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. 

"Routine is to a child what walls are to a house: it gives boundaries and dimensions to his life… It is the obligation of the parents to set up a routine within which the family can function comfortably; to establish and maintain a daily order and let the children fall into line."  ~ Rudolf Dreikurs

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 and routine, working together with the energy of the situation, in this case a pulling in, or a gesture of contraction imbued with warmth, setting the environment to create a predicable routine that serves the energetic needs.

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.

Rhythm imbues routine with vitality, with life energy. They need each other. 

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


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