Peace In An Ordered Home

There are many sayings to the effect of you can have happy children or a clean home but not both.  I think there is some truth in that in a small way.  Right now, I have gymnastics mats that have been made into a large track circling my kitchen counter and the children run “P.E classes” all day on and off complete with laps and push ups and sit ups.  Eventually the mats will have to be cleaned up so I can mop my floor, but I can live with it for a few days.  There is a 2000 piece puzzle on my dining room table that most likely will sit there for some days.  However, the rest of the house is clean and tidy.  The laundry is done and folded and put away.  We have food in the refrigerator and I know what we are going to make for our meals.

This is for me.  An ordered home that reflects beauty and peace mirrors how I feel inside.  I am a very visual person, and therefore I find that for me, it is easier on me to keep my home clean and orderly for my own mental health.  When everything is strewn everywhere and dirty, I cannot focus on anything else.  I live here all day, and it has to reflect a certain something of myself and what we value as a family.  We value love, and one way we love and nourish each other is to have a home that is livable, where food and clean clothes and cleanliness is apparent.

There has been some studies that suggest cluttered homes actually equate with depression and that clutter in and of itself can make us feel more anxious.

I have come to the conclusion after many years of homemaking, that the foundation of parenting (and homeschooling) is homemaking.  It may be tiresome to Continue reading

From Reading To Action: “Waldorf Education in Practice” and Our Next Book!

We are up to Chapter 9, “Math”.  This chapter gives great ideas for practice during the first number block of first grade.  The author recommends counting a long a number line and seeing a number as an entity by itself as the beginning, fundamental capacity of math.  Else Gottgens talks about the importance of speaking and moving, standing still and speaking and finally writing from memory, and then reading back aloud what has been written.  She gives many ideas for counting and working with individual numbers and working from whole to parts and parts to whole.  She also addresses estimation, and how to “structure” a number, the decimal system, and the times tables.  Learning times tables in grade 2 is a major undertaking, and then being able to recite the time tables out of order, randomly, is a task for grade 3.  There is also a wonderful table of math capacities that need to be developed from grade 1 onward, along with typical challenges for these capacities.

Chapter 10 discusses “Play-Acting”.  Putting on a play with a group is important for developing clear speech, meaningful gesture, enhancing spatial orientation and hearing what the other actor is speaking and reacting to it.  Drama also assists children in having more self-confidence, communicating better socially, gaining help in thinking more clearly, and helping children become better spellers.  It is also an excellent way to strengthen the will as the children work with a play for an extended period of time.  Continue reading

Wrap Up Of Weeks Fourteen and Fifteen of Seventh and Fourth Grade

I am trying to post a little wrap-up of each week of grades seven, four and five year old kindergarten year throughout the 36 weeks I have planned for school this year.  I hope this will encourage mothers that are homeschooling multiple children (or who want to but are worried!), and  encourage mothers that even homeschooling children of multiple ages who are far apart in age is doable.  You can find week thirteen  here   and and further in back posts you can find a post pertaining to the first two days of school this year which gives insight to our general daily rhythm.

Rhythm:  We completed week fourteen before our Winter Break, and this week was week fifteen of school.  I made a very simple schedule with times on it for school in January, knowing that we might need to ease back into school.  I am so glad I did since we all ended up with the flu, and I have been the sickest out of everyone.  I didn’t get the cleaning and planning (ie, hunt for images ahead of time for our seventh grader’s block), but I am also so happy I plan all blocks over the spring and summer.  It really saves you when you fall sick over the winter break.  I highly encourage you to start thinking about the grade you will start in the fall and compiling your resources.  I am ready to start ordering things soon.

Kindergarten:  Continue reading

How To Have The Most Peaceful Family in January

Here is how:  turn off the screens.  Get rid of TV, computer screens, videos, video games…all the screens.  Have a screen-free  two weeks, cold turkey – just like that!  And then see how much better everyone does playing and getting along as siblings and decide to extend it further.

Here are some wonderful things to do in January without any screens:

Cut out paper snowflakes, including really cool 3-D snowflakes

Dip candles

Roll candles

Play board games or card games with your children

Draw, paint, model

Whittle wood

Make popcorn together

Bake together

Play in the snow – build snow forts, have snowball fights, snowshoe, downhill or cross country ski, ice skate on a pond

Read and tell stories

Build forts inside

Take a walk outside in the cold – look for animal tracks or berries or birds or all of the above

Knit, crochet, cross stitch, finger knit, spin, sew

Sing and make music together – learn some new songs!

Clean, scrub, dust, work around the house – rearrange furniture

Go bowling or find an indoor swimming pool to swim in

Write letters to family and friends; write stories together

Snuggle on the coach with hot chocolate and marshmellows

Cook for a neighbor

Find a place of worship to attend and get involved

Throw a party

Clicker train your dog, cat, or other animal

Take care of plants; start seeds indoors when it it is time

Add your own ideas here!

Many blessings, enjoy January!

Carrie

Hunting For Solutions in Waldorf Homeschooling?

This is the time of year, homeschooling mamas!  I am back on some of the Waldorf Facebook groups and the questions about new beginnings are flowing in on those boards.  These tend to be many of the same questions people have over and over from year to year.  And that is okay, because the people who are searching for answers are often new and this is the cycle of things in homeschooling in general.

Waldorf homeschooling in peace and joy requires that one lets go of creating a school environment in the home – you are a busy mother; you are not an entire paid faculty.  At the same time, Waldorf homeschooling also asks you to rise up and try.  Try to paint, draw, memorize, look for poetry.  Try.  Try and bring as much as you can as you strive.  That is joyful Waldorf homeschooling.  You have to be able to let go of guilt and enjoy the benefits of homeschooling – which is to be together as a family and to meet the child in front  of you.  Let go of your guilt and perfectionism and enjoy!

Here are a few of my tips for the specific common questions, which generally seem to involve rhythm and the early grades – Continue reading

The Peaceful Family You Want……

Is within your reach.  Is not only possible and plausible, but waiting for you.   It begins with you.

Peace begins with feeling physically, emotionally and spiritually strong.  I see so many beautiful mothers who really neglect their health until something happens, and they know they HAVE to start making home cooking, menu planning, sleep, exercise, health appointments and other things necessary for them to enjoy good health because within it, their family cannot thrive!  If you are homeschooling or have stay at home children, putting these things as part of the rhythm is so important , along with the “how” – who will watch the children whilst you cook 20 freezer meals?  Who will watch your children if you go for a walk or do yoga, etc?  The “how” is as important as the “when”. Continue reading

Monthly Anchor Points: January

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 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.

January, how I love you with your still and silent ways.  I am reminded of the hibernating animals, the crunch of snow under my feet as a child growing up in the Northeastern United States, the glow of beautiful beeswax candles, the twelve festive days of Christmastide and the twelve Holy of Nights, new beginnings and new starts with a blank year before us.  Seed catalogues start to arrive with the promise of a garden to grow, organizing about the home is to be done, and I think about snowflakes, paper stars, and candles all month long.  You can read more of my joy about January  here.  It also has some wonderful ideas for working with children’s energy during the colder months.  Maybe now is time to rotate the toy collection, move things around so they are fresh and new and inviting for small hands and little hearts. Older children might appreciate a re-vamped crafting, art or woodworking space.

I urge you to use your January to slow down, plan ahead for the next part of this year, to enjoy being outside and allow yourself the luxury of a vigorous walk.  One of my friends sent me an article about the beauty of walking outside in a safe area under a dark sky and it made me think of walking in cold wintry skies.

My month will be anchored by  these festivals:

January 1st through January 6th – The twelve festive days of Christmastide and the twelve Holiest of Nights.    One of my favorite days of this cycle is today, the Feast of Saint Seraphim of Sarov.  There is a lovely book about this saint, and I plan to make a picture of this saint and a bear friend for the children today.  http://www.amazon.com/St-Seraphims-Beatitudes-Blessings-Wonderworker/dp/0978654307/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420235365&sr=8-1&keywords=st.+seraphim+of+sarov+children

January 6th – Epiphany.  You can see back posts regarding Epiphany and how to celebrate here and   here.   This is a festive day complete with a King’s cake or pudding and gift giving in our house.  The Christmas season ends for us here and we usually do take our tree down and then we tend to clean and rearrange and enjoy the freshness of things.

January 13 – Feast Day of St. Mungo, the Patron Saint of Glasgow.  The book “A Royal Ring of Gold” could be good for older children (middle school) – please always preread.

January 18-24 – Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

There are a few other Saints I am celebrating this month by reading some of their writings as well. 

Ideas for Celebration:

Making music – what a wonderful time to make music in our homes.  Jodie Mesler has a true passion for making music at home and tries very hard to make music do-able for those with no musical background at all.  For those of you who can read music , there are many wonderful music in the Wynstones books and other musical books sold at Waldorf booksellers.

Making crafts – I love things to do with stars and snowflakes for this time of year and there are many examples on Pinterest. I would be pleased to have you follow any of my Pinterest boards as I gather ideas for my own family.

Making time for outside fun – down here we can still hike and paddle; other areas of the country you may be able to still surf and swim and still others you may be cross country skiing, skating, or downhill sledding and skiing.  You could try indoor roller skating and bowling as well.  Stay active and enjoy movement together as a family!

Plan a garden as family

Feed the birds and observe them and draw them

Walk and observe what plants are growing and what the animals are doing

What could you do as a family to help others?  This could be a lovely time to gather supplies for a food pantry or donate clothing or something for your local animal shelter

What about an adult time for you, the person you are besides the mother, with friends or another female adult in your family? I have tickets with my sister-in-law to see the Russian Ballet perform Swam Lake this month and am looking so forward to it.

The Domestic Life:

Making bone broths

I am in the midst of re-organizing all of our “medical” supplies – organizing the essential oils by what we frequently use them for, organizing the homeopathic medicines and stocking up on the ones we are low on, gathering things of nature for illness

Revamping rooms, framing pictures, dreaming of what else we would like to make for our home

Crafting a few things for Candlemas!

I would love to hear what you are up to in these January days.  Shine your light out into the world.

Blessings and peace to you,

Carrie