May: Time To Plan

 

Usually one of three things happens during the homeschooling year:

Life intervenes and the entire year is rather chaotic.  Yep, that happens.

The school year starts off strong, and then life intervenes and is rather chaotic.  Yep, that happens too.

Everything goes as perfectly planned.  Nope, that really doesn’t happen too often.

 

Homeschooling calls for flexibility, an ability to work with life throws at you, often an ability to juggle different roles of being a parent/spouse/homemaker and to juggle children of a wide spread of ages and stages and temperaments.  All of this really requires an ability to get organized and work with planning as a tool.  This is important especially for Waldorf homeschooling.  Planning is everything in Waldorf homeschooling, and it really can help save you when life intervenes.

 

So, how is it coming with planning?  The last posts in this series were in February and March (you can see March’s post here:  https://theparentingpassageway.com/2014/03/27/march-time-to-plan/)

 

This is where I am so far in planning a five year old kindergarten year, fourth grade and seventh grade:

I planned my start and finish dates and vacation dates based off of the two counties where my children have friends on different school schedules.  I didn’t do that this year and ended up regretting it.

I marked out “teacher time”.  Plans made over the summer often need adjustment, and at any rate, one needs to look things over and live into the material before the block begins.

I went through all the months of this past year and wrote down any details I wanted to remember – which months did life hit us hardest, how I felt inside, how the children seemed to feel, seasonal details about each month or details related to feasts of the church.

I thought very seriously about extra-curricular activities and how many days we can really be out of the home each week – and what time we will finish school each day and really can realistically make it out to something.  The out of the house rhythm I have discussed with my husband, because whereas I am a “yes” kind of girl, “yes, let’s do that!” he is much more practical in terms of looking at how much time we can sustain outside our home.

I made out a sample daily rhythm for all three children.  That, to me, is the hardest part, as I often don’t feel as if there are enough hours in the day to meet everyone’s needs with three separate ages of children – early years, mid grades and late grades.

I created my “wheel” of the year – you can see details about that in the March back post.  I go mainly around the calendar of the Anglican Communion and have to plan in our feast and fast dates and dates where we will be out of the home due to church.  Remember, the cycle of the year is what holds all of your different ages and stages together for your homeschooling adventure!

I sketched out what blocks I think will go where in the year and how long those blocks most likely will be.  Subject to change!

I ordered most of my resources and started gathering various titles to get at the library.

I put together notes for two blocks for my seventh grader by day (but have not done any of the artistic work for those blocks ahead of time yet, which is often that part that takes me the longest after I read the resources and get an idea for the order of what to present when in the flow of a block).

I put together some general ideas about work each day of the week for my kindergartner, and ideas about stories for each month, crafts and handwork for festivals.

 

That is a start, but there is certainly a lot, a lot more to do!  I have to start now to really plan it all and fit it all in.  Most of this work is being created by me from scratch using different resources, as I am certain it is for you as well.

What are you planning?  I would love to hear!

 

Blessings,
Carrie

Celebrating Lent and Holy Week With Children

 

Holy Week is upon us!  I wanted to share a few ideas with you all about celebrating Lent and Holy Week.  Lent is such a beautiful time.  I love what Orthodox Christian priest Anthony Coniaris writes in his book, “ Making God Real in the Orthodox Christian Home”:

It is significant that Lent happens to coincide with Spring in the northern climes.  I think there is a wonderful lesson for us in this happy coincidence.  Lent should be for all of us a period of placing ourselves in the position where the best things can happen for us.  That position for Orthodox Christians is the presence of Christ, where the Sun of His love and power can shine into our arid souls to bring about a real awakening, a real springtime of the soul.

 

Here are some brief suggestions for celebrating Lent and Holy Week: Continue reading

Inspiring Links For The New Year

 

This is  such a holy and sacred time of the year.  It is a time to go inward and to reflect and also, I think to plan a little for the year ahead.  In that vein, I have to share just a few of my favorite things for the new year.

First of all, I am very content to see Heather offering a “Hibernate” on-line workshop.  I signed up for it when the announcement first came out, and am so looking forward to it.  You can find more details about that here:  http://beautythatmoves.typepad.com/beauty_that_moves/2013/12/hibernate-online-workshop.html

 

I am also happy to see what Sheila wrote here about envisioning her year through a single word:  http://sureastheworld.com/2013/12/16/word-2014/

 

I am pleased to see some more blogging about homeschooling from the Tan family over at Syrendell.  For those of you homeschooling, are you ready for the last half of the school year here in North America, or are you already busy thinking about next year?  Here is a blog post from Syrendell about fourth grade:  http://syrendell.blogspot.com/2013/12/return-to-homeschooling.html

 

I would love to hear what you are focusing on these holy days and nights of Christmastide.

Many blessings,
Carrie

Celebrating Christmastide

 

Merry Christmas!  Today is the second day in Christmastide, a wonderful season that begins on Christmas Day and continues until the eve of Epiphany.  Freya Jaffke, in her wonderful book, “Celebrating the Festivals With Children”, writes:

During the twelve or thirteen Holy Nights that follow Christmas, the events of Christmas continue to resonate; and it is a lovely custom for children if candles are lit each day, with singing, music making and perhaps a reading.  This period is set apart from the rest of the year, and can be a time when we gather our strength for the year ahead.  Nothing urgent needs to be done, and we can really take time for things.  Children are deeply satisfied if mother or father sits down beside them with some craftwork, or perhaps join in a game now and then.  In contrast to the summer when we like going outdoors, we feel very comfortable at home in the warmth – apart from winter walks and the fun of snow when it comes.

We can celebrate the twelve days of Christmastide with children by using candles or a ring with twelve hearts or a simple Advent type calendar adapted to the twelve days of Christmas.  This becomes a nice way to bring children down gently from Christmas and to continue the joy and wonder society too often associates with just a single day.

Instructions to make a Christmas ring can be found in both “All Year Round” and “Celebrating Irish Festivals”.    There are instructions to make a “postcard” calendar for the twelve days of Christmastide, each window representing a month of the year, ie, the first card would represent January and be opened on the first day of Christmastide, the second card would represent February and be opened on the second day of Christmas.  I would like to do this and follow the Church Year calendar to be represented on these cards.  Maybe I can do this in time for next year!

Today is also St. Stephen’s Day, and in Ireland and other places this is a time of fasting, a day to visit friends, a time to walk and feed the birds.  “Celebrating Irish Festivals” talks about the custom of the Wren Boys in Ireland and the mummer’s play.   Today is a wonderful day to make treats for our feathered friends in honor of St. Stephen!

If you are careful to celebrate Advent as a preparation, this time of Christmastide in its fullness can hold such incredible joy and fun.  Each day the family can gather around the Christmas tree for singing and readings and to play old-fashioned games.  Some families like to  craft window stars, rose windows and transparencies during this sacred time.   Many families also spread out their gift-giving and acts of generous kindness to other family members amongst the twelve days of Christmas, which is another wonderful tradition. 

Many blessings to you as you celebrate these days,
Carrie

Last Minute Gifts to Make

 

Happy Holidays! I know many of you are in a flurry of crafting and baking right now, but I know some of you are also looking for last minute ideas for gifts to make.

 

Here are a few suggestions:

I have a friend entranced by peg people, which got me thinking about those little people again!  One of my favorite Pinterest sites has this to offer:  https://www.pinterest.com/queenslace/peg-dolls/

 

My oldest daughter and I have been making straw stars.  I think this is a great project for children who are middle school (ie, age 12) and up.  Here is a link to order supplies:  http://www.germanplaza.com/productcart/pc/viewCategories.asp?idCategory=280

 

Here is a list of 10 Waldorf Christmas crafts.  I love “cinnamon ornaments” and think having little ones make these for a grandparents Christmas tree is always lovely:  http://www.valleywaldorf.org/10-waldorf-christmas-crafts-kids/

 

Here are free projects from The Silver Penny: http://www.thesilverpenny.com/FreeProjects.html

 

Wee Folk Art also has much to offer:  http://weefolkart.com/

 

Last year, my last minute gifts included peppermint bark, savory salt, and grain free granola.  Things one makes in the kitchen are always good gifts!

 

Please do share what you are making this year!

Blessings,

Carrie

The Simple Christmas

 

Christmas begins on December 25th, and continues until January 6th.  Christmastide is a beautiful season with simple pleasures. 

 

I think we have to be so careful to not raise our children with a sense of entitlement, but with a sense of gratitude.  Gratitude begins with us, and with how we are gracious and grateful with less material things and more with the connections the seKason provides.  Kim John Payne talks more about this important topic here:  http://www.themotherco.com/2013/12/a-simple-holiday-less-toys-and-more-time/

 

I have my own suggestions for slowing down and enjoying Christmastide.

 

  • Go media free if you are not media free already. 
  • Get outside.  Hike, ski, skate, and enjoy the season and the great outdoors in your area.
  • Have a Christmastide party with your close friends and  family members.
  • Have a board game night or a night of playing cards together.
  • Have a crafting night.  You can make rose windows, straw stars, window stars, paper lanterns, dip candles, or roll candles.
  • Visit something seasonal in your area – a winter wonderland, ice skating, a cultural celebration.
  • If you are religious, attend your place of worship for the wonderful feast days that happen during Christmastide.
  • Take a night to make popcorn and tell tales.
  • Do sweet and kind things for each other throughout the twelve days of Christmas
  • Say thank you often for the small things in life, and model this for your children.

 

Please leave a comment in the comment box regarding your favorite traditions for Christmas. 

 

Many blessings,

Carrie

Happy Santa Lucia Day!

 

I love this day and hope everyone is having a wonderful day curled up with hot cocoa and lussekatter!

 

Please don’t forget the wonderful free stories that are out there by my friend, the wonderful Master teacher and writer Christine Natale:  https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10811968/Stories/A%20Little%20Story%20for%20Saint%20Lucy’s%20Day%20-%20December%2013.pdf

 

There is also a gentle and sweet tale about St. Lucy right here on The Parenting Passageway for free:  https://theparentingpassageway.com/2011/12/14/guest-post-a-gentle-santa-lucia-story-by-tiziana-boccaletti/

 

Here is a post with quite a few links in it regarding crafts and songs and traditions:  https://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/12/08/more-about-celebrating-santa-lucia-day-in-the-waldorf-home/

 

One of my favorite books for this day is “Lucia:  Saint of Light” by Katherine Bolger Hyde.  It combines the traditions of Santa Lucia from a Swedish perspective mixed with the main stories we have heard regarding Santa Lucia and includes a recipe for lussekatter.  Here is the cover: 

 

 

Have a wonderful, warm day!

Blessings,
Carrie