So, we will be taking these forty days between Easter and Ascension as our time to discuss all things related to the renewal of your life and your family culture. For today, I want to circle back around to rhythm.
I think many Waldorf homeschoolers are feeling this sense of renewal regarding rhythm! Melisa Nielsen had a lovely post here about “Rhythm Or Routine”: http://waldorfjourney.typepad.com/a_journey_through_waldorf/2010/04/rhythm-or-routine.html . Everything she says is right on! I especially liked the part where Melisa talks about developing our own will enough to STAY HOME. When you have children under the age of eight, it is important that you firmly entrench children in the home. It is important that they learn how to create their own play and fun at home instead of relying on going, going, going, to stimulate themselves and to change their emotions.
In a family, there is a daily rhythm, a weekly rhythm, and a yearly rhythm. This is there whether you create it or not, so I feel it is worth it to take an intentional look at these areas along with parenting.
The yearly rhythm is celebrated through the festivals of the year and is seen as a yearly process of in-breath and out-breath. How you implement this is up to you, I find it lovely to celebrate with the liturgical year of our church.
For a weekly rhythm, one must decide how many days a week one is going to go outside of your home/yard/neighborhood (because even if we stay home we still go outside for many hours a day!). This is important for small children, to be home, and it is also important in homeschooling once you reach the grades.. If you are interested in homeschooling, I would say it is very difficult, if not impossible, to throw homeschooling on top of a completely chaotic flow of events to the day, and also on top of a chaotic house that is cluttered and dirty. No, your home does not have to be perfect, we actually live in our houses because we are home! However, keeping the house up and running is part of the rhythm to it all, and in order to do that, we have to be home. We need to plan when to get groceries, what to cook, when to do laundry, when to run errands, so that not everything is completely last minute. Therefore, it is never too early, nor too late, to create a bit of an order or flow that suits your family life.
For a small child, the weekly rhythm includes what PRACTICAL work takes place when and planning on your part regarding HOW they may be included. In cleaning, can they scrub the bathtub whilst taking a bath? Can they manually grind a cup of flour to add to more flour to bake bread? Can they use water to clean the sidewalk whilst you plant flowers?
For a daily rhythm, this is where one needs to think about the flow of the day for times of in-breath and times of out-breath. For example, when will rest and meal times will be, and when bedtimes and awake times will be? If the baby needs a nap, will they sleep in a sling? If you put them to sleep in a room, where will your older children be and what will they be doing? When are the outside times and when is it time to tell a story?
But most importantly, how will you show reverence and the sacred parts of life throughout these rhythms of life? When will there be singing and joy, when will there be silence, when will there be time to go outside and look at one small bug or bird and listen and feel the wind? Reverence and gratitude is the thread that winds itself through all of these yearly, weekly, and daily rhythms.
Many blessings during these forty days of renewal,
Carrie ~ out of no where, my two won’t nap. i struggle putting him down each day. do you have previous posts that deal with this specifically? i believe at 27 months he still needs his nap – could i be wrong? anything will help a this point! thanks you ~ peace, jamie
I can’t honestly remember if there is a post on this particular thing or not…you can try the sleep posts and rhythm posts under the baby/toddler section…. I would think two year molars, earache, outside enough in the AM?, what is the food like recently? and then look at the rhythm of leading up to naptime. I wouldn’t announce, “now we are going to have naptime!” but just lay down in a dimly lit room with him and nurse and tell stories or read a book in that very naptime voice and see if he can’t go to sleep…If he can’t, you rest anyway. ….:) Yes, one would think he would still need a nap at this point, but many mothers would tell you their two year old doesn’t nap..I, however, do think it is worth the persuit 🙂 of at least resting if not sleeping…You both need this. A two year old needs a break from his own intense energy, LOL.
oops, i meant to write “two year old”….gosh! i am tired…..jamie
How exciting – sounds like the next 40 days will be inspiring and interesting. I love reading this blog – it’s like a little ray of light every day. Thank you for sharing!
This is spot on, Carrie! Great advice for the family who is new to home-schooling too!
Hey Carrie! Great minds think alike *wink* Rhythm is so key. I find it is such a soothing process to my life when I surrender to it – we all get off from time to time, but coming back and centering is like a warm blanket that smells like Grandma, lol. We all know it is good for us… children do too. We just got back to our school rhythm this week after moving… so much calm.
The home is a great point too, we just talked about this with the Beacon program – so much inner work there! Be a spiritual homemaker – it determines if you are a maid or a princess!
This is a great thread on the 40 days. I look forward to reading more.
Carrie, I actually found your website after googling “rhythm and waldorf”. I had been reading various blogs and was mystified at how they managed to “get it all done” and how there seemed to be this pervading peace. The word “rhythm” kept coming up over and over. After reading your posts now for several months and back posts as well, I can attest to the wisdom herein!
I am really shocked at what a peaceful place our home is with three little boys when I am disciplined enough to stay in and plan well rather than going out for errands or visiting at the drop of a hat. Meals, naps, playtime, all of it is incredibly peaceful and enjoyable on the days when I focus on a rhythm instead of a long to-do list that never ends. I’m so glad to be learning about all this now while I still have many years ahead of me with small children in the home. Thank you, thank you!
And I love using these 40 days as contemplating renewal. Great idea!
This is probably as good a place as any to ask a question I’ve had for a good while– I notice you wrote “(because even if we stay home we still go outside for many hours a day!)”. Does that mean Waldorf is only suitable for families with yards? Until recently we lived in a part of the country where only very wealthy people have yards, and even now we don’t have such a luxury– as soon as we step out the door, we are no longer “at home.” What do you recommend for ordinary working-class families who want to do Waldorf, but for whom “outdoor time” means taking a bus, or driving, to a park?
Rebecca, I think Waldorf is for all children and I think being outside is a good idea for all children…..I think ideally it would be wonderful to have a yard or a neighborhood park to walk to, of course! But we all have to make the best of where we live. This is also true of gardening experiences – not everyone has a garden, but sometimes we can grow plants even on a balcony…So, children can get their energy out wherever. I also know mothers who keep bins of sand in an under the bed storage box for a sandbox for the balcony or th kitchen, mothers who hang an IKEA swing in their child’s room…You can be as creative as you want.
So in your opinion, it’s more important to stay home even if that means zero outside time for several days? I could go either way but I want to make sure I understand what the order of priorities is.
I’m a mom of a 2 year old and completely new to this beautiful philosophy of raising children…I have been seeking holistic philosophies, and found good information here and there, but this blog has the beauty and depth that my heart was seeking all this time!
I have struggled with something all my life – I am a very inconsistent, ill-disciplined person. I have rarely woken up before 8 am, and still struggle to do so. Having a rhythm is a huge challenge for me. I have started routines countless times, and broken them in 5 – 6 days. Do you think that I have a chance to have more rhythm in life – to wake up early enough so I can finish my bath and prayer before my child is up, so I can be a lighter, more joyful person for the rest of the day?
Many thanks & love…
Living and Learning — I am going to write a post on that soon!
Sorry, in my mind I thought I answered you, LOL..I think this depends on the age of your child and temperament. If your child is small and you have to take a bus, maybe a small child would sort of melt down and cry at the end of all of it, but a six year old would be okay. If your child is young, maybe your big outside time would be to walk a few blocks to the fruit and vegetable stand and really take time sniffing and touching the produce and marveling at pigeons on the way back… Maybe there is one special tree you could stop and visit each day..
I think you could find folks who would argue on either sides of the fence, needing connection with nature (which I think you can still get in a city) versus getting energy out.
I think you are the expert on your family and you will decide what best suits the needs of your household and change that over time! Ever evolving!
Thanks, yeah, we always took walks like that when he was a baby and toddler, especially, and he loved them. But I would read posts about “the importance of staying home” or “outside time in your own back yard” and it would confuse me– no fresh air AT ALL if you don’t have a back yard? It still seems like most Waldorf blogs I read, assume that the family has its very own yard and that not having one is a special circumstance (rather than the norm that it is in a lot of the country), but maybe that is a function of the parts of the country where Waldorf schools are located.
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