July Round -Up!

I almost missed posting this monthly round up for July (almost), but here we are! July has been a busy month for us on the farm. We pulled some honey, we have switched over some leasors on some of our horses, we have been shuffling a horse that needed training, acquired two barn kitties, graded some land, finished some more fencing and started some seeds for fall.

The only thing we really celebrated in July was July Fourth (by staying home with our horses, but we could see fireworks for the town miles away from our pasture. I hope you had a happy Fourth of July for those of you celebrating it.

July used to be a month of complete doldrums for me with the intense heat and being exhausted from being outside every day with small children. Then it became a month of doing homeschooling consultations, which lifted my spirits! Now I am mainly working outside the home, and still doing some consultations, which is great fun. I am looking forward to sunflowers and some lake trips.

July Fun Round Up!

Are you thinking about summer menu planning?  I have a back post on July Menu Planning to grab!

Ideas Of Things to Do With Children:

  • Fourth of July decorating; patriotic crafts
  • Find traditional patriotic American music to listen to!
  • Go to Independence Day parades!
  • Sunflower crafts
  • Drying herbs and making things from herbs
  • Picking produce; canning and preserving
  • Earth looms and weaving could be lovely; see my summer Pinterest board for even more craft ideas

Ideas for the Home:

  • Going through the school room or school area and cleaning out
  • Ordering art supplies and new resources for the next school year
  • Making new seasonal things for the home
  • Changing out toys if you are on a toy rotation for smaller children

Our Family Life and Homeschooling Fun!:

Our 21 year old is headed back to university and will work four straight semesters through before she graduates. She had a wonderful opportunity to go to Greece early this summer with a tour from university and then later in the summer to France with her boyfriend and his family. She had a well-traveled summer!

Our middle child is headed into senior year at her hybrid high school and looking at colleges. Applications open August 1st. She already had a large scholarship offer, so we will see what decisions she makes.

Our youngest has been busy sailing, doing things with 4H, and riding horses. He went to an overnight camp associated with our church for a week that was a lot of fun and fostered some good friendships. I am working on seventh grade for him now, even though I sometimes vacillate at this point as to whether he should go to full time school or not. However, the Waldorf Curriculum is so beautiful it is hard to give up! I have my blocks planned out along with some extra work in math and spelling. It’s going to be an amazing year!

Self Care

I feel pretty good health wise lately despite the busyness of life. There are some essential check points I put in my schedule for my health including prayer and affirmations, drinking much more water than I used to, eating more fish and more plants, and scheduling out some time to exercise just for me (although we get plenty of physical work on the farm!) and this seems to have been helpful.

Artistic Endeavors

I am trying to write a little more again. I went through a phase where I just felt like being on the farm and thinking I didn’t have much left to say with children nearly grown but here I am again! 🙂 I have some plans for watercolor painting so that should be fun.

Great Reading

I am re-reading Betty Staley’s “:Between Form and Freedom: a practical guide for the teenaged years” which is always a treat!

Please tell me what you are up to! Happy July, family.


Supporting the 15/16 Year Change and Beyond

Our oldest two children are 17 and almost 21 (in a few short weeks). Through them, I can listen to the things that they have observed in their relationships with others outside the family. They have mentioned addiction and a high level of depression and anxiety and other mental health disorders are prevalent in many of the people their age that they meet.

There really are no easy fixes as I think this demonstrates challenges with our entire society as children are born and grow up, from the baseline of our food and drinking water all the way to a lack of supportive community in raising children. Then, the individuality of each situation is superimposed on this background for even more factors.

We don’t often talk about raising teenagers, except sometimes society bemoans younger generations in general terms. The teenagers I have met are such intelligent, sensitive young adults. I don’t wish to bemoan this generation of children at all! The purpose of my life’s work has been geared toward helping parents be healthy and helping families be healthy. So, in supporting these young people in the years of the 15/16 change into the early 20s, what are the best things we can do to help?

Betty Staley writes in her book, “Between Form and Freedom: A practical guide to the teenaged years” that, “They (teenagers) feel they have to impress those around them, but they are not sure who they are. To find out, young teenagers put on many different masks. The response to each mask gives the teenager clues to the acceptability of one personality type and another. Thus, the youngster decides whether to adopt a particular way of behaving. The teenager turns to the peers to define behavior.” (page 192). This becomes less important after the 15/16 year old change, author Staley points out, but also that children can become “stuck” in adolescence and sometimes need a new setting to start over.

Staley writes, “For healthy emotional development, adolescents need a protective circle of support. This circle should include their family, their school, their religious leaders, and their community. However, with the breakdown of the family, de-personalization of the schools, weakening of religious ties and instability of the community, teenagers do not have a protective circle.”

So, several things come to mind for me in supporting today’s teenagers.

I think one idea is to help the teenager develop a sense of self-worth, self-esteem, respect for oneself. This is easier said than done. Emotional maturity takes a long time, but I think the more we can dial things down and involve less competitiveness and pressure, the more the teenager can let their “real self” emerge.

If your teenager wants to bounce back against whatever they think their family stands for, to be the opposite, I often feel this is actually a continuation of earlier development where children want to do what they want to do that ties back into that emotional maturity piece. We can teach our young adults that we can slow down and think about decisions, know pros and cons, and then though we have to live with the outcomes. That responsibility piece is often hard to learn, and also to feel comfortable in making wrong decisions and mistakes.

The second idea is to see how big a protective circle you need. If your children are in school, I am in favor of smaller school settings rather than the large high schools with 900 students in a graduating class. Are their teachers, coaches, friends and friends’ parents helpful? Do they listen to your teenager? At this age, teenagers can certainly take instruction and learn from people they don’t necessarily like, but it is important to have a circle that does understand and listen.

Within your family, can you help them find their place? Betty Staley writes on page 194, “They are not children and they are not adults. Most of what they want to do when they are fourteen, fifteen, or sixteen is illegal or unadvisable, yet they are being urged to do it anyway.” (referencing media images). Instead of pushing our early teenagers ahead to the late teenaged or college aged activities, see if there is anything you can hold back for past the 15/16 change that makes sense within your family structure.

Artistic pursuits can be so helpful for this age if that is an option. The arts nourish the soul, and promote individualism in a unique way and through the unique voice of their creator.

Betty Staley writes about how adolescence can be a loss. It means leaving childhood behind, adjusting to bodily changes, losing childhood innocence, losing dependence upon parents. So, we need to be open to helping guide our children through stressful times, and really listening. Communication skills and communication coaching are valuable in this way for our teenagers.

The thing that has been the most helpful in our family, outside of spending a lot of time together, has been a connection with nature. We did this primarily through horses, but also did plenty of camping , being outside in general, 4H and things like that..

What things come to your mind in supporting early teens, teens in that 15/16 change, and in our older teens and young adults? Would love to hear from you.

Blessings and peace,

The Gifts We Give Each Other

When our children are small and developing, we can look at parenting as a series of gifts that we give but also definitely receive. We try to give our children the gift of time, the gift of rest, the gift of health and we help shape the environment and provide choices within a framework that supports this. Our children give us their unconditional love, their precious firsts and lasts, the ordinary and extraordinary.

However, the idea of gifting can be a way to reframe how our priorities align in relationships within the home. For example, I may not value an early bedtime, but in understanding and knowing that my spouse needs time at night, I can choose to gift a structure for the family that is suitable and aligns with the priorities I have in loving someone. There are a million and one ways in which we can give gifts to each other in a family setting.

As our children grow and become young adults, it often becomes increasingly hard to shape their environment and the choices they often make are their own. Did we teach them well enough to recognize what they need versus what they want, what gifts others brings to them, but also what gifts they have to offer the family and the world?

Living in harmony often requires an introspection and consensus building approach. It is rare that the adults in the house value exactly the same things all the way around. Or perhaps it is a process of focusing on the large areas of alignment and letting the smaller areas go. Gifting each other in love with what the other person needs, and in seeing what we need and desire from others, can become a profound experience of joy.

Sometimes in discerning this it is easy to start with a list of things that we do not want or do not enjoy, or the things we feel are not going well in our homes. However, this can transform into a place of power to consider how our needs are being met and how we help meet the needs of others where those people are. Where are we all most aligned as a family, where are we not, and how do we build consensus across this divide?

Wishing you all lightness and peace within your homes.

Many blessings,

The Summer Rhythm

School is ending here in the deep south, and we have a summer of opportunity and possibility before us. Summers are days of freedom, usually amazing physical growth for children, many fun activities, and hours of play.

When our children were small, our summer days revolved around play/work of the day (such as a baking day, a cleaning day, a painting day, a day for festival/seasonal preparation, a gardening day) and outside activities with the morning usually being at home outside or at a park and the afternoon being at a lake or a pool (it gets very hot down here!)

Now that our children are older, we have the re-entry of our college-aged student for summer with work obligations, our rising high school senior who has obligations this summer academically and in her own work, and our twelve year old who can have a more similar summer to past summers although now constrained by my return to work outside the home and my work schedule. For these reasons, I find we do need a bit of structure to our days. Perhaps you are feeling this as well depending upon the ages of your children or your life situation.

Having a simple framework for when at home in the summer can also be a big help towards staving off any summer bickering between siblings if that is an issue and a relief to children to know they have long stretches of time to play, but also special things to do, (even if it is special things at home) that makes fantastic summer memories. I am still looking at what days we will be home and what days we will be out. I also look at what days we will swim, what days we will be with friends and what days of the week in which we may just be home (no swimming and no friends to play with but just a good ole’ family day).  I never do too much in the way of camps due to cost, but this summer our rising senior has an opportunity for a horseback riding camp at a university and our twelve year old is going to do his first week ever away from home in an overnight camp.

Mostly I am concerned with the small things – working on the farm, catching fireflies, having friends over, camping and eating smores, going to the lake or a public pool and just being together. (Along with all the decluttering and homeschool planning – those are posts to come!) In general, I think the small ordinary things are actually the glue of summer. It reminds me that in my religion, this time of summer after Pentecost is considered “Ordinary Time” and yet it often is such a big time of physical growth and mental preparedness for the tasks ahead in the school year. It is anything but ordinary, just in the same way the world of nature is anything but ordinary in summer.

May we all find the special and the sparkle in the ordinary this summer. What are your plans for rhythm this summer?



Seventh Grade Planning

So, I have laid out my general plans for seventh grade. This is the advantage of having taught this grade twice before in a Waldorf style – I still have my notes, which is very helpful. One of the years I went through seventh year I put a week by week summary on this blog, so you can access those older posts.

I want to really focus on geography and the interaction of people with where they live throughout this year, so I plan on doing a little geography throughout the year. Every day we will do math practice and geography. We also have a focus on writing as our son just became interested in writing more recently, and I want to focus on that for preparation for high school work.

With middle schoolers, I feel I often turn the main lesson rhythm found in Waldorf on its head and often begin with something hands on, working side by side, bringing in the sort of presentation piece or more of a Socratic method of questioning and then ending with the academic writing.

Our plans to begin our new school year in August look like this at this point. I am saving physiology for eighth grade.

Week One  August 8-12 – Physics

Week Two August 15-19 – Physics

Week Three August 22-26 Physics

Week Four  August 29-September 2 – Math Main Lesson

Week Five September 5-9 – Math Main Lesson

Week Six  September 12-16 Math Main Lesson

Week Seven  September 19-23 The Life of Buddha


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


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


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


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


Week Thirty  April 10-14 – Writing

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 am excited for this coming year. It promises to be full of friends, family, horses, 4H, church activities and other fun things!

Are you planning yet for fall? If you blog, please share a link below!



Eastertide New Beginnings: Rhythm

Rhythm is one of the most beautiful gifts you can give your family. It doesn’t just need to be set by a parent; instead it can be set as a family according to family priorities, and it should also be nourishing to ALL members of the family.

People get upset at the idea of rhythm because I think they feel it will be constraining. Rhythm, to me, isn’t so much as “do x at y time” but a general flow and a look at the day, the week, the month, the year.

I like to plan rhythm in a year/month format on a large piece of paper that I divide into twelve squares. In each monthly square I can write down what we usually celebrate under that month, and also things I associate with each month (examples – strawberry picking, lake days, light displays at the Winter holidays, etc). I also use this in my adult life! Today, I wrote down in my calendar that April is kind of crazy so I remember to do something a bit different next year and to be sure to take Easter Monday off of work next year! LOL.

Daily rhythm doesn’t have to be complicated. For those of you with small children, just getting through the day with rising, breakfast and clean up, personal hygiene, play, eating and napping, play, dinner, bath, bedtime – well, that’s all you need along with some songs, fingerplays, and a smile. 🙂

Older children can have more complicated rhythms but I would encourage you to step in for those under the 16 year old developmental change (and some 17 year olds may still also need help) and help them craft a rhythm that reflects a balance between head, heart, hands. Where is the bodily movement? Are they learning and expanding their minds? Are they helping the family and helping others? Where is their community of people?

The rhythms in the house should even nourish the adults. If every bit of the rhythm is geared around the children, where is the time and space for you as a person? For you with the other adults in the house? Time with your spouse? Time with your parents or extended family? Time is our most precious commodity. Many of us have children and aging parents and understand this all too well.

Rhythm can be a great source of renewal and a great source of joy – you really can have and make time to have fun! Living together is wonderful.

I would love to hear about your Eastertide New Beginnings!


The Fallow Waiting

As I write this, it has been a long night of rain and thunderstorms. Our little rescue dog woke up at 4 AM shaking with fear with the thunder; sleep would have to wait. I am looking out from our kitchen table over the pastures seeing the green of spring and waiting for things to dry a bit to take our horses out. I am waiting this morning, just as today is a day of waiting in the Christian calendar for Easter tomorrow.

Every year I find the period of Holy Week hard. I am not sure why, but it always feels like a week that is tumultuous internally as I wrestle with myself, wrestle with the things I wish I could change about myself or whatever is happening and often feel deeply attacked spiritually. It’s a week of sacred work, but all on the inside so no one knows except me. Sometimes I can feel like a butterfly ready to emerge. Perhaps that is part of the Easter cycle, of the seasonal cycle, of being human.

Are you also in a period of waiting?

Maybe you are waiting for something to happen with a job or housing.
Maybe you are waiting to see if something your child is going through is a developmental phase or something more.

Maybe you are waiting and trying to envision new ways of holding outer routines, outer responses to family dynamics.

Maybe you are waiting on forming or implementing large changes in yourself and your family, whether on a physical level such as forming healthier habits for you and your family, or changing something internally about yourself.

I see you.

I think the things that are healthiest for ourselves is also healthiest for our families and supports and nourishes all the members of our household no matter what our struggles. If we get enough sleep, eat healthy whole foods, get sunshine and physical movement, cut down screen time (or, in the case of children, cut the screens out), connect with and love one another, find a way to nurture ourselves physically; then most things seem to go better or at least we are in a position to respond to things better.

Learning to calm ourselves is a large task as many of us feel anxious, depressed, or possibly even angry about things in our lives or with people in our lives. Finding connections and boundaries to support ourselves is wholly human and fundamental.

So, in this period of waiting before Easter, I am wishing you love, support, healthy habits, connection.

Many blessings on this day of waiting,


April Joy

This month has been a month of high temperatures (80s F) and lows with frost! Such an odd and tumultuous month of weather, which is kind of matching my soul as we finish up school, balance the outside activities and work, and get down to business on the farm with pasture management and project ideas for spring. Sometimes life and parenting is like a little roller coaster! 🙂

This is normally a month of great beauty and joy – the springtime of creation.  The plants and flowers are bursting anew; the sun is out more often and the temperatures are (hopefully) rising.  The world seems fresh and full of possibilities.  In this sense, I too am excited to begin anew.

In our family, we will be celebrating:

April 4- Martin Luther King Jr’s Feast Day in the Episcopal Church

April 10- Palm Sunday

April 11-16 Holy Week

April 17 Easter

and getting ready for Ascension Day, which is May 26th and the Rogation Days of the Episcopal Church, which are the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday that precede Ascension.  If you are planning ahead as well, try this back post on Rogation Days and this back post on Ascension Day

What I thinking about in the home:

Spring Cleaning and Deep Cleaning.  I am busy cleaning out boxes and things in our basement from our move a year ago. We never got to totally unpack as our kitchen needs to be remodeled, but I am determined to go through all the other things – homeschool books galore! Here is a post on Housecleaning and Homeschooling and a favorite on  An Ordered Outer World for a Peaceful Family

Spring Crafting –  I have some great projects on my Spring Pinterest Board but what I am most interested in crafting this month and next is our garden and some landscaping. We have a lot of trees and debris to clear away on this land, but I want to move forward as much as possible!

Spring Self-care – So excited to be walking a lot recently and enjoying moving. Farm chores are also a great way to keep moving!

Renewal – My husband and I will be married for 30 years on May 30th. We rarely get to do anything by ourselves, but I am hopeful we can do something, even if it is later in the year to celebrate.

Homeschool planning – our middle child will be a high school senior in the fall, so we are mainly looking at colleges. I am busy planning seventh grade for our third child! Can’t wait to share those plans here as I am taking a little bit of a different path than I did the first two times through seventh grade. 🙂

Looking forward to summer – Our college aged child will be home for her last summer at home. Next summer she will be in internships and then graduating and off to a job, so it seems fleeting. So, I am very excited to have everyone home for this summer and plan to enjoy it fully!

Can’t wait to hear what you are up to!



There’s Nothing Wrong With You!

I see so many mothers who are hard on themselves. So hard!

Just stop.

There isn’t anything wrong with you.

We all have quirks, things to learn, things to do differently, ways to grow. When did it become so difficult to do things less than “perfect” in parenting and whose idea of perfect is this? I don’t think any previous generations of parents lived under this amount of societal and self-imposed stress. We are all never done learning and developing and growing if we have enough self-awareness!

We also all have moments where we handle situations just right, where we know we really helped our partner or child navigate something, where we handled something difficult in love.

As women, we rarely extend the love and caring and encouragement we give to others to ourselves. Throughout the years, I have said the same things over and over – if you can feel kind and loving towards yourself and the other adults in your house, if you can really see your child as they are and do what you can to bring health and balance, if you understand human development, if you approach things with love, connection, and gratitude even in times of conflict, if you build a home life with healthy boundaries, if you connect to outside and nature – then there you go. I think those things go a long way to help ourselves and our family members thrive. I have so many back posts on childhood development and health!

You can use a rhythm to help give yourself the gift of time and space in order to take care of yourself, to have fun, and to do the things that are meaningful to you as a human being. Rhythm is a vital key and it is easy to lose with older children and teenagers. You may have to strive in this area in order to help yourself thrive!

You are just enough. You are what your children and family needs. There is nothing wrong with you. Let your love and your light shine!



The Ways I Modify Homeschooling for My Middle Schooler

Hi There!

To those of you who don’t know me, I am a homeschooling mom who has homeschooled one child essentially K-11th grade with some outside high classes (senior year all out), homeschooled a second child K-8 with high school out, and now am K-6 grade homeschooling (so far! We are finishing up sixth grade) for our third and last child. I have mainly Waldorf homeschooled with a lot of emphasis on movement and nature and with some modifications for our family.

I read Rudolf Steiner’s lectures on childhood development a long time ago, circa 2005. So this was before I even discovered Waldorf homeschooling and it struck me as very compatible with how I viewed childhood phases and development, right down to the different shifts and changes that Steiner noted. It sort of coincided a bit with Piaget, which I had studied as a pediatric physical therapist. I have since gone on to read more and more of Steiner’s work, and to earn a certification in The Arts and Anthroposophy. Although not all of Steiner’s ideas jive with my personal religious beliefs, I will say it is never dull and always makes me think! I also love Steiner’s lectures on bees, agriculture, handwork, health – so many areas!

So fast forward from when I began homeschooling with our oldest child’s five and six year old kindergarten years in 2006/2007 to now. I am still here and homeschooling! Our oldest is at a very competitive and well known university, our middle child is now a junior in high school and looking at colleges and different career paths, and our youngest is finishing sixth grade.

What has changed in this time has been amazing! Our oldest two children got really into horseback riding, and little by little we got sucked into the horse world and now have three horses. I went back and got my clinical doctorate and a specialty certificate and began working more. We bought a farm last year and have been taking care of horses, boarding horses, managing work on this property that needed everything from water pipes to heat to insulation to pasture management on up plus juggling work and homeschooling. My husband and I are coming up on 30 years of marriage, and we have changed a lot in thirty years!

So, I gave and give myself permission daily to modify what I need to in order to care for myself and my family. There is no Waldorf police in homeschooling, and I think this is what Rudolf Steiner would say is correct in the home environment without a group of teachers to shepherd a child through all main lessons and specialty classes. So while I do stick to what I feel goes best subject wise by development (often seen reflected in the curriculum of different Waldorf schools, but I also add my own blocks), this is what I do to modify the middle school years to help myself out in the midst of crazy life!

  1. We live in an area where there are hybrid schools/classes just for homeschoolers. That is very fortunate for us! So our sixth grader is in a two day a week outdoor program for middle school boys where they do a ton of living history and do things like building catapults, blacksmithing, gardening, experience buoyancy by building boats, cooking, etc.
  2. I do use a formal math program in addition to blocks. So I do the traditional math blocks for each grade found in Waldorf Schools, but also an outside program. This year I used Saxon, but I am not afraid to pull problems from a variety of game based and regular based supports. I do not have the time and energy to sit and make up daily math problems and I am not a math specialist. This isn’t my strong suit, even though I have had university level math, so I do what I need to.
  3. I try to keep an emphasis on doing – art, building, cooking, etc and make that a cornerstone first and then think about the teacher presentation part next and the art and writing piece. So I sort of flip the traditional order of the main lesson on its head a lot. Middle schoolers have short attention spans and like to be doing (at least mine do!)
  4. Like all homeschoolers, we try to tie in field trips or different experiences to what we are studying.
  5. I am not afraid to meet my child. I have children with dyslexia and dyscalculia, attention deficit challenges, etc and they need support and I will get them what they need. This might be outside tutoring, programs that cater to that, etc. No apologies.
  6. I am not great at handwork, and we no longer have a community handwork class, so I prioritize farm life and nature, cooking, gardening, fine arts (the things I can do). Your homeschool may look very different from mine and that is ok! We used community resources for choir and instrumental playing up until Covid hit, so that is also on the back burner until I see what is coming back!
  7. In the midst of modifying I try to remember the hallmarks of our educational philosophy – to see and observe the child, to understand development and what that truly means to be human, to bring balance to the child and the family, to move from whole to parts in teaching, to tie every subject back to man/humanity, to keep sharpening myself, to keep an order and rhythm in the chaos the best I can as we go through renovations or animal care that takes a whole day or whatever is happening.
  8. I prioritize love and connecting with each other. That’s what keeps kids who were homeschooled from not looking back and hating the experience. If you hate homeschooling and it’s a big yelling time, email me! You want your children to look back and be glad they were homeschooled!
  9. I try to foster community as best we can, but it isn’t really a Waldorf community. I find not many people homeschool middle schoolers and high schoolers this way, at least where we live. So, we love 4H, horseback riding, and this summer our little person is going to try his hand at sailing. Find where you fit and where you are welcomed and loved.

What are ways that you make homeschooling work for your child and family?