I’ve always love the ocean, but as a midwestern girl, it was always a once in a while treat, coinciding with a vacation or visit to relatives.
Now that we live close enough for a day trip, I’ve been able to visit much more frequently. We recently took a week and ventured to the ocean.
There is something so soul nourishing being this close to such a large body of water. I’ve also realized, while trying to carefully plan my curriculum and weeks to implement; that a break – one with oceans and forest involved – goes a long way towards my learning goals for both children. It’s very similar to the ideals that brought me to Waldorf education in the first place. The ability for the experiential learning, the unplanned, happy accidents, small tragedies and ability to see themselves in nature. They are also simultaneously experiencing the awe of the magnitude of this planet.
I’m re-learning to let go. Relax more, structure the unstructured time more, allow for mistakes in myself to model for both girls. The content is important and useful, but more the ability to learn and integrate the material in their own way, at their own pace and in as much or as little depth as they need has been a breathtaking lesson for me. It’s things I would parrot to others in the past, but hadn’t actually witnessed in this way. It’s humbling, moving and inspiring. All it took was a few days at the ocean.
In a typical year this is when I really start to feel the fall slipping in to winter, the festivities of our communities, our schools, our friends and family. This year of course is very different, but I’ve decided it’s important for the sake of family harmony to continue the traditions.
I do think routinely pausing and considering what we are grateful for is an important practice and it’s something I attempt to bring to the children frequently. Even though we are home this year, there is still much to appreciate. We have chosen to keep my parents in our bubble, we’ve stayed home and when that wasn’t possible we’ve taken precautions and worn masks. (No, this isn’t the place for a mask debate.)
Schooling has now settled in to a stable rhythm. Little and I have a solid routine, and big, who is now a high schooler is quite self sufficient and seems to be soaking up her course materials with a drive and passion that I haven’t seen for a bit. Since there is no “homework” she’s been able to better balance her time, and spend afternoons or evenings with our family or socializing online with friends. While I certainly wouldn’t have chosen this high school experience for her, I do think she’s the poster child for making the best of it.
On the hard days I do still consider how they will be effected by this long term. How their mental health has suffered in this last 9 months. We are fortunate that the curriculum through an incredible school we found has been a godsend for our family, but the sheer loss and change of the last few months is bound to have a long-lasting impact.
But we know, and consider frequently that we are ok, fortunate even. We have a safe home, we have access to food, supplies, curriculum, technology when needed. We have supportive, loving family and we have each other. Sometimes that’s enough. Wishing you love and peace during this Thanksgiving week, and always.
When I started this blog 8 years or so ago, I was homeschooling while looking for a strong schooling curriculum to meet the needs of my two very smart, but very different daughters. Due to the global pandemic, we are back to homeschooling. This has been quite a transition, and a heartbreak to move away from our Waldorf School community, at last in a formal way for now.
The last time we homeschooled I had chosen it for our family, and was doing it with the assistance of an online program and teacher support. This time it’s been for necessity. It’s been a bigger transition, as we weren’t unhappy with our current situation, so this has taken awhile to adjust.
We found an incredible curriculum (more on that in an upcoming post) and we have managed to take most of the living space in the house to make work spaces and learning spaces for both girls, my husband who works from home and for me for when I can squeeze in some client work and writing. So far so good, but looking back on our journey, there is a certain irony to the way we’ve come full circle.
Living in a new community has been fun, challenging, and I’m *just* starting to feel like I might know my way around and things are starting to feel familiar and routine. I just realized I don’t have to think so hard all the time about navigating from place to place.
I’ve discovered a few new favorite places in Portland and the surrounding areas.
For seasonal activities with kiddos – we have been loving the amount of berries, and other fruits that can be picked. We have been to Morning Shade farm for berries, Echo Valley Natives for native plants for our garden, including some native fruiting bushes. We plan to head to Sauvie Island this fall for our pumpkins and of course we really enjoyed the great corn maze at Bella’s Organic Farm.
Here we are, on day three – 4th and 10th grade. I’m simultaneously relieved to have more routine and structure to my days, (and hopefully and uptick in my productivity and running my business.) and sad that summer and our family times together are less now that we all are occupied during the day.
I’m trying to reinvent my business, I’ve launched in 2011, and it’s been a great and I’ve experienced organic growth, and until recently I had a steady consistent client base. Given that I moved the business across the country and am now serving a different area, the unique challenges of this space have needs have necessitated a reboot.
Both kiddos are looking forward to the routine, but are each working through different challenges and expectations of the year. I vividly remember my high school experiences, remember the social pressures and challenges and the exhaustion of stretching my brain to its limits. 10th grade has a very robust, rigorous curriculum, and already after the first day significant homework was assigned, including reading, interpreting and presenting on the U.S. Constitution. Wow.
4th grade the big news so far relates more to new playground boundaries, cross stitch learning, and continued work on reading – especially as a dyslexic child.
I realized after publishing the last post, I realized I have more to say about change. Many folks I have spoken to talk about the phases of a relocation – or phases of change. As with any period of transition, there are great moments, and moments of, “oh crap, why did we do this again?” and I had a really hard day earlier this month when I felt completely overwhelmed and started to really doubt that I had made the right choice for our family by moving so far. It has prompted me to really consider what “home” means. Continue reading →
I realize as it has been a while since I have been updating on a very regular basis here, and that many things have changed from the previous posts. For one, we no longer live in Minnesota. That was a hard decision in many ways, and then finally, very simple. It took the better part of two years for us to actually accomplish it, with hours and days and months of planning. As I mentioned in the previous post, while there were many factors in the decision to move, the focal one for me was schooling. This is likely what’s also bringing me back to this blog. Continue reading →
The smallest one in our home, aka Little, has been on a reading journey. Big began reading around age four. I’m not totally sure when exactly happened, as it seemed to burst forth from nowhere, one day she could read. Boom.
Six years later we are starting the journey again. Except the younger child seems to have no really interest in reading. Sure, no problem. Four is young to start, no worries. We get through kindergarten, nope. 1st grade, nope – which to be fair, is super normal in Waldorf Schools. Her teachers were fairly casual, but would mention it at conferences or check ins. We did some work in “extra lesson” (more about that later). We began to hear things like she favors one side of her paper, she’s not remembering words we practice at school. She writes her d’s and b’s and 2’s and 5’s backwards. On and on. Continue reading →
One of the best things that came out of our move was my eldest daughter began a business, and here is her Etsy. She’s been hand lettering cards and posters for awhile, but last August she decided to make things in a more formal way. She has been selling in a few boutiques locally where we live, and will be participating in some of the local Farmers Markets through this summer.
My younger child has really taken to crocheting and knitting and has been making things for us, hats, flute cases, a backpack! It’s been really incredible to see her work. My brain needs a pattern and for someone to show me how it’s done. She can just invent shapes and make them fly off her needles.
I’m hoping to begin painting again this summer. When I tell myself I have more time. What is your favorite creative outlet?
We moved to the pacific northwest almost 11 months ago. Many things drove the move, but the single largest factor was my children. My eldest was graduating 8thgrade at a school that only went to 8thgrade. She and our family had really struggled to find an education system that felt safe, academically challenging, arts focused and seemed to really understand where my child was developmentally. My younger was struggling a bit at school, we are still getting our arms around her specific learning needs. We looked at a few options nationally and decided on a school in the Northwest. My husband loves being close to mountains, I like being driving distance to an ocean, even one that is not friendly. Continue reading →