Friday, April 23, 2010

Earth Day

Earth Day should be every day, but it is great that we have had an awareness for 40 years!! Yesterday the kids and I went to our local grocery store and handed out recycled bags for people to reuse. The store gives a $.05 credit for each bag you bring in. We were anxious and excited, of course the kids were a bit shy at first. We handed people bags saying "free bag for Earth Day." We got a mixed response. People were a bit shocked that we had nothing to sell and we were giving away something for free. There were a few people who ignored us and some who didn't understand due to the language. We did observe a few people bringing their own bags and using paper bags. We were quick to cheer them on! What a great homeschooling lesson. We went over rules of working in public, i.e. we don't apply lipstick or brush hair while approaching someone! We don't slouch and frown when working, we stand tall and proud, a smile goes a long way! We even befriended a homeless woman, she was thrilled to get a new bag and pleased that she was treated like everyone else. Next year we will go bigger!! I think a week of awareness will reach more customers. A poster contest to bring the light on the hazards of plastic bags. My kids even designed a long gown out of three paper bags. My daughter also had a clutch purse out of a bag! Fashion show anyone? I think the main lesson here, was you can make change, even if you are 6 and 8 years old!!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Find a Mantra

If you are like me, you have good days and bad. It often seems we can go along and have 5 good days and then bam, a crazy day occurs! This can be difficult to handle. I have found that breathing is usually not occuring. I will hold my breath, tense my shoulders and neck. If I stop and say breathe, then I will release tension almost immediately, I like the word breathe, and will say it to mommas as I see they looked hectic. I also find the aroma of some oils relaxing. I will take a few deep abdominal breaths, while inhaling a lavender or peppermint oil. I have also found a song that I heard at my unity based church. I heard this group called Here II Here perform a song called I am Holy. I can still feel the chills from when I heard it. I like to sit and listen to this song when I need a break. I held my daughter for 10 minutes today while we closed our eyes and really felt the music. She was much more calm after the song. This is what I call a mantra. You can use this tool to stay relaxed, present and calm. It does take lots of practice. Research says that it can take as long as 3 months to change habits, Breathe! Did I mention it is free!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

State Testing

So, one reason I do not care for our traditional educational system is the state tests. I do not feel that they are an accurate measure of how truly individual our children are. They all learn differently and at different speeds. I have a background in Child development and feel that our system isn't always presenting information at the right time. Also pushing the curriculum down at the lower levels. The kids are the same. We expect so much out of young kindergarteners, that I often see 2nd /3rd graders already hating school or feeling burned out. Well, with that said, I decided to homeschool and follow a Waldorf inspired curriculum. I haven't pushed reading on my son, till this year. We have been playing with letters, sounds, words, reading books since his toddler years. It is amazing how smart he is and well rounded, and his details when he writes stories are fantastic. I do go through a charter and they like to see 95% of their students take the state tests. Today was the first day of the test. He was anxious to get it over with and wanted to know how much they would read to him. I was hoping he would try his best, not leave any blank and feel good about the effort he made. He came out saying it was hard, and like a real school. He liked the math because she read it all. I feel good that I gave him the experience and am curious how well he did. I had set up the experience really positively and the teacher was kind and helpful keeping that going. It is really hard sometimes to know what is the right thing to do. I want his self esteem to stay high, not get damaged by a bad experience. So far, so good!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Family Virtues

We all strive to teach our children good morals and virtues to try and master. Well last year I found this book, The Family Virtues Guide, Simple Ways To Bring Out The Best in our Children And Ourselves. What a wonderful way to introduce a virtue a week and review throughout the year. We have made a fall tree with the virtues written on leaves, a Christmas tree with the virtues on ornaments, a love corner with virtues hanging on hearts and now we are making a virtues garden, with the virtues on flowers. Yesterday I had my 5 year old practicing handwriting, by tracing the old virtues. My 8 year old and I did spelling practice, reviewing the letter clusters and rules of vowels. What a lesson for life. As each virtue comes up we have a situation that we discuss, whether it involves a neighbor, friend or family member, it has been great to refer to the virtues, saying "that is not one of our virtues"or "is that the way we treat people?" It only takes a few minutes a week to introduce the virtue and the kids feel empowered when they have the tools to deal with all types of situations.

Things I find fascinating

  • Bagua Board/ Dream board
  • Balanced Birth Approach
  • Birthing From Within
  • E Is For Ethics
  • Homeschooling
  • The Bradley Method Of Natural Childbirth
  • The Family Virtues Guide
  • The Power of Wisdom
  • Waldorf
  • Young Living Essential Oils
  • Zen in Ten Seconds