Celebrating Lent As A Family

Lent will be starting next week. It feels more important to me than ever to celebrate this as our church is still mainly online with a few outdoor services, and because this past year has just been a combination of {{hard-do new things- different}}. It feels good that something can be the same!

Lent can be a time for true change, and it can be a time to strengthen our faith. It’s an annual spiritual check in – who am I? What have I done? What needs to happen moving forward? Am I stagnant? Do I need to give up something or do I need to take something on? I set forth a vision of “Build” for myself in January, and I am now looking into ways to make this vision come true, with very specific goals.

I think the simple focus of Lent can work so well in the home as a theme – simplicity. Work around the home is the most basic and therapeutic thing we can do with small children, and also can be so beneficial for older children and teens (and us as adults!). The arts that we include – painting, drawing, modeling, choral and instrumental music, drama, dance, speech recitation, handwork – all lead to renewed strength in facing life. Combining these two areas leads to good health for the family and provides a mirror of the awakening that occurs during Lent as we come out of the winter slumber. There is a children’s verse in the Wynstones Spring book I am reminded of that echoes this:

Little by little, the acorn said,
As it slowly sank in its mossy bed,

I am improving every day,

Hidden deep in the earth away. Little by little, each day it grew,

Little by little, it sipped the dew,

Downward it send out a tiny root,

Up in the air sprang a tiny shoot,

Day after day and year after year,

Little by little the leaves appear.

The slender branches spread far and wide,

Till the mighty oak is the forest’s pride.

So, this Lenten season, I encourage you to fast or grow or give up as you need to and with the advisement of your spiritual director. It is going to be a great season of growth! I would love to hear what you will be doing to celebrate Lent in your family, and if you have any personal goals for fasting, denial, or adding and growth.

Many blessings during this sacred season,

Carrie

Fantastic February!

Today is one of my favorite times of the year – the night before Candlemas. Traditionally, Candlemas is a day to celebrate the very beginning stirrings of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. It is Groundhog Day, also the day of the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord for some of us. Old is yielding to new! In some countries, the first snowdrops, a beautiful little white flower, are emerging from beneath snow.

We think of the first beginnings of light, and a beautiful candle festival helps mark the 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.

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 Garden (dish garden)  are all appropriate. All winter greenery is taken down.

This month 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.  Watch @theparentingpassageway IG and The Parenting Passageway Facebook page for our library hauls this month!

February – Mardi Gras! (until Lent, of course)

February 2 – Candlemas

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

February 17- Presidents Day AND Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent  (try this post about Lent with lots of links and ideas:  Lent – Pilgrimage of the Soul ) I am also planning on reading the Archbishop of Canterbury’s 2021 Lenten book pick: Living His Story: Revealing the extraordinary love of God in ordinary ways: The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book 2021 – Kindle edition by STEELE, HANNAH. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com. And the Join the Journey through Lent Gift Item – Jay Sidebotham : Forward Movement – A coloring calendar for Lent.

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 –

This is usually a hard month for most homeschoolers. The gray weather in many parts of the country can seem endless! This is actually a great month to get outside if you can – hike, ski, snowshoe, skate. I find this really helps take the edge off!

Plan some awesome things to look forward to for the rest of the year. I will be doing some planning this weekend. Like many homeschoolers around this time of year, I realize we probably won’t get to everything I planned so it’s important to go with what is feasible and not so stressful Children and teenagers are learning all the time and it really does all work out!

February is such a great time to re-assess what is working and what is not.  I have had conversations these past few weeks with several different homeschooling families about when to “do school” during the day.  I don’t think there is a “right” answer; every family is different.  And, because we are also (usually) the chef, driver, housekeeper, keeper of the tone of the home, and hopefully taking care of ourselves (and many of us also hold down an  outside or from  the home job while homeschooling!), we have a lot to consider when crafting a rhythm that works for the family.  Because, really, the homeschooling rhythm cannot be separate from the home rhythm.  

Right now our days look like Wednesday/Friday – homeschooling farm program and me at work outside the home; Monday/Tuesday/Thursday – Homeschooling, horseback riding lessons, 4H on Zoom, sometimes more outside the home work for me. It’s sort of fluid, but it works out okay. But the basic structure on the home days is the same, and I think that is a big help. We haven’t been busy on the weekends, so that also helps to have time to regroup and prepare.

What will you all be doing in February?

Blessings,
Carrie