Thursday, September 30, 2010

Making Peace With This Homeschool Journey

Learning is a part of life...I am both a teacher and a learner.

The decision to homeschool came fairly easy ~  it was basically just a "gut feeling" I felt I wanted to follow. The home school journey though, has been challenging.
I love sharing my day with my girls ~  the real issue has been accepting that I am capable of teaching my girls. It seems I have had a continual voice whispering "you aren't doing enough", "what if this is a mistake", "other mothers are doing such a better job" and on and on...
Each year I embark on the commitment of homeschooling (so far it has been about four) I wrestle with my inadequacies rearing their ruthless heads, trying to discourage me.
This year though, I have chosen to work on being gentle with myself as one of their teachers, reminding myself  to take time out to appreciate where things are working in our day-to-day routine and to embrace a rhythm that feeds us all.
I wanted to share the moments of our of our homeschool day that make it all worth it ~  the ways we flow and share together.

Here's my tribute to starving that "not enough" voice and embracing the beauty and goodness that comes from following your gut!

our morning circle ~ the time of day we center as a family with song and verse

 Our morning verse

My Heart 
I am strong, I am brave, I am valiant and bold.
For the sun fills my heart with his life giving gold.
I am helpful and truthful and loving and free.
For my heart's inner sunshine glows brightly in me.
I will open my arms to the sunbeams so bright;
I will warm all the world with my heart's inner light. 

Our first "work" of the day ~ journaling. A way for them to turn inwards to reflect and express (then share if they choose).  One of the ideas behind it, is letting them express with free flow and no corrections.  I treasure these as window into their life ~ a gift to them when they are older.

Our 10:00 tea time  ~ Mama needs it too!

  "dancin'" break ~ our time to rev up the tunes to move and groove

 love to get those creative juices flowing (and joining them in the process when the mood hits)!

 appreciating that mother nature is one of their greatest teachers

Lastly, one of my favorite moments ~ seeing big sister read to little sister.
These are mere fragments of our day together. My highlights. Together we are also working from the oak meadow syllabus (and other resources). Papa is teaching math, music and art ~ and I am humbly attempting to fill in the rest.

The journey continues...
Yes the dishes pile up, we take days off, I get frustrated and I still question if I am doing enough but I am learning to be gentle with this homeschool mama and see it for the gift that it is.

Schooling/unschooling is such a personal decision and there are so many ways to do it.  I believe there is no right way. Teaching our children is done by many wonderful people and all mama's everywhere, everyday, in so many different ways.  A journey we all share together ~ guiding and allowing ourselves to be taught along the way.

To all you mamas and teachers out love and respect to you.

~ Shanti ~

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Michaelmas morning...(or when plans don't go exactly as planned!)

So...the sword is painted and the bread is baked!   Now we just have to get up and enjoy a Michaelmas morning...sounds easy?  Ruby and I did manage to bake our Dragon bread last night.  She did the shaping and excitedly watched it bake in the oven.  I'm glad I had the foresight to bake it last night...before the coughing and puking began, (okay...too much information...I know)!  No...the kids weren't sick...I'm on day 10 of this forever lasting cold that just won't quit...and I have a wicked case of PMS to boot!  Last night before throwing up, I declared to all that my husband "lacked common sense" and that my daughter should "PICK UP HER DAMN TOYS!!!!!!!"  (and yes...I said it in capital letters!) 
Then after several apologies for horrendous behaviour, as well as a declaration that I am NOT perfect, nor will I ever be, and then throwing up...I slept...and slept and slept!

Ruby's dragon!

This morning when I woke up I sounded like a teenage boy, (you know, how they sound when the man voice comes in?).   At least we'll have a lovely Michaelmas breakfast I thought.  Ruby and I got up on our own, and came downstairs...sliced up some strawberries and got out our bread, which was as HARD AS A ROCK!!!!  Mental note to not use french bread recipe for making dragon shaped bread!
Ruby says, " least it's kinda soft on the inside bits"!  What's a mother to do? 
So, we ate our hard as a rock dragon bread, enjoying this quiet morning together.  

I'm a person who loves a plan...and I love when things go as planned...but, it seems that my lesson in life is all about "letting go".  Today was a reminder of that.  I don't know how many times this will come up until I just "get it", but until then I'll just enjoy this reminder...forgive myself...and go on.  Who knew that in our Michaelmas preparations the greatest lesson of all would be for me?!

Happy Michaelmas Day to you all!
I think tonight I'm going to celebrate with a hot bath, copious amounts of tea and a hideously romantic comedy or two!
xo maureen

Monday, September 27, 2010

Preparing for Michaelmas!

We're in full swing here, getting ready for Michaelmas. 

I'll be honest here, this is the first year we're celebrating.  It seems like a good time, as we're currently doing a unit study about Saints, so I want to incorporate as many of these Saintly celebrations as possible in the months ahead! 

We've read several versions of the St Michael some of our library books, and online.  After reading our story, I'll often get Ruby to draw or paint a picture based on the story she just heard.  Here's one of her dragons...I put it over our nature table where it will stay until after Michaelmas. 

I also made a little felt dragon based on this pattern at Rhythm of the Home it's just SO sweet, (if you're going to make one start's a beautiful craft, but it did take several hours to put it together).

sanding the sword!

Then Ruby and her dad built a sword together.  Cut out from an old piece of wood we had out in the yard.  Tonight we sanded it...tomorrow we'll paint it!   Ruby insisted that Matilda needed to wear safety goggles while they sanded...however, we could only find an extra pair of sunglasses...this is the funniest picture of the day.

I found some fantastic Michaelmas inspiration at Rockin' Granola...I think this is the BEST post on Michaelmas that I've seen.  Check out the story links that she's provided...there are some great stories to check out.

Go to Our Little Nature Nest for some fabulous Michaelmas celebration ideas and inspiration...found HERE!!!

St George and the dragon by Edward Burne-Jones

And if you want to check out some of the festivals going on in Waldorf communities, (and be green with envy like me), check out these folks
What I love most is that all of these ladies and their families attended the same festival, and I love the different takes on their respective days.  I just have one question for you?  Which one of you ladies is going to take in my family next year so we can come too!!!???

There is also this lovely celebration documented at You Know How We're an Art Family...
I'm so inspired!

Oh, there are just so many possibilities for celebrating this festival!   You can get as "into" it as you please, or you can just read a story about St Michael or St George to honour the day.

Ruby is busy working on some "puppets" at the moment!

xo maureen

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Seed and Spice Mandala

~ An Autumn Inspired Mandala ~

A magnet for your fridge... a center piece for your fall table...something decorative for the wall or (as Luna decided) a fairy home table top!

To create these you will need

Seeds and spices
Craft glue
White paint
An old cd
Spray varnish (if you choose)
A couple good magnets for the back or a paper clip and glue gun to attach it to the back (for a way to hang it).

First collect some seeds and spices that appeal to you. We used turmeric, alfalfa seeds, amaranth seeds and paprika.

Find an old cd that you no longer need...

Painted the cd white. Let it dry. Then draw any kind of geometrical design that inspires you.

Next, starting in the center of the cd, outline the inner design carefully with craft glue. Shake on your seed or spice of choice. Then shake off the excess.
Do this for each part of the mandala, going outwards.
Then if you choose, spray it with a glaze. This protects it and gives it a beautiful glossy finish.

There you have it!

Luna peeking out of the mandala ~ her soon to be fairy table top.

I would like to end by sharing this quote

You have noticed that everything as Indian does
is in a circle, and that is because the
Power of the World always works in circles,
and everything tries to be round.....
The Sky is round, and I have heard
that the earth is round like a ball,
and so are all the stars.
The wind, in its greatest power, whirls.
Birds make their nest in circles,
for theirs is the same religion as ours....
Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.
Black Elk (1863-1950)
Oglala Sioux Holy Man

Autumn love and light to you all

~ Shanti ~

p.s. my girls love coloring mandalas ~ If you think your lovelies may enjoy that too, check out this free mandala coloring site

Friday, September 24, 2010

Gratitude Feast!

 With Autumn here, we decided to celebrate the bountiful garden we shared over the summer.

So Much Abundance ~ So Much Gratitude!


The girls and I soaked up the late afternoon sun and  harvested our dinner from the garden...

Solana picked our salad greens
and nibbled the sun warmed tomatoes along the way

the girls got down and dirty digging out the potatoes...

loving the fun of discovering them one by one!

We marveled at the abundance the garden had given us...

Luna gathered up a bouquet for the dinner table...

 Papa and Solana soaked up snuggle time while dinner cooked

Together we gave thanks


 For the golden corn and the apples on the trees
For the butter and the honey for our tea
For fruits and nuts and berries that grow beside the way
For birds and bees and flowers We give our thanks today
Blessings on our meal
And on our family!

Blessings to you


Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Waldorf Inspired Autumn!

Head on over to The Magic Onions today to check out our guest post on how to celebrate Autumn in a Waldorf inspired way with Twig and Toadstool style!

If you haven't been reading the Discovering Waldorf series over there, I urge you to go through some of the older posts...I know for myself as a Waldorf inspired homelearner, I have found loads of inspiration and good sound advice in those posts!

Happy Autumn Equinox Y'all!
xo maureen

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Great Gathering!

This time of year brings the great harvest! 
One of my favorite things to gather and store from the bounty, is nature items to craft with. I have a very messy porch at the moment, brimming with baskets and boxes of woodland treasures. A car continually littered with leaves, sticks, stones, acorns, dirt, moss and bark and a floor continually needing to be swept from the trail of goodies coming in. Thinking soon I must organize...
For now though, we will keep filling these beautiful Autumn days with gathering!

Hydrangeas for drying...

 Milkpods ~ so many great crafts you can make with these...

 Flowers and leaves for pressing ...

 Acorns, acorns, acorns! (and all I can see are many, many fairy heads ; ) 

seed pods and grasses...

 Wings ~ butterflies and maple keys...

Pine cones ~ all shapes and sizes 

 and of course, what afternoon of woodland adventures would be complete without climbing a tree! 

I would love to hear what you collect to craft with in your neck of the woods?

Perhaps we could start a nature swap... then craft with inspiration from around the world!

Happy Gathering


Sunday, September 19, 2010

End of Summer Angel

Summer is quickly coming to an end.  To celebrate the end of a glorious summer we decided to make a little summer angel. 

If you'd like to make one of your own you will need:
glue gun and glue sticks
seed pod, (for head)
flowers (for hat)
leaves (for wings)
dried flowers (for her bouquet)

To start take about 8 strands of raffia, (about 12 inches long), and tie them in the middle.  Take this and bend it in half and tie it again about 1 inch from the top.  This is your body.

Then take 8 more strand of raffia, (this time about 6 inches long), and tie in the middle, and about 1 inch from both ends.  These will be your arms and hands.

Taking your glue gun, attach the arms to the back of the body.

Then glue on the seed pod head, and a flower hat (if you desire).  Add the wings, (leaves), and your bouquet of dried flowers which you can glue between the hands.

And there you go!  A sweet little angel who will help celebrate these last precious days of summer!

Enjoy these final summer days!
xo maureen



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