I feel I begin each blog entry with a scribble about how the days are going by extremely quickly. It’s mid-September already, and I still find myself wondering where the time has gone! I’ve known time as a wicked creature, but all the while he reveals to me that he is the most precious resource in life.
The last of summer days were simple days, but fulfilling ones. As we prepared for the start of the “school year,” we spent time in the woods. A memorable adventure unravelled a discussion on trusting our intuition as we climb over fallen tree logs and navigate down muddy slopes, on sharing the sacred space in a symbiotic relationship with animals, insects, and birds, and, on materialistic consumption and littering. This led me into a deep reflection on what is.
If we are serious about moving toward an ecologically sustainable future, changes need to be made in public education. It starts with moving beyond the social experiment that is the classroom, within concrete walls and on concrete playgrounds, and into the forest and biotic community for unstructured, imaginative play. I can’t wait to open up my own school, and reinvent the education system. Walks in the woods, mindfulness, yoga, gardening, and selfless service. This is what learning and “soul work” should be about. Mother Earth is both our classroom and our teacher. The Earth is the living embodiment of the Goddess. Through interdependent and sacred connection with her, we can heal ourselves and understand the deep connection we have to one another. All education is thereby environmental and moral education, and should be based in the movement from “I” to “WE,” from being passive consumers of society to active co-creators of our experience. This is how we will create a thriving and flourishing world for our future generations.
With September in full swing, we’ve begun our homeschool endeavours, inspired by the “Autumn Guide” from Whole Family Rhythms. We’ve named our little homeschool/unschool, “The Presence Project.” I didn’t want the word “school” associated with what we do, because I’m not an institute that aims at educating Sophia. Rather, “The Presence Project” is very much collaborative, conscious, intuitive, and focused on rhythm which provides security and joy to Sophia. Although I’ve never adored regimented schedules and fragmented subjects, a strong, repeated and regular rhythm in the day allows Sophia to know what to expect next and what is expected of her. It allows her to prepare mentally for the next thing, feeling in control, confident, at peace and at ease. And, having rhythm allows for actions to become habits. Consistent wake times, sleep times, meal times, self-care times, home-care times, and unstructured child-led indoor/outdoor play times all encourage a peaceful Sophia.
Here is a little sense of what our rhythm and flow is like:
While I make breakfast in the morning, Sophia indulges in unstructured play nearby.
After breakfast, we begin our day with morning affirmations, yoga and meditation time. Sophia’s favourite poses are “rocking the baby,” and “downward dog.” Our meditation time consists of saying three “OMs,” and closing our eyes and breathing in and out for as many minutes as possible that day. Sometimes it’s one minute, sometime’s it’s ten…while I’m breastfeeding. (That’s still happening by the way!) Sometimes, like featured below, she loves to be the teacher and will just spend 45 minutes teaching me yoga poses, singing songs, and talking to me about tummy vibrations while saying “OM.” I love it. I love it all.
Side note, this one is one of my favourites from our drum circle in the summer (burning sage, calling on our ascended masters, deep breathing and chanting).
We were high on life and so grateful 🙂
After yoga and meditation time, feeling all airy and transcendent, we head out into nature to ground ourselves. 😀
Little sweetheart tried to climb this tree for ten minutes.
Here she stops to examine a fallen Autumn leaf. We put it in our woven basket and carry it home for display on our nature table.
Sometimes our outdoor time is not always spent in the forest. Sometimes we go grocery shopping or errand running or decide to play with friends. If we have been to the forest, we assemble any “findings” or leaves, sticks, or stones on our nature table, and work together to prepare lunch. If we stay indoors that morning, we craft, paint, or model clay.
After lunch, and prior to nap, I tell a story involving puppetry, play silks and some nature materials.
This particular story was called, “The Apple Star.”
After the story, we head upstairs for a nap or quiet time. Some days, Sophia loves to take a rest. Other days, she prefers to flip through her books, in her room with the curtains closed. I can’t say which I prefer, but I’m finding that when Sophia rests, I’m usually up and reading or snacking. And when she’s up reading or playing with her crystals and gems, I’m usually indulging in a nap in her bed. Ha.
After nap, we usually stroll around the house sans pants. 🙂
Then we’re back in the kitchen to prepare dinner. Here we were working on creating an apple crumble, making use of this lovely apple vintage peeler.
Quite pleased with how her apple crumble is turning out 🙂
This 45 minute recipe ended up taking us 2 hours; but, we did it together. Here Sophia scoops some mixed up rolled oats, maple syrup, and coconut oil to make the top layer of the apple crumble. She is an active part of many of our meal preparations, and we’ve noticed her appreciation and gratitude for food heighten. My patience is often tested as I practice mindfulness. I allow myself to slow down, detach from expectations and a strict schedule, and just observe as opposed to react when tasting, spills, and a general mess occur. We are learning 🙂 And, the benefits of this exploration include sorting skills, math skills, hands on real-life science experiments, communication skills, an insight into healthy food choices, confidence and creativity.
Sophia loves peeling and chopping the avocado. This knife is the dullest knife that ever existed. Dull knives + Preschoolers (God, is there a better term?!) = A chance for heightening fine motor skills.
Sophia and her eggplant! She carried it around while rocking it, saying, “shhh.” She called it her baby sister, “Si-Si Bella.” You can imagine her discontent when we had to peel and chop it up for dinner.
But first, a “roller coaster ride.”
By mid-dinner prep, daddy comes home and we say a blessing and have dinner, followed by dinner cleanup, a bath, brushing teeth and pyjama time.
Sophia painted these in the summer. Each framed picture is a compilation of two separate paintings that I taped together. Each took a few days to complete. She’d paint, leave, and return to it with a fresh eye. I’m loading the picture on every social media site I have, in case I actually lose the frames or the colours fade in the sun, I’ll have the picture of a picture. Can you tell I love documentation?
Sweet joon. I love you.
Happy September. I hope this month finds you creating and enjoying your own rhythms, wherever that may be! Much love, and thank you for reading.