Monthly Archives: November 2013

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Martinmas

I have talked a bit about how we are trying to develop traditions in our family for Camille to connect with and have fond memories of. I’m also trying to use them to give her a cultural connection. Since my family is partly German we have chosen some German traditions to celebrate, one of which is Martinmas or St. Martin’s Day (celebrated on November 11th).

Traditionally young children make lanterns and then parade around their neighborhood

singing songs. It’s a late harvest festival and festival of lights. St. Martin himself is best known for sharing his cloak with a beggar who was freezing late one winter night.

noodle light1

Since there are not very many young German children in our neighborhood we decided to simply make some lanterns and rolled beeswax candles to give to a few of our neighbors. I chose a lantern that was lovely enough to give away, but also simple enough that I could include Cam in the making. (It looks quite complex, but in reality was incredibly simple.

Traditions Banner

Find the tutorial here.) She applied all the glue to the pieces and helped me stick them

together. She then helped me roll the majority of the candles (she also choose the wax color at the store).

Nothing too fancy, but all meaningful pieces for a little family celebration.After dinner we made a special Martinmas cookie that we have been making in my family for years for Christmas. We also purchased a coat to give to the local coat drive in honor of Martin’s gift to the beggar.

Our Home Rhythm

I don’t know if it’s the quiet reflection Fall alway inspires in me or if it was something that had been coming on longer, but I’ve found myself seeking out calm. I got tired of feeling pulled in many directions, tired of feeling like the housework was overwhelming me, and tired of feeling like I didn’t know where our day had gone.

I have also been working very hard to establish some family traditions, especially ones that de-comercialize the holidays and the seasons. I want Cam to simply enjoy the rhythm of the seasons and look forward to holidays throughout the year that mark special times for our family to come together and reflect on life.

With all this in mind, it suddenly became much easier for me to let things go, prioritize better when it came to getting things done around the house. I suddenly felt okay saying, that won’t get done today. Sure, there’s the occasional day when there is something pressing, but I let everything else go. I still like having a neat and tidy home, but if we leave out some of Cam’s art supplies it isn’t the end of the world.

I recently came across several Waldorf blogs that had some lovely posts about creating a home rhythm and I found those posts to be quite inspiring (especially this one). I realized we had been working toward several Waldorf principles and decided not only to create a home rhythm, but also to revisit Waldorf principles. Through Happy Whimsical Hearts I found a reading list and got ahold of a few of the books.

The most inspiring to me was Heaven On Earth, and I may write up a whole post about my thoughts and notes on that book. I also tried out Beyond the Rainbow Bridge, but wasn’t as enthralled by that one. What I did take away from that was the idea of “breathing in” and “breathing out” in a home rhythm, which is when you come together and then break apart for activities and time. This really plays into the toddler desire to both cling to you and be independent. We were already doing this to some degree, but now I am making a conscious effort to “breath in and breath out”.

I also read through a copy of Project-Based Homeschooling and was really inspired. This concept of totally child-directed learning that delves deeply into a topic of interest just really resonates with me. (This may be apparent from my Homeschool Manifesto and also my discussions of how I like the Reggio Emilia approach to learning.) In the past I complained about how Reggio resources can often feel very theoretical, and Project-Based Homeschooling is the antidote to that. It is very practical advice on how to approach what is essentially a Reggio education without telling you exactly how to do any lesson. I am now working toward introducing Cam to a variety of materials and creating a much better atelier/learning space. This reexamining of her learning spaces has also lead to a much better rhythm at home in that we really spend conscientious time in our spaces.

So, I suppose all this is to say I feel much more present and peaceful since the Fall started. I know I haven’t blogged much lately, but I think that’s just par for the course at this point. While I really want to be sharing what I’m doing and documenting what Cam is learning, I’m also not going to stress myself out over writing up posts. Please continue to join us on our journey even if I’m not around every week.