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Archive for the ‘Spiritual’ Category

Hi friends. We took a nice break, back when we were feeling a little burned out. Then we picked our work back up and completed 6th and 4th grade, plus drew our preschooler more and more into our rhythmic space. Everyone has really grown. My heart is full seeing my handsome boys shine before my eyes.

We are still doing a couple hours of school a few days a week. I call it Summer School Lite. The oldest, Little Eagle, goes to the wood shop three mornings a week, and practices living math, communications, and working wood, beginning with the most humble tasks. He is also doing the Geology/Mineralogy/Astronomy block. We are just getting started there, using the Charles Kovacs book, and the Waldorf Rocks and Mineral guide, by Meredith Floyd Preston.

My middle guy, Little Fox, is finishing up the Human and Animal block. He just completed the bear, a trunk animal. We decided to write a poem, instead of a summary, for this assignment. He also did a little bit of Freehand Geometry, by drawing a geometric bear with angles. I love how we create our own Main Lesson books. Little Fox finished off his poem with bear prints.

Math is always happening. I’m that mom:teacher. I love maths. Not until I began to study math the waldorf way, did I understand that math is sacred and beautiful. So we will have some daily practice in what the boys learned, in 4th and 6th, over the summer. Measurement, fractions, the four processes, Geometry, and decimals.

This week we are preparing to send one child to church camp, back in KY, and another to grandma camp, also in KY. I am staying home, in Indiana, with our 4 year old, and really giving him some special attention.

My hopes for the summer are to camp on our country property as often as possible, hit up the pool a couple times a week, and alternate going to the zoo, botanical gardens, art museum, and science center. We have cousins coming in July for a couple weeks. They have normally lived abroad, but moved back to the states at Christmas, so we will see them a little more.

I am looking forward to beginning 1st grade wet-on-wet watercolor painting, with Waldorfish. There are 12 lessons that promise to demystify the colors, set-up and verses. I have experience with wet-on-wet over the years, but I hope to deepen my study this summer, so I can prepare to teach 1st grade again, when Little Bear turns 7.

I also purchased Painting through the Festivals by Waldorfish, and I am so excited to again deepen our experience during our favorite holy days.

Years ago, back on my childhood Kentucky Farm, my relationship with the plant and animal kingdom began. In my 20’s and 30’s I deepened my knowledge of herbs, learning to formulate medicine from plants, create soaps, salves, tinctures, hair rinses and pretty much anything our family needed. As time went on, we studied the plants through art, like watercolor painting and drawing. I began our boys with nature journaling, around age 5, so we have been slow and steadily building our wisdom of plant identification. We studied animals and the human in 4th, plants in 5th, and played games, like Wildcraft. Handwork, like embroidery and needle felting nature has really created dimension within our studies.

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Since moving, I have reinvigorated my desire for learning about the plant kingdom. I have begun foraging locally, throughout the seasons, and recently have become obsessed with cut and foraged flowers. I have always put together rustic bouquets, but I may be ready now for growing my garden, and expanding my skills with creating those lovely bouquets. We’ve always had a small children’s garden, with culinary herbs and medicinal perineals, but I believe it’s time to expand and learn in my 40’s.  I have visions of a small cut garden, and dreams of dinner parties, styling out the table and eating and drinking with our new community.

What will you be up to this summer?

Slide on over to Instagram and check out my posts and Stories @nurturing_spirit

Also, if you are planning this summer, I’ve curated preschool and most of the grades over on Pinterest. Feel free to scroll around when the day is too hot, with a cold glass of lemonade at your side.

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I just finished visiting Amber Hellewell’s blog, Hearth Magic – She is looking for magic, and she had a brilliant thought, in her latest post The Curse of the Main Lesson Book (MLB). It actually reminded me of several things Julie, from Bravewriter has said recently. Ok, I am going to say it. We have Main Lesson Book burnout. It may be more than burnout. We moved this year, as I have mentioned in recent posts. We have kept up as many lessons as we can on certain days of the week, dedicated to Main Lesson studies. But, my main goal is to stay essential, and reach the child in any creative way I can.

This past year with moving I will admit some of my burdens and stresses have been on the unknown. How this move will turn out? Will the boys eventually go to public school? And many more personal questions. There are wonderful things happening and being revealed to us each week, but we have been carrying other invisible burdens that have affected our daily lives. For one, we are All changing, and how we express ourselves is changing. This isn’t a burden, it’s actually a gift, but the change is taxing. We need more rest. We need to honor ourselves more in this part of the journey. Here’s how I really feel at the moment.

 

 

How well will I learn this lesson at the moment? Will I receive it? How open will I be in allowing myself to transform in the chrysalis, and how much will it hurt emerging through to the other side? Will I recognize myself? Is it me stepping toward my Truth and Real Self. I do believe that is part of it. As a teacher, mama, visionary, woman, warrior, healer, I recognize there is deep healing going on. In the Waldorf pedagogy, one begins to recognize head, hearts and hands as a healing philosophy. It’s a vehicle for healing. That’s what I love about it. The ultimate lesson for us is learning to create, manifest, dream and make those dreams real. Love, forgiveness, compassion, grace all happen to be part of the healing and manifesting.

I have always tried to honor my boys, when it comes to their gifts and challenges. But, lately this past year our struggle has been with the Main Lesson Book. Keeping up with it so rigorously is very stressful. Partly because of our temperaments. Partly because I need to find a process which allows the true writer within us to emerge. Our process needs to change right now. We need to enter into the intuitive writer within ourselves. If I do not do this right now for myself and our children, I pass the portal-the gateway that is being offered to us, and ceremoniously reflected (mirrored) to us in our struggles. Like Amber says of her oldest child, he loves retelling her the stories with excitement. And, he loves drawing his own stories. We each have our gifts, but this way is best for him at the moment. I honor Amber for Seeing this in her child.

My children have their strengths and vulnerabilities. One of my guys is a valiant storyteller and artist. He can write stories, but has struggled and grown, because he is unafraid to make mistakes, or to fail. One of my guys is much more reserved in his storytelling and writing. He has a rich inner world though. Part of my trickster-teacher-mama inner-work and guidance must figure out a way to get him to write fluidly, without overthinking the perfectionism, the mechanical. It makes a person frozen, and we have to figure out a way to unfreeze and allow that water to flow. I believe beginning grammar and mechanics too early will hinder some temperaments. Children need to be unafraid to write, without the distraction. I mean how many of you want to write a blog post/a book, but never start for fear of All the Things. Something I keep hearing over and over in many circles, and whispers in my ear, Journal. Journaling can be the gateway. It’s intuitive. Blogging is my way of journaling and communicating. Why, because I have a need within me to do so, and I want to share and serve my community in a way related to the Arts.

 

 

I added the above meditation for you and me. I can really Feel that many of you are experiencing an open third eye at this time, but it’s the throat chakra that is needing the clearing. Perhaps the throat chakra of our school, Eagle Tree needs clearing as well. Our school is an organism, and I at times must meditate, pray, and get out of my own way. This is what the Teacher does. Importantly, this is what Humans must do. Get out of our own way. I want to give you a practical list below on ways you can get out of your own way right now, and open up your throat chakra. Your communication chakra for yourself, and for the organism that is your homeschool and family!

1.Use your voice, or as my littlest one has recently been saying “boice.” Synchronicity. Over the past couple weeks my little guy has just been repeating or saying out loud the word “boice.” He is contemplating his own voice. Our voices. The yelling voices. The whispering voices. The singing voices. The storytelling voices. Use your voice in a fresh, creative way. Sing, chant, hum or whistle. Chant in the shower, whistle as you do your chores, hum to yourself as you cook. Use your pipes!

2. Use your mouth in other ways. Scream! It’s fun. Laugh! Yawn. Kiss. Groan. Sigh. Stick your tongue out far in Lion Pose.

3. Pick up a musical instrument. A kazoo. A flute. A harmonica!

4. Play some music! If playing a musical instrument is not your thing, crank some tunes next time you are cooking, gardening, running, driving or hanging out. Sing-along. Listen to whatever you enjoy!

5. Clean Food. I follow the tarot, because I believe it is a unique way to follow my intuition through artistic renderings of the archetypes. One has been popping up for me lately and that is Clean Food. It is meant for our whole family. Recently, loads of happy mail came from my mom and Amazon. A gluten-free artisan bread recipe book. I have seen examples of my friends success with it on IG. The Medical Medium book has had synchronicity in aiding the throat chakra/thyroid area. I am using Anthony Williams protocol, as a nice guide for healing the body all the way, deep, deep down to our tiny little cells and tissues. I’m aiming to transform. The butterfly will be here soon.

6. Journal. Expressing yourself on paper is one of the most cathartic things you can do to release your inner truth. Write letters to yourself. Write letters to your children. Write notes to your spouse or partner. Write a blog. Write a book! Write out your dreams, wishes, gratitudes, desires, and inner feelings.

One thing I am going to do today is listen to an audio and then write out my business/family vision in detail. I am going to give as much detail to it as I can and cover a range of 10 years. I am taking a Visionary Business Introductory Course, via Daily Om. Journaling is one of the best ways to invite spontaneous insight, understanding and growth into our lives. It is truly a way to dig deeper. And as I have mentioned in my Instagram Stories, it is truly a time of deep ancestral healing. How are we living our truth? How are we healing across time and space? We are the ones we have been waiting for mamas. I know you have heard that before. We are great healers and teachers. Now is the time to break those karmic contracts we did not sign up for. The ways we act, the limiting beliefs, the self-loathing, the inability to Slow down and walk in beauty, as my old teacher Grandmother Jeremie would say. Let’s walk in beauty and allow our children the space they need, the occasional push they need, the creative outlets that works for each of them. It is a hard job, it is a job for creatives. But, we signed up for it. As a matter of fact, we eagerly placed ourselves here and now, for This Job.

So, weeks back we tossed off the Main Lesson Books, and began to walk the Path of Peace. Well, not all days were peaceful. There were some fights, miscommunications, misunderstandings, hormones (teen and adult), tears, some laughter, some singing, loootttsss of breathing, as much sleep as possible. Super clean food, which is Loads of work. Exhausting some days. My life is messy, hard, and challenging. I have three free-spirited boys with different learning abilities. I have my own sensitivities, challenges and demands. It doesn’t make me a worse-case for the job, because of my stressors. It makes me the perfect person for the job, if I am willing to look darkness and change in the face. I may cry. I may need more sleep. I may look like a ragged warrior or even perhaps Shield Maiden coming off the field of battle, but I have never backed down from a job. I may Shift, or change footing, but I am up for this healing life I have been called to.

How’s that for expressing my throat chakra. (cackles like a witch.)

 

Artist Unknown.

 

Artist Unknown.

 

 

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Good day folks! Join me over on Instagram for a GIVEAWAY of this lovely piece, called Full Circle, pattern by Cozy Blue. I want to share LIGHT and KINDNESS with this GIVEAWAY, so LIKE and TAG a friend in the COMMENTS. GIVEAWAY closes, Monday, December 26th, at 4p.m. My children will choose a winner!

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Monday we decided to create our wool Christmas angel, from Happy Hedgehog Post. The angel is our first project with the December envelope. The plan is to do the next project the following Monday as to keep a rhythm this month, but allowing for flexibility during the holidays.  If you have felt intimidated to create a roving fairy or angel, release it. I felt the same, but ordered a May envelope a year ago and willed it forth. We made a spring fairy, then an autumn fairy, now a Christmas angel. I chose these colors and theme, because we already have seasonal wintery decor of whites, blues, purples and silver. Some traditional red and green are nice.

What handcrafts are you up to this month?

I am still embroidering the piece called Full Circle, by Cozy Blue, although I made a lot of progress yesterday. Only a few details left, then I need to put energy into what I will do with it. Sometimes projects happen like that, out of the need to create regardless of the purpose. I also have a blanket I have been working on for two years, too long. It is what it is though, as a mother of three sons, and self-employed. I create so much with our children, because it is where I am in my life, and it is where they are in their life. Experimenting with crafts and handwork, materials and tools. We try to encourage building skill sets.

What skill sets have you learned? What more would you like to learn?

Friends, it is time for me to begin the next small task of the day, so I must go. A snack, a Christmas craft – some bead work. I hope your week is blessed, as we pray for Gatlinburg and Standing Rock. Fire and water. Breath and grounding.

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August paid off with planning, and our rest, travel and play enriched us enough to focus daily on our tasks for the past month and a half. We began our new school year, as year rounders back in April. So when September hit, we were beginning the final stretch after a break. I make sure we are learning with in and out breaths, developing the best process for our heads, hearts and hands. That is how we came naturally to schooling this way. Intuition, meditation, prayer, focus, intent, manifestation.

Deepening our painting skills, we have learned a bit about Botany, with the Charles Kovac book. Geography skills have been expanded through music lessons, stories, and real life experience. I have learned more about the Old Testament stories by taking them in to my Soul and teaching, which has in turn helped me to become a more multi-dimensional teacher. It helps that I used one set of resources the first time I taught 3rd, and another set of resources this second time around. Waldorf Essentials has always been my lamp post though! 5th grade has taken us to Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and into the lap of Buddha. Teaching 3rd and 5th at the same time has its teacher incentives, when subjects become intermingled. In other words, I have begun to deepen my own personal web of life. Everything is interrelated.

Our handwork rhythm has deepened and that makes me proud. Needle Point (with yarn) and Embroider (with thread/floss) has enriched our Souls using our Hands. Freehand Geometry is taking shape through a few Waldorf resources and I am having fun presenting the sacredness of the universe through Math, to my little learner. I intend to join the embroidering world and math in the next cycle of my teaching. I have a great recommendation for a book assisting with this, on my IG account. Also, please take a look at my personal embroider work project, which is stitch by stitch prayers for the Standing Rock Reservation against the Dakota Access Pipeline #nodapl  –  It is a pattern by @cozyblue, called Full Circle. This can be found #WIP style on IG.

Another one of my little learners will play in his 5th Suzuki violin recital in a couple weeks, And he is blossoming in our Cooking Class. So many good things. My littlest learner is unfolding beautifully in our Waldorfy prek circle, at my home church. The Circle Time was taken on by our Children’s Minister, in which we are so grateful. Once a week for an hour and a half we get together with 5/6 other families to sing, sign, hear stories, do crafts, move, shake and laugh. We come as we are, 2 to 4 years of age, at the moment. So many good things are evolving for the Wolf Pack, and Eagle Tree Homeschool. Teaching 3 age levels at the same time is a challenge, but with self care, time management, organization and Love as the centerpiece, it can be done.

If you are interested in speaking with me about my experience with Waldorf Essentials, I am now a (TFW) Thinking, Feeling, Willing Leader. Please comment below or contact me healingoneself@gmail.com. TFW is a blessing and gives you access to organized, essential mama lessons. Not only will Melisa hold your hand, if you are willing to do the inner work, but I will be nearby local, in Kentucky. It helps to have community.

Follow me over on IG @nurturing_spirit  for daily Waldorfy goodness.

If I have already referred you to Melisa and WE and you would like to be added to my secret Facebook group, just message me. I will add you. I plan to post videos, links to songs I sing for Circle Time or the Seasons and personal wisdom on homeschooling, mothering, marriage, and being self-employed (see www.coydogstudios.com and on IG @coydog~studios).

I also have a secret Facebook group for Handwork, if you wish to message me, I will add you there as well.

I have also organized homeschooling resources and other lifestyle pursuits over on Pinterest.

We have been using Waldorf Essentials curriculum for a number of years. I have taught both Kindy through Third twice, as well as Fourth and Fifth once through. I have had the honor to hold space for the preschool years three times, with my three sons, ages 11, 9 and now 3. Join me, if you wish and I will do my best to guide you as I can. Life is a journey, and we can take it day by day together.

 

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It has been five full moons since we started 5th and 3rd grades. There is so much to recapture.

In fifth grade we began with stories from Africa, then Egypt. Little Eagle read the book Maia of Thebes, his largest book ever. Then, we covered the main gods and goddess’ in Greek Myths and the boys listened to some audio stories, which speak a lot about the demi gods and other characters. We have spent this whole time reviewing 4th grade math on a daily basis, with a few problems to keep our minds sharp. During what used to be Circle time when Little Eagle was younger, we now replace with math review, form drawing, music and daily reading. We are also pushing through with fractions.

My resources for 5th include Waldorf Essentials as our mainstay, D’Aulaires Greek Myths book, Key to Fractions and a cheap 4th grade math book, from which I pull daily review.  Monday’s we try to paint nature, and I usually allow the boys to choose their subject. Whatever inspires them. I am working on a Master List of resources, but it will take some time to organize. I hope to make separate posts covering the different aspects of the grades and subjects as well as time goes on.

Soon, we will start our block on Botany and the teachings will be more specific in the study of plant wisdom, but this has always been important to us. We have covered some, but not all of the Herb Fairy stories. Also, Little Eagle began ukulele in the spring, as he was gifted his own concert size uke and lessons at the local folk school. As part of movement for 5th grade, I set up a corner dedicated to yoga and provided a reader on meditation 101, which satisfies the Movement portion of 5th grade, as well as exploring the spiritual practice of the body. Last week, both big boys began and are alternating a yoga/hoop/dance/chant class. They will have wood shop most of the day, then end by going to the movement class.

We are on break at the moment, after Lammas, cleaning and organizing the house, and going to visit with family in from Germany. And now every mama I know has her calendar out planning away till the end of the year, if not beyond. We are also back at church, and getting the kids settled in to some great little circles. Little Bear is starting a circle time called Little Acorns, that my lovely friend Mrs. Elle will be leading. It is based on the Little Acorn Learning curriculum, and will be housed at our church. We are so excited all our friends 2-5 years old will be in the group. Little Bear also started the pre-k class at church on Sunday’s, which is Montessori based worship. They have a lovely rhythm with story that includes wood figures and felt, then an activity and feast. It is very similar to Circle Time in the Waldorf tradition.

When 5th grade starts back we still have so much to cover through the end of November. Hinduism and the creation story, Buddhism and the four noble truths and eight fold path. Then, we will cover Ancient Persia and Zarathustra, which is modern-day Iran. Within this scope of time we will also cover freehand geometry, which will be a jumping off point for using tools like the compass and protractor.

3rd grade feels easier compared to 5th, which makes sense. Most people looking outside of the Waldorf tradition believe that the curriculum is bogus, because one does not start the child with letters and numbers formally till age 7, in first grade. The curriculum and more importantly lifestyle does look different for each family, since we are all unique, but at the same time we are all working with the whole child. Movement-the body, the brain, and the emotions are all intertwined. They are forms of intelligence that grow at varying rates and all need attention and meditation on the parent/teachers part. The child may be stronger in the brain/mental aspect, so drawing the child into their body is a good way to balance out. During the first 7 years of life, the physical body is the focus. Ages 7-14 focus on the emotional life. 14-21 draw the child into their mental/thinking life. This curriculum is intensive. It’s a work of art. Inner work on my part is vital on a daily basis.

So, 3rd grade we have been using Jakob Streit’s book, And Then There Was Light for the Old Testament. A couple of years ago we used Pearl S. Buck’s, Story Bible. I really like it, but thought this year we could use the other resources I already owned. We are using Jewish Festivals, A Family Treasury, to cover Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Hanukkah this fall and winter, as well as book suggestions from the Jewish Library and Chabad dot org.

We are also looking more at multiplication and divide, plus multiple digit addition and subtraction with carrying and borrowing. I do use an inexpensive workbook to pull from our daily review for math. Circular calendars continue to be used to measure time and I just gifted Little Fox a new watch to work on measuring time. It is a basic black Timex watch with velcro strap. Little Fox is continuing with Suzuki violin. We switched to fiddle/Suzuki and a different teacher during the summer, but after giving it a shot, we found Little Fox flowed better with his original teacher. Little Fox is about to get his turn at Movement class this week. They are borrowing my hula hoop at the moment, which is too big, but I am going to allow them to make their own hoop soon with cool duct tape to wrap it.

We start back to school September 6th, after my 14 year wedding anniversary and 39th birthday. September is my favorite month, and fall is my favorite season. To end the month, we will have a Michaelmas celebration with our private co-op group at my house. We have decided on the Waldorf Essentials story of Super Sam and the dragon, with an obstacle course for the kids. We have asked everyone to make a loaf of bread, that will become a large dragons body, with roving as fire coming from the dragons mouth. I have a large stash of fabric and notions gifted to me, so I plan to share the bounty that day as well. Instead of buying more plastic drawers and cramming stuff in, it is easier to share with friends the abundance, and have nice easier to open drawers with everything organized.

My prayers are with you and your harvest as autumn approaches. The sun has given us Light, our bodies have stretched and grown, and the time for learning and introspection nears.

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In the bear’s cave of winter bubbles start to rise and pop in the dream space. The abyss is close by. The bear is sleepy, yet awake.  The mind has dials set to meditate and welcomes symbols and messages that will give directional guidance. That bear is me, and the symbol that came was the Makara Mudra, as I set intention on India, and the spiritual practice of the body.  As a teacher and a parent I have married the seasons, nature, Creator, my Self and the subjects in right-relationship. Our children came through me, so being a hollow bone during this time for them, as well as working on how I get in my own way is paramount.  It’s contradictory, and the struggle is real.

I try to remain open to the messages that become my teachings. Mudra’s are hand gestures that can influence the energy of the body. The Makara Mudra is a blessing, as it activates a resevoir of energy.  Winter is a time when we may activate that reservoir of energy to pull through a time of low energy, depression or overburdened tasks.  Makara is the name of a crocodile in Indian mythology. Crocodiles are known for their strength, which can be mobilized very quickly. Sometimes, many times I need access quickly to a reservoir of strength or energy as a mama.  Don’t you?!

January and February, as well as a few months into the school year are times when I have spread myself thin, or perhaps have not received the proper rest it takes to teach and parent and own a business.  When I looked into the Mudra that I intuitively chose I knew immediately Creator wished for me to know the gesture. I am learning so much, and in doing so I am planning out the year for the boys.  We are starting to embrace yoga more daily and I am researching some dancing, so we may bring our teachings to the body.  The whole child.

Here is a link if you would like to look further into the Makara Mudra.

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