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.

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


 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


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:

     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:

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 
  When Less is More :: Create Sacred Space 
February 1st - February 28th
4 Weeks

:: 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


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:

Daily Rhythm Support
Transition Support
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
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

Sunday, January 4, 2015

On Gratitude :: An eCourse for January

I am very excited to announce January's eCourse...
It's called Simple Gratitude :: The Wonder of an Ordinary Day.
 January 5th to January 31st
registration is open
This Simple Gratitude eCourse is a companion to my Celebrate the Rhythm of Life in January Living Curriculum program.

I began offering the Celebrate the Rhythm of Life Living Curriculum program four years ago in response to requests from parents, caregivers and fellow homeschoolers who were seeking to bring more form to their days and a deeper understanding of early childhood to their lives, along with regular artistic and domestic activities, meaningful work and handwork, attention to celebrations and festivals, wholesome foods and meal plans, peaceful bedtimes and engaging meal times, most of all harmonious rhythms and the spaciousness of time to enjoy family life.

All of the eCourses I offer support parenting that is out of what I call the the Three C's of Healthy Parenting: Conscious, Creative and Connected Parenting.

I provide these eCourses each month as a companion to help bring a broader and deeper perspective to homemaking and homeschooling from a Waldorf/anthroposophical approach. Each month we delve into a particular topic.

Past eCourse topics include: When Less is More :: 31 Days to Rhythm, 30 Days to Rhythm :: Boot CampLove:: The Heart of Discipline, The Art of Storytelling with Children, Crafting Circles and the Importance of Circle Work,  Get Organized :: Sketch it Out,  Play,  Color, Garden Along,  Limits and Boundaries, Warmth, Cooking for the Family and more.

I have a line up of new eCourses for 2015 that I'll be posting soon.

I offer the eCourses as a stand alone eCourses and as part of the monthly and yearly curriculum membership. They are open to everyone.

Over the next four weeks, in the Simple Gratitude eCourse, we'll work on daily and weekly rhythms, meals, bedtime, play, artistic activities, all within the context of kindling gratitude in our hearts and homes during the most ordinary of days.

We'll explore the role of gratitude in the life of the child and how we can nurture feelings of gratitude within our children in daily life.

We'll explore gratitude within ourselves.

The community consists of parents, homemakers, homeschoolers, teachers and caregivers, and is always wonderful, warm and wise.

Members are for the most part from the all over the United States, yet some come from as far away as Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, France, Indonesia, Germany, Spain, England, Scotland, Ireland, Israel, Thailand, Brazil and more. We are a world wide community, all committed to the conscious, creative and connected approach of being in the  world and with children.

I keep the registration fee low at $25 to make it accessible to all.

I hope you'll join us!

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

Monday, November 10, 2014

:: 8 Steps to Support the Behavior we Desire in Children ::

This piece came about as a response to a query about discipline and Waldorf ways in a Waldorf homeschooling discussion group. I received many kind notes about its helpfulness and thought you might like it here. I have slightly tweaked the original version.

Many aspects of Waldorf education help life flow with children. While Waldorf kindergartens and nurseries may appear to be child centered, the environment is created by the work, intention and daily carrying of the teacher. A similar practice can be applied at home.

I am often asked about the discipline question. How is it that seems seems to flow easily with children in Waldorf environments, at least much of the time as the teachers seem so calm and relaxed.

I have come to learn that discipline is for adults. It is something very individual, unique to each one of us, in our observation of the child and in reflection/meditation on the behaviors that challenge us. 

Yet there are certain aspects that are shared.

Discipline and our reactions to behavior are about us, and, in doing our inner work we can make room for seeing the child more clearly.

We can clear the space within to meet the child. Discipline in Waldorf education invokes the spiritual world. We are all striving to bring our own most brilliant flame into the world. It is a process. We have help.

Toys sometimes do go to rest when children can not play with them (and each other) with care or children can be given an imaginative picture of how to play with them in a different way. "The horse is going to rest today. We'll cover him with a blanket." 

Then we might turn to the dollies' corner. "Oh, Dolly needs a sweater" and we might turn to Dolly and start to care for her while huming.

The child often will step into the play where we are focused on practical work and then we can remove our self. Or we might provide a basket and suggest that balls may be tossed in here rather than across the room or at each other.

The situations that might call for a time out for some children or parents are the situations in which the child is asking us to take him or her in, into our notice, into our vision, into our heart, our strength; the child is struggling, the child needs us to see him or her and be the grown up. The rule still applies. We can be firm and understanding and loving. And be careful to respond to the child's needs rather than re-act out of our own wounds.

We might bring the child close to us, on the lap, give a back rub, engage the child in positive action to help out or to set the wrong right. If the child is too out of sorts to do this then the child really needs us to help him/her find their equilibrium. Some children may want to go off and be alone, most need guidance to find their calm place. Or it might mean this is a time of day when the child needs to be doing more expansive activity like playing outdoors, have a bite to eat or rest.

Children must be able to regulate their bodies before they can regulate their emotions. If a child is cold, tired, hungry, thirty or on sensory overload, the child will struggle with any emotional stress.

Questions to carry:
  • Is the child hungry, needing food or water?
  • Is the child tired, needing rest or sleep?
  • Is the child overstimulated?
  • What is going on around the child, in the environment?
  • What is living in the child's play?
  • What is going on for the child with this play?
  • What is the child seeking with this behavior?
  • How can we support this growth in a positive way?
  • How can we support the child to work through this?
  • Does the child ned to be challenged with a new task?
  • Does the child need to contribute in a meaningful way, a task to contribute a sense of purpose?
Boys are attracted to sticks and guns. Joan Almon once reminded us that sticks and guns are an extension of the boys anatomy, they point and spray or shoot. We cannot take this away from boys, (that would mean castration!). We can keep guns out of the environment and make boundaries around how the point and shoot unfolds. We might make suggestions about what comes out of the gun, "Oh it's the love gun" Some teachers will carry play through when it involves shooting an animal to skin and dress the animal to feed people with great reverence and awe and gratitude. Some teachers only permit shooting animals not people.

It is the clear, consistent, kept, predictable boundary that the child will accept and respond to. For teachers, it is easier because we see so much and have lots of practice and preparation. We get to ponder it before it happens. As parents, it is trickier because we may not be prepared for what are children bring to us. In finding our clarity, we can set the boundaries for our children.

I have seen children play and play and play out scenes from movies in loud, violent and aggressive ways. The child tries and tries and tries to digest material that is overstimulating him. Remove the stimulation and re-direct to healthy play (often big movement for boys outdoors.) Allow the child the time and space to work through this sticky point without judgement.

Some basics:

1) Understand child development, what does this age/stage look like? what to expect? how to nourish it? what are the challenges the child is facing? For the child from birth to seven, it is about engaging the will forces, taking action and moving through a task. How do we meet the child with playful, active transitions? through movement? What are reasonable expectations for the child?

2) Do the Inner work.  Ask yourself, what was my development like as a child? Where was I hindered? Nurtured? How? What are my fondest memories of childhood? What is bugging me about this now? Am I responding to this situation or reacting? (hint, when we have strong feelings, we are reacting)

3) Create and maintain a strong consistent rhythm to the day, the week, the year. Rhythm is about routine, yes, and also about the quality of the gesture. Is it expansive or contracting? Is it energizing or restful? Look at what time of day works best for each type of activity the child experiences within the context of the day. Put the child's schedule first.

4) Create an environment that is simple, beautiful, safe and worthy of reverence for the child. Within this world, the child may find great freedom to play creatively (with simple open ended toys) and freely. Less is more. Model behavior that is worthy of imitation. When my children were young, we had a small low table in the kitchen with little benches to sit on. Around the age when my child would start exploring the kitchen cupboards at floor level, I provided small pot with a lid and a small pan, a wooden spoon, some nuts (we used chestnuts and Brazil nuts) pine cones and sea shells on the little bench by the table. My children cooked as I cooked. As they grew, they helped chop vegetables from when they were very young, first with a paring knife, then with a chef's knife. I love it when they prepare meals now!

5) Trust the child to take risks and to resolve conflicts with other children. Magda Gerber's books best describe this for young children, birth to three. (it works for older children and parents too) Sportscast what is going on with the children and stay back as long as no one is getting hurt and step in only to prevent hurting. Children have an amazing capacity to work out their own conflicts.

6) Ask the child's guardian angel and our own for guidance.

7) Take care of ourselves. It is just crucial to eat wholesome nourishing food and get adequate and restful sleep.

8) Simplify life. Have less stuff. Protect children from exposure to the adult world of media and conversations. Talk less. Have few scheduled activities, very few. Love the activities that you have.

Celebrate each day together.


If you like this piece and would like more, consider the eCourse I am currently offering for parenting called Limits and Boundaries :: Gentle Aspects of Rhythm. Registration for this course will be open until Saturday, November 15th and then it will close to new members to keep it intimate. This is a small, intimate group and the course offers great potential for inner work, to go within and explore who you are and all you bring to your parenting, and to support you to express that consciously, creatively and out of connection with your child. If you've ever struggled with limits and boundaries, this course is for you.

Celebrate the Rhythm of Life 
Harmonious Rhythms ::  Parenting with Soul :: Waldorf Homeschooling

Monday, October 6, 2014

:: Meals Plans and Rhythm in the Home ::

Weekly Rhythm :: The Meal Plan
One simple way to help make the week flow with ease is the meal plan. The meal plan makes it easy to shop, plan and prepare meals. It also makes a great fall back during busy and stressful times. 
A meal plan can make all the difference in daily life. When I have a meal plan and use it, I don't have to think about what to make for dinner each day. I've already decided. I've gathered ingredients and been inspired by what I have on hand in drawing it up. Less worry and more time.

A meal plan means we eat healthier food. When I sketch it out, I look at the vegetables we have in our garden and from the farmers market. Our Minestrone at this time of year is entirely made of home grown and local farm vegetables: onions, garlic, carrots, celery, potatoes, cauliflower, tomatoes, broccoli and sweet peppers, rosemary, thyme and oregano. The last bits of basil from the garden garnish it.

The applesauce is made from the apples we just picked. The spicy greens are what's growing best in the cooler weather here. The epazote in the beans is from the garden. If you know of other uses for it, I'd love to know, I have two bushes of it, hanging on, in the garden.

One of the other, unexpected gifts of the meal plan, at least for me, is in reflecting on how much local food we are eating and identifying how to bring in more of it. It also helps me plan what to grow int he garden.

A meal plan is flexible too. If by Saturday, leftovers are too plentiful for our lunches, we'll eat them for dinner and out off the Shepard's Pie.

This week we are talking about meals and meal planning in my online eCourse for October, When Less is More :: 31 Days to Rhythm for a Calmer and More Peaceful home, also known as Rhythm Boot Camp. Click here for more.

If you use a meal plan and would like to share it, please do so in the comments below, or leave a link to your blog where you have posted it for others to see.

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

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Do You Struggle with Rhythm?

If you are struggling with rhythm, there is hope, support, community and inspiration with:

When Less is More 
31 Days to a Calmer and More Peaceful Home Life
~ rhythm boot camp
:: October 1st to October 31st ::

In response to the queries I am receiving, yes it is still possible to join the Rhythm eCourse. It is also possible to work at your own pace through the eCourse. Folks are still signing up. If you are thinking about it, it's a good time to join and jump in while we are still in the first week if you want to experience the energy of the group.

A few questions for you if you are on the fence about it:
  • Do you struggle with Rhythm?
  • Is Rhythm one of those mysterious things that you just cannot seem to grasp?
  • Are you a Waldorf inspired homeschooler struggling to structure your day?
  • Are you wondering what to do with your child each day?
  • Do you fall into bed exhausted at the end of the day?
  • Do you wonder how Waldorf kindergarten teachers seem so calm and manage to sing through the day and knead dough, bake bread, chop vegetables, make soup, color and paint with children every week?
  • Would you like to bring harmonious rhythms to your home or to the children you care for?
  • Is there more you want from each day but cannot find the time for?
  • Do you sometimes look at the clock and panic because you have no idea of what to serve for dinner?
  • Are you struggling with tired, hungry and cranky children while you are making dinner?

Welcome to Rhythm ~ the life force that sustains each and everyone of us every day, every week, every month and every year.

Before we had electricity, lights and heat available at the flip of a switch, people lived in harmony with nature's rhythms. We slept at night and worked in the light of the day. We chopped wood, carried water and kindled fires. The stars guided travelers. Food was only available when it was ripe locally or simply preserved. We lived in the rhythms of the natural world, deeply connected and carried along through the year without conscious attention. It simply was the way to do things. Habit.

We deeply felt the earth's rhythms through the day, the months and all through the year people celebrated significant turnings in the wheel of the year. The stirring of the seeds. The flowering. The harvest. The going in.

Nowadays, we can flip a switch and experience light and heat. We no longer live in the rhythms of nature. With all our connectivity, we have disconnected from the rhythm of life. 

Yet we are rhythmic beings and when we find our way into a rhythm that flows for ourselves and our families, we find harmony, peace of mind, inspiration for new endeavors and time to take up activities that deeply nourish our families and ourselves as parents. We can bring rhythm into our lives with conscious attention.

Our children need rhythm. Children thrive when their life is rhythmic. It is so healthy and nourishing for children to live a predictable life. Rhythm supports the healthy development of the child, of the senses, the emotions, the ability to play and the ability to transition from one activity to the next. Rhythm supports family life and the household. Rhythm helps us breathe when we are frustrated and nourishes us to be healthy by carrying us along when we need it .

Valentine Heart from Here

What we take up in the eCourse:
  • We'll explore what is rhythm and look at sample rhythms of the day and the week.
  • We'll look at rhythm as the basis of early childhood in Waldorf education.
  • We'll look at what gets in the way of rhythm.
  • We'll look at how you can make your rhythm flow through the day.
  • We'll look at how rhythm can help your child be more imaginative, playful and creative.
  • We'll look at how meals can be healthier and more pleasant with rhythm.
  • We'll look at ways to bring children into the daily tasks of the household.
  • We'll look at peaceful bedtimes and restful sleep that come out of a healthy rhythm.
  • We'll look at the rhythm of housework
  • We'll look at how rhythm makes transitions smoother.
  • We'll examine how a strong rhythm supports homeschooling.
  • We'll look at how a strong rhythm makes home a sanctuary for the school child.
  • We'll look at how to put together a rhythm that works in your life.
  • We'll finding a starting point and implement our own rhythm and build on it over four weeks.
  • We'll look at how rhythm supports daily life with children and helps us carve out time for ourselves.
  • We'll look at breathing and healthy rhythm.
  • We'll have daily reminders and enthusiastic support.
Most of all, a good rhythm helps you to be more present with your child, with yourself and in your life.
This eCourse gently guides you to the place of finding your own rhythms. 

The fee is $ 25 
Sign up here

Celebrate the Rhythm of Life 
Harmonious Rhythms ::  Parenting with Soul :: Waldorf Homeschooling

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Q & A with Lisa :: Mom Wants Child to Play on Her Own

Dear Lisa,

I so hope you can help me figure this out because it's making me crazy.  Seems like every time I try to get some work done around the house, my daughter starts to act up and demands my attention by whining or being clingy. She is four years old. I've been a stay at home mom with her since she was born. I am always here for her. I am feeling so frustrated because I want her to play on her own. Any advice?    ~ Frustrated Mama

Dear Frustrated Mama,

My heart goes out to you because I know first hand how exhausting it can be to listen to a child whine. It wears me down when my children whine. 

However, try adjusting the lens of perspective just a bit to see what might be behind this behavior.

I know that the whine is hard to hear and as adults, our impulse is usually to fix it with a list of suggestions or take on the role of entertainment director.

Yet the underlying cause of the behavior may have more to do with something that ostensibility has nothing to do with the moment.

Let's put on our observation glasses and begin with the big picture, what's going on with this child?

These are the questions I ask myself to figure out what the need might be when my children start to come undone and can't seem to play when I am trying to do something else.

In my head, to myself I quickly go over my checklist:

8 Questions to Ask Yourself When Your Child Whines 

1. Have s/he eaten lately?
Yes, check, it's not hunger.

2. How was his or her sleep?
Good. Check.

3. Are we getting out of doors for enough movement and sunshine in the fresh air every single day: running, jumping, swinging, climbing, digging, balancing kind of play each day, especially in the morning?
Fresh air, sunshine and movement are essential for the health of children and adults too. It is the morning sun that makes for good Vitamin D absorption and sets our melatonin timers to release at the end of day.

4. How is our rhythm? Is there a consistent rhythm and routine to our days? 
Children need plenty of time for self initiated free play. When children have a routine they can count on, they know what comes next and tend to settle into the flow of the day, they relax and feel secure and out of this feeling of security and calm can play more easily. Same routine every day, simple, simple, wake up, dress, eat breakfast, do chores, go outside and play, eat lunch, take a nap, play, have dinner, bath, story, bed… the needs of children are so simple.

5. How's our connection to each other?
Attachment with our children is an ongoing and lifelong process. A child of this age is still developing her attachment capacities and needs regular check ins with mom in the form of eye contact, nods and smiles. Rocking and snuggling help too. When a child feels out of step with her parent, she may whine to let us know. Often some time spent genuinely engaging with a child for a short while, maybe washing dishes together, having a walk, telling a story will "carry" the child through the morning emotionally with connection.

6. How is the play area? 
Is there room to play, free of clutter, without too many toys, and close to you? Are the toys open ended? Again simple and think imitation, whatever you are doing, she'll want to do too, a pot and spoon to stir a few objects from nature for the pot, a little laundry basket, a small table with a few cups and plates.

7. Do she have an example worthy of of imitation to follow? 
Am I feeling joyful in my work, singing or humming and happily engaged? Is there a basket her size to carry the clothes in from the line or dryer, with cloths for her to fold? Does she participate in the work and help hang clothes on the line or toss them into the dryer? (While she may not get it done, or may not do it as you would, let her contribution to the household work be) If I am feeling grumbly, my children know it, often before I do. They absorb our moods.

8. Is regular media exposure part of my child's life?  
While it may seem odd, children tend to have a harder time engaging in self initiated imaginative play when media exposure is part of daily life. The images on the screen overwhelm the brain and make for too much sensory information for the child to fully process. All of the simple and lovely pictures we bring through story, song and the wonder for all of life that children are born with, both get annihilated by screen characters and images.

Help bring him or her into play
Healthy play is vital to healthy childhood and your child may need some guidance and support to find her way into play.

She may need some help stepping into play. The power of example and imitation is great. Set up a little scenario for play, a tea party with Dollie or Teddie, a cloth with a few animals and bits of nature on the floor to make a farm or begin to narrate a little walk in the meadow with figures set up.

If all seems in place above, then it may be that s/he needs more form to his or her day with clear time and directions for working together, "Here you scrub that side of the table, I'll do this side," a clear time for rest after lunch, perhaps after a story, clear time of day to go out and play. This brings us back around to the breathing in and breathing out quality to the day, something we'll take up in the eCourse in October.


If you like this article and find it helpful  and you'd like more, consider signing up for my eCourse When Less is More :: 31 Days to a Calm and More Meaningful Homelife, it begins tomorrow October 1st

Celebrate the Rhythm of Life 
Harmonious Rhythms ::  Parenting with Soul :: Waldorf Homeschooling

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...