/normal-stages-in-sleep-for-the-child-ages-4-9/.  This actually is not my own personal favorite post on sleep.  My personal favorite is here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2008/11/18/peaceful-bedtime-dreams/

Normal stages in sleep, according to The Gesell Institute, include: Continue reading

Burn-Out In Waldorf Homeschooling: Part Two

This is a topic near and dear to my heart as there really does not seem to be a number of people blogging about using Waldorf homeschooling with their older children (especially middle school aged and up) anymore.  I don’t know if this is really because there are so few of us left or just that the folks who are really doing it and in the trenches don’t have the time to blog!  (And, as I head into sixth grade, third grade and four- year- old land this fall, I can totally understand that lack of time, so there is no judgment there, just an observation!)

Yet, I feel a need to point out that just because few of these blogs exist (which again, could mean there are more families out there doing this than we think!),  this way of homeschooling does not have to lead to burn-out.  It can become a long-term way of homeschooling, not just for for the “pink bubble” of the kindergarten years.  In fact, I think one can see a real pulling together of the curriculum and how it all ties together starting especially in fifth grade and up and it is beautiful and amazing to see the connections and the way these subjects are so enlivened!

So, my theory is that in order for Waldorf homeschooling to continue beyond the ‘”pink bubble”, I think it is important to understand what Waldorf homeschooling really is.  I think “burn-out” or being worn out with something often occurs when our expectations do not match the reality of what is at hand.  Children are the text in Waldorf homeschooling, but the teacher is the leader in Waldorf homeschooling.   We meditate on the child, we look at the development of the child in a holistic way, but we decide what we need to choose for stories and other things within the framework of the curriculum during the grades, how to work with these things on behalf of the child with help from the spiritual realm.  Again, the teacher works with the child and on behalf of the child,  but is the decided loving authority throughout grades one through eight.   If this is uncomfortable to you, and there are of course  degrees along this continuum, perhaps it is better to say Waldorf Education does not fit your family and to talk about what path is better suited to you. I personally find that a much more honest take than saying Waldorf homeschooling doesn’t work. If it doesn’t work for you, than I think that is okay, and BETTER than okay, because then you are on the path to finding what IS better for you and your family.  Life is too short to not be happy!

Secondly, I think burn-out often has to do with lack of boundaries. I went through some experiences this year where Continue reading

Guest Post: Burn-Out in Waldorf Homeschooling And A Special Offer For Parenting Passageway Readers!

My guest poster today is a wonderful homeschooling mentor many of you are familiar with:  Melissa Nielsen of Waldorf Essentials (A Little Garden Flower)! You can see her website here:  http://waldorfessentials.com/

Melissa is talking today about the topic of burn-out, blame and what to do!  Melissa writes:

I want to thank Carrie for this opportunity to guest post as this topic is close to both of our hearts and it is so funny how it comes up again and again this time of year.  We both felt like it would be a good blog topic.

 

Burn- Out. As a Waldorf homeschooling consultant, I am seeing more and more of this.  More and more moms that I know love Waldorf but some how have decided that it is too hard so they opt for “Waldorf-lite”, falsely believing that is all they can do.   I have taken some heat before for saying that I don’t believe in burn- out. I suppose I should qualify that and say that I don’t believe that Waldorf homeschooling is the cause of the burn -out.

Let me back up. This job is hard. It is dang hard. I think it could be harder than giant monsters fighting giant robots like in my sweet husband’s new favorite flick. It is hard. This job takes work.  I have been mothering for just over 16 years now. Children don’t come with manuals. They don’t know how to turn off on our bad days. They don’t understand menstrual cramps or a fight with our mother. They are just generally happy to be in their bodies and they don’t have a clue why we want them to stop jumping on the sofa or hitting their brother!   In my parenting career, I have been through a bunch – sometimes I stepped in the hole willingly and other times someone dragged me into it.  Each time I climbed out, I got up, made breakfast and we walked on.  I am their rock.  Without me time might just stand still for them.

I knew I wanted to homeschool before I had children. I discovered Waldorf education early on and like most moms that are new to it, I feel in love with the beauty of it.  Waldorf is a delight for the senses for certain! Like many of you, I had no support system.  I had an husband (now former) who was battling wars I couldn’t join him in.  I was alone. I made friends with Waldorf teachers that could direct me.  They gave me all kinds of advice on the curriculum, but none of them had really done this at home and certainly not with this many children. I had to figure it out on my own.

A bunch of children. No manual. All alone.

I learned that Waldorf, while it wasn’t easy, it was SIMPLE.  I learned that simple didn’t have to be easy.  I made goals for each child, goals for myself and then I learned to plan.  I firmly believe that it doesn’t matter how many children you have, you can do this. You just have to want it.  You have to be ready to wrestle some things to the ground – those things have NOTHING to do with Waldorf and everything to do with you.  I found that Waldorf could be this tremendous mirror for me. I learned to take care of myself for the first time in my mothering.  I learned to connect with Spirit in new ways.  I learned that I was a dynamic person, I just had to find her and let her out. We are ALL talented.  We just have to find those talents.   As long as I kept my temperament balanced and my inner work in check, then I had the time to do what I wanted and what I needed.  Sure there were years when it was not so easy, but those times are short.

Be a family with a purpose.

If you read Carrie’s blog regularly, then you know she promotes living ON purpose. Living on purpose takes effort.  It takes a plan.  It takes knowing what you want from life for you and your family. Do you have these Continue reading