Gentle Discipline Techniques By Age–Part Two

 

Gentle discipline is the mainstay of parenting life, because it encompasses guiding and validating the authentic spiritual being that is every human being and child.  It is a mindset to live by and parent by, and if you can master some of these techniques, you will find yourself even having more positive communication and conflict resolution with other adults.

I have wanted to do a round-up of techniques by age, and here it finally is beginning.  I hope it will be helpful to you, and do please feel free to add your own thoughts or experiences to this list.

 

Today we are focused on birth through age 4.  The mainstay of gentle discipline for these years begins with our own inner work and development, as discussed in Part One of this series.

The overall picture of development for these ages I think is two-fold.  Continue reading

Seventh Grade Homeschool Planning: The Real Deal 2

 

So, you may remember when I wrote this about seventh grade planning:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2014/06/11/seventh-grade-homeschooling-here-is-the-real-deal/

As a little recap, all the things I mention in that post are areas of thought for me; essentially since I think seventh and eighth grade are a step up.  Those two grades are different than the earlier grades, and even different than sixth grade. I also think again,  in an era where many homeschooled children do look toward taking community college classes and such at age 16, what we do here counts.

The seventh and eighth grades are also the culmination of a beautiful grades curriculum, and I don’t want to miss the beauty and peak of all the work we have done in previous years.  It is also my first time through planning seventh grade, which always makes it harder as well.  And, to add to that, there are some things I wish we had done in sixth grade that we didn’t so I also felt we add a bit of make up to do. More on that  in later posts!

My other  major place of thought centers around PRACTICE.   I don’t think is talked about enough in Waldorf circles, and certainly not especially for the later grades,  nor are enough examples and ideas given.  For example, to me, It is not enough to cover state geography in fourth grade, U.S. Geography in fifth grade, etc and then never practice and return to it – the man and animal block of fourth grade, etc. And yes, of course, some of this information comes up again and again as you work the information into other blocks.  This is the “layering” of the curriculum that one often hears about, but yet I find it often takes experience to really bring this to fruition.  So, a growing question in my head  as of late has centered around this idea of practice and integration of what we have studied through ALL of the eight grades and how do I bring this  into seventh and eighth grade.

So, I am thinking a lot about  the practice and habits part.  We start our day with Continue reading

Why We Homeschool The Middle School Years

 

I can only talk about our own personal journey regarding homeschooling.  This is an individual walk, and I can only give my experience.  Once people “get over” the hurdle and accept homeschooling as a viable option for the younger years and even the early grades, I agree that I  often hear “well, I plan to homeschool until middle school” or “I plan to homeschool until high school”.    Many homeschooling parents, at least in the Waldorf community, have told me they feel not only is there a huge decline in folks homeschooling this age group of children,  but that also the number of resources drops off dramatically.  It can be a hard and isolating road.

One of my Dutch friends was explaining to me the other day that in the Netherlands they say those ages are “being between the napkin and the tablecloth”.  You are not a child, yet not an adult.  You are  not really treated as an adult, but you don’t really feel like a child.I

Something that is well accepted in developmental circles is the fragility of the budding self that occurs around the age of 12 and 13.    Bodies start changing, voices start changing in boys, limbs are long and heavy.  And there is this beautiful and vibrant fragility I see in the teenagers ages 13 and 14 that I get the pleasure of being with.  They are finding themselves and their own passions and their own opinions.   To me, it is almost like a butterfly struggling to come out of its cocoon.    The Gesell Institute writes about the  needs for privacy often seen in a thirteen-year old:   “by withdrawing and refusing to share, Thirteen protects something far too fragile and half formed for others to see, his budding personality.”

So, I think there are two sides to this. In American society at least, I think the idea of the sullen, withdrawn teenager has gone much too far.  Space is important, but it must have a balance of space within the community.  And to our family, the most important thing for this period for their overall education  is for our children to be with  family as their community and with the well-trusted adults and friends they have developed.  Eugene Schwartz recently gave an interesting lecture Continue reading

Creating Your Own Forest or Farm Homeschool Kindergarten Experience

 

I have written about my  fascination with the forest kindergarten/farm school movement in back posts with detailed links.  I recently found this link interviewing Erin Kenny, founder of Cedarsong  Forest Kindergarten.  You can read that interview here:  http://www.safbaby.com/forest-kindergarten-a-better-way-to-teach-our-young-children.

I think the models we have for this  movement within Waldorf Education are places such as Nokken with Helle Heckmann (please see back posts on Nokken on this blog and also this link regarding  farm-based educator inspired by Waldorf Education:   https://www.biodynamics.com/farm-based-educators).

 

The major benefits of Forest School, as listed in the book, “Forest School and Outdoor Learning in the Early Years” by Sara Knight are increased confidence and self-belief; social skills with increased awareness of the consequence of their actions on other people, peers and adults and the ability to work cooperatively; more sophisticated written and spoken language; increased motivation and concentration; improved stamina and gross and fine motor skills; increased respect for the environment and increased observational skills; ability to have new perspectives and form positive relationships with others; a ripple effect to the family.

 

I have been thinking lately Continue reading

Resources for Seventh Grade

 

One thing I think that you should start doing if you are going through the grades for the first time, is to gather lists for each grade – books by topic, possible field trips in your area, etc.

There are some ideas by curriculum writers or Waldorf teachers for seventh grade, in no particular order:

This is a list of books that I am personally finding helpful so far and wanted to share. This is absolutely by no means an inclusive list, or a list of “doing it right.”  It is just a list of possibilities.  By subject:  Continue reading

Are We Doing It All Wrong?

 

 

Here are some great links this week to make you stop and think.  Let’s all be the change we wish to see, advocate for our children, and keep the momentum I see happening in so many places at the grass-roots level in different states keep going.  This is how change often happens in the United States.  Be the change!

 

Do American parents have it backward?  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christine-grossloh/have-american-parents-got-it-all-backwards_b_3202328.html

 

This article is a MUST-READ for all parents of small children.  Children do need rhythm, repetition, time to be outside, time to play in an unstructured manner.  They do not need lessons, or rigid adult-created games.   The adult is there primarily to “un-stick” play and to guide, to provide help for the ideas the children create, to have the environment and the rhythm in place.   Read more about the differences between what the differences between academic and play-based preschools bring here: http://www.janetlansbury.com/2012/06/dont-let-your-preschoolers-forget-how-to-play/ Continue reading

Seventh Grade Homeschooling: Here Is The Real Deal

 

Most of my friends will tell you I am honest, probably to a fault.  I tend to say what I think, even if I put it in the nicest words possible.  (Sorry to my friends who have to put up with me!)    So, I have to be honest and tell you a few things about planning seventh grade.

 

It is disappointing.  It is challenging.  It can be frustrating.  It is not for the faint of heart.

Ha!  There it is!

So many of the resources and previous places that provided direction seems to “dry up” or it becomes incredibly vague as to “how” to do seventh grade.  There are only about three or four curriculum providers providing any direction at this level at all, whether that is articles, workshops, or full curriculum.  That may sound like enough to choose from and draw from, but I don’t think it is, to be honest.  None of them have completely resonated with me.  Each curriculum provider seems to provide different suggestions and ideas – which is wonderful in one sense, to see the possibilities – but also daunting in another sense, because it seems as if no matter what path you follow you may be “missing something”.  I understand all of education, whether school or at home, is going to have things we don’t learn –there are many things I didn’t learn even going through university twice in two very different plans of study!  I don’t believe there is an education that exists without gaps, but what I find disappointing is that threads that are started don’t always seem completed in seventh and eighth grade.  A strong start, but not a thought to how the scope and sequence will finish out in some of these home programs.    For example, in seventh grade, some put in almost no geography; or some put in one region of the world but not another region, some put in chemistry but not physics; all seem to put in physiology; none put in American History (not even the American curriculum providers!) and leave the entirety of American history for eighth grade which I think, at least for me as an American, is terrible.   And, some providers, when they start American history,  skip the pre -colonial times and pick up at Manifest Destiny into the Civil War.   Some put in astronomy whilst others did this in sixth grade, some put in separate blocks for geometry and algebra and some combine these subjects into one block.

Middle school is a lot to pull together, and yes, the oft -used phrase “Every homeschool will look very different in middle school” does apply  here, as it does to every grade.  But again, within that freedom, I think we need to find the developmentally appropriate form.  This is not only the capstone ending for the eight grades, but also a preliminary foundation for high school.  And, for many homeschoolers whose high school careers morph into community college and other things out into the world around age 16, the decisions in seventh and eighth grade could be important.

The one thing I did was go back to the AWNSA chart.  No, this is not to say homeschooling should look just like this, of course,  but to see past what a homeschool curriculum provider *thinks* would be feasible or  *could* be possible in the home or just what their own personal bias is and to then compare and see what is possibly done in a school (but maybe not because I don’t know as a class teacher can fit all this in either!) can be helpful, I think.  It helps you to know what you can do, what you can draw from, and to look for the reasons WHY these subjects are developmentally appropriate and then look at your own child and your own family.

 

According to the AWNSA chart, this is seventh grade: Continue reading

The Twelve Year Change

 

Within the pedagogical literature of Waldorf Education, there seems to be  a lot more press about the developmental changes at ages six/seven and nine than there is about the developmental changes at twelve.  This is unfortunate, I believe, because some of the biggest changes within the first two seven year cycles take place at age twelve.

Ages six and seven may be more of a “you’re not the boss of me” age, and nine may be an age of sensitivity and tenderness as children often seem to experience an underlying realizations about loss, life cycles, and separation, but twelve, to me, has the most dramatic changes and unfolding out of these three transitional periods.

A good deal of separation of the child’s own personality really begins at this age, and shows in the will of the child.  The child may set  now set goals, especially in learning, and may work at activities to really conquer something in the outside world that they are interested in intently.  The will shows up coming from a place of inner individual moral development and personality.

The social element awakens;  there can be a  grouping off, especially after grade six. You start seeing this generally as early as around age ten, which is where fractions is introduced into the Waldorf curriculum in grade four, and this grouping off continues to progress.   Many people remember this about the middle school years.   It is important  to make sure the children are in a group in a healthy way at this point – trekking, hiking, kayaking, caving and other bodily will exercises in a group is stimulating for this group and age.

You start seeing development that looks more based upon gender at age twelve than ever before.  Girls tend to band together socially in a way that can be different than the boys – more hanging out, daydreaming, talking.  The boys can be brimming with activity.  Physically the girls are different than the boys.  As the girls approach puberty, Continue reading

The Babymoon

 

Elizabeth Foss is enjoying her first grandbaby, and I enjoyed her post regarding the days after birth here:  http://www.elizabethfoss.com/reallearning/2014/05/in-praise-of-the-babymoon.html

I find it interesting if one looks on the Internet regarding “planning” a babymoon, most of the top posts have to do with planning some special time with a spouse prior to the arrival of a baby!  This is baffling to me. Most attached parents, and parents who hold childbirth and the parenting of children in the most sacred terms, do not think of babymoon as a honeymoon getaway, but as a sacred time after a baby is born when life as a family with children begin.

Having a first baby, having multiples babies, all changes things.  Nothing is or should be the same as it was, but perhaps not in the “inconvenienced” way general society assumes.   I wrote some time ago about the joy of the first forty days after birth, and encouraged readers to slow down for an extended time after birth.  Here is that original post:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/07/17/40-days-after-birth-and-beyond/.

There are many beautiful ways to prepare for the first forty days: Continue reading

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