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Posts Tagged ‘meditation’

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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Let’s play a game like the Ancestors.  Obwisana is a children’s game out of Ghana, which encourages cooperation, movement, oral dexterity and even accuracy.  Cooperators use stones and move them from hand to hand, getting faster and faster.

Let’s take [it] a little farther.  We can be farmer’s of the heart as Rumi says, and remove the stones from our hearts field.  I will help you.  Go with me to the field, it’s a short walk.  I have water.  Close your eyes, and  sing with me.  See your heart.  See the field.  Walk the rows you have tilled over time.  Feel the dirt on your feet.  Sense it.  Look for the stones.  Pick up the stone and speak to it,

“I am going to move you, like the wind moves me.”

“I am going to mine you from my heart, and I will make an altar of you.”

Let’s transform this field into a lush garden, and it will bear seeds for a new generation.

 

altar of your heart

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