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Posts Tagged ‘homeschooling’

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As I find myself coming to the end of one cycle with Happy Hedgehog Post as a Brand Rep, new adventures are arising for our family. Sometimes adventures happen very quickly, and the next thing you know, you are putting one foot in front of the other. For my family, we are finding that after almost 11 years (in May 2017), we are picking up roots and replanting ourselves. We have been blooming and growing in Kentucky. We married in North Carolina and had our first son, Little Eagle. Then, we moved to Kentucky and immediately got pregnant with Little Fox. About 7 years later I got pregnant with Little Bear. So most of our children’s Early Childhood, walking the Waldorf inspired path, has been in one place. Now it is time to go on a new adventure together. We are moving to Amish Country, in Northern Indiana. Life will be different. We have lived on almost 4 acres in the country for the past 11 years, but we are moving into a rental (temporarily) in town. It is a quaint town, where I can walk to yoga and the farmer’s market within 5 minutes. There is a 26 acre park right in town as well. And, grandma lives a few streets over. At some point we will move back out to the country, once we find the right place. UPDATED to add : We have found a place to live and a workshop for our family business!

Meanwhile, I have been asked by Amber at Hearth Magic to review her lovely two-part PDF download that she has listed on Etsy. Tonight I downloaded and previewed the learning guide. It is very thorough. Our journey will include reading The Hobbit one chapter at a time and doing crafts, activities and pairing that with food! I am not sure who is more excited, the kids or me!

So! Over the next couple months, as we move and settle in, I hope to post some of our adventures. Our journey. Until then, head over to Etsy and check out Amber’s listing. If anything Favorite her listing, as you stay tuned to see more of my review.

The Hobbit Family Learning Adventure Guide

 

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Here’s a peak at what we got into the first couple weeks of February. Making candles came first right at Candlemas. Candlemas is the time of year where we make as many candles as possible and bless them for the year. There is something special about this ritual that is like no other. We have alway Loved to use beeswax candles, lighting them for school and during meals. It never gets old. This year we made little votive candles with xoxo’s, hearts, cupid hearts with arrows, and even one with a bunny. Red, pink and white. It really was the first time that I have cut out shapes and letters from pressed beeswax to decorate the outside of the candles. So, even after years of homeschooling and living within the realm of Waldorf — I still found something new to do.

Next up I began embroidering the little heart pouch pictured above. I have found one of my favorite types of handwork is indeed embroidery. My grandmother taught me around the ages of 7-9 years old. I would sit and embroider little birds and flowers on hankerchiefs and pillow cases, while we watched Little House on the Prairie. I will always hold those memories dear.

Lastly, we made our little gnome couple. It was the first time I had made a peg person with hair, so again each year and each season I am spiraling forward and creating dimension in the handwork I do. There’s something comforting about that. Knowing each day, and each season that what I do not accomplish or get done, I can always work towards the next year.

Well, my time as Happy Hedgehog Brand Rep has come to an end. The three months went by pretty quickly, and it I am so blessed to have had the opportunity. Thank you for following along on my posts here and on IG.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours. I love celebrating love and gratitude. It doesn’t matter if society dedicates one day, as the commercial holiday. Love is definitely meant to be celebrated.

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Hi friends!

I am excited to announce over the next three months you are welcome to Follow me over on IG @Nurturing_Spirit to witness handwork creations in progress! Samantha of Happy Hedgehog Post creates a monthly envelope of seasonal crafts for Waldorf inspired families. They are perfect handwork kits for beginners and busy families, and I will be one of the new reps! There are months where I do not have as much time to gather the supplies I need to continue doing handwork in front of my children, so this kit has been motivating!

Growing up my grandmother was an amazing person who created so much with her hands. She crocheted, created dolls, and sewed up a storm. She sewed a lot by hand, but I also remember the hum of her sewing machine most days that I visited. In the process, I observed and participated in my own projects. This was a starting point for my handwork growth. As an adult I strive to practice daily handwork projects in front of my three boys, usually with soft goods. My husband, the artist and operator behind Coydog Studios usually handles the hard goods handwork for our children, on wood shop days.

Subscribe today and get 10% off your first order, when you sign up for HHP news. I would love to have you creating and crafting alongside me.

 

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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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Often on my journey I find myself in conversations about homeschooling. Schooling is my day job and bound to come up.  I entered into parenting 10 years ago, and homeschooling seriously about 6 years ago.  I have had those 6 years to pray, work and be consulted in doing the best job I can.

I am not any different from those of you that wake, dress and leave your home to a job.  All of it takes diligence, perseverance, intention, striving, courage at times, study, reflection and consulting.  I do have a consultant and private groups that I can turn to at any moment for coaching.  I also spend my time helping others after I have walked the path.  We all have support for each other, if we are willing to give and receive.

Many folks say they aren’t sure how I am able to do it.  I can understand that.  I also feel that I cannot do the jobs of others as well.  For example, I could not or do not want to be a lawyer, a public school teacher, a wood worker, and an accountant to name a few.  Those positions are just not on my radar. However, as I began to have children, Creator began to place on my radar that of teacher at-home.  I had Never heard of homeschooling before a lady in my nearby town planted the seed in my heart.  As time moved on and the children grew I found myself teaching them.  I am my children’s first teacher after all.  We all are teachers as parents, our children imitate us and learn from us.

At one point we put my oldest child in pre-school for 1 1/2 years, but we could see that even though the school was good, the experience was not working for us as a Whole family.  I did not just consider my experience, or the oldest child’s experience, or my baby’s experience at the time, or dad’s.  I considered All of our experiences, weighed them on my heart and mind, prayed daily and listened.  Creator always showed me the path of peace.  In the end, through all my doubt and questions, I found our way to peace through schooling at home. It works best for us.

I know many people believe there are many homeschooling parents that just do not do the work and give the good teachings to their children.  It takes guidance through life and helping them to unfold.  Well, I am most certain that is the case. I am also certain there are many parents with children in public and private school that are not able to guide their children and help them to unfold either.  Many schools let children fall through the cracks.  Many parents do as well.  This is a fact because I meet them as adults and they tell me so.  It does come down to the parents, and their healing and how they relate to their children.  This is what I Love about my curriculum.  It comes with work.  Mama work.  Teacher work. Family work.  Marriage work.  It All matters.  Relationship.  Connecting.  Struggle and success.  I have to do my work everyday.  Not only do I have to study a lot, I have to get up before my children.  I have to meditate, read, care for myself and pray.

Another thing on folk’s minds concerning homeschoolers is socialization. Homeschool children are very social, and some are not.  I believe some of it has to do with temperament.  I have met many private and public schooled children who are not social, but it is because they are introverts perhaps and just prefer one-on-one interactions or small groups, as opposed to large classrooms, big parties and so on.  So, I feel it is the same for homeschoolers. My children are very social and loving creatures, but half of us are introverts, so we prefer small groups, one-on-one or the like.  The other half of us are extroverts, there are five of us at home, so we always have each other. My children get opportunities at church or our other spiritual communities, the grocery, my husband’s open house night (trolley art hop), visiting grandparents and cousins, Valentine’s parties at the coffee shop, and well the list goes on.  I also believe that children under 7 do not need to be overly socialized.  Home is a good place.  Rhythm is a good thing.  This is just my experience and observation, as well as study.

There will always be some child or adult that lacks what they need, and it is up to the adult regardless to help make a change.  There may not be guiding adults in some children’s lives as we can look around the world and our community and see, but hopefully there is some program or individual willing to go the extra mile to bring a smile, hope or inspiration.  It is not for us to judge a persons experience, so much as discern whether we can help or not.

I am not writing this to convince anyone of anything.  I don’t think that is necessary.  However, I did want to write about my experiences and conversations with others.  I speak with mama’s all the time who have terrible experiences out in public, or online where they are judged.  And I speak with mamas’s who are out and about or conversate online with others and they feel very supported.  This post is how I view life around homeschooling and navigating this particular path.  If homeschooling is coming up over and over in your thoughts, then there may be something to it. Pray about it.  Talk to someone.  If you think you can’t do it, you might not be able to, or you may just suffer from doubt and lack of confidence. Home educating isn’t for everyone.  This path is for me though.  I am a teacher.  I enjoy what I do day-to-day.  I love my boys and want to be with them a lot.

Do I need breaks?  Yes, totally.  Do I get as many as I probably need or like? No, but this is a season of my life and I have learned boundaries and limits and when to take an in-breath and an out-breath.  I bet many of you feel the same.  Many of you who leave the home and work and have children, or stay home also wish you could take a break and not feel guilty about caring for yourself!  This is parenting and living. Some of you have the blessings of a great local community, and even large family who can help you often.

In short, we are all in this life together, just different paths.  I am no different from you, except I have my own thoughts on life as you have your own.  I am no stronger than you, and you are no better than me.  We all have something to do here on earth and if you are walking your path, you’ll know it because it will feel good to you.  I feel good.  Do I struggle?  Absolutely!!  Do I become wiser because I work through that struggle, I certainly hope so!

Let me know your experience.  Do you homeschool?  Do you want to?  Do you know others who homeschool?  Do you work a career outside of the home? Is that exciting for you?  Do your kids go to public or private school?  How is that working for you?  If they are getting what they need there and you are also able to guide them, then that is great!

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This is a deeply personal story of healing.  A short story, as far as stories go.  The important parts are here.  A story of healing and humility.  A story of a heroine and a villain.  Sometimes they are one in the same.

The year of the (work) horse has been a year of challenges for my family and it has been filled with internal struggle that has neatly unfolded into chaos in our outer world.  As a spiritual person I seek the path of peace.  Comfort and heaven.  But I do not deny my shadow side.  The darkness otherwise known as the womb from whence we came. To many people I am seen as strong, too strong probably. Positive. Believing.  Perhaps people see through me.  Am I transparent?  I do Believe!  I am positive and authentic.  But internally I have had a different dialogue competing with God’s plan.

First know that I am a stay at home mother, called by Creator to home educate our children.  This path comes with a lot of inner work.  For some time now though I have been denying what Creator has been telling me all along. Creator TRUSTS me to raise our children in the way I have been Called forth.  However, with my egoic self-talk I have continually repeated over and over that I am a failure, and I have held high expectations over myself that anyone would have a hard time reaching.  I doubt.  I punish myself for every.  little.  thing.  I allow others to judge me or not understand my path and then I take that burden upon myself, when it is their perception or truth.  I sometimes have little self-worth or self-love.  Meet the villain.

Shame and guilt are old patterns of the patriarchal paradym.  I have worked really hard to purify my heart the past 10 years.  I have worked hard to find balance, happiness and self worth.  What I did not know is that this pattern runs deep.  Deeper than any well you have known.  It is the endless well of our soul, and it is Collective.  What I have realized is I do not need to be such a warrior, not when loving is more in line with what God wants for me.  And I do really need to start putting myself first more, no, not first, but definitely not last.

To share my struggle deeper you must know our family has started a business.  We began a little over a year ago when my husbands former employer closed its doors.  We had been headed towards this goal in our dreams and hearts for a decade and it was finally manifesting with right-timing.  In October, we moved from our original location to a new location much better suited for artists. Many positive small victories have happened.  In this time, and in the whole past year my husband has worked day and night to push, push, push our business to the next level.  In that time, we had another baby.  Our baby has brought so many smiles, healing and love to our home.  A peace admist everything else.  Meanwhile, I continued to home educate third and first grade and nurse our wee one.  I do not get a lot of help when it comes to babysitters, due to an attachment-like parenting lifestyle.  I do not go out with friends to have a girls night out or date night with hubby.  I do not have money at this time to buy a lot of things, but we always have a roof over our heads and food on the table, and we are building our dreams one day at a time.  And when time allows we do activities as a family, but we do know we could play more.  Creator has made sure to anchor me to our home, so I may learn what it truly means to hold space.  Our home is a place I can learn reciprocity and self-worth.  Value.  I knew something was going on internally and that I was headed on a special journey “home.”  I just couldn’t name it all.  So writing helps me to bring that which needs to be named out of my alchemial heart.

Not everything happens easily, and hard work is important.  We cannot run from our choices and responsibilities.  There is so much here, so many layers to this story.  One thing always gets me on my knees though.  Illness, dis-ease.  In the past month we have struggled with two types of flu strains, the rhino virus, ear infections, sinus infections, bronchitis and conjunctivitis.  We are a family that has not been to the doctor, except maybe once since 2010.  I pride myself on being healthy, eating well, drinking green and being generally happy.  In my darkest place during these times of imbalance Creator is trying to speak to me.  Creator wants my attention.  Instead of guilting myself because I “let” us get sick, I need to love myself more.  Love is the message.  It is a message to the Collective Conscious.  To me, to us all.  I am a good mother.  We are all doing the best we can given our circumstances, and it is time to let go of the past. It is time to let go of the guilt and the shame. The time is for forgiveness.  Self-love. I forgive myself. I forgive family, friends and mentors who were a part of learning experiences that hurt my heart.  I forgive.  I trust.  I trust Creator knows what is best for me.  I trust all experiences for me will not be comfortable.  I have learned that I depend on security.  I depend on my husband to take care of us.  I have come to depend on Creator to take care of me, but sometimes that actually looks like chaos.  It looks like chaos because that is what is needed to come undone.  Coming undone is what is needed sometimes to move things out of our way or to rearrange our lives for better things to come.  I have learned I don’t have to be as strong as people might believe I am.  I have learned that it is okay to let go and be in the middle of the river of God’s creation.  I don’t have to hold on so tight, or fight.

Transitioning into owning our own business has been uncomfortable.  I have been shaken to my core, so I can be better.  I have been shaken, so I can recognize my human-ness.  I have been shaken, so my heart can open a little more and so that I can stop the guilt and the shame of my inner voice that I am never enough.  I make mistakes. But that’s okay.  My kids still love me.  As a matter of fact, my oldest son repeatedly tells me over and over and forgives me over and over for making mistakes as a mother.  He is Creator’s proof!  Unconditional love is the teaching. Gentleness with self, kindness and patience are the teachings.

Creator is speaking to me about motherhood.  About human-ness. My job is important.  I do take it seriously in my heart, but in my head I fight the battle that can never be won, because it is not in alignment with Source, with Love.

No matter your path, whether it is home educating, public school, private school, a career, single or married, or parent to fur babies…you are a masterpiece.  You are Right Where You Need To Be, so just love.  Love yourself.  Love those around you.  Be thankful.  I am truly a grateful woman, but I lost myself a little bit these past two months, in order to find my core. What a journey it has been.  I do not ever want to deny my struggle. I do not ever want to deny my darkness.  I do not ever want to deny being vulnerable and allowing others to help me.  The time is done to overly protect myself from reciprocity.  The time is done to overly protect myself from receiving love, especially self love!

My job is important.  We each have a Mission.  A Calling.  When our energy is alignment with our Sacred Contract, we are working well with our personal power.  In the midst of my struggle this past month I read a quote about personal power, but I was having a hard time Knowing what it Really was I was suppose to Be doing.  I have been walking my path all along, except it was loaded with self-talk, fear and a warrior attitude that was not allowing me to stand in my full power.  I had energy leaks, and distractions coming in left and right to take me away from my true journey.  I have not been able to use my energy wisely in accordance with my Sacred Contract with Creator.  I felt dizzy. But I can See now, except I have conjunctivitis…ha ha Lord!  See, Creator is funny. Creator is a comedian and Very Contrary.  Creator wanted me to See.  Creator wanted my attention, so from the Spirit World came the teaching over into the Physical World.  Open your eyes beautiful Nichole.  You are Love. And when you are down, you need more love Nichole.  Not shame or guilt. Not fear mongering.  I am finally smiling for the first time in two months and that tiny bit, that tiny spark is healing to me as I walk the Advent walk to Christmas.  My personal rebirth.  I read somewhere to allow my heart to be the crib for the coming of Christ.  That is so comforting to me during this time.  To be able to receive Unity and Love.

I am a new person.  I am definitely not the same person as I was last month, or even yesterday.  I am imperfectly unique.  I am a good mother.  I am a good wife.  I am a good sister and daughter. But, I am also really good at making mistakes and listening too much to my ego at times, but that’s okay.  I am still good.  I am Love.  I have a lot of hard days that do not end up on social media.  But, the better days win out.  The days where I listen to my heart beat out the worst days.  I love what I do.  I love my path.  I love that Creator loves me enough to shake me up from head to toe to get my attention.  I am grateful.  I feel Still and not restless.  I don’t mind doing this work.  It is a hero(ine)’s work.  It’s what I came here to do during this time on earth  Our Ancestors foretold the healing women would do.  “The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Is The Hand That Rules The World.”  I am a healer, to myself and to the Collective.  I am a teacher.  I love teaching, and anybody who doesn’t understand what I do and that Creator Called me to it isn’t suppose to understand.  Because it is my journey.  Finally, I can say I am grateful after waking up each day in November and these few days in December feeling miserable about life.  Every mistake I had ever made, every.  little.  thing.  including making a wrong turn driving, not having a perfect house, not having a “career” others could define me by that made money had been under personal scrutiny by myself.  Which is really silly.  It is impossible to continually live like that even though I was mostly a happy, believing, loving person.  I found also that I tended to believe and love others more than I could love myself.  I tended to forgive others before I could forgive myself.  It’s time to break through that wall.  The fighting is done and Love is here.  We are hero(ine)’s, the mother’s, the healer’s, the lover’s.

I know I am important.  I am love and I love others despite the journey, the circumstance or the teaching. If you are are guilting and shaming yourself for one reason or another, especially under a mask too afraid to be vulnerable, I…well I am not sure what to say other than perhaps my story can spark some healing in your life. You don’t have to be strong all the time.  Take off the mask and lay it down my dear. There is only love.  Open your hearts and find your sacred song.

 

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