I had a client ask this question and I pondered it a bit. As I have been working through my own planning and also reflecting on my career as a homeschooling mom.
What makes us fail?
All of us have an off year here and there - some of us have several years that are not what we'd like, whether it is a birth, death, divorce, illness... or even just an off time for us as Mom, it happens to us all. What separates those who fail (or think they fail) from those who don't is one thing...
Often those seeming *failed* years aren't - especially if you had a plan. To have a plan, you have to have will. To execute your plan you have to have even more will. To execute your plan in the face of adversity and trials takes a mountain of will. We've had a few gnarly years ourselves and my planning saved me - when I was ill before Sariah was born and on bedrest, that plan kept me sane - when we went through legal battles with my former husband and I wanted to melt into a heep on...
Let's look at something you might already know how to do but didn't realize you should be doing it for yourself, not just your children:
Form drawing - this is incredible inner work. I find that working on forms gives me peace and comfort when I am struggling to connect to God because I can't get over myself, lol... yes, I have days when my ego wants to rule and I need to step back. If I can't get out of that angry place on my own, I turn to form drawing. Knocking out some of those knotted grade 4 forms will help rebalance me and allow me to connect back to the mama I enjoy being.
Block crayon drawing, painting or any other artistic endeavor that is NOT school related. Now that doesn't mean you can't be practicing a picture you want to bring to your child later, but it does mean that school work with your child does not count. This is about working on YOU so if your energies are divided and your focus is your child then you won't be able to have the healing...
Grade 2 (age 7-8): In many ways, grade two is an extension of grade one. Some children are reading well and some are still coming along. When you come to Waldorf at this stage, you will need many of the foundations that we recommend for grade one, the exception being that you will want our grade two curriculum instead.
Grade 3 (age 8-9): Consider not working on the regular Waldorf festivals this year but rather celebrate Jewish festivals and ease into your year. Remember to keep any history to an age-appropriate level. You can skip the fairy tales and the fables at this point unless you want to use them as extra stories.
Grade 4 (age 9-10): If you begin with Waldorf this year, you will want to be certain you fully understand the man/animal main lesson as this will give you a foundation of what is to come in the upper elementary grades. You may also consider some drawing classes or our block crayon lessons.
Grade 5 (age...
Steiner describes the etheric body or life-body as he sometimes called it, as working "in a formative way on the substances and forces of the physical body and thus brings about the phenomena of growth, reproduction, and inner movement of vital body fluids. It is therefore the builder and shaper of the physical body, its inhabitant and architect. The physical body may even be spoken of as an image or expression of the life-body." These etheric forces work on our body through our lives and for mothers, we have to work to protect ourselves from being drained. Pregnancy, nursing and mothering young children can cause a drain on our etheric body. If we don't work to guard our bodies then we can find ourselves easily drained and then running in a circle... "I want to get up but I can't, I am too tired" turns into "Don't tell me how to take care of myself! It is easier to just be grumpy and tired!"
What can we do physically to work on our bodies while nurturing young...
Working Together, a Math Gnome Story by Melisa Nielsen
One day King Equals decided he needed a new counting tower. The old one would be donated to the kingdom to expand their library. The king looked far and wide for a contractor to build this special tower. Another king recommended Sir Enufstuff and after talking to him, the king decided to hire him.
“Sir Enufstuff, I have my four best gnomes to work for you. If you work with them together, the project should be built quickly.”
“Thank you King Equals, but I have my own ideas about staff. I will use your gnomes but not together. They will each have different shifts and you will see that I will far exceed your expectations.”
The king wasn’t sure, as he believed many hands make lighter work, but he trusted the other king’s recommendation and allowed Sir Enufstuff to begin.
Sir Enufstuff called the four gnomes...
**PLEASE NOTE THAT WE ARE DISCUSSING GRADE 1 AND UP. THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO KINDERGARTEN.**
Being attracted to Waldorf's beautiful lessons is a great place to fall in love, but then there is often a gap in translating that to our homes. It takes time and a great deal of practice. When our curriculum gives instruction to tell the story and draw/paint or model on day one and recall and summarize together on day two, what exactly does that mean? What is your planning part and how do you make that happen?
Let's break it down - first, this is NOT a replacement for proper planning, but consider this post a bit of a crash course. What sets Waldorf apart is that it touches the WHOLE child. The main lesson drawings are part of this WHOLE child approach. This means that each main lesson touches the child: THINKING, FEELING and WILLING. As part of your learning with Waldorf, it should be your goal to fully take in all that Waldorf is so you can bring it to your child....
Single mamas (and dads!) are very close to my heart. I am talking mostly to divorced parents today. Being single has a completely different set of stress inducing frustrations. Even if you are living on one income while married, there is generally that second person that can step up to the parenting plate and help - not so in single parent land. Rather than this being a post on the nuts and bolts of single parent homeschooling, I want to focus on how you can take care of yourself and get back to a place of love. Love has to be within us before it can be given to someone else.
With all the divorces in our culture, I can only say one thing for certain... they are all different. All of them carry most of the same elements. Sadly amicable situations are NOT the norm. The reality is that some co-parenting relationships are amicable for a time and volatile at others. Do your best. You can only work on you.
Working through your hurt...
Today we are going to tackle a two delicate issues...
1. Partnerships/marriages that came together because of a pregnancy.
2. Marriages that have somehow gotten so far off track that you are not in the same library, let alone the same book or on the same page.
First, while pregnancy outside of marriage used to be a taboo topic in society, today this scenario is fairly common place. Worldwide, there are more and more couples consciously deciding to have children without marrying and those that come together after an unplanned pregnancy. This can pose some interesting challenges in relationships and sometimes legal wrangling as well.
Marriage or not, realize that as you parent together and hopefully have a deep abiding love for each other, that this will be a daily, sometimes minute by minute undertaking. You will have to be committed EVERYDAY, not just part of the time. So if you didn't plan to stay with this person before you got pregnant you...
This encompasses more than just the dynamics between husbands and wives. I work with same sex couples, couples that live together and are not married and also with single parents - what I find, is that the issues are the same. The same dysfunction occurs and in turn the same beauty. My aim will be to talk to all families without making too many generalizations. Please don't take my word as gospel truth, seek confirmation on your own. Search, ponder and pray about your own relationships and your own connections.
This will not be an easy for some. If you are struggling, it is likely that you will be upset with me at some point. I want to say right now that it will never be my intent to make you sad or mad and if you do find yourself in that place, please step back and look deeper. If I strike a cord there might be a reason. Also, if I say something that just doesn't resonate with you, skip that part and come back next time.
When my kids were little, cleaning needed to happen but it couldn't take all day. I thought I would share a bit on how I survived then.
So easy to say yet I know it isn't always easy to do. When my oldest was 5, we moved from a 2000 square foot house in Utah, to a 4000 square foot house in Idaho. Space doesn't help a ton, decluttering does! You still have to find a home for the stuff. Sure, that was a great house, I had a craft/sewing room, we had a guest room, a giant master... it didn't last. It was too much for me to handle, I felt like I was living too spread out and I didn't care to buy more furniture to fix it. Then we moved to a 1200 square foot 1900's house. I LOVED that house! That is the house that I remember doing the most cleaning - the most growing in. I spent some time in that house single after my divorce, before moving into a 600 square foot apartment.
How do you do it?
PLAN. I know that is my answer to everything. I...