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.
Oh, November, such love I have for these autumn months! It reminds me of all the beautiful poems, from Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Autumn Fires” to Sara Teasdale’s “Rhyme of November Stars” to “The Last Word of A Bluebird (As Told to A Child)” by Robert Frost to “Something Told the Wild Geese” by Rachel Field. Lovely thoughts of autumn fires, stars, geese…and I feel myself connected to the beautiful natural world. I want to walk in the wind and the leaves and be with my thoughts.
Here are the things we are celebrating this month:
- November 1 All Saints Day
- November 2 All Souls Day
- November 11 Martinmas
- November 19 St. Elizabeth
- November 25 Thanksgiving
- November 29 First Sunday in Advent
We also have several family birthdays this month.
Ideas for Celebrating:
- Learn songs for a Martinmas Lantern Walk
- Use transparency paper to make window silhouettes and transparency cut-outs and lanterns.
- Bake bread on the cold days
- Look for bird’s nests as the trees lose their leaves; make feeders start to be filled all the time, make treats for the birds
- Dip leaves in glycerin and preserving them
- Cook things with cranberries, corn.
- Make Thanksgiving Baskets and leaving them on your neighbor’s doorstep!
- Gather greens and natural items to use for an Advent Wreath. We do this at church from the areas surrounding the church and it is quite lovely!
The Domestic Life – These are some of the things we are doing now:
- Pulling out all the things we will need for Advent
- Making gifts and ordering gifts
- Marking off whole days to be home
- Marking off half days to take care of my own health
- Making sure that we have the supplements and herbs on hand that we need to fight cold and flu season. Aviva Jill Romm has good posts about what to have on hand on her website.
- Bringing salt lamps, diffusers, lanterns into the school area.
- Cutting back on activities so we have time to just be and play. I don’t like to be super committed over the holiday months or in January.
Sigh. This is the time of year that if I am not careful I can start to get panicked about time we have missed. This fall we had some very sad and tragic things happen that caused us to miss school in a formal way and I have to remind myself that we homeschool so we can be together in these times and because all of life is learning. We have been diligent with the time we have had, and it will work out by the end of May when we finish school for summer! I am sure others of you have been there this fall, so let’s just all hold together that life is our homeschool classroom!
Kindergarten – I love the lantern songs, the changing of the nature table to forest/woodland kinds of themes, fingerplays of owls and turkeys, and root children and gnomes. Painting, baking, making lanterns and Thanksgiving crafts, cooking are all lovely and then we move right into Advent. Such a rich time of year!
Fifth Grade – We are still in Ancient Civilizations. I wanted to be done with this block by now, but we must forge ahead steadily. You can read more about our Ancient Civilizations block in my weekly round-up posts of fifth grade. Music, dance, cooking, spices, painting, drawing and modeling, and attending events in our community regarding Diwali have all been part of our block so far, along with some intriguing stories about Ancient India.
We are also working hard in math, spelling and music. This is also such a rich time of year for music between All Saints Day and Advent and Christmastide coming up.
Eighth Grade – We are finishing American History and I am happy with the way this block went…On to Organic Chemistry, a fitting block for the holiday season! We also are still in North America in our geography that runs all year, but have used our time looking at the United States to focus on states and capitals, national geographic features, and then looked at the lens of migration through the history of Ellis Island, the immigration of people from Central America into Texas, and the migration of people from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. We used Hurricane Katrina as an opportunity to gather research and write a paper about the Gulf Coast and where things are ten years later, so that felt like a good development of capacities at this point. Math and high school Spanish round out our time together.
We will be busy with Cotton Boll and Consumer Judging this month, along with our statewide Junior Leadership 4H Conference. We also are gearing up for Advent and Christmastide music in choir at church.
Self-Care – Yes, still a struggle and unchanged since I wrote about it in September. However, I am feeling positive that the next few months will be ones of metamorphosis in health and I have been putting together a wellness plan for myself. If I was younger, I don’t know as this would feel or seem as pressing to me as it does right now, but I think the time has come. More on that, and some of the steps involved in this for me later.
I would love to hear your November plans!
Nice to read what you are doing for the grades in your household! I was wondering what books you are using for Ancient India? Where do you get your stories for the Ancuent Civilizations from? Thanks! ☺
I own a lot of the usual suspects – Christopherus, Kovacs, Harrer – but this time around I used quite a bit off the About.com Hinduism website because I know the lead expert in Hinduism for that website personally. We also have taken advantage of the some of the offerings for the Indian festivals and such within our community.
If you also read the week by week (or once a month posts, hahahaha) about our homeschooling, you can find more detail there. I also have back posts by grade from the first time I went through fifth grade. This is my second time going through again with our middle child. If you use the search engine box on the blog, topics should turn up for you. Here is sort of an overview from my first time around with some pictures of fifth grade work: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2013/06/03/fifth-grade-ancient-mythologies-and-civilizations/
I am sorry that you are having a hard fall. We are too, although we have not lost anyone near to us it is more hard financially and transitions with our move from Los Angeles to Michigan.
I had posted last week, but maybe something went weird with it showing, so I thought I would just post again. Thank you so much for the support you give us, even as you have so much of your own life going on.
I have a 4.5 yo and 2.5 and we have been loving our fall circle time. I had ordered Old Gnome and Suzanne’s Down fall book after reading that you had been using them, and we just love them. Her stories and poems actually “speak” to us and energize us. We had started with Seasons of Joy booklets last year and while they gave me a great introduction to circle time, not much of the “curriculum” spoke to us (well, me). So the Wynestones book and Let us Form a ring are totally new to me. Are they much different that Down’s Autumn book? I wish I knew other waldorf families in my area so I could preview them. We don’t have any finger plays about owls and turkeys and I know my son would really connect to those. Sometimes, I just don’t know where to looks.
Also, last year I struggled to put together an advent circle time. It is funny, but being a christian I was hesitant to buy waldorf advent materials thinking they probably strayed a bit from the meaning of the season for my family. But, besides a few carols, bible verses, and our advent wreath I was stuck on what else I could bring. Are there any “advent” materials you could recommend for us?
Thank you for being a guide for so many of us here!!
I never did find an Advent circle I loved, but I did like the Advent E Book from Seasons of Joy, so perhaps that for ideas and songs and such. I love Suzanne Down’s work as well– I think “A Child’s Seasonal Treasury” could be helpful to you. Let Us Form a Ring has many prepared circles that you can pull verses out of, but A Child’s Seasonal Treasury has more fingerplays. I would choose those over the Wynstones, I think.
Hope you get all settled in and cozy in Michigan – that has to be a huge change from L.A.!
Blessings and thank you for your thoughts and wishes,
Thank you so much, Carrie. I will look into those! Advent is such a special and sacred time that I really am looking forward to. Peace and rest : ).
I don’t often comment, but am sorry to read you have had recent sadness. Sending good wishes and prayers to help buoy you (a little whisper to add to the wider wind). Xx
Aw, thanks, NinnyNoodleNoo. 🙂
This November I am feeling the need to stop most of my work and focus on me and my family. So I am spending less time working especially on the internet. We have prepared our Advent activities and now looking at how to do and prepare our Advent wreath. We just did the lantern walk today and enjoyed it immensely.
Sorry to hear re your health and thank you for your blog, it always inspires me