Puberty Part One

Often on Waldorf lists and groups, I see threads regarding puberty.  These threads typically concern the outward signs of puberty, or perhaps issues not of puberty but of sexuality, such as a discussion on what to tell a six-year old or a nine-year old about sexual relationships.

I have already discussed in an earlier post how the development of the child during something such as the nine year change is viewed from a spiritual place that looks at the development of the soul, and how the curriculum and parenting in a Waldorf way meets the child during this point whether outward, physical signs of puberty are taking place or not.

This is one of the best articles I have read regarding puberty Continue reading

The Nine-Year-Change and Puberty

I have gotten some private emails lately regarding the nine-year-change and puberty, so I wanted to write something for this space for other parents searching for support and information during this time.

In the view of Waldorf Education, the soul is coming down into the body.  However, I think the outward manifestation of puberty (odors, even breasts budding or getting hair in private areas) doesn’t change the course of the curriculum, nor really the developmental level that you are parenting in.  A nine-year old is still a nine-year old, whether she has started her menstrual cycle or not.    Puberty is an outward manifestation of the body, but the nine-year change is more an inner crisis of the soul and of middle childhood.

I hear a lot from parents of eight year olds and they are sure they are in the nine-year change.  Well, the child could be, but what I often find is that Continue reading

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Nineteen

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you: ho-hum.   Read on for more

Many mothers tell me they have boundaries, but the children rail against the boundaries, and then they end up yelling or giving in.  I am going to suggest to you that you are teaching your child how to guide him or herself; that is the ultimate goal of parenting.  You are also setting the tone in your home for the foundation of developmental change.  Parenting a teenager is much different than parenting a two-year –old (although some mothers have told me the teenaged years are the new two-year-old year!), but yet you are laying the foundation for the future in the early years.

Ho-hum, and learning to let go of your end of the rope, is such an important skill to learn. If you apply all the things we have talked about , and you are really spending time with your child and loving and connecting to your child with warmth (not just barking orders at them or yelling!), and you are consistent, fair and just with your boundaries, then the boundaries for the big things are there. Continue reading

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Eighteen

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you: boundaries.   Read on for more

If you take the values and priorities of your family, you will automatically find the places where boundaries matter.  Boundaries will matter because they will help back up your vision for your family.  It is not enough to say that you don’t want yelling in your home.  It must be what you value and want to promote instead of yelling.  This will help help you be “relentless” (remember that word from day six in this series?)  in your pursuit.

Boundaries are also exceedingly important because many mothers tell me that they are, in fact, patient….the first ten times they deal with an issue or challenge with their children.  It is by the time the child has looked for the boundary for the twentieth or fiftieth time that they begin to yell.

The important thing with boundaries is to – Continue reading

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Seventeen

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you: joy.   Read on for more

Mothers with one child tell me that often how their family life “feels” revolves around the moods of their only child; it has such a big impact on the family.  Mothers with multiple children often find it difficult and feel stressed to see their multiple children going through developmental phases and stages that they feel puts the entire family into disequilibrium.  In either situation, it seems as if the sheer joy of parenting is lost and the focus is on the negative.

Finding the joy can often be as simple as shaking up the everyday routine.  It may involve ditching the regular plans and going out to play in the snow, heading out for a hike, or doing something together that really builds up the connection and love between everyone.

This is not to “ignore” behaviors you find challenging within your family, but is to give you a chance to hit a “reset” button.  Sometimes we all, even as parents, need this second chance to Continue reading

31 Days of the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Sixteen

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you: self-care.   Read on for more

Many mothers tell me they yell more when they are completely low on the “self-care” meter.  It doesn’t matter if this is caused by a mother being single, a mother who has to work full-time and also parent, or a mother who is home full-time and can’t seem to get any time to herself.  The result is all the same:  a lack of care for the self.

It is not a pretty place to be for most of us.  Here are a few points to think seriously about: Continue reading

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Fifteen

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you: re-assess.   Read on for more

We are approximately half-way through our thirty-one days to the inner rhythm of the heart.  As a reminder, our words to help us on this journey include reconciliation, attentiveness, reverence, courage, love, relentless, unity, building, time, haven, steady, warmth and inner work.

I have heard from so many of you that have enjoyed this series, although there have not been a lot of discussions or comments made publicly on this blog.  I would love to hear about you and what process is working in your life.

So, today is your day to re-assess what is working and Continue reading

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Fourteen

 

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you: inner work. (Yes, that is two words, but who is to quibble?  Smile) Read on for more

 

A lovely comment on the last post really made me think.  The comment was along the lines of, “how do I maintain warmth when I am trying to help a child with boundaries?”  Many mothers tell me how hard it is, that the reaction is to be cold, or stiff, or withdraw or pull away.

 

Some families do wonderfully with everyone going off to their separate spaces and having a little time to calm down before coming back calmly.  However, I have seen many small children in particular, who really need you to hold them calmly through their anger or tears or tantrum.  Older children and teenagers may need a cooling off period, but they don’t need an icy stance either.  What children need to hear and see most often is that “I love you.  We will work on this as a team together.”  And, this of course, requires, you to keep your ho-hum  and your warmth as much as possible.

 

I find if I am feeling emotions rise, or feeling as if I should withdraw, that something has triggered me and Continue reading

Time To Plan!

Hello Waldorf Homeschooling Mothers,

We are in a beautiful time of year right now.  Candlemas, February 2nd, has just passed.  This quiet day is a festival that I love and we live into in our home. In the book “All Year Round”, the authors write:

At the beginning of February, when the infant light of spring is greeted thankfully by the hoary winter earth, it seems fitting that we should celebrate a candle Festival to remember that moment when the Light of the World was received into the Temple, where the old yielded to the new.

I have been thinking about this passage for several days.  Elsewhere in “All Year Round”, the authors also wrote about tapping into “much deeper sources of hope and inner confidence.”

So, I feel this time of year is a gentle and renewing time to look to the upcoming school year.  If you are new to homeschooling, you will need to yes, look at your state’s requirements and laws.  You will probably sit with a calendar for a while and sketch out your year of festivals and holiday dates.  This back post may be of service:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2012/06/10/get-your-planning-on/  and this one:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2012/05/23/planning-tips-for-homeschooling-kindergarten-through-grade-four/

You may then even start to plan out the blocks for each grade or monthly work and play for your children in the Early Years.  For the grades, I always suggest checking with the AWNSA chart to see what is listed for each grade.  Homeschooling parents complain about this and say, “Well, our homeschools are not Waldorf Schools.”  No, this is of course true.  However, without the schools we would have no models to even really work from as the schools have done a huge amount of work to put Steiner’s pedagogical conclusions based upon the spiritual human being into practicality.  So, I think there is balance and truth to be gained by looking at whatever you are teaching from both angles in  a way – what might be done in a school, what would work at home and taking what resonates with you for your unique child.

Then, you can start to slowly and carefully compile your resources and read them a bit and let them sleep.  You will return to them again in a few months’ time to begin planning in earnest.

Many homeschooling parents rely on curriculum or curriculum guides and then agonize over the best one to choose.  I personally pull from a wide variety of resources, and take each block and make it my own.  Waldorf homeschooling is a vibrant, living path and requires a good amount of will forces from the parent to really make it work.  I wrote a post on choosing curriculum some time ago and I think it still stands:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/03/13/which-waldorf-curriculum-should-i-use/

This fall (of 2014) I will be teaching seventh grade, fourth grade and an early years child who will be 4 turning 5 in the fall.  These are three separate developmental stages to plan, and two grades with a good amount of material to cover, so I hope to begin now so I can have hope and inner confidence.  I hope you will as well.

Many blessings,
Carrie

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Thirteen

 

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you: warmthRead on for more

 

Often in our parenting we can end up feeling almost like a victim.  “Why won’t my child sleep?”  “Why is this so hard?”  “Why does my teenager slam and lock the door to her bedroom?”  “Why is our family so volatile at times?  Why is it so hard for everyone just to be happy?”

 

We act as if we are the victim and reactive to our children’s whims, mood swings; captive to a child’s thoughts of the moment.

 

I offer to you as the antidote to this the thought of warmth.  You are the sun in your home, and your children come toward your warmth and light.  You are calm and steady.  You are the queen of your home.  You love, smile and hug your children and connect with them. 

 

If things are not going well you do not withdraw your warmth but can warmly smile through the crisis of that moment and say, “I love you”, but also keep so calm that things are defused or everyone takes a break and then comes back to work as a team on the problem at hand. 

 

Warmth is one of the most important aspects of being with children. They must feel your warmth, even if you are upset in the moment.  Take a breath, the moment will pass and your warmth will shine through once again. The more you practice this, the better  and easier it will happen.

 

Blessings,
Carrie