Monday, August 29, 2011

feeling soft

I'm feeling a bit soft tonight - there is a part of my heart (the skin I think) that is hurting and mourning the lost chances I've been about to have with my children this next year - so many changes so fast...our family went from gently planning and thinking of scrimping and saving so that we might have a year of homeschooling, to a quick-quick back to the grind so that we might pay off some major debts, which helps our family so much in the long run. The softness is coming from the disappointment of others, I know. I don't truly feel the need to explain our situation at length, but I did think hard (though fast) about this decision, and though it is making my son, still, sad for the beautiful unknown, he'll get through it.
I have to remind myself of what a good mother I am. I love those children in this way: I give them my Spirit, my Will and my Warmth. If I give that to them, I am teaching them to do everything they set their hearts to with their whole beings, to be kind, to set goals and achieve them, to love themselves...yes, I have to keep reminding myself that, in truth, I am doing what I hope they'd do in life: follow their bliss, knowing it provides the opportunity for all those around them to be inspired by the wake of true happiness they leave behind them.
Having done so much planning and thinking about homeschooling my children, and talking with my husband, reminds me that I do not have to give up all those things I wanted to do with them. We've been reading D'Aulaires' Book of  Norse Myths, a beautiful book in every sense. You see, my husband is Norwegian, and so, of course, are my children. I was so eager for them to have a clear grasp on the stories of their ancestors, and I was SO RIGHT to follow the advice of Waldorf Educators by using this book for my 9-year-old son. The stories provide so much for the imagination, and they are written in such an accessible way. My son's motto is now "Spirit, Will and Warmth", as that was the meaning behind the three Aesir gods' names (Odin, Vili and Ve') - we've read about how the world was formed, how the magical creatures of the earth were thought of, we've connected with Yggdrasil (the great Ash tree that essentially holds together nine worlds, all of which are part of our existence), we've been learning about runes and the Norns (the three Fates), and of course we laugh about the jotun (frost-giants). The art is absolutely fantastic and suits the topic and audience so completely. As the children go to bed I'll tell them to dream about Odin, or Yggdrasil, or the rainbow bridge. It has captured my heart, and I know it is settling itself into my son's consciousness, which makes me endlessly happy. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

like ripples

 "Because all minds are joined, deep peace cultivated anywhere is a blessing on people everywhere. What we do on the level of consciousness affects what happens in the realm of bodies, far more than what we do in the realm of bodies affects the level of consciousness.
 "Einstein said we would not solve the problems of the world from the level of thinking we were at when we created them.
"...Forgiveness doesn't mean that we pretend to like whom we do not like, or turn a blind eye to the evils of the world. Commitment to God's love doesn't destroy our capacity for discernment. But the way of divine compassion --though not an easy path, though often counterintuitive --is the next step in humanity's evolutionary journey. It's the only step that will enable us to survive the storm of hatred raging around the world."

~~from Everyday Grace by Marianne Williamson

Friday, August 26, 2011

not ordinary


my days are ordinary
to most and even to me
though no ones knows 
they are held over a magical fire to warm
to bubble
making me contain my love of what I'm doing just enough
to seem as though it is all normal
until someone says, "Sooo glad you are here!"
and my face cracks and I feel a tear welling up and I say,
"Ohhhhh, me, too!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(pretty excited that I figured out how to make my photos so big)

Monday, August 22, 2011

not nearly true, but almost























i have a story
of an old bear who often rambles
darkened needled trees
pick-pacing dead thorny edges
gouging soft bark
(calmly wild-eyed)
until i can see gashes opening
like new wounds
little phosphorous butterflies gather, ineffectual
(they should be closing and healing the hurt places)

when fragile things come into the trees
i worry about their soft skins

she says
i keep toys so i can say i play

while she catches my eye, one terrible claw slowly
opens
my
leg



i am wondering if little butterflies will gather on my skin
but they are looking away
singing one song
that seeps out

like fresh sap

Sunday, August 21, 2011

blues and browns



just took a short camping trip to Big Lake



there was boating
and swimming


we watched the clouds and the sailboats roll by



took in the scenery, admiring Mt. Washington


and cooled our feet on sandy little shores

~one more camping trip to come before school starts~

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

a grateful heart

Give us grateful hearts, our Mother, for all thy mercies
and make us mindful of the needs of others.
Amen.

~adapted from The Book of Common Prayer

(from A Grateful Heart: Daily Blessings for the Evening Meal from Buddha to The Beatles)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I really can't think in full sentences. these days anyway. (see...told you)

finding areas of beauty and purpose in my classroom

simplicity and color

working hard and sweating over paper and staples

my brain is full and there are still so many questions

but I'm not panicking...that is a sign of maturity, right?!

or is it a sign that I'm quietly, slowly going crazy.

Monday, August 15, 2011

completeness today

is the slow-coming knowledge that I'm still doing it for them (see above)

is the sharp-golden knowledge that I have Soul Sisters

is the warm-honey knowledge that someone can say back to me what is in my heart
(for that, D, I'll be forever grateful)

and is, of course, the hot-creamy knowledge of a Breve'
(goddess-bless Dutch Bros.)




Sunday, August 14, 2011

a rushing path

short little scrubbed wooden tables (old) for my little kindergarten
one whole wall of old-school-green chalkboards
one whole wall made of bulletin board
one wall with bright windows and our own door outside
bright and clean and waiting

I'm on a rushing path toward my own personal heaven

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

something happened


I'd just ordered a wonderful book about Gratitude that included 365 blessings and two books for Emma's math, when the phone rang. Someone had retired at the Elementary School and they were moving their first hire into that position and would really REALLY love it if I would take the Kindergarten position now. I actually didn't say a thing for a few seconds..."hello? you still there." I was, but I wasn't. I was making a quick death march in my head for the homeschool plans I'd just made. I knew, in those seconds, what my decision was going to be.
I knew right away what I was going to do, but in the foreground, I was burying the thing I'd breathed life into first.
I asked to be able to call back later when I'd thought about it.
I made pros and cons lists...I was surprised, and NOT surprised, about how long my list of pros where to TAKE the job.
I cried for the work I'd done.
I cried because when I do something, it is not half-way. If I am going to homeschool using the Waldorf method, you can bet I'll do it, 110%.
I realized a few years ago that this is not wishy-washy-ness, or a fickle spirit.
This is what happens when you allow your mind to take on something, for however long the duration, and you give it your all. When it is time to do something else, the first thing can reverently be laid aside.

Recently, I'd called a respected and inspired Waldorf school in my area and talked for 2 full hours (that is really something in itself, because my friends and family will tell you I don't enjoy talking on the phone) with the head teacher there. We had talked for some length, and I came away from that conversation with the conviction that I could and should probably stick with what I know, and infuse what I'd learned into it...a recurring theme in my life.

Here is my opportunity, readers...a new challenge to take on, 110%.

And how did my children handle it? The youngest, with a six-year-old's sense of adventure and sweetness, my 9-year-old with a sense of loss. It pained me to see him so upset. So, I treated him like a grown-up and showed him my pros and cons list, knowing that "the facts" ease his tension (he'll be a great scientist one day), but he stayed my shadow all night, and is now in my bed, where we'll cuddle all night. Lovingly, his grandpa called him (without my prompting, mind you) to tell him not to worry because he'd still teach him small engines this year. Grandma assured him that she'd still teach him things on non-school days, and I promised to continue read-alouds and our own field trips.
When all of these were assuaged, he confessed to me, "I was really looking forward just to being home and playing here during the day." I told him, me, too, and we hugged each other, but knowing that this was the right decision...

I'd like to talk to him about giving any decision he makes 110%, and what that means (i.e. a bit of heartache at making a new decision), but that anything really worth doing, is worth doing well.

Ahhhh, how life can change in an instant.

big changes

a phone call has turned me on my head today
something potentially wonderful
more later when I've had a chance to think about it some more
and how it causes some serious compromising

more planning



yesterday, i was remembering why i am doing this.
I'm not homeschooling for my own benefit (though I am happy as can be about it)
those little people are depending on me
I'm planning a year for my first grader, and my fourth grader.
I've decided that I have loads of wonderful ideas, and am putting it all in a Waldorf Rhythm.



I gathered all of the resources in a basket, and took my paper and coffee outside to watch the kids play while I worked.

I spent a lot of time finding antique or vintage books to use - I love the old illustrations
and the feel of a well-loved book.
I have:
My America - a social studies text from 1947 - for my son learning about Westward Expansion and the Oregon Trail
Sounds of... readers for Emma - they are from the 60s, but have so many fun rhymes and short stories and songs, and of course, the illustrations are fabulous
Times and Places - a 1947 reader for the fourth grade - full of adventure stories!
Around Green Hills - a 1948 reader for the first grade - sweet stories about animals and farm life
The Burgess Seashore Book for Children - of which I talked about here.
My Little Golden Dictionary - perfect for Emma, with color pictures and a sentence for each word - from 1957

I've also gathered:


When I first begin to plan any year, I have to take a look at the standards the government wants covered in the grade level I'm planning. This was easy enough for me. I went to the site for my state's department of education (I'm sure you could google your requirements), then I printed off the pages I needed for my first grader and my fourth grader. I'm going to put these in a binder so that I can refer to them now and again. They are good guidelines if you aren't sure what to teach your children while you are homeschooling.

Once I knew what I wanted to teach my children (taking their interests, and my interests, the guidelines for my state, what the main curriculum for their ages are in Waldorf and in Public Schools), I plan out the year this way:
I write the main lesson subjects next to each month we'll be in school. I spent a lot of time thinking about the weather and when would be most convenient to do different things. For instance, I'm going to be doing a Storyline (my favorite way to teach) called Fractionburg (based on this wonderful thing I found!) and that seems best to do when we are going to mostly be indoors during our Central Oregon winter. I'm saving the Oregon Trail unit until next Spring, when we can drive around on field trips. There was lots of erasing and rethinking.

Then I started writing out the rhythm of our day. For this, I actually had the kids come and sit with me while we thought about it. It was great, because Ethan reminded me that we should have a break around lunch time, and then Emma asked if I would read a book to them after lunch. We talked about when we'd do dance, and 4-H and swimming.
I decided to go with the Waldorf schedule of having a 2-hour block of the main lesson in the morning, then a hot healthy lunch and the handwork, nature studies and things in the afternoon.
More details on our daily rhythm later, when I get that pinned down.


Mostly, I had to share with you this book:

I bought this from a Unitarian Universalist publisher when the children were very little. Mostly, I think, it was for me. The description reads: "God comes alive in a variety of multicultural, non-sexist forms --as transcendent mystery, the mother and father of life, peace and silence, light and darkness, and more. Perfect for exploring the religious questions of curious youngsters. Twenty-nine enchanting tales suitable for four to eight year olds." Honestly, an adult could read these and get much out of them. I'm including this in our morning time before we begin the day.

When my son was 5, and I had started homeschooling him, I had him listen to the stories and draw pictures (as there aren't any) for the book. One of my favorites is a story about how a boy and a girl argue about the name of God, and they go on an adventure and find out that God is called by whatever name makes YOUR heart feel loving. Isn't that sweet?


Then, of course, I prayed...mostly for patience in this next year.
But also for clarity, for strength, for ingenuity and creativity.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
edit: I WANT this book!!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

the planning

TODAY:

  • The chandelier is finally hanging in the schoolroom
  • I've finished painting the trim in there, too.
  • we ate two generous slices of homemade bread for breakfast
  • the jam I made was too sweet for all of us
  • a neighbor came to ask a favor
  • i am wearing a very light summer dress and feeling that the warmth is perfect
  • i put more cream than coffee in my cup
  • i'm working in my homeschool plan book
  • the children are playing badminton - an entire set given to them as a present
  • the neighbor finished putting up his hay
  • kitties brought us a dead vole {oh why}, thank you kitty.
  • i have overdue books
  • I felt fall in the air last night and this morning, but it turned right into summer about 8am again

Monday, August 08, 2011

summer storm

the sky belongs to us here
we can see it coming from miles away



luminescence and darkness meet at the rocks

reminding me that we live

in the palm of the green goddess

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

a summer storm that brought thunder and lightening and rain
and many smiles and gasps of awe



Wednesday, August 03, 2011

from that center

"There are clearly times when quieting down and bringing our energy back into ourselves is a step toward inner peace. Yet the most powerful life is not one in which we bring ourselves back to our center when we have spun away from it, but rather one in which we seek to live from that center at all times."~Marianne Williamson in Everyday Grace
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
me
holding everyone's shoes
and one person's jacket
and still picking up
and collecting
allowing the ocean's song
to lull my noisy mind
at the sea

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

divine curriculum

"What we might see as a problem is looked at differently when we recognize that every event is part of a divine curriculum, set up by God [or Goddess, or Source, or Divine, or the Universe] for our growth and healing...Every situation is a lesson in becoming who we are capable of being." ~Marianne Williamson in Everyday Grace
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
a wild snail
curled up
stuck to the side
of a very old grave marker
by the sea


Monday, August 01, 2011

precious summer days

We have been to the seashore
laughing and getting more wet than I'd planned
standing at the edge of our world here in Oregon
they went laughing to the edge and ran into it
and I was upset about them getting their clothes wet
what child wouldn't want to run into that glittering, roiling floor
despite what their mama's told them -
"do NOT get your clothes wet."
they got wet and laughed and laughed
I truly wish I'd kept my mouth shut and let them get wet from head to toe
I brought them back to earth when I pulled them away for dinner
it made me think later about what a magical world my children live in
When will I learn to be a child again?