Friday, April 18, 2014

What is Waldorf Education?

Oh dear, this question of Waldorf education, these many questions of Waldorf education and homeschooling... "What is Waldorf education?" "What is Waldorf education for homeschoolers?" "Is there a dividing line between what is and what is not Waldorf homeschooling?" "Who defines Waldorf education for homeschoolers?" These questions keep coming up, again and again, in the online communities of homeschoolers. 

For transparency, I was a Philosophy/Women's Studies major in college and love to contemplate the paradigms out of which we live and work as well as look to the roots to find a deeper understanding of the whys and wherefores.

If we dig in a bit, we have a glimpse of how Waldorf is taught artistically in the pillars of Waldorf education here and the importance of rhythm here

Yet beyond these basics, so many questions arise when it comes to plunging in to a deeper, perhaps many deeper understandings of Waldorf education at home … 

Some years back at an East Coast WECAN (Waldorf Early Childhood of North America) conference with the theme "There are No Difficult Children," the keynote speaker Gerald Karnow closed the conference by saying that the Waldorf classroom may not be for every child. He went on to add that Waldorf education can take place in a barn, in caring for the elderly and in a kitchen. These words have stayed with me, close to my heart as we explore what are the possibilities for Waldorf education out of the classroom.

For those new to Waldorf education… how does a homeschooling parent learn about Waldorf education? What does it look like? How do we teach in the Waldorf way? How do we find information? Who are our teachers? Our mentors? Are we mentoring each other? Where are our colleagues? Do we need to read Rudolf Steiner? Are we part of a social movement? Do we need each other?

What is at the heart of the Waldorf curriculum? Does the writer of curriculum materials that are for sale need to be a trained Waldorf teacher in order to have the mastery to write curriculum materials? Is there something in the process of teacher training, an initiation of sorts, something that occurs that gives a person a new relationship to the curriculum? Does it make a difference? Is it something that happens in being part of a social group that sets trained teachers apart? How about the other folk who are immersed in the social culture of a Waldorf school? Have a relationship to anthroposophy? Who is qualified to make decent curriculum material? Who decides?

Could Waldorf homeschooling exist without Waldorf schools? Could it have started without schools and teachers as models? Has it strayed from the school model with the pedagogy among homeschoolers?  Do we as Waldorf homeschoolers need what Rudolf Steiner referred to as the heart of the Waldorf school, that is faculty meetings. How do we create faculty meetings when we homeschool?

Is there such a thing as Waldorf lite? Waldorf inspired? Waldorf centered? Waldorf rooted? Waldorf leaning? 

What about the homeschoolers whose only experience of Waldorf education is through the internet, via a screen online? Is it possible to have an experience of Waldorf education  as it unfolds in its interwoven layers? How is the experience of learning about Waldorf education online different from actually visiting a place,  going to a school and having a hands on, physical experience of Waldorf education?

Some of the questions I find myself asking, in reflecting over the years I have spent as a Waldorf homeschooler… Has something changed with Waldorf homeschooling? Is Waldorf homeschooling a movement? Is Waldorf Homeschooling part of the larger Waldorf movement? Has something new emerged with the online proliferation of Waldorf education at home? How does this compare with the Waldorf  homescholing of ten or twenty years ago? Is the path similar? Has it changed? Has it become a commodity?

So many questions.

I don't have the answers. I am sharing these questions for all of us who are interested in Waldorf homeschooling.

When I first came to Waldorf homeschooling nearly two decades ago, I was told by some in the Waldorf school community that Waldorf homeschooling does not exist and cannot be, because the parent is incapable of being the "authority" figure that the child needs in the grade school years.

Well, that didn't hold water with me.

In those early days of Waldorf education online, we had one chat group, with many voices, and boy, (girl) we were so happy to find each other. 

In the very beginning, there was a discussion group made up of parents, teachers, grandparents, administrators, translators, authors, anthroposophists and curious bystanders who discussed everything from evil, to pants on the kindergarten teachers, to the role of anthroposphy in the schools, run by Bob and Nancy, who had the first Waldorf website, called Bob and Nancy's services here. Nowadays Nancy Parsons Whittaker  and Bob Lathe are still supporting Waldorf education and homeschoolers with Waldorf Books, found here as a great place for homeschoolers to find curriculum materials and support. Don't be afraid to ask them questions about books and materials for they are very knowledgable and helpful. 

Conversations were often lively and opinions and perspectives were diverse. There were  sometimes strong words along with respect for differences in opinion.

The interest in homeschooling was so strong within that group, that in the spring of 1999 a separate discussion group was born for Waldorf homeschoolers. 

We were so happy to find each other and share our endeavors as Waldorf homeschoolers. We shared resources and supported each other. Yes, we had some squabbling and over the years, especially when a member of the groups grew started to be very clear in her opinions, grew large, and then began to produce materials for sale, the tension increased and eventually, the person who was creating curriculum material would spring out, birth a new group and curriculum and leave the group. 

Yet the core remained. There was a place to go as a homeschooling mom and have a chat, free of worry of stepping on toes.

No longer. The group lasted for about ten years until the moderators were called away to focus on other aspects of life and a decision was made to end the group.

These days, we have so much material to chose from and not so many places for frank conversation.

Do you wrangle with these sorts of questions? How do we create a conversation that does not become polarized? How do we ask the big questions, what is Waldorf education? Is it Waldorf because I call it so or is there something essential that makes it so? How do we open ourselves towards seeing what is Waldorf from the six angles of the blind men who came upon the elephant?

You may know the story… it is shared in many traditions...

Once upon a time, there lived six blind men in a village. One day the villagers told them, "Hey, there is an elephant in the village today."

They had no idea what an elephant is. They decided, "Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway." All of them went where the elephant was. Every one of them touched the elephant.

"Hey, the elephant is a pillar," said the first man who touched his leg. "Oh, no! it is like a rope," said the second man who touched the tail. "Oh, no! it is like a thick branch of a tree," said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant. "It is like a big hand fan" said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant. "It is like a huge wall," said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant. "It is like a solid pipe," Said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant.

They began to argue about the elephant and every one of them insisted that he was right. It looked like they were getting agitated. A wise man was passing by saw this. He stopped and asked them, "What is the matter?" They said, "We cannot agree to what the elephant is like." Each one of them told what he thought the elephant was like. The wise man calmly explained to them, "All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently because each one of you touched the different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all those features that you all said." "Oh!" everyone said. There was no more fight. They felt happy that they were all right.

PS.  I am doing a test run of an eCourse that I am developing for homeschoolers and homemakers who are interested in looking at Waldorf from different angles. We'll look at some of the core elements of Waldorf education and hear from guests who are working out of Waldorf education and share different angles for those of us trying to get a feel for what it is that makes Waldorf education distinctly Waldorf. If you are new to Waldorf education and would like to explore the basis of Waldorf ed, send me an e-mail at lisaboisvert (at) yahoo (dot) com







Friday, March 21, 2014

Anticipation

"anticipation is making me wait, keeping me waiting...
… for these are the good ole days."

Are you old enough to remember Carly Simon's hit song? You can hear it here.

I do remember being a first time mom and oh, I wanted it all for my child.
I was so excited to explore these Waldorf ways with him. I looked forward to all these delicacies of a Steiner based education: watercolor painting, geometric designs, beeswax modeling, marionette puppetry and woodworking. I wanted to bring it all to him.

I was blessed to have a lovely mentor in my life, who was grandmotherly to me and helped me see that it is a gift for the child to wait for things. Anticipation builds interest, curiosity, gratitude and joy. When we are given things before we are ripe for them, we cannot appreciate them. 

The child three and under is all movement and exploration: working hard in piling things up… and then... dumping, splashing, dropping, undressing the dolls. All process. No finished product. This is to celebrate, this is healthy development. This free self initiated movement is the foundation for creativity. 

Babies don't need to be born with a paintbrush in their hand to become creative human beings. The creativity arises from the whole being, the being who was free to be a baby and move around, free to be a toddler and toddle around. This is what I came to understand about Steiner based education, that we honor the age and stage of development and let children be children by waiting. 

Another realization that came to me with this bundle of joy and infinite wisdom, my first born, when I was so gung ho to bring him painting and crafts and modeling was that it was me who had the hunger. I  wanted to delve into these realms. So little by little, in taking up the painting and crafts and modeling myself, I was able to step back and allow my child to be a toddler.

So I began to paint and made things of the watercolors: invitations, cards, bookmarks, notes for myself. In doing this, indulging myself, I realized I was giving myself permission to nurture me. Just for me.

Around the same time, I began to focus my artistic energies on making practical things for my son, tree branch blocks, hand dyed silks and finger puppets. I made a sleep time marionette for me to use with him.

So, what I am wondering is this... if one has strong daily rhythms and breathing space in your day, and your child feels secure in knowing what comes when, do you need weekly rhythms? If you are getting to the activities that are important to you, does it matter?

With homeschooling the grades, I need weekly rhythms to figure out when we will do things, otherwise the week evaporates and we would not paint or do form drawing or have a rhyme and reason to Main lessons. And I would be totally lost at four o'clock if I did not have a plan for meals.

But if your child is under seven, what do weekly rhythms bring to you?

The notion of Weekly Rhythm in Waldorf came out of the kindergarten in which each day of the week is known by the children for what they do.

There is a baking day, a soup day (they remember to bring a vegetable) a painting day, a coloring day, maybe a woods walk day or a farm day or a eurhythmy day depending on the school. At the end of each day at school, the class holds hands and sings goodbye. The parents may be included in this. At the end the teacher says, and I will see you tomorrow for _______ (fill in) day. On Friday she says, "tomorrow and the next day are home days and I'll see you on Monday for painting day. Have a good weekend!"

The child lives with anticipation of what is to come. With excitement. And predictibility. This is an integral part of early childhood.

Children wait until they are old enough to go to college.
Children wait until they can get their own checking account.
Children wait until they are old enough to drive.
Children wait until they are old enough for the first date.
Children wait until they are old enough to go off to a movie with friends.
Children wait until they are old enough to use a computer.
Children wait until they are allowed to be at home alone.
Children wait until they are taught to write.
Children wait until they are allowed to cross the street on their own.
Children wait until they can get their own library card.
Children wait until the can ride a two wheeler.
Children wait until they are allowed to go out and play on their own.
Children wait until they are allowed to set the table.
Children wait until they are allowed to use a knife.
Children wait until they are allowed to paint.
Children wait until they are allowed to have crayons.

This list is just some elements of life that children anticipate.

As the adults we can frame them in the context of development. We can make it magical. We can celebrate these milestones of life for our children as they happen, simply and joyfully. When you are in first grade, you'll learn to write. When you are in 3rd grade, you'll join us for family movie night. When you are 16, you'll learn to drive. We teach the child through these actions, through anticipation that there is a natural order to life, that everything unfold in its own good time.

When we set it up this way, developmentally, it take us out of the picture as the one who grants or denies their wishes and places it squarely in the context of age an development. It takes this off our shoulders and eliminates the power struggle.

Oh how I wish I had a chart that said, when you are ___ you will _______ but it comes with time and with input from wise like minded parents and the first child, the "first pancake" as the oldest in a movie of that name described herself, is the test pancake.

When we prepare to cook a batch of pancakes, it is with the first one that we are testing the heat of the pan, the amount of butter in the pan, the readiness of the batter, and it gets easier with experience. Now we can talk about the first born.

See how interwoven life is and especially with Waldorf! We all can draw on each other, once we have some clarity to our own values for our child.

Anticipation is a powerful parenting tool, for it creates a picture of what is to come, with time for the child, and takes us out of the power struggle.

::::

Is anticipation something you struggle with? Is it a conscious part of your parenting?


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Pull Them in Closer

Since we are delving into conscious, connected, creative parenting over on the eCourses in February and March, I thought I'd offer some reflection here on a common parenting practice ~ the time out 

::::

Let's imagine a child is cranky for some reason or another and is complaining or disruptive. Mama is tired of his whining and sends him to his room for a time out.

Let's look at what it means to send a child to his or her room for being miserable. Misery is a feeling, an expression of emotion.

A miserable child is having some big strong emotions, like sadness and disappointment. Children do not know what to do with these big strong feelings, so they lash out and have meltdowns and have tantrums.

This is completely normal and to be expected.

Children have big emotions. They squeal with joy, cry in frustration, stamp their feet, interrupt and whine in the most annoying way.

Our initial impulse is probably to push it away, make it go away, or at least put it out of earshot. (this is probably a protective impulse of sorts!)

Yet the more connected we are with the child and the more accepting we are of their feelings in the moment, even if they want to pummel big brother, the more easy it is for them to get it out and move on.

And the more we ignore it, or discount it or poo poo it, the more likely it is to resurface with new found intensity in a completely unrelated moment. For our emotions go somewhere. They go in deeper and get stronger and heavier to carry around. They emerge with more force the next time. Sometimes they come out in adulthood, and take shapes we had not imagined could exist. But they do.

When we name it and acknowledge it, the child will usually moves through it, like this, "you're feeling sad about not going out to play, you want to be with the other children. you are angry at me for saying no."

Right there we help the child be in his body, be fully present and grounded and aware that he is feeling something strong and it is sadness and anger. If we share a story of our own about being young that helps too sometimes. No need to process the feelings or get into to them deeply or talk about them beyond naming them and acknowledging the child in the moment.


If we send them off to be alone because we are feeling uncomfortable with their feelings, then we have some work to do on ourselves. Sending them off when they are in distress is a form of abandonment.

This is a great example of  where inner work helps us grow and understand our children by understanding ourselves. Then we can respond with calm action rather than react all over the place and make a big mess of it, make our children fearful and teach them to stuff their feelings.

When my children's behavior arouses feelings in me, that is a sign that I have something to look at and release from my own experience of childhood in order to really see my children and respond healthily. We all have it. It is part of being human. When we ignore it and get angry and frustrated with our children's behavior it is very difficult to guide them. We need to take care of ourselves first. Then we can be grounded to really see, hear and feel them and guide them through the big emotions and challenges of life.

When we send our children to their rooms because we don't like their behavior, we are missing a chance to look beneath that behavior at what the child is trying to tell us, what does the child need in this moment? Usually it has to do with connection. A separation only drives it all deeper and makes it harder for the child to grow and learn how to get their needs met in healthy ways. And then we feel bad about ourselves.

Rather than have bad feelings, let go of them, remember we are all learning. Our children are our teachers.

Come on over and join the eCourse here if you'd like to plunge into some parenting practices practice, connect with others on this path of conscious, connected and creative parenting, and find ways to ease the struggles, while deepening your understanding of the underpinnings of Waldorf education.

Blessings on your parenting journey,



Friday, February 28, 2014

Announcing eCourse on Discipline Part II

practical strategies for love: the heart of discipline
~ a month of practice
::
Oh dear parents, you know what it is to be a parent. We have moments of sweetness and tenderness that fill and expand our hearts in ways we never imagined possible.

And we have those moments of frustration, when we want to stomp our feet and yell to the universe, "Get me out of here! Take me away, now, please?!"

I have had moments when that little voice inside is saying to me, "This is not what I thought it would be like to be a parent, to be a family. This is so not what I imagined."

Parenting brings out our very best and our worst. Somedays it is hard to find that middle ground, to breath and keep on going, with humor.

In the past few decades, we have seen an explosion of "how to" parenting books. From the "do as I say, not as I do," authoritarian mode, of angry outbursts, to sticks and carrots, to positive affirmation.

But that there is another way. One that rises from within, out of our own experience, out of our own being that is based on the developmental picture of the child and grounded in healthy attachment. One that is sparked by the creative flame in each parent, so it is unique to you. Conscious. Connected. Creative.

For the month of March, for 31 days in a sort of intensive boot camp, I will share practical strategies, based on the developmental picture of the child, that we will practice together through the month.

Come join a wise, warm and engaging community of others on this path.

We'll examine habits that are not working and find new ways to create an inner and outer environment to help bring harmony and breathing to our days. we look at the language we use and find creative responses to situations that are challenging.

I'll do this through the use of tips, examples, pictures of challenging situations and creative approaches.

As a parent of nearly twenty years, teacher and care giver to many children over the years, I bring a good deal of experience in sticky situations. I also have had great teachers throughout my life who have inspired me wit their patience, wisdom, humor and grace. I hope to pass that along to you in this month of practical application.

Registration is Open
this eCourse runs from March 1 to March 31st
you may return indefinitely after the course ends and closes to new members on March 31st
the fee is $25



Registration Options:
:: eCourse only is $25 Sign up here
:: eCourse and all the Living Curriculum Program support materials for March  $45 ~ learn more on what that includes here
:: an eCourse for each month of the year (12), the Living Curriculum program for Twelve months ~ $495





Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The First Born

Oh, that first child. Sometimes referred to as "the first pancake," the one with whom we test the cooking griddle or perhaps more aptly, the waters of parenting.

My guess is that for many parents, the birth of the first child creates enormous upheaval. 

Imagine, two people who have lived life on their own terms for years suddenly have a small person who is entirely dependent on them for everything: nourishment, warmth, being held, being soothed and stimulated, being kept clean and dry, being moved around, being touched, being wanted, being respected, belonging. The newborn needs care. Immediate care.
So we adults make a huge shift... we go from living our lives as the center point to moving to the periphery, and placing the child in the center of our existence. A baby's needs are so pressing. There is little time to wait with feeding, changing and soothing the newborn baby.

In the beginning, the child is like the little prince or princess, a tiny bit of heaven, who has come to earth and that tiny bit of heaven, that little person, can fill the whole room with his or her peaceful presence.

This is a wet and squishy territory. Our Mama bodies are wet and oozing fluids. Jack Petrasch likens birth to the place where the land meets the sea. A place of wild winds, surf and tides. Forces of nature meet. We are standing at the shore in the wet sand. Then we head west to encounter dry land, mountains and varied terrain.

There comes a time on this journey, when we adults, must assert ourselves as the Queen and Kings of the castle. The royal "we" is born. Time to step into the big shoes. For the little child sees us as being so big, so very big. Step into the royal shoes.

I suspect it is harder for moms because we are biologically primed to be head over heels in love and awestruck by our babies. We are lulled into the dream world of the newborn by our hormones and our bodies, completely driven to nourish and protect this little being with all of our being.

Yet there comes a time to step back, just enough to remember who we are, and to more clearly see this tiny being. For when we are too close, we cannot see clearly. We see only the magical being before us, not the whole picture.

In order for our baby to be the little prince or  princess, he or she must had royal parents too. With the coming of the little prince or princess must come the awakening of the Queen or King. For the prince or princess needs to learn from the royal parents how to be human. 

That is our task and it is a very big and daunting one

What happens for some of us is that the baby remains in the center and we in the periphery. We forget about ourselves and our needs. We forget that we are grown ups with adult lives that were meaningful before we had a baby. We get lost in newborn land.

This is just fine in the beginning, when we are adjusting to life with a newborn, yet over the first few months, our job is to move back into center point.

For the child looks to us to learn what it means to be human. If we are looking at the child to lead us, we won't get anywhere but exhausted and confused.

The baby needs us to be engaged in life. For it is through our example that the child learns and imitate what it is to be human.
So that means time to pull up the big girl panties and Be the Queen. This way we can teach our children how to be in the world.

Small children come with great awareness and connection from the spiritual world to the earth, the material world. They will teach us so much in our lifetimes. Yet they arrive and need to figure out how to be in this world. They know not of day and night, near and far. They are here. And now.

Our task is to step into the center and be the example and the wise and strong, kind and firm, loving and gentle guide.

If this is something you'd like to take up and examine in more depth, join me in my new eCourse Love :: The Heart of Discipline for 4 weeks of work on discipline "from the inside out." here

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Enrollment Options for February

*eCourse Only ~ $25 here
~ this is for the Love :: The Heart of Discipline, a four week eCourse on parenting from the heart

*The Living Curriculum Program for February ~ $45  here
~ Celebrate February! this includes the eCourse, the Support Materials Packets, Tutorials, Videos
  • Start Up Guide: How to get going 
  • Finding Daily Rhythm with Yourself 
  • Daily, Weekly and Monthly Rhythm Plan (if you want it sketched out ~ it's here) 
  • Guide for putting it all together 
  • Circle, Song, Story, Fingerplay and Movement games for the Nursery child (3-4) and the Kindergarten child (5-6) 
  • Fairy Tale ideas for the month
  • Nature Story Curriculum for the Nursery Child 
  • Puppetry ideas to go along with the stories for each month 
  • Wet on Wet Watercolor painting ~ step by step tutorial
  • Cooking and Baking with Children ~ recipes, tips and support
  • Menus with Recipes describing the grains of the Waldorf kindergarten (breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea)  and including seasonal foods and recipes for each month.
  • Meal Planning Support
  • Housework Rhythms
  • Handwork for each month with supply list, instruction and photos
  • Celebration and Festival ~ background and ideas
  • Seasonal foods to plant, harvest, prepare and eat with children 
  • In the Morning Garden ~ a tip each month for group programs 
  • Afterchool Care of the child ~ Rhythm and Rest, Activities, Festival Life, Movement Games and Stories for the grade school child
  • Focus topic ~ love :: The Heart of Discipline
  • Explanation of the underlying developmental needs of the child in Waldorf early childhood, the whys  
  • Pedagogy behind the topic 
  • Practical activity to accompany monthly topic eCourse
  • Exercise to do with the topic ~ practice 
  • Reflection ~ questions for nurturing the inner life 
  • Private online discussion group where we discuss parenting concerns, balancing it all, how to best use the curriculum material, balancing housework, bringing in artistic activities, self care and most of all finding the rhythm that best supports our own families and tending to that rhythm with care, creativity and consciousness.
  • Posts through the month on the focus topic eCourse
  • Ideas for creating community where you live 
  • Resources for finding high quality and affordable materials 
  • Ongoing discussion through the month 
  • Consultation through the month 
*The Living Curriculum Program for the Year ~ $495 here
includes:
Celebrate the Rhythm of Life through the Year! ~12 eCourses - one for each month, the Support Materials Packets, Tutorials, Videos, a set for each month of the year, ongoing consultation

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Announcing an eCourse on Discipline

Love :: The Heart of Discipline
~ a conscious, creative, connected, gentle parenting eCourse

February 1 ~ February 28
registration now open

“My hunch is that if we allow ourselves to give who we really are to the children in our care, we will in some way inspire cartwheels in their hearts.” ~ Fred Rogers



Join me for four weeks of exploration into parenting from the heart that allows you to give who you really are in your parenting. We'll explore conscious, creative and connected parenting through practical examples and real scenarios of living with children.

Are you?
  • Tired of repeating yourself? nagging? yelling?
  • Feeling exasperated when your child does not respond to your words?
  • Having parenting moments in which you just don't know what to do?
  • Do you wish you had other ways to respond?
  • Would you like to laugh more?
  • Do you sometimes feel lost when it comes to discipline?
  • Does being with children exhaust you?
  • Is the idea of discipline overwhelming to you? 
  • Do you spend alot of time reading about discipline and parenting styles and wonder why they don't seem to work?
  • Seeking ways to bring your child along without resistance?
  • Wondering how you can make the day flow more peacefully?
  • Are you looking for gentle ways to help your child grow peacefully as a human being?
  • Would you like to lighten up and be more creative with discipline?
Come join me in this 4 week eCourse for practical examples and practice.

Me
When my first child was born, I was certain that if he had a gentle birth, was breastfed, co-slept in the family bed and I spent time with him and practiced attachment parenting that our life together would be smooth and harmonious. Are you laughing yet?
I wasn't. I really struggled with "what to do." Especially in the toddler years. I knew clearly in my heart what I was not willing to do yet I was at a loss for what "to do."
So I plugged along and found my way. I read books to no avail. Talked to friends. Made changes in myself and in our home life. Over the years it began to emerge, a picture of the child, the development of the child and the inner development of the adult. Playful parenting and the authoritative parent. Attachment and boundaries. Responding rather than reacting. Seeing the child for who he is. It all coalesced for me.

Did that make me the perfect parent? No, not at all. I have gained some clarity around the parent-child relationship and I have learned when to let go and when to forge ahead. I've learned to talk less and do more. I've learned to recognize when my child needs more connection with me and I have learned so much about boundaries. I don't get exasperated anymore. This baby who taught me so much is now 18 years old and continues to teach me.

Since those first tender days of new motherhood, I have had the great gift of teaching and caring for other people's children. This makes learning so much easier. Our own children come to us with such intensity and we are so often in the heat of the moment, that it can be hard to see the whole picture. Child number two came along eleven years ago and brought new opportunities for learning how he needs to be parented.

I have thought about offering this course for years. And waited. And waited. Now it feels like the time is ripe.

I am offering this eCourse to help you develop a clearer picture of the child, to find humor and creativity in the hard moments and to have plenty of hands on practice over the course of the month.

We'll focus on real life challenges over the course of the month: tantrums, resistance, "not hearing," name calling, sibling bashing, biting, hair pulling and what happens when parents have two distinct styles of discipline, and more, with practical examples to help you be who you really are!
I hope you'll join me for a month of practical examples and practice to make your parenting more conscious, creative and connected.

Registration Options:
:: eCourse only is $25 Sign up here
:: eCourse and all the Living Curriculum Program support materials for February  $45 ~ learn more on what that includes here
:: an eCourse for each month of the year (12), the Living Curriculum program for Twelve months ~ $495


Please know that I have kept the fee low to make it accessible.





















Wednesday, January 22, 2014

An Inner Experience of Rhythm

Q & A with Lisa
inner rhythm


Dear Lisa, I heard you talk about rhythm and remember that you said something like... "no need for making charts, you have it within  you ...and if you don't... cultivate it, one step at a time." Can you explain what you meant by that? What are your thoughts on making charts for children to learn the rhythm of our home?



We are enveloped by rhythm.

The cosmos has a rhythm. The moon has a rhythm.

Our bodies have rhythm: of breath, pulse, blood flow, menstrual rhythm and the seasons of life.

Our lives have a rhythm of day and night.

The moon has a 29.5 day cycle of waxing and waning, becoming full and new again.

Our weeks are based on a seven day rhythm.

Our year is based on the movement of our earth around the sun.

Life is steeped in rhythms. Rhythm of the day. Rhythm of the Week. Rhythm of the Year. The rhythm of early childhood, of the early grades, of the middle grades, of high school. The rhythm of life.

Yet we live in a world that is so very focused on what is "out there." How do we return to our own inner rhythm, our own center? How do we live rhythmically and  authentically "from the inside out?"

Each morning, we awaken from our sleep to "right here" to what is inside, what is before us, in this moment. An inner life. An inner world. The ability to hear own own breathing. And that of our children.

Right now I  invite you to contemplate the value of inner rhythm. Knowing from deep within that there is a predictable and reliable order to life. Not from a chart or a picture, but from an inner wisdom, an inner knowing that just feels right, that now we have been active and of course, it must be our rest time. I feel it from within.

With the Children's Garden children I did not wear a watch, because I knew when it was time for Morning Tea, I knew when it was time for lunch, I knew when it was nap time, because I had internalized the rhythm of our days. As had the children. 

This ability to have an inner experience of time and activity that arises from within is a gift we can give to our children. It strengthens them, reduces anxiety, and builds confidence within, that the world is good, that this life is dependable and trustworthy because there is a natural order to life. That the parent is bring form to the day through rhythm as an example for the child to imitate, to absorb. The rhythm becomes habit, from within.

We adults can create this natural order to our child's world by being present in the moment. Sure we may make notes and plans and tweak them, and have lists or charts of our own, but ultimately any lasting rhythm rhythm will emerge from within. 

Children learn by our example. They learn through doing. Children imitate our doing. It is what we do that they absorb. When we find our stride with rhythm, the children come along.

If you are making charts and signs and pictures for your child, I encourage you to go within and look to see if you are living the rhythm first, if you are carrying it. Let our doing create the steady points in our children's days. Let us be the ones who carry the burden of finding the rhythm and holding its form around our children, like a container that provides protection from the chaos and overstimulation of the outer world. This is a gift, this experience of rhythm from within. Once it is established, it tends to flow with ease.

It is easy to be tempted by what is "out there" yet I know that any changes in rhythm in my household  must begin with me, for I am the model, the example my child imitates. 

When I am living my rhythm from within, it is freeing and energizing. The child absorbs the inner mood that is created, almost as if by osmosis, and comes along into the rhythm, from an inner experience.

At times, I fall off the rhythm wagon, we get into jags of staying up too late or going out too often, or trying to do too many errands in one trip. When that happens, I know within. My body tells me.

I know when we are doing too much. I am the one who needs to make the changes.

As for the activities we do only now and then, like the eye doctor or a visit to the museum, these are not part of our daily rhythm, they go on the calendar. 

It is when I come home to myself, to the stillness of the moment, that once again, I notice my breathing, I see my children, I begin to live again into our daily and weekly rhythms.

If you are striving to bring rhythm to your home, start small with one simple change and slowly over time build on that so that your child experiences rhythm as something that envelopes him or her each day and not as a sign or a chart hanging on the wall, but as an inner knowing upon waking that it is a home day or a school day, bun day or soup day. The child knows from a living experience, from living education what to anticipate. This is the gift of inner rhythm.








Q&A with Lisa is my way of responding to your questions that I cannot answer individually. Send me your questions at lisaboisvert(at)yahoo(dot)com with Question in the subject line. 


Saturday, January 18, 2014

this morning

good morning morning
I see the moon
I awoke this morning to greet the new day and upon opening the door to the new day, I saw the moon making its way towards slumber as I was making my way towards day. 

a little ditty we sing when we see the moon:

I see the moon
and the moon sees me
oh how lucky
we can be


Friday, January 17, 2014

{this moment}

{this moment}
A Friday ritual. a photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to celebrate!
With great joy and surprise I found the first egg of the season this morning from our only auracauna, a sweet and talkative girl named Henny, wahoo! with gratitude for fresh eggs.



joining with Amanda over at SouleMama

Happy Week ~ending my friends!


Monday, January 6, 2014

For a Season of Epiphany!



For a little perspective on the Epiphany and Three Kings Day within the rhythm of the Christian year.

Today January 6th is the Feast of the Epiphany also known as Three Kings Day. It follows Twelfth Night, the last of the Twelve days and Holy Nights of Christmas.

This celebration is of the Epiphany. The word "epiphany" mean "to reveal, to appear, to manifest" and from "above." It was the great star in the sky that was not a star at all that brought the three kings from afar in search of the new king, the child of light. For this reason, stars are a symbol of this celebration.

Twelfth Night is the culmination of the twelve days of Christmas as well as the Twelve Holy Nights.

While the Epiphany and Three Kings day marks the start of Carnival which lasts until Mardi Gras, an occasion for great celebration with parades, music, dancing and another King’s Cake, this one with a bean or baby Jesus tucked inside. Baby Jesus you exclaim? Yes, the Kings were seeking the baby Jesus, thus a baby Jesus tucked inside for seeking. Some people use a trinket instead. In France the bean is a lava bean and known as "le feve."

Epiphany is seen by some to herald the end of the Christmas season. Yet others today and throughout history look to Candelmas on the 2nd of February to mark the end of Christmas. In Medieval times greens were kept in the house until Candlemas. Candelmas is the Celebration of the Light of the World, more here.

Epiphany may be embraced as a four week season balancing the season of Advent with the Twelve Days of Christmas in the center. Four weeks of anticipation, moving towards and four weeks of awakening, digesting and assimilating that which has come to us.

The celebration of Epiphany is a heavily loaded one for it encompasses the arrival of the Three Kings from the East bearing gold, frankincense and myrrh, each one coming from a different place, each one heralded on by the appearance of a star.

Mardi Gras, the last hurrah before Lent, is also about the Three Kings. The colors of Mardi Gras are gold, green and purple. In New Orleans, many floats are led by three kings on horseback showering gifts of purple, green and gold coins, beads and trinkets. The purple is for Myrhh, a reddish purplish brown resin, green for Frankinsence, a light green resin from the Boswellia tree and gold, the gifts the Magi brought.

Rudolf Steiner who brought forth Waldorf education, stated "Festivals are not merely the commemoration of historical events or personalities. They are in and of themselves, each year, spiritual events carrying a significance that grows and deepens with the developing phases of human evolution."

More on celebrating Three Kings Day is available in the Celebrate the Rhythm of Life in January group here.








Sunday, December 22, 2013

Announcing a New eCourse on Rhythm!

When Less is More :: 31 Days to Rhythm Boot Camp

January 1st - January 31st
 31 days 
Now open for registration
REGISTRATION IS CLOSED

Many of you have been asking me for a follow course up to the Get Organized :: Sketch it Out! Planning Session of last summer. Well, here it is…

When Less is More :: 31 Days to Rhythm is a 31 day eCourse that provides a place where we can gather with a cup of tea during these cozy days of winter, at this time in the year when we are most focused inward in our thinking, and reflect on the rhythm, routine and reverence in our lives and homes.

We'll look at family values, the needs of children and adults, mealtimes, bedtimes, play, fresh air and the spaces of time in-between. We'll reflect on what can help each of us bring more rhythm and spaciousness to daily life. With simple and practical ideas and suggestions.


With this new course, I will take you by the hand for the 31 days of January and help you become more  clear on your family values, more present in the moment and implement daily rhythm into your life. After that you can go back into the eCourse over and over again for it will be up indefinitely. Forever I am told.

The Schedule:
Now :: Gathering and Greeting
Week 1 :: January 1 -Nourish :: Eat
Week 2 :: January 8 - Renew :: Sleep
Week 3 :: January 15 - Make Magical Metamamorphosis :: Play
Week 4 :: January 22  - Weave :: Love and Connection

We'll work out of the 3 R's of Waldorf education: Rhythm, Repetition and Reverence. We'll find beauty in the simple and the ordinary, as well as incorporate simple and practical creative and artistic endeavors that make daily life more meaningful and pleasant. And easier too!

We'll look at different approaches to rhythm. Some of us are night birds and some of us are up with the birds and some of us are both! We'll explore how to find renewal and renewed energy to meet our children where they are at each day.

I am very excited about this eCourse because it is set up on a brand new private site that is lovely and easy to access and keep track of. Everything for the eCourse is there at the site.

Are you?
  • Curious about rhythm, wondering what it is beyond a schedule?
  • Wanting to bring more beauty and harmony into your life?
  • Wishing you had more peaceful mealtimes?
  • Seeking more meaningful bedtimes?
  • Wanting to ease transitions?
  • Wondering how breathing and rhythm are connected?
  • Desiring to feel more connected?
  • Longing for a deeper awareness of nature's rhythms?
  • Imagining a home that is more peaceful and harmonious?
If so, then join our group of rhythm making mamas! (and papas too if they should join.)


::
31 Days to Rhythm Includes:
* 31 days of rhythm reminders
* 4 weeks of focused practical activities
* 2 handwork projects (child's apron and a sleep time fairy)
*a wild, wise and wonderful community
*a round table discussion with homeschooling moms
*lots of enthusiastic support
::
::
Ready to Get Rhythm?

$25
all new easy to access format








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