Simplicity Monday: Abiding

Abiding, to me, is more than just waiting.  Abiding is the sacred art of enduring, of being durable, of waiting without impatience for the fullness of time to reveal things.  It is knowing deep in one’s soul that the permanent state of life is one of goodness and fullness if we can wait and hold on.  It is trusting in that as a innateness and permanence.

Abiding is such an important thing to model for children.  We take our time, we wait, we abide.  Things in our family are not smooth right now, but it will be over time.  We will look back and we will laugh about it, we may cry about it, but we will know we were always there for each other and we did the very best we could with the information we had at the time and where we were in our own personal growth.

Abiding is knowing that when Continue reading

Sunday Books: “The No-Cry Discipline Solution”

We are on page 17 in the 2007 edition of this book, with a section entitled, “Planning Ahead, Looking Ahead:  Your Child As A Teenager”.

Author Elizabeth Pantley recounts that she has three teenagers in the home and a kindergartner, and how working on both ends of the parenting spectrum is such a wonderful thing.  I have to say in my own limited experience of having a twelve year old, an eight year old and a three year old that I feel the same way.  Having older children makes you a much better parent to the tiny children under the age of seven! Continue reading

Visual Challenges–Part Two

I like this quote from the Christopherus Living Language book, page 258:  “One of the main premises of this book is the belief that early academics are not healthy for children and that it is perfectly normal for many children, especially boys, to not learn to read or write until 9,10, or even 11 years old.  In my experience, the vast majority of these children are perfectly healthy and there is no problem. However, it would be irresponsible of me to not remind people that there certainly are those children whose inability to read/write stems not from a picture of normalcy and health, but because of one of a range of challenges or problems.”   

Exactly!  In my last post, I laid out some of the foundations of learning to read, write and spell – through movement, through vision including a screening checklist for visual challenges even if acuity is 20/20 for grades-aged children (ie, those seven years of age and up), and looking at hearing and speech.  That post is here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2013/09/19/visual-challengespart-one/

So, continuing with our focus on vision, what do you do if your child is identified as having visual challenges?

This topic has come up a bit in my email this week, and interestingly, was also the topic of an article in the Renewal:  A Journal for Waldorf Education, Spring/Summer 2013 entitled, “Seeing and Learning:  Identifying and Ameliorating Early Vision Problems” , written by Susan Johnson, an anthroposophic allopathic physician.

In this article, Susan Johnson discusses the necessity of both visual tracking and visual convergence in reading and writing.  She writes in the Renewal article , “Eyes that are tracking or converging asymmetrically will create images that are distorted and/or doubled.  Equal vision is also necessary for depth perception.”

Dr. Johnson writes about Continue reading

Simplicity Monday: The Five Secrets to Setting A Rhythm For Your Home

Rhythm is one of those things that many parents talk about, wonder about, and can have such trouble implementing.  Here are my top five secrets to garnering a rhythm that supports a peaceful home life.

Visualize your home and walk through a day in your head.  Where was it smooth and flowing and joyous?  Where was it sticky and difficult and everyone fell apart?  I don’t think a rhythm is about throwing out who you are, who your family is,  what your family culture is in order to replace it with something that someone else does, but rather to build upon the successes in your own home.  Every family does something really well, so what is your thing that you do really well that you could build upon? Continue reading

Visual Challenges–Part One

I have been receiving a bit of mail regarding visual therapy and what to do about visual challenges, so I thought I would address that topic here.

Waldorf Education, both in school and in homeschooling,  is often known as “that method where the children learn to read late.”  This is true in one sense, as we start academics directly in first grade the way many schools in Europe used to do, and the progression through the first few grades is slower than what we might be accustomed to in the United States in public school.  In fact, it is true that many Waldorf teachers find children, especially boys, do not become fluent writers and readers until ages 9-11.  Many of these children are active, healthy, normal children.

However, I want to look at this a little closer for homeschoolers.  Noted Master Waldorf teacher Eugene Schwartz has stated  in many of his lectures that two-thirds of a third grade Waldorf School classroom typically is reading at a third grade level.  If this is true, then one must believe that there is progress in the first few grades toward reading.  Progress toward reading includes movement with cross lateral integration (more about that in a minute), oral recitation with memory, writing and then reading is being made in first, second and third grade, if the parent is working with the child in a Waldorf way.

The corollary of this, is of course, that if this is true that the majority of children in third grade are reading at grade level, then we also know one-third of the class will not be reading at grade level by the end of third grade.  In Waldorf homeschooling communities, we often hear of children who were not reading, not reading, and then suddenly around the age of 11 or 12 or so the child can suddenly read everything and anything.

So the challenge for the homeschooling parent often becomes one of  – is this just a normal pace of development for this particular child and I  just need to leave it alone or – is there something going on that needs to be addressed earlier?

I think to answer this question we must first look at Continue reading

The Twelve Year Old

Here is the picture of the true physical being of a twelve year old:

The forces of growth now become active in the bony system of the body.  The muscles, which were previously bound up with the rhythmic system, become part of the mechanical working of the skeleton….Limb activity appears clumsy when this process begins, and this is made more complicated by the further accelerated growth of the physical body.  The girls have already shown growth in their height and weight, but now it is the boys who take a turn and begin to make visible changes.  If you watch closely, you will notice that the girls start to develop hips and the indentation of the waist, also the breasts begin to form.  Other changes that are not as easy to see are fuller lips and the cheekbones, which begin to emerge from the skull. – Eurythmy for the Elementary Grade by Francine Adams

Rudolf Steiner talked about how this time, the sixth grade year, is a time where the bones are first perceptible.  The child is moving into a heavier, more muscular, time of development.  In this way, things like copper rod exercises as done in eurythmy in the Waldorf Schools show that the rod is indeed the extension of this perceptible bone and provide the challenge and precision a twelve year body needs.  This year of sixth grade and being twelve is a time of challenge, precision, looking forward.

Many twelve- year-olds seem to detest movement outside of a favored sport or two, but they also seem to love a challenge. Something specific such as hiking,  or learning a skill such as how to paddleboard or kayak, can really fill the child’s need for challenge.  They really need you as a model to get out and be physical, and to be outside and be physical as a family.  They need you to help initiate it all.  In Waldorf Schools, gymnastics becomes an adjunct for geometry (Bothmer Gymnastics).  We cannot bring that at home, but we can do our best to bring in movement and also a social experience, so important for twelve year olds.

So, there is this heaviness of the child on the earth that I just described, but there is also Continue reading

Simplicity Monday: Preparation

When we teach children how to do something, we usually walk them through the first steps of gathering supplies and equipment through the process of what they are learning, and then work with them through the clean-up stage.

How much smoother our home life goes when we prepare things in the same way in which we teach our children!

Whether it is a cleaning plan, a meal plan, taking the time to set things out the night before,  preparing for school during the summer and then also taking time over the weekend to prepare for Monday’s school, preparation makes life go so much easier.

It is part of doing, and so important to model for our children.

It is the doing that counts!

Many blessings,
Carrie