November Light

November is the beginning of the season of light – Martinmas gives us a beautiful opportunity to think about how to spread light into our communities in a world of darkness.

I love November in all its crisp -leaved, golden sunset, chill temperatures perfection.  The leaves are FINALLY turning here where I live, and it feels like the beauty and coziness of fall is upon us at last.

This is a wonderful month of celebrations for our family (yes, even now that our children are 20, almost 17, and 12!)

  • November 1 and 2 – All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day
  • November 8– Election Day
  • November 11 – Martinmas (and there are many other posts about Martinmas if you use the search engine box!) It’s also Veteran’s Day, which we celebrate every day with my husband and father in law who are veterans.
  • November 20- My handsome husband’s birthday!
  • November 24- Thanksgiving
  • November 27- First Sunday in Advent
  • November 30- The Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle

Learning and celebrating:

  • Learn songs for a Martinmas Lantern Walk – you don’t need a lot of people to do a Lantern Walk! I have done Lantern Walks with just one other family and I have done Lantern Walks with over a hundred people! You an also check your local churches – if you live in an area with a German population, there may be a church holding a celebration of this day. I went to a Lantern Walk one year at a German church and they had St. Martin on his white horse and everything!
  • 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 or beeswax and preserve them
  • Cook things with cranberries, corn, and pumpkin.
  • Try the book Cranberry Thanksgiving and make cranberry bread!
  • Learn some Thanksgiving songs and practice so you can play them after Thanksgiving Dinner!
  • Find a place to volunteer to serve Thanksgiving dinner
  • 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!
  • Find books, cozy blankets and pillows, and mark off half days for just reading and lounging around. Pull out candles, homemade Martinmas lanterns, salt lamps  and scatter them around.  Cuddle up and read with some fabulous tea or hot chocolate.
  • Find handwork projects that you will love and get started.
  • Order some woolens for your family members; my favorite place to get them is Green Mountain Organics
  • You probably already have found your hats, mittens and gloves and coats, but we are a little slower down here with cold temperatures coming later so I just did that this week!

For littles especially:

For the older children:

  • Get them involved in your autumn traditions – baking, cooking, cleaning, taking care of the birds outside, hiking, star watching, volunteering.
  • Think of traditions of gratitude and light.  Some teens may no longer love a lantern walk (although I still love it and I am an adult), but some teens might go for a big bonfire with friends on Martinmas.
  • Some thoughts:  Cultivating Gratitude in Children
  • How do we help older children internalize the spirit of helping the most needy, the most destitute, the most poor? That is the work for this age.

Inner Work:

Other Ideas for this month:

  • Get a small jump on gifts for the holidays. Here is my Pinterest Board of holiday gifts to make
  • Make sure you are still getting your Vitamin N and get out in nature!
  • Dream a little about the next school year in homeschooling 
  • I always choose a word to encompass my year – this year, my word for 2023 has arrived early. It is the word BOLD, and I have some bigger projects planned after some more busy but more fallow years here in this space. More about that later!

Many blessings and peace to you and your family,

Carrie

Learning From Homeschooling

Our children are now 21, almost 18, and 13. We have homeschooled for over 15 years at this point, with grades 1-8 at home and with varying options for high school that involved homeschooling with accreditation for outside classes local to us. Our circumstances were such that we didn’t have a Waldorf School near us, and by the time we looked at public school, we were already very entrenched in homeschooling.

People often ask me what the most valuable lessons or things that I have learned in homeschooling this long.

One thing has been to understand that honoring the development of children and trying to continue the work of the spiritual world in our children through our own homeschooling has been the biggest help in raising children that are overall healthy human beings. To see education as a way to develop an entire human being is an important thread in Waldorf Education and also to me as a Christian. Our children are here for a purpose on Earth. It is my job to not stand in the way of their development and purpose, but also to bring balance and act almost as a buffer of the things that knock children off equilibrium – whether that is media, too much sedentary time, not being outside – essentially to be on guard against the things of modern life that hinder early development, and then to be able to stand back and let the things of this world come in at the appropriate time because our children are indeed made for these times. How can they handle it in the most healthy way possible? That is the question of homeschooling.

The blocks of each grade in Waldorf homeschooling is such a huge help and guide in these areas, and to be able to study the light of the human being and the development of the human being. To be able to work with head, heart, and hands, with movement and stillness, with nature and art. This helps us rise towards goodness, truth, and beauty, and this is something I do not regret in our family life. This journey has deepened me, deepened my Christian faith, and deepened how I view the world and the people in it.

May we always and absolutely remember that our children are capable. They are kind, compassionate, generous, dependable, responsible problem solvers!

In the book “Life Is The Curriculum” by Cynthia Aldinger, she mentions a verse written by Herbert Hahn ,one of the first Waldorf teachers:

Remember daily that you are continuing the work

of the spiritual world with the children.

You are the preparers of the path for these young souls,

who wish to form their lives in these difficult times.

The spiritual world will always stand by you in this task.

This is the wellspring of strength which you so need.

Blessings,
Carrie

Halloween in the Waldorf Home

October is one of my favorite months of the year!  Here in the Deep South, we are in uncharacteristic cold snap where temperatures plummeted from the 70s (F) to in the 30’s (F). Typically at this time of year, we are just gearing up for cooler weather, the leaves on the trees changing colors and crunching under our feet, and preparations for Halloween, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day are underway!

How will you celebrate this month in your homeschool?

Continue reading

October

Nature! Your maternal being

I carry in my deepest will

The fire of my will makes strong

The mettle of my spirit

And thus is born that sense of self

That steels myself to carry me

  • The Illustrated Calendar of the Soul: Meditations For the Yearly Cycle with 52 Pictures by Anne Stockton

Michaelmas is still here, calling us to become strong, to find ourselves, to carry ourselves and our inner light through the wintertide of nature and the darkness of the world. May you steel yourself to shine bright this month!

The best way to find this and do this is to set boundaries. Boundaries are where I end and where I begin. Where I can walk beside you, but I cannot be you. I find a lot of people are really struggling with boundaries, whether from childhood or from trying to parent in a different way than the very authoritarian way they were raised. If you would like to get some of your boundaries in order headed into fall and the holidays (where typically many boundary issues come up!), here are a few back posts for you:

https://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/11/19/preparing-for-the-sixseven-year-change-the-importance-of-boundaries/

October is a golden month at the farm. The nights are crisper, we are preparing for colder weather. I just cleaned out a bunch of closets and drawers because simplicity and less clutter is cozy!

This month we are celebrating:

October 4-The Feast of St. Francis of Assisi (we celebrate at church with the blessing of the animals)

October 9 – Our youngest child will be 13! Very exciting!

October 31 – Halloween, which really is low key in our house, especially on the farm because no one comes here. However, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day are big!  You can see a back post about Halloween In The Waldorf Home, and this one about preparing for All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day

The little things that make ordinary October days magic:

Playing in the leaves

Apple picking

Pumpkin farm visits

Making pumpkin muffins and breads

Longer nights with deeper and later sleep

Warming foods

Fuzzy flannel sheets

Warm teas

Lantern making for Martinmas but I love to light lanterns in the school room as the days get darker and the darkness gets earlier and longer

Finding ideas to make for holiday gifts

Besides, the above post, I always think about:

Warmth

Warming Foods – this back post is from January, but it might give you some ideas for warming foods

Autumn Circles and Autumn tales for little ones

Make lanterns

Re-instating tea time if you lost it over summer and early fall– so warming and lovely

If you have small children, you might really enjoy this post from Liza Fox about meaningful work for toddlers

Rhythms From Scratch:

If you are wondering where I was this time of year a few years ago, try this back post: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2016/10/21/october-rhythms-and-meal-planning/

Right now, I have a different schedule:

Get up, help get horses in unless my husband and daughter are doing that, feed barn cats and dogs. My high school senior drives herself to her hybrid high school. Soon we will be putting horses out during the day instead of at night, so we will feed and let them out and clean everything.

If it’s a work day, I am out the door. If it’s a school day, we usually do opening activities, math practice and language arts/ spelling practice right off the bat because it is hated and if I leave it it won’t happen, Main Lesson, read alouds. We usually take a break to check on the horses. Afternoons we usually either go to the park, our son has horseback riding lessons or 4H or we work on the farm. This season I will be setting aside several afternoons a week to create holiday gifts and create art.

At dinner time we have dinner and feed all the animals. If the horses are in, we check on them about 9 and make sure they are good for the night.

Weekly I plan something for myself – lunch or dinner with friends. This week I have a facial scheduled which I haven’t probably done in 4 years, so that’s fun. We go to church most weeks, although I do tend to take one weekend a month and stay home and clean, organize, and rest. My husband and I try to do date night a few times a month, but it’s easier for us to do that as our children are older. 🙂

Seventh grade homeschooling – the first time I went through seventh grade, I detailed what we did weekly. I did not post it in one huge block as people often take things from this website and put it in a curriculum and I figured it would be harder if the information was spread out.

My original plan was to start the year with physics, but we actually ended up starting with Medieval as we were behind from sixth grade. We also covered quite a bit of African geography. Plans are always evolving but I am planning on sticking to my initial plan for the rest of the year, although I am contemplating sneaking in a little physiology. Our seventh grader had a lot of physics last year at an outside class, so I am not sure if I will swing back to that or not or just tack on a little time this summer and review some of the major concepts with him in preparation for eighth grade.

SEPTEMBER 26-30 FALL BREAK

Week  Eight October 3-7- Renaissance

Week Nine October 10-14 – Renaissance

Week Ten October 17-21  – Renaissance

Week Eleven  October 24-28 – Renaissance and Father-Son Trip

Week Twelve  October 31-November 4 – Perspective Drawing

Week Thirteen November 7-11 – Perspective Drawing

Week Fourteen November 14-18 – Catch Up Week

NOVEMBER 21-25  THANKSGIVING BREAK 

Week Fifteen November 28-December 2 – Astronomy and Navigation

Week Sixteen December 5-9 – Astronomy and Navigation

Week Seventeen  December 12-16  – Astronomy and Navigation

DECEMBER 19- JANUARY 4  – CHRISTMAS BREAK

Week Eighteen  January 5/6 – Grammar and Writing

Week Nineteen January 9-13 – Grammar and Writing

Week Twenty January 16-January 20 – Grammar and Writing

Week Twenty One January 23-27 – Chemistry

Week Twenty Two January 30-February 3 – Chemistry

Week Twenty Three February 6-February 10 – Chemistry

FEBRUARY 13-17 WINTER BREAK

Week Twenty Four  February 20-24- Math Main Lesson

Week Twenty Five February 27-March 3- Math Main Lesson

Week Twenty Six March 6-10- Math Main Lesson

Week Twenty Seven March 13-17 – American Colonial Times

Week Twenty Eight March 20-24 – American Colonial Times

Week Twenty Nine March 27-31 – American Colonial Times

APRIL 3-7 SPRING BREAK

Week Thirty  April 10-14 – Writing (probably will base in physiology)

Week Thirty One April 17-21 – Writing

Week Thirty Two April 24-28 – Writing

Week Thirty Three May 1-5 -Writing

Week Thirty Four May 8-12 – Catch Up Week

I would love to hear what you are up to!

Blessings,

Carrie