Monthly Anchor Points: June

 

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 yet 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.

I wrote about my homeschool planning method of marking seasonal and liturgical ideas down for each month in past posts.  I have written monthly anchor points posts for August, September, October, May and now would like to extend our mood of celebration into June!

 

June is always an interesting juxtaposition for me personally.  It is a month where I often feel very inward because it is often during this time I am going through all the closets, drawers, cabinets and garage space in my home.  I organize my school room and take stock.  And I am homeschool planning for fall.  So in some ways I feel so wrapped up in my own little inner world. I am certain I am terrible company for those around me!

Yet, the juxtaposition is all the time we spend outside in the sun Continue reading

Let’s Read: “Simplicity Parenting”

 

The last time I posted a “Sunday Books” series was in November of 2013. We were headed through Elizabeth Pantley’s “No-Cry Discipline Solution”, and honestly, the posts were not generating much thought and I wasn’t really feeling inclined to delve deeper.  I gave myself permission to breathe and walk away from it since I didn’t feel it was working in that moment.

I have wanted to write on the chapters of “Simplicity Parenting: Using The Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier and More Secure Children” by Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross.  I am not trained as a Simplicity Parenting Group Leader as I found the cost to be prohibitive, but I hope to add some ideas and experiences of my own as we go through these pages.  I know many of you out there are Group Leaders and I do hope you will chime in, and I also know many of you have worked through these pages in small groups on your own and also have experiences to share.  I shall enjoy hearing from you!

I love the opening line of this book in the Introduction: Continue reading

Are Homeschooled Children Less Likely To Be Physically Fit?

 

As a physical therapist, I am very concerned about the impact of competitive sports on growing bodies (you can see more about that in this back post).  However, I am equally concerned with the rising rates of obesity, Type II Diabetes, and lack of exercise in our youth.  Statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention show that less than half of children ages 12 to 15 are aerobically fit.  You can see more in the National Public Radio news article entitled, “Are American Teens Becoming Even Wimpier Than Before?”

In the past, I  have also wondered about the physical fitness levels of many homeschooled children.  There was a study done recently regarding physical fitness levels of homeschooled children versus children that attended school.  It was published in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and posted on Facebook sometime during this spring, but I cannot find a link to it.  The research had  a small sample number as I recall, so it may not be completely conclusive, but the results were that the homeschooled children were NOT as physically fit.

Why would this be? 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

Lovely Links

 

Here are some lovely links for the end of May.

 

This one from Sheila over at Sure As The World for second grade:  http://sureastheworld.com/2014/05/20/the-canticle-of-the-sun/

 

Homeschooling children who are adopted:  http://simplehomeschool.net/adopted-child/

 

Kara’s post about the joys of older children:  http://simplekids.net/lets-hear-it-for-the-big-kids/

 

An interesting article here (scroll down) by Dee Coulter about Montessori and Steiner:  http://www.waldorfresearchinstitute.org/research-from-waldorf-education/

 

Please share the blog posts and articles you have been finding inspirational lately in the comment box below.  I would love to hear from you!

Many blessings,
Carrie

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