Hello, Amazing August!

I am so excited that amazing August is almost here!  It’s my birthday month, and I will be celebrating my 50th!  Half a century of living and I know the 50s are going to be great!  Fifty brings a sense of peace in knowing yourself and what you have to offer the world, a grace that you extend to yourself and to others.  I can balance some different areas in my life probably better than at any other time in the past, because I have better boundaries so my own school, homeschooling, working part time, and having my own little business doesn’t seem as daunting (and my children are 10 and up!).  But most of all, I think the 50s as a decade are about having fun and really seizing all the moments!  I feel so fortunate to have my children be 18, 15, 10 – such fun ages as they grow up and go out into the world and I am so glad I am here to love them and help them, and  also to enjoy being with my husband and deepening our relationship of over 30 years while having a great time together.   So, yup, I am definitely celebrating my birthday week and this month!  Please go do something fun on my behalf in  your own life! ❤

The things we are celebrating:

August 6th- The Transfiguration of Jesus Christ

August 8th- My Birthday!

August 10- School starts!

August 15- The Dormition of St. Mary

Ideas for Celebration:

  • Making a  beautiful triptych to celebrate the life of St. Mary.  There are many wonderful ideas regarding this on the Internet.
  • We have about another month of tubing, swimming and water park availability to us, so we hope to take advantage!
  • Camping
  • Gazing at the stars
  • Horses!  The kids picked up polo during quarantine thanks to a friend who has a bunch of ponies, and we still have horse shows and maybe a hunter pace or something fun outside with the horses.
  • Walking in the mornings
  • Working out.  Move!  During quarantine, I have been using Beach Body (no affiliation at all, just happy to have it when I can’t go to the gym!)  Come work out with me!

The Domestic Life:

This a good time to take stock of needs for fall/winter in clothing, shoes, outside gear, school supplies, art supplies

I also think this a great time to go back to manners.  Children are often in an expansive place with summer weather and may need some help in remembering school behavior, work ethics and manners!   Rhythm is a huge help with that!  It’s a key word for this month and the structure of the rhythm of school does us all good!

Meal planning gets us through because I am too busy to have to spend a lot of time every day planning.  So, I like to plan 2-4 weeks of meals and shop in bulk!  Everyone has daily chores to help, laundry gets done and put away daily. When the margins of life are tighter and I would rather spend my free time having fun out with family and friends, then we all have to do our part each day!

Homeschooling:

We are jumping into fifth grade (for my third time!).  I am looking forward to it, and pretty much decided to start with Ancient Civilizations because that’s pretty open and go for me since I have done it before.  Our fifth grader also has a two day a week outdoor program, and I will be working those days and seeing a few private patients on some of the other days.

Our tenth grader is in an outside program, so mainly I am helping with homework there!

Our high school graduate will be starting online and at home, and then hopefully be moving into her university as COVID cases drop.

I have school work to do as well, so we will all have a time to do our homework! 🙂

Self-Care:

So, my main homework days for my own school are Monday- Thursday. I now take Friday nights and Saturdays for RELAXING.  This is a switch for me, but one thing I realized during quarantine was how little I relaxed and just hung out and puttered around and I am aiming to change that! Sundays are church days and typically busy (although we are still virtual here) getting ready for Monday and school.

My other huge piece of self care is  my supplements, eating right, and exercising daily!

I want to hear what you have learned during quarantine, how August is shaping up for you, how is school looking?  If anyone needs help with homeschool planning or planning for family life, please email me at admin@theparentingpassageway.  My rates for a half hour phone call are super reasonable and I have helped lots of moms this month!  I also answer fast questions via email for free, and always give my single moms free help.

Lots of love,
carrie

Newbies! Listen!

Y’all are too worried about what curriculum you are going to use.

Read that again.

Homeschooling little people under the age of 9, which is most of the mail and messages I have been receiving lately regarding coming to homeschooling in place of using a school district’s online school, actually isn’t as much about curriculum as you think.

It’s about rhythm.

It’s about being outside, and movement that develops the gross and fine motor skills and hand eye coordination and eye tracking needing for academics.

It’s about being together and reading great books (yes, there are book lists by grade on this blog).

It’s about cooking together and doing chores together and gardening and singing together.

So, we kind of all know the popular mainstream choices for this age group – probably the ones I hear most includes Blossom and Root, Torchlight, Build Your Library, Moving Beyond the Page.  People find All About Reading and All About Spelling, and Beast Academy for math helpful.  You need a program, there is one out there for you! IEveryone has their personal favorites. If you are into Waldorf homeschooling, there aren’t actually too many options; the major ones have been around for years – Earthschooling, Christopherus, Live Education, Waldorf Essentials.  And of course, you can always put together a line of study from your library or used bookstore!

But don’t mistake curriculum only for homeschooling.  Homeschooling is about forging a family identity as a team, about learning to work together, about being able to know each other intimately and joyfully.  It shouldn’t be about just cramming in that last workbook page.

Establish a rhythm that involves warm meals you prepare together and clean up together, outside time, daily work like gardening, bread baking with kneading, arts and crafts with cutting and modeling, free play,  singing and creating music, free reading and reading together.  That’s what it is about.  Have the wonderful conversations and also know when to turn those wonderful conversations off and go have fun together.

Whatever curriculum y’all choose will be fine and if it’s not, you can change it.  What is much more important is the beautiful family legacy you are creating together.  Your first grader will grow up and be able to do what they want; our oldest is off to college at her top choice.  It happens, and it happens beyond the pages of any curriculum you pull out.

Love one another and find the joy,

Carrie

 

Developmental Homeschooling

We are in a unique position as parents and as homeschooling parents in that we get to work with the development of the unique child in front of us daily. It’s a large task to be able to see a larger picture of development, and the very unique, personal development of the child in front of us and to be able to weave this into the fabric of family life.

After many years of parenting and homeschooling, I have a few suggestions when you start to lose the forest for the trees.  The first one is to look at rhythm.  Rhythm is very important in sustaining family life in a healthy way and in sustaining development in a healthy way.  A recent example in my own life is that our  ten year old had been quite cranky as of late, and I realized today how much his behavior improved when his audio books were cut off.  His mood improved dramatically, and he become engaged and involved in other things.  This is an example of something you think you know after raising a certain number of children, but we still have to stop and think. Are we keeping consistent rising and bed times and rest times?  Are we having healthy meals?  Are we all getting outside enough and moving enough?  Are we connecting? Am I gently leading and guiding in a way that is appropriate for the child’s age?  Rhythm provides that ebb and flow of work and play, rest and activity, caring for ourselves and caring for others that helps us be strong and flexible for the every day life we face.

My second suggestion is to truly understand human development.  If you do, you will understand the stages that are fairly typical and be able to keep your ho hum attitude.   You will know there are profound changes generally around the three year mark, the 6/7 mark, at 9 years, 12 years, and at ages 15/16.  We also know some ages are louder, more aggressive, brasher like age four and age eight, and some ages can be more inward and anxious like at age nine. This is where I started this blog, with the concept of childhood development and how that fits into parenting and homeschooling, and ten years later I am more convinced of its importance than even when I was starting out.

Lastly, the third suggestion is that love and connection is what makes the family go round.  Having times of rest, play, ordinary rituals, sharing a spiritual life and purpose together all make things ready to grow and bloom.

Many blessings and love,

Carrie

The Revolution of July

For those of you who have been reading for the past ten plus years,  you know July sometimes was not my favorite month.  The heat of July can be oppressive here in the Deep South, the air can feel still, time can seem to stand still when you have small children with endless days of trying to beat the heat.  I even wrote posts about July Doldrums and More July Doldrums. Eventually June and July  turned into my months to do homeschooling consultations with to parents all over the United States so that cheered this ambivert up considerably! (Jubuliant July!)  I no longer dread July!

This time of #covid and history-making change has made me think this July is going to be revolutionary.  I hope it doesn’t retreat into status quo, stillness, and a dead end. We must not give up the fight  for peace, for unity, for justice, for change within ourselves and our communities.  We must embrace these times we are living in and help move things forward for the better.

We can use social media to amplify voices, we can write to our local representatives, donate, we can speak up to the people we know even if it’s hard, and  we can prepare to vote and get involved.  The place to begin a revolutionary change lies within ourselves.  What are our hearts telling us we should be doing in this month?  Our inner work matters because now more than ever, our homes and families must stand for safety and community and love. How can become more generous, more loving, more kind, more aware, more longing for justice?  How can we become people of reconciliation in our communities and in the world?  We are being called to important work in this day and time; let us not neglect what our calling  and part may be, however small.  What sparks of peace are you lighting in your own family and community?  How are we helping the very least amongst us?

On a different note, July in the ordinary time of the homeschooling family is also a month to plan, plan, and plan for homeschooling.  To that end,  veteran homeschooler Amanda Evans and I are planning a FREE Zoom call for grades 5/6 THIS SUNDAY  July 5 EST 7-8:30 and Tuesday, July  7 from 7-8:30 for grades 7/8/9.  Please email coastalwaldorf@gmail.com in order to register.

Hold fast to the true, the right, the real, the love, the promise of hope.

Blessings in hope,

Carrie