Saturday, August 1, 2015

Hello Summer!

Summer came with great momentum this year and now we are fully in it, days thick with warmth and humidity while the table is sweet with the fruits of summer.

Thunderstorms and sun showers have become regular visitors.

The warmth of spring was so slow to arrive, awaiting we were, in March and April, with crocuses and daffodils eventually pushing through and blossoming, weeks later than usual this. Once they blossomed, it was as if the flood gates were opened and the water poured out and keeps on pouring.

The forsythia followed, then the lilacs followed by the day lilies. The irises followed. Then the chives blossomed, providing pink bids for vinegar. More intense flavor with garlic scapes and radishes followed by baby carrots and lettuces. Then came the strawberries, which we “shared” with the rabbits.

The bee balm is uncharacteristically late in its blossoming. The little plants were eaten up by “our" fat furry woodchuck who loves to eat the black eyed susies. This is the first year he, or she, whatever it is, with no babies to be seen this year, it may be a "he"… This is the first time a woodchuck has eaten the bee balm.

This morning the fat woodchuck devoured a cabbage before our eyes, bold little fellow. He has been trying to get at the hens or their food. Any suggestions for ridding ourselves of this fat furry creature that does not involve bodily harm to it?

We see fireflies flitting around at night. The rain opens up in big ways too. The lower vegetable garden has flooded twice this summer, that is except for the potatoes. It hasn’t flooded like this since Hurricane Irene swept through these parts.
The herbs have been very happy this year. The nettles came and they are taller than ever. The valerian is going to seed. I worried about the oregano succumbing to the cold of winter, as it had a slow awakening. Now we have a full bed of baby oregano. The lemon balm and catnip are everywhere and happy. Saint John’s Wort has made its appearance in a few spots. There’s mugwort and motherwort too.

How’s your summer been?


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Children and Household Work


how do we bring them in?
A few points to keep in mind when you are seeking to involve children in the work of the household are: it may take longer than you’d like, it may get messy, much messier than when you do it on your own (and let the extra clean up be done joyfully too!) and it will make a difference in their lives, as well as in the life of the household.

Meaning, Purpose, Belonging
The contribution by children to the work of the household gives them a sense of meaning and purpose as well as a feeling of belonging. They learn that we all care for our home. With young children we do the work and make it inviting. We encourage them to come to it without demanding it by doing it joyfully, by making it delicious and inviting. Children imitate what is around them. Through repetition, daily work becomes part of their life, it becomes a healthy habit.

The young child, from birth to around the age of nine, learns primarily through imitation of the world around him or her. Whatever is happening in the child’s presence will be deeply absorbed by the child.

Have you seen the movie, Like Water for Chocolate? The opening scene with the onion? And then the results with the food, how deeply it touches everyone? The mood we are in when we do our work imbues whatever we are working on, as well as the environment, and becomes the feeling absorbed by those who experience it.

Sometimes and usually at some point, for some amount of time, not necessarily the entire task, children do join in for they are creatures of imitation and long to be close to us, to be  like us and do as we do, particularly strongly around the ages of three to five. Sometimes the child does not join in. That’s okay. Either way, the child  is experiencing the work habit deep within, by being in the presence of an adult who is doing productive work in a joyful mood repetitively. A child who does not imitate you at all may need some help to do so.

Simple Tools
In the olden days, someone was always doing work by hand: mending, hammering, sewing, digging, chopping something. Today we must consciously incorporate working with our hands in daily life if we want to do this type of work with the children. Provide child size tools that are solid and work: a broom, a small rake, a small snow shovel, a good small garden shovel. You can unscrew and remove the upper handle of a carper sweeper to make it child size if you have carpets to sweep. Let them do real work with real tools.

Whip cream by hand, make butter in a jar, make your own your own yoghurt, develop your own sourdough culture and knead your bread. Try making butter in a jar by shaking fresh cream. These are a few ways we can bring hand work to the kitchen.

Don’t feel like it is only in the kitchen and with the household chores that this kind of work can take place. I mention them because it is where many of us spend a good deal of time, cooking, cleaning and caring for the home.

Whatever is your passion, if you are an outdoors type and love to build with wood: fences, benches, house repair, whenever a child is around, do what you can by hand, sand by hand, drill by hand, pound nails with a hammer. The work you do with your hands creates an atmosphere that deeply nourishes your child.

Finish the Job
Remember to finish one task before going on to something else. It is better to do one task by hand, one simple task and complete it than begin many and let them linger, with no completion in sight. The completion of a task helps develop the will. Children can develop good habits overt time through imitation, which will pay off when they have the skills to do the work and contribute, in the family and later way down the road in their own lives. When we do less outside of the home, we have more time to be present in the tasks of homemaking with children. 

It is our WILL forces that we use to engage ourselves and our children. Children are all arms and legs, "show me what to do” and they will do it by our ACTION, our mood, our gesture.

Make it Easy 
I've used gates to keep the children in the kitchen and play area so the children are where I can see them.  I wear aprons for cooking, baking, cleaning and gardening. I encourage them to participate with their own aprons, a place to step up to the sink, these have varied over the years, a chair, an inverted wooden box, a crate, a step stool and jobs of their own, tasks of their own: drying, washing the table, setting the table...

In cultivating the will and the habit life the most important piece is to do the same chores in the same sequence each day and each week. After we eat, we clear the table, we wash the dishes, we sweep the floor….Repetition.

Songs, Verse and Nursery Rhymes
Songs, verse and nursery rhymes that are specific (for you) to your daily and weekly tasks can help ease a child into joining, make it familiar and inviting. I’ve written about nursery rhymes here.

Presence
"This is the way we sweep the floor, sweep the floor, sweep the floor so early in the morning…"

The next time you sweep the floor, wipe the table, or do another repetitive task, bring conscious awareness to your gesture, of what is the mood conveyed by your movements as you sweep or wipe. Ask yourself, “Am I sweeping rhythmically and with love for my work?" Or is it “let’s get this off the floor and be done with it?” To be honest, we all do both, depending on the circumstances and we all have the freedom to decide which one we want for our child to experience.

Mother Goose
Mother Goose nursery rhymes are a great resource for the early years from birth, even good up into the grades, but especially good in the early years, from birth to age seven or so. Here are few nursery rhymes, rhythmic verses you may already know to accompany the work you do.

For Chopping
Chop, chop
Choppity chop

Cut off the bottom
And cut off the top

What we have left,
We'll put in the pot

Chop, chop
Choppity, chop

At Tea Time
~ a nursery rhyme
Polly put the kettle on, Polly put the kettle on,
Polly put the kettle on, we'll all have tea.
Sukey take it off again, Sukey take it off again,
Sukey take it off again, they've all gone away

For Pancake Making
~ a nursery rhyme
Mix a pancake,
Stir a pancake,
Pop it in the pan;
Fry the pancake;
Toss the pancake,
Catch it if you can

In Short 
:: Keep the same sequence of chores, in the day, in the week
:: Imbue it with love and care
:: See it through
:: Sing as transition to the task, sing through the task
:: Remember the saying, "if they can walk, they can work"

::
This post is an adaptation of a response I wrote for the Yahoo Group I moderate, Waldorf Early Childhood ~ Bringing it Home. The group has gone rather quiet over the years.  I closed the archives when I became aware that my words were being paraphrased on another site offering a “new” early childhood curriculum, with no mention of where it came from. At first I was upset that my material had been used with no credit to me, and now after some time has passed, I take it as a compliment that my work is valued, is going out into the world, and is touching the lives of children and the future. 

Every now and then, I’ll share one of my posts from the Yahoo group archives with you here. While that group has seemingly gone to sleep, I still guide parents, homemakers, homeschoolers, and even unschoolers in establishing rhythm and other aspects of parenting and homeschooling through my eCourses, my Living Curriculum Program and Phone Consultations.

If you’d like to work with me and focus more on your daily, weekly and seasonal rhythms in a warm, wonderful and and wise community, consider joining my 8 week eCourse in June and July, Get Organized :: Sketch it Out! or if you’d like to focus intensively on your daily home rhythms, how to practically put into place harmonious rhythm and routine for living day to day, join my eCourse 30 Days to RhythmWhen Less is More :: Rhythm Boot Camp for the month of September. Between those two courses, in August my eCourse offering focuses on Creating a Family Home in reflection on the mood and practicality of our living spaces in preparation for the homemaking, homeschooling year.

All three of of these eCourses are designed to support you to establish your home rhythms, the first in planning out the homemaking, homeschooling year the second in organizing the physical space in your home and the third for 30 days of hands on doing, actual practice, step by step support in establishing home rhythm and routines through the month of September.

Enrolling Now
June and July :: Get Organized :: Sketch it Out! here
August :: Creating a Family Home, here
September :: When Less is More :: 30 Days to Home Rhythms, here



©Celebrate the Rhythm of Life 2009-2015

All content is copyright protected. Unauthorized use and/or duplication without express and written consent is strictly prohibited.  Links are welcomed and encouraged, provided that clear credit is given to Celebrate the Rhythm of Life and a direct link is provided.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Parenting - Is Compliance or Connection the Way to Go?

Q & A with Lisa

Dear Lisa,
I heard somewhere in the Waldorf world that teaching children compliance is important. 

It makes me wonder because there are so many stories among friends of children who are unable to stay in classrooms and sometimes even in a school because they don’t listen to the teacher and won’t do what is asked of them. 

Is that what we need to focus on in the early years? I try to make my son behave, he is 3 years old, but he is so strong willed and has such a mind of his own that it is impossible most of the time, he just won’t listen to me. What am I missing?


Muddled Mama

Dear Muddled Mama,

Thank you for bringing forth this very important question.

Your question helps us to reflect and shine light on a very important aspect of parenting, our expectations of the child and what those expectations are based on.

We all want to get along and have the "harmony rainbow” experience of childhood: beautiful toys, time outdoors, lovely songs and time together.

Yet if we are honest with ourselves, this is not always the case. We may have our moments of bliss or even days of bliss and then it happens, whammo! the behavior that takes us by surprise and leaves us speechless.

Young children give us the opportunity to grow and learn more about ourselves and the world if we can just take a deep breath, that deep breath of parenting, all the way to our toes and re-focus. (it’s like free psychotherapy, always available to every parent throughout childhood)

Is this particular behavior, in this particular moment, the issue? Is that where we need to go, where we need to focus, to help our child grow into a healthy human being? Or might it be a signal to look at the big picture?

I’m going to take what may be the less popular stance and say, it’s not about fixing the behavior in the now, but about gaining a  deeper understanding of the behavior, about what is beneath the behavior. It is likely that what is being called for through the behavior may need regular attention over time.

(the feeling it triggers in us in the moment, that is a real feeling and alive in the now, yet often triggered by something in our own past, a good topic for another day)

A child’s behavior, and our response or reaction to it, offers us a clue to something more, something else going on within the child, within us or within the child’s environment. When a child exhibits behavior that concerns us it is an invitation to:

Look look a little deeper

What about compliance? I always think of it as a sort of forced behavior, being made to comply. With echoes of the “Do as I say, not as I do,” approach.

Let’s look at the word compliance.

Compliance is defined by the Oxford English dictionary a:
"The state or fact of according with or meeting rules or standards"

Compliance defined as being in a state of according with, meaning being in agreement with rules and standards.

Hmmnnn… rules and standards are ways of being that are imposed from the outside in. Sometimes rules and standards are very abstract. The child’s relationship to rules and standards is that they are imposed from without.

So where do we go from here?

Let’s look at the unfolding child, the developmental picture of the child...

The first seven years of life are a time of creating an environment and a relationship with the child that supports actions on the child’s part from the inside out. We work on rhythms to make life feel secure and predictable, from the inside out.

We work on the environment and of creating a feeling that the world is good by doing something for the child that the child cannot yet do for him or herself, we filter out the concerns of the adult world, the media and stress that constantly bombards us.

We work on the relationship with our child, to be in the position of parent, of authority based on a hierarchy of parent knows best.

Out of this relationship, we have the ability to parent our children. 

How do we help a child act from the inside out?

Begin by trusting yourself and going back to your relationship with your child.

The most important factor is our relationship with the child, that it is an hierarchical relationship. When we are as Gordon Neufeld describes in “right relationship” with the child, a relationship of being your child’s "best bet" that occurs when we step into our big shoes as the parent, children want to come along, to be good, out of an inner drive of belonging, out of relationship, out of “we” do this now.

When the child’s behavior is out of sorts, the first step is to look at our relationship with our child rather than at the behavior, what is going on with our child, is our child in right relationship with us? For this relationship, this natural attachment of child to parent, this relationship provides the context for parenting. Without it, there is constant struggle.

What supports this relationship, these natural attachment instincts? 

What do children need to fall into attachment with their parents?

Time
Time to develop at a child’s pace.

Family Meals
A ritual of coming together to share food each day as a family, as a group of people who belong together.

Home Life
Slow and simple daily life that allows for the healthy, traditional unfolding of children. 

Play
Plenty of time to initiate free play, indoors and out.

Family Time
Rituals and routines of home life, daily shared meals, special shared activities like big breakfast on the weekends, shared stories, cooking together, playing games together, singing, prayers, blessings.

You are not missing anything at all dear mama.

Celebrate the Rhythm of Life 
Harmonious Rhythms ::   Soulful Parenting with the 3C's :: Waldorf Homeschooling



All content is protected under copyright. Unauthorized use and/or duplication without express and written consent is strictly prohibited.  Links are welcomed and encouraged, provided that clear credit is given to Celebrate the Rhythm of Life and a direct link is provided.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Get Organized :: Sketch it Out! is Back for 2015

I am pleased to announce that registration is now open for…

 Get Organized :: Sketch it Out!
~ 8 Weeks of Planning through the Rhythm of the Year 
Begins June 1, 2015
~ 8 Weeks ~
$59

Planning the Homeschooling and Homemaking Year
2015 ~ 2016
Here we are, coming into spring, 
soon it will be summer, 
and then once again a new school year will begin
  • Are you starting to think about homeschooling or homemaking plans for September and the next year?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed with information coming at you?
  • Are you at a loss for where to begin?
  • Is the notion of rhythm feel like a big mystery?
  • Would you like some gentle and wise guidance coupled with enthusiasm, experience and a deep trust for your practical wisdom to support you to Get Organized and Sketch it Out, and create your own binder to organize your year.
What’s Included?
  • 8 Weeks of Lessons, Reflection and Encouragement
  • 4 Roundtable Discussions with homeschooling mamas
  • Interviews with folks in the world of Waldorf education and Anthroposophy
  • Discussion of the different types of curriculum material available
  • Discussion on finding the balance between homemaking and homeschooling
  • A Walk through the Rhythm of the Year
  • Guidance and support to help you define What is Essential for You and Your Family
  • Support for you and all the hats you wear as mother, teacher, care provider and even wage earner
  • Private Discussion Forum
  • Sample Daily, Weekly, Monthly Rhythms
Each year, I tweak this course to make it better for you, in how I offer  support and guidance to get organized with simplicity and a slow savored approach to life as a homemaker, homeschooler that is connected, creative and conscious, the 3C’s of parenting that are at the foundation of all my work.

I’ll focus more this year on the artistic role and elements of the curriculum, both kindergarten and grades, as a foundation and encourage you to develop your skills to remain one step ahead of your child.

This year, I’ll guide you to create a 3 ring binder that includes your homeschooling and homemaking materials. One place for everything. Your creation. 

Join me and a warm wise group of other homeschooling, homemaking moms, as we each create our binder and sketch out the year. I'll guide you through a process of clarifying your needs and wants to organize material and sketch out a plan that weaves them into your year.

Get Organized :: Sketch it Out! remains open to members of the class throughout the year. You can always stop in for a refresher or to find the name of that something we talked about in the course. Templates, reflections, assignments, recordings and handouts will be available and easily accessible on the site, 'round the year, for you to return to and use.

Join now for the early bird discount registration fee of $39, good until the end of day next Sunday April 5th, that’s a week and a day from today, when the registration fee will become $59. It’s a deal at $59 and a steal at $39. I’ve poured my heart and soul into planning homemaking and homeschooling years, both the kindergarten and grades, over the past 17 years and come to you with plenty of experience, full of success and failure, and to share as well as the wisdom of time and reflection.
Benefits of Registering Now 
  • Plenty of relaxed time to organize the materials for your planning binder
  • Exploration of the role of art in the Waldorf curriculum, both kindergarten and grades
  • Explore different artistic materials
  • Time to be creative in setting up your binder
  • Hear from curriculum providers
  • Discuss benefits of different types of curriculum material
  • Discuss the benefits of doing it yourself
  • Explore the point of balance between pre-made and homemade
  • Explore How to Get Started with homeschooling the grades or the kindergarten and nursery years
  • Focus on what is essential for Waldorf homeschoolers, what makes it Waldorf?


no fee for Year Round Members of Celebrate the Rhythm of Life

~*~

Celebrate the Rhythm of Life 
Harmonious Rhythms ::   Soulful Parenting with the 3C's :: Waldorf Homeschooling


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Spring is in the Air and a Give Away

The birds are singing, the buds on the tree branches are swelling, and the sunlight is grower stronger and warmer with each passing day. Here at Celebrate the Rhythm of Life, I am delighting in the experience the stirrings of spring and embrace the changes inherent to this season.

I am so excited for the new formatting of my program Celebrate the Rhythm of Life :: Living Curriculum Program. The material is easy to access and the forum is warm and intimate for conversation. Each month it gets a little tighter.

Each month in the Living Curriculum Program, I include nature projects, stories, articles, recipes, circles, finger plays, movement games and crafts to enjoy during this season of , and I hope that those of you who are members will make yourselves a cup of tea and pull up a cosy chair to settle in and savor the materials and conversation.

Some Changes
I am polishing up the Primer :: A Guide to Waldorf Kindergarten in the Home, that will be included with the curriculum instead of repeating the tutorials each month, it will provide for members a singular place to go that covers all the essential elements of early childhood.

In response to your requests, I am organizing the curriculum to make it available in PDF packets in a format of 12 Weeks of each season, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, with recordings of all the circle work, finger plays and movement games for each week available for you to learn and download with ease as well as videos to help you find you way. 

How it Started
I was inspired to begin this program five years ago, after many requests form within the Waldorf online community. So many questions came up over and over again in discussion groups. What is Waldorf really about? How come I can’t figure out this rhythm thing? Which stories to tell? When to tell them. What if I have more than one child? How do I have a harmonious family meal? How do I get dinner on the table after a long hard day? How do I settle my child for bed at night without exhausting myself? How do I do wet on wet watercolor painting? Do I need to do circle at home? Is Waldorf homeschooling the same as being in a school? How is different?

It was clear to me that I wanted to provide more than a package of materials to download for each month. I wanted this to be an active program to explore together and support the journey of parents and the path of parenting in community and to remind each of us of our own deep wisdom and to encourage  a letting go of the fear of not getting it right, or messing up. Or worse the fear of messing up our children.

I wanted it to be a place, a space online to gather and celebrate the joy of life, as well as find comfort and solace in knowing that parenting can be a struggle, and out of that struggle comes so much growth for us, as parents.

This little program has grown over the years and I am so grateful for all who make it successful, the members who show up and contribute, the guest speakers, the quiet ones who send me an occasional note, and the stories of family life and children that help us all to see, we are “normal” we are perfectly imperfect, our children will be fine and we will come through these years with more laughter than tears.

eCourses
To help make it an active and engaging living program, each month I offer an eCourse on one aspect of life as a homemaking or homeschooling parent. These include Rhythm Boot Camp, Storytelling, Warmth, Cooking, Meal Planning, Discipline, Painting and Coloring, Sketching it Out, Gratitude and more. I am always open to requests and suggestions for these eCourses.

This spring I am offering a series of eCourses to help deepen our connection to the season, to the place where we live, to ourselves and to our children, through noticing the sacred, stepping into our big shoes as parents, and creating magic from what is already there in front of us, and gaining confidence to tell simple puppet stories mades with bits from our own hands.

My Offerings for Spring
February: When Less is More :: Create Sacred Space
We plunge into our own inner sacred space as well as the sacred spaces of our home, with an early spring cleaning, a de-cluttering and opening up of space in which to invite the sacred in. We’ll explore the manifestation of the sacred in everyday life. This eCourse goes until March 27 as we move through our homes, de-cluttering and creating sacred space.

March: Limits and Boundaries :: Gentle Aspects of Rhythm
We’ll look more deeply into rhythm and go to the roots of limits and boundaries, of our own relationship to them and how to bring healthy limits and boundaries gently, with love and warmth, in a way that nurtures everyone and sidesteps the power struggles of parenting.

April: From Sheep to Story :: A Tale of Wonder
In April, we’ll work with fleece right off the sheep and learn how to weave tales of wonder from this magical fairy wool.

May: Imaginative Play in Childhood
This month we’ll explore play, what it is an what it is not. We’ll focus on ways to encourage imagination and create the space for free and imaginative play for our children, both indoors and out.

The Give Away
In honor of all parents who struggle with discipline, I am hosting a giveaway this weekend for one place in the eCourse, Limits and Boundaries :: Gentle Aspects of Rhythm here and one place in the Living Curriculum Program for March, the monthly program includes curriculum + eCourse.

To enter, please like and share the post on Celebrate the Rhythm of Life’s FaceBook page. If you have friends who may be interested in the course of give away, tag them in the comments. If you blog and would like to share news of this giveaway and a link to this page, that counts as two entries.

Return here to the comments below and make a comment for each blogpost, like, share and tag you make. The more you like, share and tag, the more entries you have.


The winner will be announced Monday before noon.

 Check back here to see if you are the winner.

Good Luck!

::

The winners are:

eCourse Limits and Boundaries :: Gentle Aspects of Rhythm: 
Mama Ruck
"Liked and shared, thank you"

For the March Curriculum + eCourse:  
Becky Peak-Marquez
"Liked and shared; what a lovely giveaway!

Mama Ruch and Becky, please send me your email address at: lisaboisvert(at)yahoo(dot)com and I’ll invite you into the course

Thanks to all who participated!
Check back at the end of March for another give away!



Thursday, February 26, 2015

Limits and Boundaries :: March eCourse

registration is now open for

Limits and Boundaries :: Gentle Aspects of Rhythm 

an online course
March 1 ~ March 31

The month of March is when the sap starts to run from the maple trees in New England and Quebec. These forces of nature are so strong that they cannot be held back, they have been stirring deep in the arth all winter long and with the energy of spring, they come gushing forth, out of taps in the trees, filling buckets with clear sap. The sap is much like water with a hint of flavor, of a mild sweetness. When warmed, it transforms into liquid gold, a sweet, nourishing and exquisite elixir of life.

Children are a bit like the sap. They experience these strong forces of nature gushing forth. We often say of the child in springtime, "his sap is running," meaning the child is full of vital life forces and energies of spring.

We, the parents, we are the sugarmakers, we collect the sap with care and apply warmth, and from this wild and alomost uncontained force of nature comes something so distinct, so delectible that we lick our lips and smile with sweet satifisfaction upon tasting it.

It's a bit like that with children. They gush forth and they flow, with energies as powerful as any force of nature. This month when children's own sap, those inner forces begin to run, in March, we'll gather here and explore how we can bring warmth and love and transformation to these wild forces of nature, all the while knowing the sweetness and lip smacking goodness of parenting.

Do you worry about upetting your child?
Do you receive so much conflicting advice that you cannot begin to make sense of it?
Are you concerned about crushing your child's soul or creative spirit?
Would you like to find alternatives to the use of the word no?
Would you like to stay grounded in your core, your heart, that place of warmth, when you get frustrated and exasperated? 

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, then this eCourse is designed for you.

Parenting is one of the hardest tasks, if not the hardest task we do, and we are not warned before hand! Most of us are completely unprepared for the relentless transformation that comes with parenting. We tend get little support and too much criticism and unsolicited advice in what can be a delightful and hard task, with lip smacking goodness and extreme frustration.

This month we deepen our focus on rhythm to see how a healthy rhythm with limits and boundaires eliminate stress and frustration and bring more peace and calm to your home.

My approach is to encourage you through exercises, reflection and discussion, to tap into the awareness, creativity and skills you already have to  find creative and connected ways to be with your child in a more harmonious manner, on a day to day basis.

This course supports the healthy whole child and whole parent and does not suggest the use of coercion, manipulation or force.

I bring gentle, peaceful and positive parenting approach that is grounded in the my Three C's Approach to wholisitc parenting: Consciousness, Creativity and Connection.

A healthy and dependable rhythm is one of the most valuable gifts we can give to ourselves, our children and our familes. A good rhythm creates spaciousness of time and peace of mind.

Rhythm is often defined in terms of a sequence of events through the day. Yet there is another aspect to rhythm that is very helpful in daily life with children. That aspect is the gentle use of limits and boundaries.

Think of rhythm as a spectrum with complete chaos on one end and unbending ridigity on the other end. What lies inbetween is the realm of limits and boundaries. The realm of limits and boundaries is one that is not laid out for us as parents.

We may find our approach to parenting is different from our parents, yet we may not always feels clear about what it is. We may know wth clarity what it is not.

This course will help you clarify your values and learn how to bring comfort, security and healthy attachment to your child through an exploration of the benefit of gentle and loving limits and boundaries, that you define, to create a calm and maningful home environment.

If you are a teacher or care giver and would like support on how to go about bringing  creative and connected change in a group when a children or children seem to be out of control, this course will help you.

During the four weeks of March, we'll take up our mantle of warmth to explore ways in which we can bring gentle, loving, positive boundaries to our selves, our home life and our children and feel good about it. Peaceful living comes out of healthy boundaries.

Join us to explore your relationship to limits and boundaries along with gentle and positive ways to bring them to your life with children.

We'll explore sibling squabbles, children who have experienced trauma and the Alpha child.

If you'd like to have more practical skills in parenting to bring calm and peacefulness to your home, using conscious, creative and connected parenting, this eCourse is for you.


Begins on Sunday March 1st until March 31st
$25

SIGN UP HERE




 FAQS ~ frequently asked questions

What do I need for this eCourse?
You need online access.

How much time do I need to spend on line each day?
Daily check in for 5-15 minutes is ideal.

What if I skip a day or several days?
That is fine, just go back at your pace and check in on the days you missed.

Do I need to be available or online at any specific times?
Not at all. If you can check in once a day, for 5-15 minutes, that is plenty.

How long will I have access to this course?
You will have access forever, indefinitely.

Is it all on one site? How easy is it to access?
It is all on a private site that is very easy to access and navigate.

Who sees the comments and discussions?
Only the members of the class. 

If you offer this class again, will the new members see this course?
No, this course is only for the current members. When I offer it again, it will be on a fresh site.

Do I have to participate and comment each day?
Participation is voluntary and you are free to speak out or not. I notice that the more class members participate, the better the class is for everyone. The real work is in bringing the daily notes and suggestions into your day and applying them.

 Where do I sign up and how much does it cost?
It costs $25 , yes it is truely a bargain!

Sign up Now

$25

The Limits and Boundaries :: Gentle Aspects of Rhythm eCourse is included with the March Celebrate the Rhythm of Life Living Curriculum Program: includes eCourse + Curriculum material for March: Stories, Circle, Fingerplays, Puppetry, Activities, Songs and Daily Rhythm recording and eBook to help ease transitions through the day and help you find your daily and weekly rhythm $49 here

Free for Round the Year Members, more here

Celebrate the Rhythm of Life 
Harmonious Rhythms ::   Soulful Parenting with the 3C's :: Waldorf Homeschooling

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Rhythm or Routine :: What's the Difference?

Is there a difference between rhythm and routine?

Whenever there's a gathering of parents and a discussion of rhythm, this question always seems to come up. Someone asks, "What's the  difference between rhythm and routine, aren't they the same thing?"

Well yes and no. Sometimes they look alike and sometimes they do not.

Let's look more closely...

Rhythm is dynamic, it changes.

Dynamic, according to Google dictionary:

"adjective
     1. (of a process or system) characterized by constant change, activity, or progress."
       "a dynamic economy"

When I started this blog I began by explaining its title Celebrate the Rhythm of Life, in a post, by writing about rhythm:

 "Rhythm is movement, flow, pattern, form, pulse, cadence. Rhythm is a place between polarities, that of being stuck and rigid on one end and that of flowing wildly… here

Rhythm involves movement and energy. Rhythm changes, yet it contains patterns and form. Night and Day. Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. Maiden, Mother, Crone. 

Rhythm is connected with life forces. Some are outside of us, forces of nature, beyond our control, yet familiar patterns. We can respond to these forces by flowing with them, in the rhythm of life.

Breathing in and breathing out, these words describe the energy  forces of breathing, a contraction (breathing in)  and an expansion (breathing out) - a movement and a flow, that changes with time and situation. Active play. Quiet rest. Running hard. Catching our breath. The coherence of hearts beating together. 

All life has rhythm.

Our bodies are enlivened by their rhythms: in our breathing, in our sleep patterns with circadian rhythms, in our digestion, in our energy levels during the day, in our biological clocks, in the menstrual cycle. Our rhythms change with time.

The earth has its rhythms of expansion and contraction.

The planets have their rhythms, each one has its unique orbit through the cosmos.

Rhythm is like a dance, in motion, breathing in and out, changing, full of energy.

Let's look at the Google definition of routine:

Routine
"noun
1. a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program."
"I settled down into a routine of work and sleep"

Routine on the other hand is static. It is not full of life or energy. Routines are like lists or habits. There is no energy or movement in routine. 

Yet we need both rhythm, for the movement, the patterns, the flow of life and we need routines, for the routines give us comfort and security. They give us predictability and certainty to rely on. Routines are simply repetition of the act informed by rhythm. Routine is often reflected in a sequence of activities. 

Repetition makes the activities we do predictable for ourselves and for our children. When we have a regular soup night each week, it's easy to plan, for I know when I am grocery shopping that I need ingredients for soup night. When I have a regular day to give the fridge a quick one over and sort out what needs composting, I know what's in there, so then when I'm are at the market, I know if we have carrots or not. These little routines, meal plans, bedtime routines, waking routines, morning routines, after school routines, these habits that are repeated give us ease and calm. 

Children thrive on predictability. For the child, the repetition, the predictability of routine makes life trustworthy and secure.  When we are able to be consistent and repetitive, children trust us, they come to know that we mean what we say, that they can count on us to be true to our word. When children know what comes next, they are able to ease through transitions. They experience life as good. 

When our rhythms are responsive to the energetic needs of the moment, of the child, of the family, of the year, then we can feel it, we are in a flow and it is the repetitiveness of what flows that helps carry the day, the week or the year. This is why rhythm feels so hard sometimes, because we are alive, life is alive, it is always in motion. Rhythm is about riding the wheel of life's motion in a way that brings balance to our lives, as individuals and as families. That reminds us to create the space for calm, soothing time with nothing to do. It is also rhythm that urges us to dress up and go out in the cold and snow to build a snowman. Whew! It's big stuff.

Rhythm and routine (or repetitiveness) need each other. 

For example, I might look at my child's diet and feel like I need to bring more nutrient dense foods into his daily eating with more protein foods in his diet, in meals and snacks, because I observe that he is growing rapidly and that he often reaches for sweets when he seems to be hungry, while I am suspecting he  needs more protein rich foods. This is a growth rhythm, a change that come out of growing needs.

So I look at the flow of the day and our routines and decide to add a daily snack that is protein rich, like yoghurt and nuts. Then I look at what we eat for breakfast and  decide to add eggs to our breakfast three days a week.

It is out of the rhythm of life, out of my child's growth spurt, that I see the need for protein. This is something dynamic and likely to change at some point. Growth spurts, by their very nature, come and go. The need is different than what it was before. 

The routine element comes in when I add yoghurt and eggs to my meal plan of what I intend to prepare each week. It's a list and likely to become a habit, based on the living needs of a particular child within the dynamic of the family. 

Another example, let's say you know your child comes home from school tired and wound up. You know that some time alone while changing into play clothes, followed by quiet time and a warm cup of soothing tea, and then a bite to eat, snuggled up with you on the sofa, will help bring your child back to a place of calm and a feeling of being energized. So you make this a priority in daily life, to have this time for your child to settle back at home after school.This is rhythm, working with the energy of the situation, in this case a pulling in, or a gesture of contraction imbued with warmth, setting the environment to calm or rev up energetically.

We can easily slip into our habits of routine. The gift of living with rhythm in our consciousness, our conscious awareness of the energetic aspects of our days, is that we can adjust and make changes and decisions that are based on putting our awareness of what is needed into action.

For me, this is what rhythm is about and how rhythm is distinct from routine.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Waldorf in the Home :: Meal Planning

Weekly Rhythm :: The Meal Plan
9 February 2015
If you are a Waldorf parent, it’s likely that you’ve heard of the importance of rhythm, either at a parent evening at school or in the world of Waldorf online. 

If you are new to rhythm, or it still feels a little mysterious to you, you can read more about different aspects of rhythm in the home here.

Rhythm is an approach to organizing our lives that includes familiar routines as well as a sensitivity to the energetic rhythms of our bodies, the seasons and of our own season in the rhythm of life.

One of my favorite aspects of rhythm is weekly meal planning. I love to cook and garden and could easily spend the whole day working on our meals, if I did not have anything else to do. 

But alas, I have lots of other things to do, homeschooling my sixth grader and working on the living curriculum program I offer as well as homemaking, caring for animals, gardening, handwork, getting us all outside everyday, volunteering, well you know, the days are quite full with children.

That’s where the weekly meal plan helps me. Over the years I’ve had a fall back weekly rhythm for my meal planning and it is so helpful for the times when the thought of what to make for dinner just puts me on overload. And I love to cook.

My Weekly Rhythm Meal Plan

Mondays I make beans and rice and turn them into chili, burritos, enchiladas, tacos or nachos. Leftover beans may turn used with heuvos rancheros for breakfast or bean dip with afternoon tea.

Tuesday, I lean on Thai dishes, something I learned to make when we lived in the equatorial Pacific, or Stir Fry. In the summertime, for one of our favorite thai dishes, I grow long beans, thai basil and round white eggplant. Other wise with stir fry, I chop whatever vegetables I have and stir fry them with lots of ginger and garlic. I’ll add nuts and herbs if I have them.

Wednesday is pasta day in our kitchen. In the winter I like to bake pasta, with lasagne, baked ziti or my version of the classic macaroni and cheese. Pasta is the only analog food my gluten free child eats. 

Thursday is my challenge. I tend to lean on leftovers or the slow cooker on Thursday.

Friday is our Pizza and family movie night. (My children are 12 and over) I go through phases of making my own alternating with take out. I slip in some winter greens, like arugula with hopes of vegetable-izing the meal.

Saturday might be leftovers or casserole. I grew up with beans and franks and brown bread on Saturdays. I have tried making my own brown bread. 

How to Meal Plan
1. Begin with what your family likes to eat and what you like to cook
2. Look in your pantry, cupboards, freezer
3. Sketch it out

Once meal planning becomes a habit, you will be able to walk through it in your mind at the store and gather what you need pretty easily.

For children, familiar meals and specific nights, like “Pasta Night” or “Pizza Night” become something they can anticipate with comfort and joy.

Happy Planning and Eating!

if you meal plan and have a link to your meal plan for this week, 
please share the link to it in the comments below

:: 

If you’d like to join this month’s eCourse, registration is still open
 When Less is More :: Create Sacred Space


Celebrate the Rhythm of Life 
Harmonious Rhythms ::   Soulful Parenting with the 3C's :: Waldorf Homeschooling



Monday, February 9, 2015

Sacred Space in February


 Join me in February 
for
  When Less is More :: Create Sacred Space 
February 1st - February 28th
4 Weeks
$25

:: Do you feel like your days are full of taking care of things: washing, folding, putting away, picking up, moving around, wiping down, mopping up?
:: Do you sometimes lose sight of what you want the day to be about?
:: Do you have time to do the things you want to do each day?
:: Do you spend lots of time trying to organize your stuff?
:: Do you feel like you are running behind yourself trying to keep up with homemaking tasks and everything else you want to do?
:: Would you like to slow down and have more meaningful days?
:: Would you like to have more time with your child?
:: Could you use some help letting go of what is not important to you?


Join me for 28 days of Sacred Space, a clearing of the space that is your home 

What will we do in this 4 week class?
:: We'll explore the origins of stuff, where does it all come from?
:: We’ll clear out that which no longer serves us
:: We'll  de-clutter and simplify
:: We'll organize our children's clothes and toys
:: We’ll organize our necessary paper work
:: We'll work on daily rhythm, on getting back on track with our daily lives
:: We’ll pay attention to simple ways we can bring beauty to our home without more “stuff"

 The experience of clearing out a cluttered space is energizing and inspiring 

There’s no place like home. It is our sanctuary from the world. It’s where we put our heads to rest at the end of the day, it’s where we convalesce when we are ill, where we nourish ourselves at the table and it’s where our children discover the world through play and exploration.

Over the 28 days of February, we’ll go through our homes and make space for what is most important to us. And practice letting go of what is not so important.

We’ll create routines that work within our family’s rhythms.
We’ll clear out the clutter.
We’ll organize our children’s belongings.
We’ll practice new habits through the month.

Lots of enthusiastic support
Warm, safe, supportive community
Registration fee is low to make it accessible to all
All on one private, easy to use site

$25


Celebrate the Rhythm of Life 
Harmonious Rhythms ::   Soulful Parenting with the 3C's :: Waldorf Homeschooling


Monday, January 19, 2015

Rhythm of Our Home :: In the Kitchen

"The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul
 than their simplicity might suggest." ~ Thomas Moore

                                                               
.: a day for making stock :.

I like to start the week with a pot of stock. 

First we chop. Into the pot goes chopped carrots, celery, onions and garlic, a bit of meat bone, some peppercorns and bay leaves, then cover with water and wait. 

Little by little good smells slowly emerge and begin fill the kitchen. The good smells fill the house.

I love to start the week by making a pot of stock, so that I have broth ready for Soup Day and broth to use for a quick bowl of noodles and vegetables, as well as broth to slip into a curry or whatever else might benefit from a bit of broth during the week.

During the days of deep cold weather, an extra bonus from the stock pot, a cup of warm broth with carrots and ribbon egg noodles is divinely comforting and warming in so many ways.

Do you have a regular homemaking activity for Monday?


Celebrate the Rhythm of Life 
Harmonious Rhythms ::   Soulful Parenting with the 3C's :: Waldorf Homeschooling


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Celebration Sale

In honor of twelfth birthday celebrations at our house, I am inspired to offer my first ever sale on Celebrate the Rhythm of Life All Year Round Living Curriculum Program.
Twelve Months of Materials, Support + eCourses

*This is a Lifetime Membership

Membership includes:
Twelve Months of Curriculum Material for the Kindergarten (4-6) and Nursery (2-4) child, Curriculum Materials include 
Stories, Songs, Verses, Circles, Festivals, Puppetry, Finger plays, Movement Games, Recipes, Gardening, Tips for Home Based Nurseries and Child Care Givers and more.

Also included:

Tutorials
Daily Rhythm Support
Transition Support
Videos
Mp3s
Ongoing Consulting

Twelve Months of eCourses for your inner work and to deepen your understanding of Steiner/Waldorf early childhood 

eCourse topics include:

Simple Gratitude
Rhythm Boot Camp 
Limits and Boundaries
Creating Circles
Storytelling
Sketch it Out Planning

~ This is a Twelve Hour Sale ~

From 2:00 pm today January 13th until 2:00 am January 14th

the Lifetime Membership is offered for $250 (regularly $525)

Celebrate the Rhythm of Life 
Harmonious Rhythms ::   Soulful Parenting with the 3C's :: Waldorf Homeschooling


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