Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Simple Winter Days

I always love an excuse to stay inside in my pajamas for most of the day. The perfect day for me can be two opposites. I love a warm spring day that invites me to picnic and journal on an old afghan under a tree. I love staying outside as long as possible on those days. When my skin and hair feel a bit weathered just from sitting there for so long. But I also love a day where all is calm and still and warm inside, while the cold winter wind blows outside my windows.

I felt with the coming of autumn, I learned to focus my energies on getting out the door and spending it outside with my girls. Now as winter is here, I am learning our rhythm for a day mostly spent inside with one another. I told Andrew a couple of nights ago that I am thankful for winter. Winter is teaching me what a calm and peaceful day inside can look like. I told Andrew that I know it will be spring once again soon, and I will carry the lessons from winter into the next season. I have been quieting down our days on purpose. I am working hard to wake up cheerfully with my girls.

I have visions and hopes for the future, of how to better myself with another year of time. Out of all the things I would love to be better and more diligent at this year, the thing I have hoped the most deep down was that I could start a nice morning routine with Blanche. Of course if Rosemary is awake, she is invited too. Most of the time, Blanche wakes first, and for so long it has been a tired me handing her a granola bar and putting on a show. Blanche knows I love her, but I want our day to start more connected than quick food and Daniel Tiger. I would like to make breakfast together, and to start on the ideas of having a scripture or small reading. She is only three, so some days this month we have just made oatmeal together before she has went off to play. Other days we have talked about what she has learned in her new Sunday School class. There have also been mornings where we jump right into painting or making clay. There is still the occasional granola bar and show morning, but in the last two weeks it has been the lesser of the two.

Since Blanche has been a small baby, I have been on the journey of wanting to homeschool. I have researched methods from ways to teach a toddler, to parenting styles that are educational philosophies as well. I have written a couple of times about Montessori and Unschooling on my blog. As I have had a few friends ask me about preschool this year (many schools in Austin have a waiting list, so my friends with toddlers are already starting their search). My first thought and answer is that I hope to homeschool. As I have told this to friends, I have started to really wonder what our days will look like in the next couple of years. After thinking about other mothers who homeschool, I thought about one mother of four I follow on instgram, Joy Prouty. She has be inspiring to me in not only motherhood but photography and her homeschooling for a few years now. I had remembered seeing once that she uses the Charlotte Mason method. I also had some of my blog readers and Facebook friends mention Charlotte Mason when I had been writing about The Last Child in the Woods and my Project Get Outside.

Maybe I will write more of a series on my homeschooling ideas and what it actually looks like when we start doing it. For now, what I love about Charlotte Mason is that she believes that in the preschool age, children should spend most of their time playing outdoors. She also talks on reading good books, introducing classical music and art, and teaching good "habits" all in the preschool years. After I read through her ideas I felt that most of these things were fairly simple to begin. I read a short online book about her ideas with forming good habits. They are beautiful things like manners and keeping the Sabbath. Or purity and tidiness. I am still inspired and interested in some of the ideas with interest based and child led education. But as far as I have read, Charlotte Mason believed in listening to and following the child, but "presenting them with a feast of knowledge." (like reading good literature) As far as habits, I have begun to see not only the need to teach Blanche these things, but the positive results of starting young and in love presenting so many important ideas. If any of you are interested in reading this short free book, here in the link.

I have also been reading an excellent book called Simplicity Parenting. It shares many ideas with Waldorf education. I have been reading about simplicity and the power that it can bring. Maybe all these thoughts are a  bit random and unorganized. But it is good for me to write them down and process the things I am trying to achieve. Either way, I have been trying to be more intentional in not just getting outside, but focusing on what we do inside as well. Most of our days have been what I have already said, simple and slow. We have been doing more reading and crafting just as much as always. I have a couple more books to read, but I know that with homeschool it really will start a bit at a time. For now, our simple winter days of playing and having the girls follow me as we do chores is building the childhood they need.

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