Notes for Preschool Planning

 

“I also did not like the word “preschool” since it implies that somehow the learning done before age 5 is not valid.  In my mind, there is no such thing as “pre” school.  In most European countries, there is not even such a word as preschool.  The children attend daycare until age 6 and then start formal education at age 7.  When I attended an international conference, the European participants thought it was quite humorous that I kept referring to our young preschoolers as students.  This showed my cultural bias in that we think of even our youngest children as responsible for measurable learning.

- From “Forest Kindergartens:  The Cedarsong Way” by Erin K. Kenny

 

If you are planning for preschool, (and you can see more about what I think about “preschool” here:   http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/11/11/waldorf-101-waldorf-preschool/),  focus on a strong component of rhythm to your days being present together at home.  The things that preschoolers are working on – washing themselves, using the bathroom, the gentle rhythm of setting things up for a snack or lunch and then washing dishes and clearing plates – those extraordinary moments of everyday life is what the core curriculum for preschoolers should be. Continue reading

A Summer Parenting Project

 

I like to have a little time over each summer to work on projects – decluttering and cleaning the house; homeschooling and planning for school in the fall; routines and habits that need to be established; or sometimes something even bigger and more life-changing.  You can see the last summer parenting project that I asked readers to pick up on here in 2010:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/06/07/a-summer-parenting-project-for-you/

 

This year, I have two separate threads of projects I am hopeful that mothers will want to be a part of and participate in this summer.

 

One is the call for greater self-care and health.  Mothers everywhere, often who have small children for very long hours with no extended family to help, need encouragement to take care of themselves.  Continue reading

Notes About Third Grade

 

I am finishing up third grade for the second time right now.  The two children that have completed third grade are very different people.

Our first child  was reading and writing in three languages at this point.   Very, very language oriented.

Our other child had definite talents in movement,  science and the natural world,  and music.

 

All children are individuals, and although there is a “curriculum” in Waldorf education, such as laid out in the schools and on the chart published  by AWNSA, the main thing we are prescribed to do as teachers is to OBSERVE the child, UNDERSTAND child development, be interested in the world around us (keep learning) , to not go stale (in  other words, what worked before may not work again!).  The template of the school and the secondary pedagogical literature of Waldorf education has been helpful to me personally, but I also have read an awful lot of Steiner’s lectures and work.  I  steer a lot  by my strong philosophical orientation of Christianity, attachment and Waldorf.

 

This year, I started the year with a block Continue reading

Entering…..new

 

For several years now I had been in this period of life where things were sometimes light, sometimes dark,  but usually just a mingled grey.   It started with overwhelm as things slowly happened one after another, built up and then moved into this climax of life: people passed away that I loved and  things that I loved died. I hung on to being in  the now, because the future seemed far away and murky with nothing there to really grasp or see.  I also felt like I was in the “middle” a lot, and just didn’t feel strongly enough  to “really” fit anywhere.    All I had was the  faith that God had a plan for me, and  perhaps, yes, even a plan for the me that I am outside of my own children and family.  I felt like He was calling me to something, but  I had no idea what.

 

In this Eastertide, in this very first inkling with the seedlings of the earth, several things started mingling in my head and my heart….It started with Continue reading

More About The Twelve Year Old

 

The last post I wrote about the twelve year old was here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2013/09/10/the-twelve-year-old/.  I have a little girl who is almost thirteen now, and I wanted to write some more things about the twelve year old before we move out of this age.

 

First of all, The Gesell Institute has some things to say about the twelve year old in general terms which most parents find helpful.  In general, the age of twelve is more calm and tolerant of everyone around them than eleven year olds.  Isn’t that a relief?  Twelve year olds tend to be kind of detached with their mothers, and sometimes with their family in general,  but friendly.  Twelve is also  often willing for adults to have some of their own “adult’’ life and not watch too carefully over that.  Twelve year olds are more tolerant of siblings (sort of!)…in general, twelve year olds get along well with siblings who are under the age of four and those over the age of sixteen.  So, sibling quarreling can still exist.  Friends are important, too.  Most twelve year olds are branching out to have a larger social circle.  I have found this to be true with some homeschooled children, and not true with others.  Opportunities to make friends and be a friend are part of being twelve.

 

Other points about twelve: Continue reading

Sixth Grade Medieval History

 

You can see where my sixth grader and I left off in history in this last post about Ancient Rome here http://theparentingpassageway.com/2014/01/24/gallery-of-work-from-sixth-grade-ancient-rome/  (There are three separate posts about Rome on this blog).  We moved on to Medieval History this past month so I  wanted to finish up our sixth grade history journey for you all.

 

My main resources were: Continue reading

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