I love January with its beautiful and cozy inner light. The lights of Christmas, the candles and outside lights are still up and we begin this month still within the Twelve Days of Christmas and the Holy Nights. We find ourselves following the golden star to Epiphany and beyond in a cozy, quiet, stillness where dark skies, snowflakes (I am hoping! It has been unseasonably warm here in the Deep South), tea by the fire predominates. We can curl up with meal planning and garden planning and enjoy this time of rejuvenation under the mantle of peaceful family times.
Here are some of my favorite things for this month for the family:
- Beautiful festival celebrations. I have several back posts about celebrating Christmastide, three or four about Three Kings Day/Epiphany, and several about the Holy Nights.
- Creating music together, reading together wonderful read-alouds with popcorn, creating window stars and rose windows.
- Taking long walks outside or hiking and looking at the lovely bare branches of the trees.
- Taking the time to look at meal planning, organizing the home, along with a hard look at rhythm. What is working, what is not working, what needs to be tweaked or changed?
Here are some of my favorite things for small children:
- Fostering creative play. I have detailed this in back posts, but suffice it to say that I think the major components include paring down toys (not increasing the clutter as it might be tempting to do! Keep throwing toys at them until one sticks is not a way to foster deep creative play, even though it is completely tempting in our desperate moments! :)), creating an inviting play environment, and having a steady rhythm of work in the home that the child can see, weave in and out of and imitate.
- Warming rituals and warmth in clothing; in toys of natural materials; in an emotional warmth toward the small child; warming foods with bone broths and teas, hot water bottles.
Here are some of my favorite things for older children:
- Vigorous outdoor exercise if at all possible.
- Quiet moments of reverence before meals, before bed. Finding ways that the older child can start to penetrate into the festivals of the month, whether this is in religious or spiritual ways or both.
- Finding ways the older child can be helpful in the life of the family and in the community.
- Warming rituals and foods.
Here are some of my favorite things for teens:
- Finding time to spend with your teen one on one so that child can talk about whatever is on their mind. Combine that with something to do physically, or a special date out, and you have intimate moments that are anything but ordinary.
- Creating more complex crafts – straw stars, rose windows, more complex window stars, knitting and sewing, woodworking. Basketry can feel meditative as well.
- Fun and intriguing board games. There are so many wonderful ones out there right now to play!
Here are a few of my favorite things for my own health:
- Making the time for health care appointments. Get all those annual appointments out of the way and set up any appointments you need weekly or bi-monthly.
- Creating a small desk space or crafting work space or updating the one you have! Adding small quotes and things you find inspiring!
- Making time to exercise in whatever capacity this means to you – whether this is a vigorous hike, time at the gym, a yoga video. Make time every day. Mark the time on the calendar because it IS an appointment worthy of your attention. It has to be a priority in order for you to take care of everyone else and have balance. Some of us are lucky enough to live on farms or other places where we have a good amount of physical exercise in everyday life, but most of us do not move nearly enough.
- Menu planning and preparing freezer or crock pot meals. Saturdays or Sundays could be a lovely time to do this, or pick your own afternoon during the week.
- Inner work. Now is a great time to renew your focus on sacred and holy reading, prayer and meditation, or just keeping silence.
Here are a few of my favorite things for homeschooling:
- Check and see what supplies you have run out of mid-year and re-order.
- See what you have really gotten through this fall, and adjust your schedule for the year accordingly. Full confession – we are going to have to lengthen our school year by two weeks and probably knock out or condense down a block. It happens, so don’t beat yourself up! Life is still lovely.
- Start planning for the upcoming school year. So far I have my start and end dates laid out, block plans for what blocks I am doing when laid out for three grades, I have an idea for my high schooler’s year long courses what the flow will be, I have started digging into a few blocks that I have the resources for, and made a list of new resources I need to order or get through the library. With three grades to put together from scratch, I am trying to be diligent so I don’t have to spend my entire summer planning!
- For those of you who Waldorf homeschool, you might consider reading some of Steiner’s lectures. Many of them are free on-line.
Please share with me your a few of your favorite things for January.
Blessings and love,