Seventh Grade Planning

So, I have laid out my general plans for seventh grade. This is the advantage of having taught this grade twice before in a Waldorf style – I still have my notes, which is very helpful. One of the years I went through seventh year I put a week by week summary on this blog, so you can access those older posts.

I want to really focus on geography and the interaction of people with where they live throughout this year, so I plan on doing a little geography throughout the year. Every day we will do math practice and geography. We also have a focus on writing as our son just became interested in writing more recently, and I want to focus on that for preparation for high school work.

With middle schoolers, I feel I often turn the main lesson rhythm found in Waldorf on its head and often begin with something hands on, working side by side, bringing in the sort of presentation piece or more of a Socratic method of questioning and then ending with the academic writing.

Our plans to begin our new school year in August look like this at this point. I am saving physiology for eighth grade.

Week One  August 8-12 – Physics

Week Two August 15-19 – Physics

Week Three August 22-26 Physics

Week Four  August 29-September 2 – Math Main Lesson

Week Five September 5-9 – Math Main Lesson

Week Six  September 12-16 Math Main Lesson

Week Seven  September 19-23 The Life of Buddha

SEPTEMBER 26-30 FALL BREAK

Week  Eight October 3-7- Renaissance

Week Nine October 10-14 – Renaissance

Week Ten October 17-21  – Renaissance

Week Eleven  October 24-28 – Renaissance and Father-Son Trip

Week Twelve  October 31-November 4 – Perspective Drawing

Week Thirteen November 7-11 – Perspective Drawing

Week Fourteen November 14-18 – Catch Up Week

NOVEMBER 21-25  THANKSGIVING BREAK 

Week Fifteen November 28-December 2 – Astronomy and Navigation

Week Sixteen December 5-9 – Astronomy and Navigation

Week Seventeen  December 12-16  – Astronomy and Navigation

DECEMBER 19- JANUARY 4  – CHRISTMAS BREAK

Week Eighteen  January 5/6 – Grammar and Writing

Week Nineteen January 9-13 – Grammar and Writing

Week Twenty January 16-January 20 – Grammar and Writing

Week Twenty One January 23-27 – Chemistry

Week Twenty Two January 30-February 3 – Chemistry

Week Twenty Three February 6-February 10 – Chemistry

FEBRUARY 13-17 WINTER BREAK

Week Twenty Four  February 20-24- Math Main Lesson

Week Twenty Five February 27-March 3- Math Main Lesson

Week Twenty Six March 6-10- Math Main Lesson

Week Twenty Seven March 13-17 – American Colonial Times

Week Twenty Eight March 20-24 – American Colonial Times

Week Twenty Nine March 27-31 – American Colonial Times

APRIL 3-7 SPRING BREAK

Week Thirty  April 10-14 – Writing

Week Thirty One April 17-21 – Writing

Week Thirty Two April 24-28 – Writing

Week Thirty Three May 1-5 -Writing

Week Thirty Four May 8-12 – Catch Up Week

I am excited for this coming year. It promises to be full of friends, family, horses, 4H, church activities and other fun things!

Are you planning yet for fall? If you blog, please share a link below!

Blessings,

Carrie

Eastertide New Beginnings: Rhythm

Rhythm is one of the most beautiful gifts you can give your family. It doesn’t just need to be set by a parent; instead it can be set as a family according to family priorities, and it should also be nourishing to ALL members of the family.

People get upset at the idea of rhythm because I think they feel it will be constraining. Rhythm, to me, isn’t so much as “do x at y time” but a general flow and a look at the day, the week, the month, the year.

I like to plan rhythm in a year/month format on a large piece of paper that I divide into twelve squares. In each monthly square I can write down what we usually celebrate under that month, and also things I associate with each month (examples – strawberry picking, lake days, light displays at the Winter holidays, etc). I also use this in my adult life! Today, I wrote down in my calendar that April is kind of crazy so I remember to do something a bit different next year and to be sure to take Easter Monday off of work next year! LOL.

Daily rhythm doesn’t have to be complicated. For those of you with small children, just getting through the day with rising, breakfast and clean up, personal hygiene, play, eating and napping, play, dinner, bath, bedtime – well, that’s all you need along with some songs, fingerplays, and a smile. 🙂

Older children can have more complicated rhythms but I would encourage you to step in for those under the 16 year old developmental change (and some 17 year olds may still also need help) and help them craft a rhythm that reflects a balance between head, heart, hands. Where is the bodily movement? Are they learning and expanding their minds? Are they helping the family and helping others? Where is their community of people?

The rhythms in the house should even nourish the adults. If every bit of the rhythm is geared around the children, where is the time and space for you as a person? For you with the other adults in the house? Time with your spouse? Time with your parents or extended family? Time is our most precious commodity. Many of us have children and aging parents and understand this all too well.

Rhythm can be a great source of renewal and a great source of joy – you really can have and make time to have fun! Living together is wonderful.

I would love to hear about your Eastertide New Beginnings!

Blessings,
Carrie

The Fallow Waiting

As I write this, it has been a long night of rain and thunderstorms. Our little rescue dog woke up at 4 AM shaking with fear with the thunder; sleep would have to wait. I am looking out from our kitchen table over the pastures seeing the green of spring and waiting for things to dry a bit to take our horses out. I am waiting this morning, just as today is a day of waiting in the Christian calendar for Easter tomorrow.

Every year I find the period of Holy Week hard. I am not sure why, but it always feels like a week that is tumultuous internally as I wrestle with myself, wrestle with the things I wish I could change about myself or whatever is happening and often feel deeply attacked spiritually. It’s a week of sacred work, but all on the inside so no one knows except me. Sometimes I can feel like a butterfly ready to emerge. Perhaps that is part of the Easter cycle, of the seasonal cycle, of being human.

Are you also in a period of waiting?

Maybe you are waiting for something to happen with a job or housing.
Maybe you are waiting to see if something your child is going through is a developmental phase or something more.

Maybe you are waiting and trying to envision new ways of holding outer routines, outer responses to family dynamics.

Maybe you are waiting on forming or implementing large changes in yourself and your family, whether on a physical level such as forming healthier habits for you and your family, or changing something internally about yourself.

I see you.

I think the things that are healthiest for ourselves is also healthiest for our families and supports and nourishes all the members of our household no matter what our struggles. If we get enough sleep, eat healthy whole foods, get sunshine and physical movement, cut down screen time (or, in the case of children, cut the screens out), connect with and love one another, find a way to nurture ourselves physically; then most things seem to go better or at least we are in a position to respond to things better.

Learning to calm ourselves is a large task as many of us feel anxious, depressed, or possibly even angry about things in our lives or with people in our lives. Finding connections and boundaries to support ourselves is wholly human and fundamental.

So, in this period of waiting before Easter, I am wishing you love, support, healthy habits, connection.

Many blessings on this day of waiting,

Carrie

April Joy

This month has been a month of high temperatures (80s F) and lows with frost! Such an odd and tumultuous month of weather, which is kind of matching my soul as we finish up school, balance the outside activities and work, and get down to business on the farm with pasture management and project ideas for spring. Sometimes life and parenting is like a little roller coaster! 🙂

This is normally a month of great beauty and joy – the springtime of creation.  The plants and flowers are bursting anew; the sun is out more often and the temperatures are (hopefully) rising.  The world seems fresh and full of possibilities.  In this sense, I too am excited to begin anew.

In our family, we will be celebrating:

April 4- Martin Luther King Jr’s Feast Day in the Episcopal Church

April 10- Palm Sunday

April 11-16 Holy Week

April 17 Easter

and getting ready for Ascension Day, which is May 26th and the Rogation Days of the Episcopal Church, which are the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday that precede Ascension.  If you are planning ahead as well, try this back post on Rogation Days and this back post on Ascension Day

What I thinking about in the home:

Spring Cleaning and Deep Cleaning.  I am busy cleaning out boxes and things in our basement from our move a year ago. We never got to totally unpack as our kitchen needs to be remodeled, but I am determined to go through all the other things – homeschool books galore! Here is a post on Housecleaning and Homeschooling and a favorite on  An Ordered Outer World for a Peaceful Family

Spring Crafting –  I have some great projects on my Spring Pinterest Board but what I am most interested in crafting this month and next is our garden and some landscaping. We have a lot of trees and debris to clear away on this land, but I want to move forward as much as possible!

Spring Self-care – So excited to be walking a lot recently and enjoying moving. Farm chores are also a great way to keep moving!

Renewal – My husband and I will be married for 30 years on May 30th. We rarely get to do anything by ourselves, but I am hopeful we can do something, even if it is later in the year to celebrate.

Homeschool planning – our middle child will be a high school senior in the fall, so we are mainly looking at colleges. I am busy planning seventh grade for our third child! Can’t wait to share those plans here as I am taking a little bit of a different path than I did the first two times through seventh grade. 🙂

Looking forward to summer – Our college aged child will be home for her last summer at home. Next summer she will be in internships and then graduating and off to a job, so it seems fleeting. So, I am very excited to have everyone home for this summer and plan to enjoy it fully!

Can’t wait to hear what you are up to!

Blessings,

Carrie

There’s Nothing Wrong With You!

I see so many mothers who are hard on themselves. So hard!

Just stop.

There isn’t anything wrong with you.

We all have quirks, things to learn, things to do differently, ways to grow. When did it become so difficult to do things less than “perfect” in parenting and whose idea of perfect is this? I don’t think any previous generations of parents lived under this amount of societal and self-imposed stress. We are all never done learning and developing and growing if we have enough self-awareness!

We also all have moments where we handle situations just right, where we know we really helped our partner or child navigate something, where we handled something difficult in love.

As women, we rarely extend the love and caring and encouragement we give to others to ourselves. Throughout the years, I have said the same things over and over – if you can feel kind and loving towards yourself and the other adults in your house, if you can really see your child as they are and do what you can to bring health and balance, if you understand human development, if you approach things with love, connection, and gratitude even in times of conflict, if you build a home life with healthy boundaries, if you connect to outside and nature – then there you go. I think those things go a long way to help ourselves and our family members thrive. I have so many back posts on childhood development and health!

You can use a rhythm to help give yourself the gift of time and space in order to take care of yourself, to have fun, and to do the things that are meaningful to you as a human being. Rhythm is a vital key and it is easy to lose with older children and teenagers. You may have to strive in this area in order to help yourself thrive!

You are just enough. You are what your children and family needs. There is nothing wrong with you. Let your love and your light shine!

Blessings,

Carrie

The Ways I Modify Homeschooling for My Middle Schooler

Hi There!

To those of you who don’t know me, I am a homeschooling mom who has homeschooled one child essentially K-11th grade with some outside high classes (senior year all out), homeschooled a second child K-8 with high school out, and now am K-6 grade homeschooling (so far! We are finishing up sixth grade) for our third and last child. I have mainly Waldorf homeschooled with a lot of emphasis on movement and nature and with some modifications for our family.

I read Rudolf Steiner’s lectures on childhood development a long time ago, circa 2005. So this was before I even discovered Waldorf homeschooling and it struck me as very compatible with how I viewed childhood phases and development, right down to the different shifts and changes that Steiner noted. It sort of coincided a bit with Piaget, which I had studied as a pediatric physical therapist. I have since gone on to read more and more of Steiner’s work, and to earn a certification in The Arts and Anthroposophy. Although not all of Steiner’s ideas jive with my personal religious beliefs, I will say it is never dull and always makes me think! I also love Steiner’s lectures on bees, agriculture, handwork, health – so many areas!

So fast forward from when I began homeschooling with our oldest child’s five and six year old kindergarten years in 2006/2007 to now. I am still here and homeschooling! Our oldest is at a very competitive and well known university, our middle child is now a junior in high school and looking at colleges and different career paths, and our youngest is finishing sixth grade.

What has changed in this time has been amazing! Our oldest two children got really into horseback riding, and little by little we got sucked into the horse world and now have three horses. I went back and got my clinical doctorate and a specialty certificate and began working more. We bought a farm last year and have been taking care of horses, boarding horses, managing work on this property that needed everything from water pipes to heat to insulation to pasture management on up plus juggling work and homeschooling. My husband and I are coming up on 30 years of marriage, and we have changed a lot in thirty years!

So, I gave and give myself permission daily to modify what I need to in order to care for myself and my family. There is no Waldorf police in homeschooling, and I think this is what Rudolf Steiner would say is correct in the home environment without a group of teachers to shepherd a child through all main lessons and specialty classes. So while I do stick to what I feel goes best subject wise by development (often seen reflected in the curriculum of different Waldorf schools, but I also add my own blocks), this is what I do to modify the middle school years to help myself out in the midst of crazy life!

  1. We live in an area where there are hybrid schools/classes just for homeschoolers. That is very fortunate for us! So our sixth grader is in a two day a week outdoor program for middle school boys where they do a ton of living history and do things like building catapults, blacksmithing, gardening, experience buoyancy by building boats, cooking, etc.
  2. I do use a formal math program in addition to blocks. So I do the traditional math blocks for each grade found in Waldorf Schools, but also an outside program. This year I used Saxon, but I am not afraid to pull problems from a variety of game based and regular based supports. I do not have the time and energy to sit and make up daily math problems and I am not a math specialist. This isn’t my strong suit, even though I have had university level math, so I do what I need to.
  3. I try to keep an emphasis on doing – art, building, cooking, etc and make that a cornerstone first and then think about the teacher presentation part next and the art and writing piece. So I sort of flip the traditional order of the main lesson on its head a lot. Middle schoolers have short attention spans and like to be doing (at least mine do!)
  4. Like all homeschoolers, we try to tie in field trips or different experiences to what we are studying.
  5. I am not afraid to meet my child. I have children with dyslexia and dyscalculia, attention deficit challenges, etc and they need support and I will get them what they need. This might be outside tutoring, programs that cater to that, etc. No apologies.
  6. I am not great at handwork, and we no longer have a community handwork class, so I prioritize farm life and nature, cooking, gardening, fine arts (the things I can do). Your homeschool may look very different from mine and that is ok! We used community resources for choir and instrumental playing up until Covid hit, so that is also on the back burner until I see what is coming back!
  7. In the midst of modifying I try to remember the hallmarks of our educational philosophy – to see and observe the child, to understand development and what that truly means to be human, to bring balance to the child and the family, to move from whole to parts in teaching, to tie every subject back to man/humanity, to keep sharpening myself, to keep an order and rhythm in the chaos the best I can as we go through renovations or animal care that takes a whole day or whatever is happening.
  8. I prioritize love and connecting with each other. That’s what keeps kids who were homeschooled from not looking back and hating the experience. If you hate homeschooling and it’s a big yelling time, email me! You want your children to look back and be glad they were homeschooled!
  9. I try to foster community as best we can, but it isn’t really a Waldorf community. I find not many people homeschool middle schoolers and high schoolers this way, at least where we live. So, we love 4H, horseback riding, and this summer our little person is going to try his hand at sailing. Find where you fit and where you are welcomed and loved.

What are ways that you make homeschooling work for your child and family?

Blessings,

Carrie

March Winds and Tides

March has had that strange weather – hot temperatures, freezing cold (even when we were in Florida it got down to 30 degrees one night!), rain, sunshine. March has a little bit of sunshine and a little bit of wild, much like all of us. Maybe March is the ultimate human experience personified in weather!

The daffodils and tulips are blooming where I live, and things are greening up. In farm life, we are busy seeding pastures, getting garden beds ready, thinking about other house projects (it’s such a long journey there! So much of what we have done no one can see – things like plumbing, roofing, heat, hot water heater, A/C, so the cosmetics are still not quite there! Getting new insulation in our attic soon which is going to be wonderful.)

Most of all though, spring is a time of renewal. I find myself drawn to the spring greens to eat, the ideas of new beginnings and fresh starts, and craving the sunshine. My mood is one of checking in with my word of the year (#abundant) and seeing where my intentions lie. I have tried hard to make some intentional strides in the areas that I think will lead to abundance. Have you checked in with your word of the year? How are things coming?

This month, we are celebrating:

Lent (Try this back post Observing Lent | The Parenting Passageway that has many links in it to even more back posts!)

March 1- Feast of St. David (here is a wet on wet painting idea: First Grade Wet On Wet Painting For Saint David’s Day | The Parenting Passageway)

March 20- Spring Equinox (Try this back post: Celebrations of Spring in the Waldorf Home | The Parenting Passageway)

March 25- Feast of The Annunciation

Are you hunting ideas for Easter baskets? Palm Sunday and Easter are late this year, but you might already be preparing: Ideas for Easter Baskets | The Parenting Passageway –

The Ever Shifting Homeschool Round Up-

Child #1 – is a sophomore at an out of state university. No more homeschooling, but intentionally forging close bonds with our adult child – new facets and new discoveries to our relationship. All the connection and understanding your child’s temperament and personality really pays off when they are in their 20s!

Child #2 – is technically and legally a homeschool student but is enrolled at a four day a week hybrid program for this 11th grade year. We are now in the land of looking at colleges, and every child is such a different process in regards to that journey.

Child #3 – homeschooled sixth grader! We are finishing up Rome and moving into the Middle Ages. This has been a year of physics, of math, and starting the beginning process of writing. We also moving into geography and cultures of the world, which is a subject Rudolf Steiner suggested and usually is seen in seventh grade. I figure it will take us that long to move through it! We will be homeschooling through the summer, probably the first time I have ever done that in my 18 years of homeschooling. This is mainly because of my work schedule, and the need to keep moving forward in math and spelling, and because our guy does much better with a schedule that doesn’t change too much.

One thing I often think about is that original idea of Waldorf Education – goodness, beauty, truth (and yes, I put it that way because it corresponds to ages 0-7, 7-14, and 14-21) or to think about hands, heart, and head (yes, put in that order on purpose). Ralph Waldo Emerson is probably the best American representative for this model with his ideas of imagination, inspiration, and intellect. These simple, aligned ideas can help guide so much of the way we educate and parent our children. There are times and seasons for all things.

Planning ahead for homeschooling: In the fall, we will have 12th grader and a 7th grader. I love 7th-9th grade; these grades are my favorites so I am super excited!

Fun Around the Home

Spring is the time of letting go of the material objects in our home that don’t serve us any longer, and for spring cleaner and eating in accordance with that impulse of spring with lighter and brighter foods. I am hopeful we may be in the middle of a kitchen remodel by fall and am using spring to pick out some of the things for our new space!

Springtime Renewal –

Some ideas for Renewal! I hope you enjoy reading back through these as much as I did!

Renewal: Staying Home | The Parenting Passageway

Renewal: Mission Statements | The Parenting Passageway

Renewal: Personal Development | The Parenting Passageway (as a parent)

Renewal: Relationship With Your Spouse | The Parenting Passageway

Renewal: Computer Time | The Parenting Passageway

Renewal: Commit Yourself to Gentle Discipline | The Parenting Passageway

Renewal: Rhythm | The Parenting Passageway

It’s so fun to look back and see that snapshot of where life was, and to commit myself to renewal in these areas again.

How is March going for you?

Blessings,
Carrie

Lenten Joy

Lent begins on Wednesday, March 2nd this year. It is a time of the quietest joy in sorrow. The time to make amends, think anew, find the sacred beauty in the ordinary and a time to prepare our hearts for kindness, joy, encouragement. This is the time to strengthen connections between ourselves, our children, our partners, and those friends that are chosen family.

Life is short. Let us make one another glad.

Let’s stand together in times of adversity and help one another.

Let’s cheer each other on.

Let’s love one another and find the best in each other.

Perhaps one of the most central questions in Lent is how do we become our whole, authentic self? How do we stop distancing ourselves from others and from the spiritual world? I think this is the true impulse of this time of year, no matter what spiritual background you have. It’s the question that surrounds new beginnings. Without this, we cannot grow close to others. And if we are so wounded that we cannot grow close to others, how do we heal that?

I think the most basic healing during Lent can come from the arts. Setting up a Lenten sacred time for yourself to paint, draw, create music, write, journal, create handwork, sculpt, be in nature, read, contemplate, can help you find and breathe your authentic self inward.

For your children, less is more in Lent. It’s the little lack of flowers on the table, the introspective mood, the listening rather than the speaking, the noticing the beautiful in the ordinary and the gratitude in the daily.

Fasting or eating less in general is appropriate within many cultures and religions this time of year, as is giving to others. I also usually love the Carbon Fast for Lent from Green Anglicans. I think this is less about punishment, but rather about strengthening our own will – what can we strengthen within ourselves? Can I find habits to change? Can I decrease the things that weigh on me? We all have those things! Someone recently shared with me that they quit drinking during “Sober October” but soon discovered that they felt so great after one month that they extended it 60 days, and then 90 days and are still going and feel fantastic! What is the thing you could give up and feel fantastic?

Self-talk can be a real challenge for many parents. Many parents really feel as if they are somehow the worst parents in the whole world and they believe that every other family is so much better and doing better than they are! This is rubbish, and largely fueled by people posting their highlight reels on social media, or the general silence that surrounds raising teenagers and young adults. Perhaps a wonderful Lenten project would be to improve your self-talk and replace negativity with positivity.

Going through the depths of Lent is a powerful experience. May this year find your Lenten time to be fruitful for your soul.

Blessings and love,

Carrie

Shimmering Candlemas

Happy festivals! Feast of St. Brigid, Imbolc, Lunar New Year, and Candlemas – beautiful celebrations for February!

Candlemas is one of my favorite festivals. In some traditions this time is considered the beginning of spring.   It is my understanding that this day is also halfway between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox.   This festival began in pre-Christian times as a Celebration of Lights and of the Celtic goddess Brigit (February 1st).  It is a welcome herald to spring in the Northern Hemisphere; the days are staying lighter longer, some things will start to bloom soon (snowdrops are appearing for some of you!). I can almost feel the stirring and awakening in the land where I live. This can be a true time of awakening your inner will and your inner self – how to bring that inner self to light in the world? How do I grow into the world?

I am working with my word of the year very intensively now about putting that word into ACTION. This is a time of growing and changing. Where do you want to be by St. John’s Tide in June? I encourage you to set some time aside daily to focus on your word of the year, on your goals, and to schedule the time to actually accomplish something that you want to do, even if the steps are small. Small steps are the foundation!

 Candlemas is traditionally the day that celebrates the ritual cleansing of Mary after the birth of Jesus and also when Mary presented the infant Jesus in the temple as according to Jewish tradition.   Simeon called Jesus a light, thus tying Him to this day.   There are some stories that say Mary was uncomfortable about presenting Jesus in the temple and the attention that this would bring, and Saint Brigid walked ahead of Mary with a crown of lighted candles in order to divert attention from Mary and Jesus.  Some sources also say that Brigid wore a crown of candles in order to divert attention from Jesus when Herod’s soldiers were hunting Him.  Therefore, Candlemas is celebrated as a festival of lights and also is seen as a day to celebrate the lights of Saint Brigid and her role in helping Mary and Jesus.

The book All Year Round always has such a nice way of putting things.  The authors write here:  “At the beginning of February, when the infant light of spring is greeted thankfully by the hoary winter earth, it seems fitting we should celebrate a candle Festival  to remember that moment when the Light of the World was received into the Temple, when the old yielded to the new.”  Indeed, this day in Eastern churches is “The Meeting” – the festival of the old meeting the new.

Candlemas is the day the Church officially blesses the candles for the year. People used to also put candles around the beehives that they had on this day. 

And of course, Candlemas is also Groundhog’s Day in the United States, and there is much weather lore surrounding that event.  There is also lore surrounding weather and Candlemas in general. 

So here are a few ways to celebrate Candlemas and mark this season:

  • Make candles, of course.  Earth Candles are lovely if  your ground is not frozen – essentially you dig holes, put in a  weighted wick and melted beeswax and help give light to the coming Spring.
  • Making floating candles are nice (there are instructions in “All Year Round”) and dipping candles is a lovely way to spend the afternoon of Candlemas. Dipping candles is not difficult. We set up the melted beeswax at one end of a table and a tall container of cool water at the other.  Once the child dips their wick  in the wax and walks around the table to dip the candle in the cool water, then it is time to dip again.  Over a period  of time of rounding these two stations a beautiful candle is born!  We work to keep the candle straight as we go and also to make the base bigger than the top so they can stand freely without falling over.
  • This is also a great day to make your Nature Table look more toward Spring.  The first flowers, pussywillows, or catkins; all of those things bring us toward the season of Lent.  This is also a great time to make some small flower fairies for your Nature Table and put them out.  There are instructions in “All Year Round” and also in “The Nature Corner”.
  • “Mrs. Sharp’s Traditions” suggests enjoying a candlelit dinner and reading a short story after dinner by candlelight. 
  • Crepes or pancakes are traditional for breakfast. Sometimes I will make a soup with saffron or turmeric yellow colored rolls for dinner.
  • We can also offer simply made stories and poems about our friends the bees and work with beeswax and honey in some way during this festival.

Happy celebrating, friends!

Carrie

Radiance in February

If you can picture it, think of the most beautiful bubble of light that could surround you and your family. Think of everyone in your family as being happy, healthy, and smiling. This, to me, is the essence of February. It’s a month that is often in the Northern Hemisphere is dark and cold, but if we can imagine a brillance and radiance into it, it can become a beautiful glimmering light. After all, we begin the month with Candlemas, a celebration of light. We think of the first beginnings of light, and a beautiful candle festival helps mark this occasion.  There are so many ways to make candles, including rolling beeswax sheets, dipping candles, pouring beeswax into half of a walnut shell (and you can push in a little candle in order to have little floating lights, which are always fun for children), and you can make earth candles where you pour a candle and place a wick directly into a hole into the earth.

More than the visible signs of light, where is the light in your heart and home? Where are your connections with the people you love? Sometimes on the weekends, we have one or two people over just to have a glass of wine and play games. It’s a good way to mark the days in winter. Some of our friends have needed help this year, and we try to be good stewards of our time and resources and help out. It’s just part of being part of community. If you are searching for community, I would love to hear about your journey! Please leave me a comment in the comment box below.

This is a wonderful time to change over your nature table if you have one to mark the seasons.  Flower fairies, branches in water that are budding,  a single candle, perhaps leading up to the markings of St. Valentine’s Day and then a little Lenten dish Garden to begin the beginning of March, as Lent begins on March 2 this year,  are all appropriate. All winter greenery is taken down.

This month in 2022 we are celebrating:

Black History Month – Of course Black History IS World history and American history and should be in every subject we teach EVERY month, but it’s also wonderful to take a renewed look at wonderful books and biographies this month.  

February 1 – Lunar New Year for those celebrating and also the Festival of St. Brigid

February – Mardi Gras! (until Lent, of course) Fat Tuesday is on March 1 this year with Lent beginning on March 2.

February 2 – Candlemas and also Groundhog Day.

February 14 – St. Valentine’s Day (you can see this post about Celebrating Valentine’s Day in the Waldorf Home

February 21- Presidents Day

Lovely things to do with children this month:

Make Valentine’s Day cards ; plan little treats and crafts for Valentine’s Day; make window transparencies; 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, grow sprouts in the kitchen or a little microgarden.

Homeschooling –

If you are looking for a little re-boot to your rhythm, please do try the above back post! There are so many wonderful posts about rhythm to look at. So, whilst February is a month in which many homeschoolers can feel in a rut and ready to just give up, try instead to think what would be the perfect reset and recharge for you and your family? Maybe it is a great month for a book study, a project that the whole family can be involved in or something else!

Our homeschooling this month: We are still in Rome and moving slowly! We have used this year to intensively practice on skills including multiplication and division, decimals and fractions, spelling, writing, grammar and more. It’s been a year of progress and improvement in many areas, which is exciting, although I feel like some of our creative endeavors have taken a bit of a backseat in this process . Our sixth grader has learned a lot! So far this year we have covered Ancient Greece and Greek History, Rome, physics, geometry in our blocks.

Our high school junior is at a four day a week high school and we are planning to visit a few colleges this last half of the school year. She made her own list and is driving that process. Our college sophomore is doing well at university and has made the Dean’s or President’s List every semester of college so far, and is still having fun.

I am already thinking about next year and homeschooling seventh grade and I am making a plan. It’s my favorite grade to teach, so more about that in future posts.

Farm Life: Farm life is about mud management of the pastures, thinking of spring seed sowing for the pastures, getting through the winter and keeping weight on the horses, gathering equipment for more bees in the spring, and some seeds. We will be re-doing the outside of our barn in the spring and hopefully some more fencing. There are many projects still to be done in our house, but the outside takes the priority right now for the horses.

Work Life: It’s been a busy season and I have been busy working 3-4 days a week so we have been doing homeschooling on the weekends and during the week. It’s been busy! I have made some lists as for continuing education this year and am projecting abundance. My colleague and I moved into a new office space today and we are excited about that.

#Abundant2022 – it’s real, and I am working with my word of the year. Did you decide on a word this year? How is that going?

I would love to hear from you! If you need any help with parenting or planning, I do consults via phone or Zoom- you can email me at admin@theparentingpassageway.com for your spot!

Many blessings and peace,

Carrie