Life As A Means

 

In the tradition of  Rudolf Steiner’s  inner work according to the rhythm of each day of the week, today (Wednesday) is the day of “Right Standpoint”.  It is this idea of ordering our lives with harmony.  Put our lives in harmony with our values.  Put our lives in harmony with nature.  Put our lives in harmony, I would say, with God and the purpose God has set you here on earth for.  (As a Christian, I see definite purposes for my life as laid out in the Bible and by the Early Church fathers).    Life is one of the means, a  tool, to our own inner development as a human being.

 

If this is important for us as adults to work on, how much more important is this for our children who are still developing?  And, because our children are developing, it is up to us to help order their lives in these ways.

 

We can say no to media and screens because it is “entertainment” that is often full of sarcasm, violence, hypocrisy, and fills time instead of having our children learn to create and order their own time.

 

We can say yes to Continue reading

Multicultural Reading Lists

 

 

These are a few of the reading lists I have for multicultural children’s literature for the English speaking reader:

 

Children’s literature by Native American authors – from preschool through high school/adult reading: http://www.slj.com/2013/11/collection-development/focus-on-collection-development/resources-and-kid-lit-about-american-indians-focus-on/#_

 

One of the best sites I have found for African American children’s literature:  http://www.best-childrens-books.com/african-american-childrens-books.html (by grade and also award winners by year).

 

For Asian/Pacific Rim children’s  literature:  http://childrensbooks.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=childrensbooks&cdn=parenting&tm=103&f=20&su=p284.13.342.ip_&tt=3&bt=5&bts=75&zu=http%3A//www.nea.org/grants/29506.htm  and here:  http://www.cynthialeitichsmith.com/lit_resources/diversity/asian_am/asian_am.html (if you look on the sidebar there are links to books of Chinese heritage, Japanese heritage and Korean heritage).  There are also literature  awards focused on Asia/Pacific Rim Children’s Literature.  The award winners for 2013 are here:  http://www.apalaweb.org/2013-asianpacific-american-award-for-literature-winners/

 

For children’s literature by Latino authors, by grade level:  http://ccb.lis.illinois.edu/Projects/Additions%20on%209-20-07/CCB/CCB/mhommel2/Booklists.htm

 

For children’s literature regarding the Middle East:  http://www.pragmaticmom.com/2011/08/top-10-arabic-american-childrens-books/  and an extensive list here:  http://bernadettesimpson.com/Childrens-YA-Books-MiddleEast.pdf

 

If you have a list on your blog of your favorite children’s literature as related to your religion or your cultural heritage, please leave a link in the comment box so my readers can find it!

Thank you,

Carrie

Inspiration and Gratitude for Mother’s Day

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you!

My own mother died after a very a long illness  when I had just turned eight, and I was raised by my paternal grandmother.  She had three sisters,and the four of them were very, very close.  I also had an amazing maternal grandmother.  I was very fortunate to have all of them speaking into my life.

 

The grandmother who raised me wrote this in honor of mothers everywhere for a mother-daughter banquet at her church long, long  before I was born and I share it here with you today: Continue reading

What To Say?

 

Friends, we live in this world.

This world where 276  Nigerian girls are kidnapped out of their school and no government seems to be able to find them.

We live in a world where there can be the worst of humanity.
Wars.
Poverty.

Children with disabilities who are abandoned or neglected.

Children in our own society that we attempt to push through an educational system that is not geared to children.

We live in a world where everything seems to strive against families staying together and against children being connected to their families and their communities.

And then

I stand, on a beautiful biodynamic farm with the cows and chickens and bees and birds, looking at a sea of planted garlic in the sunshine…

And Organic Rose, the owner, says, “Isn’t all of this about loving each other?  We love and nurture the Earth, we take care  of Earth, we get food that is healing for the body, mind and soul.  It is here that the Earth loves us…..And in turn we love and nourish each other within our families and communities.”

Yes, isn’t that the point?

And the only thing that will change this world is to let your own light shine.  You may not be able to change something globally.  But, we can change things for our own communities.

I am certain you have heard the story of the young lady and the starfish.  A young lady was walking along the beach, picking up starfishes that had been brought in by the high tide and left behind as the tide went out.  An old man watched her and then said incredulously, “You cannot possibly make a difference for all these starfish.  There are just too many!”  The young lady looked at him, picked up a starfish and threw it back in and said, “Well, I made a difference for that one!”

Human freedom comes with it to make choices out of love.  What does love bring to you today?

 

Blessings,
Carrie

Monthly Anchor Points: May

 

Anchor:  a person or thing that can be relied on for support, stability, or security; mainstay: Hope was his only anchor.

When we work to become the author of own family life, we take on the authority to provide our spouse and children and ourselves stability.  An effective way to do this is through the use of rhythm.  If you have small children, it takes time to build a family rhythm that encompasses the year.  If you are homeschooling older children and also have younger children not yet ready for formal learning, the cycle of the year through the seasons and through your religious year becomes the number one tool you have for family unity, for family identity, for stability.

I wrote about my homeschool planning method of marking seasonal and liturgical ideas down for each month in past posts.  I have written monthly anchor points posts for August, September and October and now would like to extend our mood of celebration into May!

 

May is such a beautiful month, Continue reading

In Honor Of Screen Free Week

 

This week, May 5th through May 11th, is Screen Free Week.  I have a few links I would love to share with you all to inspire you to change your family’s viewing habits, plus three simple things you can do to keep this momentum going if being screen free is new to you and your family.

 

Here is the official website for Screen Free Week:  http://www.screenfree.org/

 

Here is great article by a psychologist about the risks of screen time.  Her thought is that it is not the message (ie, whether or not the show is “educational”, but the medium of the screen itself).  This is an interesting article:  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-wealth/201404/screen-free-week-is-just-around-the-corner

 

A great You Tube video for adults  about “Looking Up”.  British rhyming tells a truthful message:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7dLU6fk9QY&feature=youtu.be

 

 

 

Top Three Ways to Continue the Momentum of Screen Free Week:

1.  Play Outside!  Children need lots and lots of unstructured play.  In this day and age, we seem to hover over our children and getting them outside can be a chore as opposed to what it was when we were growing up – we went out to play after school until the street lights came on and we were called home.  Or, we consider the fact that our children are in active sports to take the place of play.  Nothing takes the place of unstructured play.

 

Children even need risky play.  Here is an article from Psychology Today that talks about why:  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201404/risky-play-why-children-love-it-and-need-it?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Freedom-to-Learn+%28Freedom+to+Learn%29

 

Inspire yourself with folks who love to get outside.  Try the Children & Nature Network:  http://www.childrenandnature.org/  and also Renee’s blog over at FIMBY as her family hikes the Appalachian Trail: http://fimby.tougas.net/a-family-hiking-the-appalachian-trial

 

2.  Have a list handy of things to do without a screen:  http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/blog/who-needs-screens-70-ideas-family-fun

If you have small children and you know they melt before dinner whilst you are trying to cook and you are depending upon a screen for entertainment (this is the most common scenario I get in my email), have a plan.  Salt dough can work well, as can providing jobs to help the work of the family.

 

3.  Set new rhythms that do not involve any screen time.  Many mothers have told me over and over that it is much easier to cut the screens for their children out completely than to “wean off” or set a small limit, because then when the screen goes off there is arguing.  Cut down your own computer time.  Do you really need to be on social media sites for two hours a day?  What else could you do during that time? 

 

Blessings,
Carrie

May: Time To Plan

 

Usually one of three things happens during the homeschooling year:

Life intervenes and the entire year is rather chaotic.  Yep, that happens.

The school year starts off strong, and then life intervenes and is rather chaotic.  Yep, that happens too.

Everything goes as perfectly planned.  Nope, that really doesn’t happen too often.

 

Homeschooling calls for flexibility, an ability to work with life throws at you, often an ability to juggle different roles of being a parent/spouse/homemaker and to juggle children of a wide spread of ages and stages and temperaments.  All of this really requires an ability to get organized and work with planning as a tool.  This is important especially for Waldorf homeschooling.  Planning is everything in Waldorf homeschooling, and it really can help save you when life intervenes.

 

So, how is it coming with planning?  The last posts in this series were in February and March (you can see March’s post here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2014/03/27/march-time-to-plan/)

 

This is where I am so far in planning a five year old kindergarten year, fourth grade and seventh grade:

I planned my start and finish dates and vacation dates based off of the two counties where my children have friends on different school schedules.  I didn’t do that this year and ended up regretting it.

I marked out “teacher time”.  Plans made over the summer often need adjustment, and at any rate, one needs to look things over and live into the material before the block begins.

I went through all the months of this past year and wrote down any details I wanted to remember – which months did life hit us hardest, how I felt inside, how the children seemed to feel, seasonal details about each month or details related to feasts of the church.

I thought very seriously about extra-curricular activities and how many days we can really be out of the home each week – and what time we will finish school each day and really can realistically make it out to something.  The out of the house rhythm I have discussed with my husband, because whereas I am a “yes” kind of girl, “yes, let’s do that!” he is much more practical in terms of looking at how much time we can sustain outside our home.

I made out a sample daily rhythm for all three children.  That, to me, is the hardest part, as I often don’t feel as if there are enough hours in the day to meet everyone’s needs with three separate ages of children – early years, mid grades and late grades.

I created my “wheel” of the year – you can see details about that in the March back post.  I go mainly around the calendar of the Anglican Communion and have to plan in our feast and fast dates and dates where we will be out of the home due to church.  Remember, the cycle of the year is what holds all of your different ages and stages together for your homeschooling adventure!

I sketched out what blocks I think will go where in the year and how long those blocks most likely will be.  Subject to change!

I ordered most of my resources and started gathering various titles to get at the library.

I put together notes for two blocks for my seventh grader by day (but have not done any of the artistic work for those blocks ahead of time yet, which is often that part that takes me the longest after I read the resources and get an idea for the order of what to present when in the flow of a block).

I put together some general ideas about work each day of the week for my kindergartner, and ideas about stories for each month, crafts and handwork for festivals.

 

That is a start, but there is certainly a lot, a lot more to do!  I have to start now to really plan it all and fit it all in.  Most of this work is being created by me from scratch using different resources, as I am certain it is for you as well.

What are you planning?  I would love to hear!

 

Blessings,
Carrie

The Stresses of the Homeschooling Family

 

People often ask about the more challenging side of homeschooling when they are thinking about planning their homeschooling journey.  They don’t always need to be convinced about the benefits of homeschooling, about socialization,  or about the ability to get into college, but they just want to know some of the harder aspects of homeschooling so they are prepared.

 

The top three stresses I see commonly in homeschooling families include: Continue reading