Archive for the ‘Handwork’ Category

Welcome to my home!  Grab your cup of tea or coffee and sit with me a moment.  I want to share with you our recent adventures!  When I am done I want to hear how you are as well.  Without connection to others, sharing and storytelling, what would life be like?

In case you couldn’t remember I am currently teaching Waldorf Inspired First and Third Grade, along with our little nursling.  In Third Grade not only are we learning all about the Old Testament and Jewish Festivals, but we are also studying Farmer Boy, by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Farmer Boy is about a little boy named Almanzo when he was nine years old and is beautifully paired with the nine year change our oldest child is moving through.  If you want more developmental information about the nine year change, please visit my friend Carrie over at The Parenting Passageway.  I hope to speak on developmental change from my perspective in the future on Nurturing Spirit.

With much gratitude, family affectionately known as The Gramps treated us to Conner Prairie, just outside of Indianapolis, Indiana.  An interactive history park, set in 1836 and 1865.  So off we went to learn and experience together.  Upon entering the welcome center a college student from Wisconsin approached us and asked if my oldest son and I would wear a microphone as we moved around the exhibit Create.Connect.  She asked us some questions afterwards about the exhibit she helped to create, in exchange for an ice cream coupon.  Click on the link above to learn more about the exhibit.  It’s worth some of your time I promise.  However, the day was getting hotter by the minute, so we were a tad anxious to get on outside.

We headed on over to the Civil War area first, because it was the farthest walk. We entered into the Civil War area across a covered bridge, with Civil War banners and bayonet slices through Abraham Lincoln banners.  I believe this park is top notch.  Clean and accurate.  The actors really take their jobs seriously. Parents with little bitty kids take note.  Some of the interactive aspects in this area are loud, with yelling, horses neighing, pots and pans hitting the ground and video.  If you have children with sensory issues, please check it out first, or avoid altogether.  One little girl was crying because she was scared, and to her it was a very real.  The park is great for older children who can understand.  We did not take our little babe into those exhibits.  The park is quality and worth admission, and theses actors and scenarios gave us a lot to ponder over.  Upon returning home we are going to take a tangent into the life of a freed slave girl to try and understand the many aspects of this era, while reading this book by the Dear America series.

We looked ahead and decided we wanted to attend the funeral re-enactment, so off we went to Prairietown, after a delicious picnic lunch prepared by The Gramps.  There was a funeral procession to the grave site dug that morning by the town folk.  The coffin was made by the woodworker at the park, and will be buried permanently.  We sang Amazing Grace and the Preacher read the bible verse we all know from Proverbs 31.  We weren’t afraid to allow our children to see this aspect of the parks interactive history, because death is a part of the circle of life.  Death is hard.  I know because I am selfish and it is hard for me to release those I love most back to the spirit world, when it’s their time to go.  But that is for me to learn to cope and teach my littles and this process has helped Awaken me to this life and my soul purpose.

Prairetown is my favorite and I really enjoyed each and every single building and the people.  I had great conversations about the cooking, the animals ( oh my gosh, the piglets were so cute!), the work – like carding and spinning, which you can DO yourself right there!  The Blacksmith was spectacular and made a nail right before our eyes.  The Store.  The Inn.  Don’t let me forget to mention your child can play a part in the town!  Spin the wheel or choose yourself a part.  Town Healer, Deputy, Merchant and so on.

We have been reading Farmer Boy, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and when I saw the two baby oxen in their yokes at Conner Prairie I immediately went to the picture in my mind of the book.  Almanzo has two of his own oxen to train from babies, so the park was really bringing the book to life for us.

Well, I should leave the rest of the park for you and your family.  We really hope to return, as we did spend 10 am to 5 pm, enjoying everything we could.  If you want to see a plethora of pictures, visit me @healingoneself on Instagram, where I share our daily homeschool life in pictures.  And let me say homeschooling has given me the opportunity to really bring Language Arts and Math to life.  I feel Blessed and I want the universe to know I am grateful.

Learning about the Old Testament, Norse Mytholgy, Buddhism and other cultures and religions helps us to build our tolerance of others, and better understand God.  It is antiquity, and I know it will shape and temper us into whole beings.  I appreciate having more opportunities to learn along side our children, because as it turns out they are teaching me.  And it is easy to see how “worth” taking the boys places like this are by the days-on-end of play and reenactment outside I have been watching.  Thank you for visiting with us.

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2014!  With plenty of preparation work for two years, life has been like a spool of neat thread unwinding itself and revealing what is being made. Cedar blessed us with his arrival last October 2013, and we settled deeply into dreaming and planning, as we do in winter.  Slow.  Winter.  Good.  We had enough inner light to burn our way through the darkness of the cold season until Spring.  For most homeschooling families February is a transition month.  Cabin fever.  Spring wants so badly to arrive, but Jack Frost sometimes lingers and the roots are reluctant to send the energy upward.  The Light is yearning to unite fires within us again encouraging springs in our step, curls at our mouth and early spring morns on the porch with breakfast.

Preparing for Third and First Grade has been a lot of fun.  I have enjoyed deeper spiritual learning with our main lesson of the Old Testament and Grimm’s Fairy Tales, with the archetypes.  I keep in mind specific goals set for each child.  Movement is always at the top of the list, rhythm and anchor times equally important.  I feel blessed to observe, pray and listen for each child.  Listening to Creator brought me insight to adding more music this year assisting the nine year change and seven year change as well as transitioning our little nursling with us through the day.

For our Native American block the boys have deep roots and some live education with Elders from the Hopi and Choctaw people.  As their parents we have spent time doing our inner work with the encouragement of these Elders, their ceremonies and wisdom.  All of that has carried over into our daily work. We have some unique teachings to bring to them.  We also provide Buddhist, Sufi and Christian teachings.  I think it is important to recognize the Ascended and Holy Peoples and to make available a universal language.  It’s all about communication and connection, whether you prefer psychic or prose.

Music.  Our circle time music has been our own songs that inspire us, and the Summer Songs from Music Together, which is Cedar’s baby music class playlist.  My big boys are helpers in the music class and I see them getting so much out of the experience.  For one week we spent time at the lovely First Christian Church Music Camp, in my hometown.  I adored the music teacher and the kids.  They worked hard with a tight schedule to really learn alot.  I am impressed at the growth and stretching they had to endure.  I felt I could See the transformation of their hearts and throat chakras.  Flowing.  Singing is magical for many reasons.  The breath of Creator is at work.

Movement.  I have been spending time with the boys this year learning about stretching the body and becoming more aware of their spiritual vehicles.  Everything is sensory.  Stress can be useful but also dangerous, so we have spoke some about how important drinking water, taking salt baths, regular bedtimes, clean foods, and movement can help assist our sensory experiences. Creator wants to come through us and touch all the materially dense richness.  The earth.  The wind.  The warmth of a hug.  The cool water that flows down our throats.  Thankfully we have added new elements to our movement apparatus, like a slackline and trampoline.  Existing equipment includes a zip line, 4 acres to run and bike.  Trees to climb.  Porches to swing upon, especially when it rains.  Wood to chop.  Fires to jump.  Critters to feed. Free play.  My boys do not lack for play time and joint compression.  They are very creative and I have always nurtured and assisted that play with props, dolls, action figures, furniture, lighting, wall paint color, board games and card games.  Natural materials are preferred but we possess some vintage classic toys.  I do see the difference in feeling the materials personally.  Plastic is cold.

Handwork.  Handwork is many things.  A nine month old baby is handwork as a nursling.  My handwork.  Handwork to the boys is taking care of their room, arranging a shelf or an altar.  Brushing their teeth.  Learning to knit a row. Taking blocks out and putting blocks away.  Chopping wood.  Whittling a stick. Modeling with mud, clay or dough.  Sanding or polishing.  Sewing.  Picking up baby brother and helping him explore.

Watercolors and Wet-on-wet.  I’m trying.  A couple years ago I presented the color wheel teachings to the boys.  I am revisiting watercolors again, the brushes, the feel.  I have Painting With Children by Brunhild Muller, and the Waldorf Painting Education binder.  IT’S HUGE, and I haven’t made it all the way through.  I struggle with building scenes and I always add too much water!  I am a work in progress.

Drawing.  Chalk drawings and practice drawing have become staples in our process.  We ingest the stories of each grade that are developmentally appropriate, draw and retell the stories.  Some we love and some we take in and think maybe work is being done on us in the night by the angels who know better than we do.

Angels.  Archangels.  Archai.  This is truly a personal relationship.  We each have one for ourselves, as a group, the community, the earth and so on.  Many times I go to the angels when I am struggling.  But I do see them in the everyday, like when Cedar discovers his own voice.  Or when River smiles at me shyly, and how he always nurtures me.  Wolfsion, he champions as a helper to me and the land.  He’s a steward.  A trailblazer.

Waldorf Essentails curriculum, Melisa Neilsen homeschool teacher trainer and consultant, the Thinking, Feeling, Willing group of women on Facebook and my own spiritual path have been critical.  Aside from doing a lot of listening to my Maker I try to keep my influence minimal or I can easily get distracted.  I find that continual purification of the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual intelligences are absolute for the path. Each of us have a process.  Recently, I disconnected from the grid for a couple of months and the time away really energized me, renewed me and helped me ground into my present life.  We discover this as our intuition, the angels, our children and our own paths merge.  It is also when we decide to manifest and come in tune with our soul that our Path becomes clear.

Rhythm.  I need structure, but love the permission to unfold freely within that structure.  Like the earth and the water flowing through and around.  I allow space for the kids to unschool themselves with my guidance also.  There are some days where that is absolutely called for.  At some point I may share a photo of our schedule, it comforts me and transforms through the year, as we school (a)round the wheel.  In and out breaths as the masters speak of in early childhood with anchor times, sleep, play, handwork and meaningful work are so very important.  They are important to me as the teacher and as a human in grounding to this earthly experience.  Life is intensive, but it all depends on how committed one is to the process and the path chosen.  I am working on my Calling and Mission and that changes as the faces and places change, but the sanctuary and the familiarity of home remains.

Farm and home.  For us this block blends nicely with our geographic location of Kentucky.  Bodies of water with as much shoreline as Alaska.  Rolling hills and knobs.  Bluegrass.  Large and small scale agriculture.  Farmer Boy, by Laura Ingalls Wilder is a good Wednesday read, coupled with our nature-farm jounral.  The boys draw pictures, write summaries and include math measurements or calculations to describe their work.  We raise a few chickens, a turkey and a rabbit with a cat and two dogs, along with a children’s garden.  That proves to be plenty of work for us.

Cursive has been pleasant and enjoyable.  I liken it to form drawing, so we do it two times a week.  After bringing forth the letters, we are now practicing cursive words and seasonal verses.

Early childhood is surfacing again with Cedar on the scene.  I am having things click for me that we did not have time for before.  The stories are becoming a part of me.  I have more of my planning together and props available.  I am slower, more mature.  Patient.  I imagine this comes with any teacher or parent.  The settling in.  It is comfortable and exciting.  The journey.  The Great Mystery ahead.  As time goes on I really note that honoring myself and honoring my family and friends is also loving myself.  And there is nothing wrong with that.  Most importantly my lessons have come from making mistakes or as the Elder’s say “learning.”  I realize when I am having a hard time it is due to the level of love I have for myself.  [HUGE!]

Admist the birth of our baby and a new school year we have also birthed our own family business that has grown over the last 12 years of hard work, and we will be celebrating our one year anniversary as Cedar turns one in October.  I am so proud of my husband for his work ethic, his talent and his ability to (at least) appear like he has left his work stress at the door.  When he enters the house, he gives us himself, which is a gift.  Check out http://www.coydogstudios.com or visit us on Facebook at Coydog Studios.  We are also on Instagram Coydog_Studios and Twitter.

Thank you for reading.  There will be more to come, as I find time.  Development, the grades and the spiritual nature of our process is important and it is yearning to find it’s way out of me and into words.  In the meantime visit me over at Pinterest as Nurturing Spirit and on Instagram as Healingoneself



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Good morning folks.  My post today is about big love, not about the holiday and consuming.  I am also not trying to change anyone’s mind here.  I just want to tell a story.

From my understanding Saint Valentine, the man, became a Saint because he had big love for his Creator.  In those days, the King told all his Knights they could not marry.  Marriage is a holy sacrament to Christians.  Marriage is considered an outer act of an inner decision to merge with your partner.  To unionize two energies.  Many people in these times also practice the marriage of their own energies, thus the inner spiritual act of marriage with oneself.

The King did not want the Knights to marry, so they would be dedicated and serve him.  Valentine, a priest, felt the King’s authority overshadowed God’s sacrament of marriage for all.  So Valentine spent much of his time marrying these Knight’s to their loved ones in secret, till the day came where he was arrested and brought to the Tower.  During Valentine’s stay until his death, he wrote many letters to loved ones signing “Your Valentine.”  The period in which Valentine lived was considered dark days in humanity for good reasons.  The veil of consciousness was begining to recede and draw us closer to Creator out of the watery infancy of the human race.  Today things are much better energetically, but we still have a ways to go concerning Unity consciousness and equality for not just humans, but all who reside on Mother Earth.

For me and my translation of this day I see a chance to raise my vibration.  And also an opportunity to think about how I show love for my Creator.  How do I show Big Love?  How do I Love in the face of authority?  There are many thoughts, but few true answers.  Compassion is one and patience is another.  Valentine chose to be true to his beliefs and serve.  So I will serve as well by raising my vibration and Being for my children, in my own backyard.  Let me not leave out that we study the ascended masters, the saints and all the religions.  All with intention to evolve and learn from the past, so that my Now will be more like Heaven.

Today will culminate a week spent making and giving home made items to those we love and passing along the good vibration with a hug and a smile.  Nothing mass consumed.  Everything with intention.  And one extra symbol of love in this home to remind us of our love and union.  Our Big Love.  Spirit Manifest.  The children.

Love to you.


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As I prepare ahead to school our children I have been reading all the notes my mentor Melisa Nielsen of Waldorf Essentials wrote, namely in the Handwork section.  She quotes Patricia Livingston’s book, Will-Developed Intelligence:  Handwork and Practical Art in the Waldorf School:

“The hands are a unique and beautiful part of the human being, and they bring us important, far-reaching experiences.  Therefore as teachers we must try to help the children become aware of their hands and of the great gifts they bestow on themselves and on others.  Their hands need to become skillful, sensitive, and strong so that they can accomplish many deeds.  Blind people get to know the world through their hands, but most people are unaware of the knowledge that can be gained when the hands are used in useful and sensitive ways.  Think of art and music!  Think of what physical work and daily tasks teach us.  Think of a handshake and what it tells us about another person.  We want the children to make things they love and enjoy and to work skillfully, always increasing their artistry.  Handwork should be relaxing and fun, and at the same time productive, involving strong will activity.  Nothing happens if you don’t use your hands and get to work!”

Somehow within me Spirit begs to be transformed and manifest – winter is inner growth time, like the roots in nature.  SOMEHOW February, a tough time for many home educators in the spiritual mundane, the unseen is hard at work planning and dreaming.  I say take to handwork!  Let balance be kept.  I was reminded very clearly where I am here in winter by beautiful artwork recently.

Artist Unknown

Artist Unknown

I have all these little creations within me begging to come out, begging to be discerned and transformed.  Like the picture above I close my eyes, but I am not blind.  Information, ideas, designs and healing stream forth through me, through my hands.  Wisdom may come through me and through my limbs to my hands and into the needle through which I sew.   My other handwork, so to speak, is caring for my new beautiful baby boy.  Nursing and holding.  Also, writing comes forth for me and I am trying to honor that creation here in my nurturing space.  Especially the teachings I am to bring forth to the kids in a creative way, such as Language Arts and Math through art. Nonetheless, it is February and I am told by those who reside in the Unseen to relax the thinking mind and allow the hands to become more alive and working.

One does have to become quiet first.  Stillness is active, not passive.  I believe we can transform ourselves, connect both sides of our brain and pass that on down to our children.  Anytime of the year is good for crafting, working and using the hands, but in February, Now, this is my answer.  I am being told to plan and to give creation a chance as my art of life.  Patricia Livingston goes on to say:

Working to transform the materials of the earth fosters inner growth and a sense of well-being in the children.  These lessons support and compliment other subjects in the school, helping to bring balance and wholeness to the education.”

We try to work with natural materials as often as possible.  Wool and cotton for example.  Eco arts and crafts fall naturally to the children when they are outdoors sitting on Mother Earth playing.  Touching, feeling, creating, even destroying is a part of that process.  Many people believe destruction is a very yang perspective, but I see it as a very feminine perspective as well.  The womb, the dark waters of creation, the unseen, the powerful roiling sea within us that wrecks to make way.  The balance must exist.

What illusory boundaries are you destroying in your inner and outer world to make way for the new?  Spring is nigh!  What are you doing with your will?  What are you doing with your hands?  This is all part of the work.  My work as a true Human Being, here at Nurturing Spirit.  Thank you for letting me share.

Follow me on Instagram for Visuals.

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Beeswax anything has become a tradition in our household.  We dip tapers, roll sheets into tapers, dip nature items, and use it in salves and wood polishes.  Have I missed something?  Well, as the cold creeps in with a breeze, I find myself shuffling around in house shoes, and no longer flip flops.  Fleece and wool clothing begin to surface.  And the aroma of beeswax keeps our souls warm.

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The images and scents we display help to remind us of our own inner light, as our gaze shifts inward during fall.  The place where we are warmed from the inside out.  We created a Fire Fairy to put with our Nature Table.  A table that is ever changing with the seasons.  It includes the felt decorations sewn by me and the children, the hanging beeswax dipped items, our knitted gnome friend Sam, and his Community’s harvest.  The kids and I have a story we go by every week about Sam the gnome and his forest friends.  This story continues the entire year, and we act it out on our nature table.  Our nature table is located on the top of a small bookcase.  The bookcase contains all of our natural, wildlife, outdoors and homesteading books and magazines.  Along with a bug container, some finds in nature, and a magnifying glass and binoculars.  Our nature table and stories are the heart of our Circle Time together.  How do you use beeswax?  What does your nature table look like?

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September is a month where our Waldorf-inspired curriculum teaches us to explore and enjoy a festival called Michaelmas.  Archangel Michael, if you recall, cast Lucifer out of Heaven.  Well, Archangel Michael also had an earthly counterpart, St. George of Merry England.  George was known for battling and slaying dragons.  The story reflects our inner dragons or fears and is a wonderful teaching, especially to children who are going thru “the change” as it is affectionately called.  We each have light and dark within us.  We must battle our darkness at times and learn to honor and integrate within.  All month long we are doing activities and crafts building up to the festival.  We promise to take you on the journey. 

Here is a book I have brought forward this week by Margaret Hodges.  St. George and the Dragon.  The book is filled with beautiful illustrations and has given me great ideas, as I will be sewing and crafting to decorate our home for this aspect of our education.

After reading the story the boys were inspired to dress up and play St. George and the Dragon.  W and R will also have their opportunity this month to make a wooden sword and sheild.  The sword and sheild are a part of more handwork us parent-teachers are integrating into our children’s education, beginning with planning and drawing, cutting, sanding and painting. We are hoping the sense of pride in making objects by hand will teach respect and gratitude.  Handwork will strengthen the boys hands and fingers to assist them in drawing and writing in these early grades.  Gross motor to fine motor.  First here is a picture or two of W and R pretending to have a shield (R crossing his arms), and W with his sword (bamboo stick).  The red cape and felt crown are from W’s birthday another year, but we will modify this outfit to make a knight’s outfit.  R wants to be a Prince.  We thought a warrior and a prince were very fitting. 

 Tomorrow I will be in the Studio creating felt banners and flags of St. George’s Sheild in relation to the imagery for the month.  Stay tuned as we continue on this enchanting adventure.

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Harvest season in Kentucky is on.  We have visited one apple orchard already, and plan to visit another farm next week with play mates.  While visiting these beautiful places in our home state we have begun to weave stories.  Currently we are digging into the Four Processes of Waldorf Math.  W, who is 7 1/2 helps to spin stories about gnomes and apples.  Addition, or Plus, the Green Gnome is busy collecting and adding all the apples for the Gnome Kingdom.  Subtraction Gnome, or Blue Gnome, is busy Taking Away or Subtracting rotten apples.  Multiplication Gnome, or Yellow Gnome is the Record Keeper.  After his helpers have grouped the apples in baskets, Yellow Gnome Multiplies all the apples for the Kingdom’s records.  Divide, the Red Gnome will be in charge of Dividing the apple bounty to the Kingdom.

The Four Processes

To help with manipulatives W has sewn four gnome hats, with pouches for gemstones.  Taking a full week to sew these four hats and pouches has helped to foster a sense of worker’s pride with W.  These gemstones represent the apples in our stories, and he uses them to practice achieving the answers.  For example, when learning multiplication today we focused on the ways we can make 12.  12 = 6 x 2 and 12 = 4 x 3, 12 = 3 x 4 and 12= 2 x 6, 12 = 12 x 1 and 12 = 1 x 12.  Whole to parts.  Adding and Subtraction was pretty easy, but Multiplication is bending W’s brain a little.  I am trying to keep W knitting one row a day to allow his brain to cross the midline and stretch his sense of learning.

Sewing the Gnome hat and pouch instills a sense of worker’s pride.

I am introducing all the four processes at once to create a little freedom, although we are working one by one right now to find a deeper understanding.  Once we have finished with Divide, we will continue to spin stories in the Kingdom, allowing for each of the four Gnomes to contribute an answer to any possible story problem the + – x / run into.

Right now we are entering our math problems and word problems, such as twelve equals one times twelve into our practice book.  Soon we will draw some detailed pictures with  math problems into the Main Lesson Book, which is W’s portfolio book for first grade.

To get ourselves ready for math, we  are spending Circle Time speaking and singing verses and saying tongue twisters for oral dexterity.  More about Circle Time in another post.

In the Kingdom there are other things going on too.  Not only are the Gnomes collecting apples during Harvest Season, but the Kingdom is getting ready for the Michaelmas Festival.  Archangel Michael, St. George, the Knight and Dragons all coming up in September.  Stay tuned for a month of crafts, stories and more.

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