A Special Offer for Parenting Passageway Readers!

 

Although it is only September, we  have already endured bouts of cold weather around the United States and  The Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a colder than usual winter, especially for the eastern part of the United States.  Warmth is so important for our children.  Warmth allows our children to settle in, to not be restless, to rest and sleep and grow better, and to reach their fullest potential as human beings.

We see this in many cultures all around the world in the  dressing of babies warmly, even in subtropical and tropical climates.  When our children are warm enough, then energy will not be diverted from the growth and maturity of the nervous system  in order to just keep warm. 

As a rule, three layers on the top with one layer tucked in, and two layers on the bottom is recommended.  Here in Georgia I like two layers on the top and two layers on the bottom, just depending upon how cold and windy it is.  Contrary to popular belief, the Deep South does see snow and we do get freezing temperatures.   My favorite article about warmth by Mary Sutton, MD, appears in this back post  as reprinted with permission. 

Because of the importance warmth plays in the health and well-being of our children, I am excited to announce Green Mountain Organics (my favorite place to get woolens)  is offering the readers of The Parenting Passageway 20 percent off woolens for winter through next weekend with the code pp20.

Many blessings, happy woolens,

Carrie

Let’s Read: Simplicity Parenting

 

We are up to my favorite chapter!  Chapter Five, entitled “Schedules” is well-worth reading for yourself.  I don’t believe parents in the United States intend to overschedule their children, yet that is where so many families are in reality, and this chapter offers a hard look at what we are doing, why we are doing it and what we could do differently.

This issue is not a new one.  Kim John Payne points out that David Elkind’s book “The Hurried Child” first asked the question as to whether children were being pushed toward adulthood in the form of “super-competency” because parents lacked the time or interest for parenting.  This was in the early 1980s.  The latter half of the 1980’s saw a real focus on the child’s accomplishments and achievements.  These trends are not new. 

How do children spend their time?  According to this chapter:

  • Children ages 6 to 11 spend many hours in front of a television screen and a computer screen
  • School takes 8 more hours than it did in 1981
  • The amount of time in structured activities has doubled
  • Time spent doing homework has also doubled – with the implementation of No Child Left Behind, students are averaging an hour and twenty minutes a night of homework.
  • Children have 12 hours less free a week than they did – about 25 percent of a child’s day is “free” on average; in 1981 the average child had about 40 percent of his or her day free.

 

Kim John Payne points out that, “And it is really so bad to be busy?  Why aren’t their busy kids seen as fulfilled rather than frantic?  What is wrong with wanting your children to have as many opportunities as possible?  I don’t think the central issue of “overscheduled” kids is motivation – either the parents’ or the kids’.  Most parents are driven by good intentions…In wanting to provide for their children, here again parents act with generous motivations.  But just as too many toys stifle creativity, too many scheduled activities may limit a child’s ability to direct themselves, fill up their own time, to find and follow their own path.”

 

Some children really do not know what to do with even moments of spare time because they are used to having every minute structured.  Kim John Payne points out that interest in an activity can be real and sustained over time for children but that time, leisure and other interests often help a main interest to  grow.   Children need unstructured time.  This is coming out in more and more studies and childhood psychology literature  regarding the development of executive function in children – things such as working memory, mental flexibility, reasoning, judgment – are enhanced by non structured activities, not by structured ones. 

 

Awareness is the first step in stepping off the overscheduled  burden.  Play happens in unstructured time and opening up schedules lends itself to spontaneous moments .  If a child has fewer activities, then a parent’s schedule (who is often a driver) will also open up as well.  This can impact the entire family  in a positive way.

 

How do you simplify your outside activities?  Does your family need help in this area or is the balance easy?

Blessings,
Carrie

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

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

Favorite Christian Reads

 

 

I publish a post about my favorite Christian books about once a year, and in this Eastertide, I wanted to update what I have been currently reading and enjoying.

As part of the Anglican communion, we look toward the Church Fathers and many Celtic Saints as a source of illumination.  The book “Aidan, Bebe, Cuthbert:  Three Inspirational Saints” by Vicar David Adam (who was ordained in Durham Cathedral, the burial place of the Venerable Bede and St. Cuthbert and who became Vicar of the Holy Island of Lindisfarne (where St. Aidan and St. Cuthbert lived), is a wonderful interweaving of the lives of these three Saints.  Wonderful read for those interested in these saints!

 

My twelve and a half year old daughter has read all the books by local (to us) author Jenny Cote.  This is the latest one she has read: http://www.amazon.com/Wind-Road-Epic-Order-Seven/dp/0899577938/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398907506&sr=8-1&keywords=the+wind+the+road+and+the+way.  This Christian series is a nice read for this age group.

 

I keep waiting for an Anglican parenting book to come out, but there are not any except an Anglican Family Prayer Book.  So, I recently bought a copy of “Orthodox Christian Parenting – Cultivating God’s Creation” by Zoe Press.  I highly recommend it to Christian readers who are coming from a basis of Holy Tradition and the Fathers of the Church as a lens for raising children.   Here is a link to this from Amazon; I am not certain if it is available cheaper somewhere else, but I did get my copy through Amazon:   http://www.amazon.com/Orthodox-Christian-Parenting-Cultivating-Creation/dp/0985191503/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398907794&sr=8-1&keywords=orthodox+christian+parenting 

 

Right now, I am reading “What Is Anglicanism?” by Urban T. Holmes.  This is a good, solid read for those wanting to understand the history and theological foundations of Anglicanism.  There are so many deep and resounding thoughts in this one, especially in the chapter regarding “radical incarnationalism”; an appropriate theme for Eastertide!

 

Please share what you are reading!

Blessings on your Eastertide,

Carrie

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

 

 

We began this journey in January, and we are at the end of our (non-consecutive) 31 days.  In the vein of those who set a New Year’s intention with “one word”, we have progressed through 31 words in order to help build our foundation for homes of peace.  This work grew specifically out of an impulse for parents who wanted help to not yell at their children.

 

Here are our 31 words for your meditation, thought and consideration:

 

open

reconciliation

attentiveness

reverence

courage

love

relentless

unity

building

time

haven

steady

warmth

inner work

re-assess

self-care

joy

boundaries

ho-hum

expectation

expert

quiet

constancy

eagle

potential

struggle

together

self-restraint

authentic leadership

missing

 

Perhaps one of these words resonates strongly with you, and you would like to do artistic work with this word.  Perhaps you would like to carry one of these words in your heart for some time.  There are many ways to work with these ideas in an individual manner.

 

Many blessings, and peace on your home,

Carrie