last week i posted that we were having a bit of a time lately, not only with our lessons, but with life in general.
after a long & emotional talk with my sister, who you'll remember recently moved in with us, i took some time *off* to think & breathe, to ponder & reflect...
*off* is a relative word, of course, but it is...as with many other things...the thought & the mindfulness that counts.
it began slowly, but gradually i began to shed things, little by little...to share responsibilities...to trust & to have faith. to *truly* believe that if i follow my heart, while keeping our family @ my heart's center that everything else will fall into place.
one huge 'obstacle' that i had to face was prioritizing my life & not only what i am involved in, but to what extent i am involved. because the fact is that everything i do is important to me because it involves our family & every bit is as crucial as the next. but just because something is important, doesn't mean that i have to do it on my own.
as the days passed, i tried to really assess where i am right now, where we are, what is most important & where i want our journey to lead.
we resumed our daily walks & spent time in nature...exploring, hunting & gathering, playing in puddles, etc...(& without me watching the clock to make sure that we were home "in time for lessons").
i had to realize the difference between what i want & what our family needs. what good is following the beautiful path of waldorf homeschooling (to the letter), if my family is suffering because of it.
i love waldorf, i do...i love the holistic approach of its educational philosophy. i love its base in the natural world & blessings unto mother nature. i love the stories chosen to mirror the inner growth of the child as they grow & develop each year. i love all the crafting & cooking, the wet-on-wet watercolor painting. it is all so beautiful & soulful.
however, i also realize that this method of homeschooling is extremely intensive on the part of the parent-teacher. memorizing all of the stories, coming up with imaginative ways to incorporate various themes into the math lessons, finding coordinating craft/handwork lessons to go with each, etc. all of which i did this past summer...all of our homeschooling plans for the year are done & in my planner. so, it is not a matter of finding the time to put together our lessons, it is more a matter of the lessons are being met with resistance.
what this means to me, right now, is that this is not my calling...it feels forced & it feels like the wrong path. our younger two are no longer willing to stand by as we work through our lessons, nor do they especially want to be involved as they once did. they are craving time with mama & with brother, family time...they want to be acknowledged & loved & to be front & center, no more waiting on the wayside.
this was a hard step to take...as i first, as most moms would i think, took it personally.
but this isn't about me, it is about our family.
so, i came up with a compromise...i cut out all of the "extras" of our homeschooling & stripped our lessons down to the bare-bones. reading, writing (aydin keeps a daily journal), spelling (spelling words come from his journaling), and math (i broke out a huge standard issue, north carolina, grade 2 math workbook that we had been given & began teaching to that).
we still enjoy the stories, but as a family @ rest time/bedtime...
this made a tremendous difference. and the amazing thing is that we wound up doing a lot of the other anyway. not as preplanned lessons as before, but because that is where our day led.
we made a lovely felt garland out of sweater scraps, we baked granola & other goodies.
we painted gorgeous fall pictures inspired by our walks.
we read books that had been gathering dust on the shelves, as they weren't ones used in our lessons. we began working through the math book & aydin was eating it all up!
lessons went much faster & easier. i would write his lessons on the board in list form, as before, but he began to start of them without being prodded/reminded. it was so very nice!
and we had so very much free time left for meandering...:)
on the co-op front, i have begun to take other mamas up on their offers to help out. sammi & i are still teaching the upcoming spanish class. but i have passed along the title of group contact & new member 'de-brief-er' to another mama. we are having a dia de los muertos/fall festival next tuesday to kick off our second session. we are all collaborating on a traditional potluck feast, each family bringing a dish that was a favorite of a loved one who has passed on & sammi & i are each baking one of the more traditional dishes. we are going to have craft tables set up & this past tuesday i passed out little craft kits to each family to assemble before our celebration.
it felt a bit off @ first, but in the end i think everyone appreciates being able to play a part in the festivities & i know that i won't be stressing to get it all done in time. it feels good...
so, long story short, we are well on our way. our days, our path is again peaceful...i feel that i am again doing right by our young brood & i have no qualms in letting a little bit of what i had previously thought *necessary* go.
much love to both you & your families as you discover your own life path...xoxo.