Update on A Summer Parenting Project

 

Do you all remember when I posted a summer parenting project?  Mine this year centered around de-cluttering the house and exercise, but in past years I have begged parents to find a religious/spiritual home for their family.  This year’s post is right here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2014/05/23/a-summer-parenting-project/

I am not the only one with this kind of thing on the brain!   I got great joy in reading Kara’s post over here about exercising:  http://www.kelizabethfleck.com/2014/06/7-quick-takes-birthdays-broccoli.html.  As a former personal trainer, a gym manager, a trainer of bodybuilders and a physical therapist, I cannot stress enough the importance of exercise.  This is so important for mothers who are suffering from depression and anxiety, and such a great example for our children.  Our homeschooled children really need breaks during the day to run and play.  Some homeschooled children do that naturally, but I do find the older children get the more they sit around and read….or craft….or read.  Smile  It can take determination to keep your family moving, especially during a busy school day, but so worth it!

My husband has traveled out of town Monday through late Thursday night for years, and I really got out of the habit of exercising consistently.   He is now traveling less, and  I am happy to say I am back on the exercise train.  What works best for me is to get up and out the door when my husband is home.  So, I am in the gym by 6:30 each morning, and my goal is to move that up to 6 AM.  I am tired by the end of the day, especially when I am teaching, (which is what I found out last year having sixth and third grade), so exercising at night is hard for me.  Morning is much better!  We have also been doing active things as a family, which we did last summer as well, but it is nice to have that piece too.  Hiking, kayaking, and running at our local park have been fun.

De-cluttering is coming along as well.  I am slowly culling books, which is so hard for me because I love books and as a homeschooler I keep thinking I will need that one book!  My husband painted our school room a cheery yellow (Daffodil from Sherwin Williams) and with some naturally dyed curtains, I think it is going to look great for when we start school again in August.  I will try to post some pictures when it is all done!

What are you all up to?  Let’s celebrate our successes, no matter how small!

Blessings and love,
Carrie

Let’s Read: Simplicity Parenting

 

We have arrived at Chapter Three, entitled, “Environment”.  The chapter begins with painting a picture of the child’s room which ends with this sentence: “The room’s pastel color scheme and basic furniture – bed and bureau where the changing table once was – are no longer visible, buried under a thick overgrowth of multicolored, ever-growing, and expanding stuff.”

Kim John Payne talks about how in many of his workshops, parents want to begin simplification by simplifying the environment.  This is a tangible, doable step toward simplification.

American culture leaned toward selling toys to children beginning around Continue reading

Brief Notes on Homeschooling Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Grade

 

I have recently been jotting down a notes regarding fifth, sixth and seventh grades.  These notes will probably only make sense if you are coming up to these grades and you are a Waldorf homeschooler. Smile  If you are planning for these grades, I hope these ideas are helpful.

 

Fifth Grade: Continue reading

Summer!

It is summer! There has been an article circulating around the Internet from over at The Atlantic regarding summer and having free time to just be:  http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/06/for-better-school-results-clear-the-schedule-and-let-kids-play/373144/

Part of this article deals with how “personal” executive function (ie, the ability to set goals, to be self-motivated and do the practical things to achieve a self-selected goal) is much better in children who spend less time in activities supervised by adults:

The authors studied the schedules and play habits of 70 six-year-old children, measuring how much time each of them spent in “less structured,” spontaneous activities such as imaginative play and self-selected reading and “structured” activities organized and supervised by adults, such as lessons, sports practice, community service and homework. They found that children who engage in more free play have more highly developed self-directed executive function. The opposite was also true: The more time kids spent in structured activities, the worse their sense of self-directed control. It’s worth noting that when classifying activities as “less structured” or “structured,” the authors deemed all child-initiated activities as “less-structured,” while all adult-led activities were “structured.”

The summer  can be a difficult time for working parents in particular, and some children end up trading school (an adult-directed activity), for different adult-directed activities in the summer – camps, lessons, and the like.

I am hearing from parents who both have to work this summer, or single parents who have to work.  They are wondering how to give their children a summer of time in nature and unstructured play.  I would love to hear suggestions from you all and how you have handled unstructured play for summer  in your family.    My own thoughts would be to enlist family members or friends who are able to be home and are taking their own children to the lake, beach, forest or out for a picnic.  I have many family  friends where both parents work, and those parents I know  are taking a good deal of vacation time this summer to make the work week shorter –ie, taking each Friday off so they have a long weekend with their children, for example.  I also have friends who work who have talked to their boss about changing their work hours so they go to work very early and get home early so they can have some daylight hours with their children to be together.    If a parent works from home, of course the children can have unstructured play there, but many parents have told me if they have only children it can be hard to get things done or multiple children while they are working sometimes play great and come up with wonderful ideas and sometimes not! Continue reading

Let’s Read: “Simplicity Parenting”

 

We are jumping ahead to Chapter Two, “Soul Fever”.  Kim John Payne opens up this chapter with the fact that parents know their children so well and all of the different sides our children can have, “the too little sleep side”, “the overcome with silliness side” etc.  He admits toward the bottom of the page that our love for our children never falters, but the instinctual knowledge of our children can wax and wane.

In many cases, I have talked to parents who have felt so disconnected from their children. This can especially occur as children grow older and are out of the house for almost more hours a day than they are home.  I have also talked to parents who are very fearful of their children being away from them and are fearful their connection will no longer be strong as their children’s world expands.  It is a delicate balance, and I think worth checking to see where you are right now, today, with connecting to your children.

Simplification can help Continue reading

Gentle Discipline Techniques By Age–Part One

 

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.

 

First of all, we cannot talk about gentle discipline and guiding without talking about parenting as the spiritual and inner journey of the adults involved in raising children.  Whether you are mother, father, helper – it is a spiritual journey for you and spiritual practice for you!  Your own techniques for inner development: 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