Simplicity Monday: The Overwhelm

The Overwhelm.  Too much to do, too little time.

When I speak to mothers, often their “to-do” list is long, their presence has a harried energy, and they are concerned that they cannot “get it all done.”

They want to do it all, and they want to do it  all perfectly.

This is common in mothers in general, but also very common in homeschooling mothers.  I think the biggest overwhelm I hear experienced homeschooling mothers mention is lack of time to do things outside of homeschooling because there is no separation from the children.  Often the list of things to do outside of homeschooling is long – like trying to clean a house when you live in it many hours a day or when you are on the go a lot more with older children, trying to get errands done, trying so hard to do everything when teaching children really takes up the entire day.

A few things that many mothers (and myself)  seem to find helpful: Continue reading

Sunday Books: The No-Cry Discipline Solution

We are continuing our exploration of Elizabeth Pantley’s “The No-Cry Discipline Solution:  Gentle Ways to Encourage Good Behavior Without Whining, Tantrum or Tears.”  Pick up a copy at the library or your local bookseller and follow along!

I know many gentle parents who wouldn’t love this first sentence of the section “Building A Strong Foundation”:  “This book is about how to live everyday life with your children in  a controlled yet loving and joyous manner.”

Control, and anything that smacks of authority can be really difficult for parents to accept these days.  I think if it helps you, I consider the author’s use of the word “controlling” more akin to discovering the values that make your family unique and reflecting those values in the limits you set as parents to make your home a harmonious one.  We had a series of fruitful back discussion on authority some time ago, and I link here for you to review:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/12/02/re-claiming-authority-part-one/  and here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/12/05/re-claiming-authority-part-two/

One of the main concepts from this chapter to take away is “The Big Picture is More Important Than Any One Action”.  If we have over 100,000 hours to connect and love our children before they are off living their own lives, then all of these hours are not going to be blissful and peaceful, but there should be a sense of joy and love and delight for our children.  Continue reading

Sixth Grade Geometry

Waldorf education holds geometry in high regard, and works with geometry in some form from first grade onward. In grades first through fourth we mainly draw geometric forms in math, form drawing or even in painting.  Fifth grade usually becomes the first grade with a real geometry block, but it involves constructions more with a straight edge.  Sixth grade typically marks the movement into a geometry block that uses a compass.  Many of the resources available through Waldorf booksellers and companies will carry you through multiple grades, as sixth grade is the beginning of constructed geometry that is continued into seventh grade with perspective drawing and a closer study of the Pythagorean Theorem , and  then into the number progressions, the Golden Proportion and proportions of the human form, along with Solid Geometry,  in eighth grade.

For this block, you will need Continue reading

Computer Gaming and Children: Practical Advice

(As a Waldorf family, our instant answer to the question of computer gaming and children  is “no”!  Childhood lasts until age 21 and it is our job to protect our children. However, I also get mail from many families that are not Waldorf families, and their children are already playing computer games at young ages and playing a lot, so I asked my husband for some moderate thought on this issue.  You will notice he advocates strong limits on gaming for teenagers and to not start until the high school years or longer if possible.  There are many fun alternative ways to spend time, but for families who choose to have their teenagers participate in gaming, he lists the pitfalls to be aware of.  I appreciate his insight here. – Carrie)

For the last five years my lovely wife Carrie has been publishing her thoughts, ideas and experiences to the world in this blog.    In that five years I have supported her and this blog from both the emotional and technical side.  That’s not only my role as her husband, but as the father of our children.

controllerThroughout that time, Carrie would often ask guests to post and add to the conversation where it makes sense.The topic of computer gaming and its impact on children is a question that Carrie has received frequently, though in recent months the requests and comments about this subject have increased.   Clearly this is a subject that should be addressed and Carrie has very nicely asked me to post on this subject. Continue reading

Homeschooling Multiple Children –The Lesson

I have often said on this blog that part of homeschooling is knowing when to continue and get some things done, and when to know to leave it and go to the park that day!  Those of you who homeschool in a Waldorf way probably are nodding your heads right now!  I  myself was having a harder time toward the end of  this week with my little almost four year old during some of the main lesson time for his older siblings.  It is an almost universal theme when I talk to homeschooling mothers.

I also get quite a bit of email regarding what to do with younger siblings (ie, nursery aged of ages 3 and 4, and kindergarten aged of ages 5 and 6) during main lessons for the older, grades-aged children.  I have written about this subject again and again, so there are many back posts you can run a search for and see under the “Homeschooling” tab.

This is the main lesson for homeschooling life though:  if you are so harried and so busy trying to fit “school” in that there is no time for your littles, then you simply must sit down and think through what needs to change.  I had to do that this week.  There is no shame in re-assessing, re-evaluating and tweaking things to run more smoothly!

The fact is that if we are trying to run our homeschooling as if our smallest children  don’t exist or matter and are only there to “hang out” whilst we work with the older children, then this is not laying a good foundation for family life  (nor is it laying a good foundation for  grades work when the time comes for this child!).

This is because this is the curriculum for the young child is absolutely laying a foundation.  This is done through: Continue reading

Friday Linky Love

Happy October!  Here are a few links to love and enjoy:

First of all, my dear friend Andrea has a new blog:  http://solrevel.wordpress.com/2013/10/02/tuning-in/. She wrote that wonderful homeschooling manifesto as a guest post for this blog if you would like to re-read it!  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2013/04/17/guest-post-a-homeschooling-manifesto/

http://downtoearthmother.com/2013/09/23/hormone-disrupting-chemicals/  I don’t normally post about nutrition or holistic health issues here as there are so many blogs that cover this area beautifully, but this article is an important one.  Starting with small steps can make it all less overwhelming if you have lots of changes to make! Continue reading

Third Grade Read Alouds

Our third grader has heard quite a few read -alouds during this almost two months of homeschooling this year, and I wanted to share a few of our favorite titles with you.

The Third Grade curriculum focuses largely on how humanity lives on earth, being here on earth and our connection to the divine and authority and  the journey we make as human beings.  It is a beginning foray into a protagonist a child can identify with, as opposed to solely archetypal characters, but  I would urge you to hold off on literature with darker and more mature themes. This is a bridge year with literature for children who nine or almost nine.  Waldorf parenting and education, I feel at its core, is often about keeping children as “young” as possible as long as possible. A good rule of thumb is to help your child choose literature where the protagonist is about the same age as your child, and if you have a sensitive child, to always pre-read.

Here is what we have read so far this year: Continue reading