Ohhh! The long and drawn out days of winter!!
We've got this! You've got this!
Haven't we done this so many times before? Made it through the darkness of winter?! Yet, why does it feel so difficult at times?
When nature is sleeping, it is like a death on the earth. Without the glory of nature to lift our Spirits, we must each do it for ourselves, and for each other.
It is actually exactly what is being asked of us each year, at this time. That we recognize how powerful we truly are. Even though all of nature is deeply asleep, we humans are soulfully wide awake. We are learning, reflecting, remembering, thinking, feeling, creating, connecting and loving.
We are truly amazing beings!!
The following inspiration is taken from: Weekly Meditations-Rudolf Steiner's Calendar of the Soul Intentions by Patsy Scala
The world threatens to numb
My soul’s inherent powers.
Therefore, step forth memory,
Shining from depths of spirit,
Strengthen my vision
That only by strength of will
Is able to sustain itself.
Intention: This week, when I feel the tiredness of too much winter, I will remember that, within this winter, I am the one, through my inner spirit, who supplies the warmth and the light that sustain me.
Nurtured Heart Tip #8
Give Energy to the Things that are Going Right
Do you have more than one child? Do your children have typical sibling arguments? How do you handle it?
Next time you notice a beautiful and peaceful lull between these arguments, be sure to make a point of noticing the absence of conflict. You might simply say," I appreciate that you are not calling your sister names, or bothering her right now."
Give energy and honor to the positive things in your life.
What are some positive things you have noticed your children doing lately?
Nurtured Heart Tip #7
Recognizing Our Own Greatness
What about a little nurturing of our own hearts?
Can you see qualities of greatness in yourself that you can recognize and honour?
Take a moment to name 3 of these amazing qualities, and in what way you express them.
New to home schooling? No problem. Daily Wonder can help you get started. You can trust that the planning is tried and true and will save your time to use for assembling materials instead of using your weekend to plan.
Not new to home schooling? Welcome. Daily Wonder offers organized, easy to use daily lesson plans when you are re-thinking your current routine.
Not sure? No problem, you can sign up for monthly membership and cancel anytime. Try it for a month and see if it is a fit. One of the many gifts of home schooling is that you can change and transform your curriculum, routine and schedule as you wish. With DW you are not locked in, we offer you the freedom to try it when, and for how long, it fits your goals.
Here are five reasons parents are choosing Daily Wonder:
We know planning can take the joy out of home schooling. We have your back. We have been panning for 20 years and feel like it is high time we share. What is your favourite part about preparing for a year, unit, or day of home schooling?
Nurtured Heart Tip #6
Help Your Children to See Their Own Greatness
Often in our busy lives, we pay more attention to the difficult traits that arise in our children because we want to address it and nip it in the bud.
However, when you notice a quality of greatness in your child, don't let the moment pass, be sure to articulate it to them with specific words and explain the context.
In this way they can begin to really feel and see this greatness in themselves, and embody these qualities.
You might comment on their positive attitude in a situation, their responsibility, flexibility, patience etc.
What is something great you noticed about your child recently? How did they respond when you pointed it out to them?
Nurtured Heart Tip #5
Our children long for us to see them and be present for them. How we respond gives our child a feeling for whether we are really present, really listening, or only half there and more caught up in our other thoughts and concerns.
We want to give our children positive feedback, we want them to feel confident, but our generation of parenting has taken "good job" to the next level.
We have used it for everything; we have used it so much that it is on automatic pilot, just coming out of parents' mouths, even if it doesn't really fit the circumstance .
Our children can feel empty words, words that lack true connection. When we choose words that are more accurate for the circumstance, our children can feel more fully acknowledged.
Next time you want to say "good job", take a moment and think about what exactly they are doing, and how your feedback could be more accurate. Maybe a more fitting response would be..."that's very creative", "you are very considerate", "you are very resourceful", "you are very responsible", tenacious, committed, a hard worker...
When was the last time you were authentically validated? How did it make you feel?
Nurtured Heart Tip #4
Surviving the Dark Day of Winter
Yay!! Guess What? We are halfway through the winter!
The dark days of winter can be difficult in many ways, as we long for the brightness of the sun to fill our hearts.
The winter asks us to fill our own hearts with light, and to fill our own homes with light. In the time of our ancestors, this was the day when they would make another large batch of candles to get them through until the return of the light.
Light some candles in your home, and be thankful for the warm home you live in, the warmth of your heart when you see your children learning, growing and thriving, and the warmth you share with your children every day.
The pentatonic flute is based on the five-note pentatonic scale. Rudolf Steiner said that this scale harkens back to our ancient ancestors' days and the music that they felt from the spirit world. As human consciousness evolved, so did our understanding and connection to music.
In ancient days, the familiar seven-note diatonic scale "do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do" was not developed yet. The most familiar diatonic scale is C Major- C D E F G A B C. The pentatonic scale does not use the C or the F, and so, the music from our ancient past was played with five notes, D E G A B. These are the notes that your sweet, little, dreamy child feels most connected to. Your young child feels the pentatonic scale's notes in their soul and delights in these tunes. They are the perfect songs to sing and play when your child is between birth and around eight years old. These are the notes that connect us to our ancient ancestors who walked and sang closer to the spirit world than we do today.
The flute is a beautiful instrument to begin with, as your child will become aware of their breath and learn how to regulate their breathing to produce a beautiful tone. Simultaneously, the flute's fingering requires the development of finger dexterity and fine motor movement, which can be challenging. So your child is also developing the ability to persevere through difficult circumstances. The ability to lift one finger or several fingers at a time is a marvellous brain/body activity. And most importantly, creating beautiful music is inspiring and enlivening. When your child knows a song and can sing it by heart, and then they are learning to play that song on the flute, well, that is a most exciting day to behold!!
So, the pentatonic flute is the ideal beginner instrument for your Grade One child. It speaks to the whole child: body, soul and spirit! And music is a great creative force that brings people together.
Daily Wonder highly recommends purchasing the Waldorf Teachers' Companion to the Pentatonic Flute, by John Miles.
Nurtured Heart Tip #3
The Importance of Self-Love
Your child longs for your juicy and focused connection and attention. This secure love and attachment builds their foundation of trust and belonging, and sets them up for healthy relationships throughout their lives.
Homeschooling gives you an amazing opportunity to nurture this connection throughout the day, pacing the time you have together and the time everyone works or plays independently.
Make sure that you honour both ways of being. Everyone needs to enjoy their alone time, and learn healthy ways to self-soothe.
By giving yourself permission to take a break and do something for yourself each day, you can be fully present for your child(ren) when you are giving them connection.
By caring for yourself, you are teaching your child(ren) the importance of self-love.
What do you do to re-charge?
Some of the following was adjusted and reprinted with permission from the Nelson Waldorf School.
At Daily Wonder, learning to read evolves for each child in the same form as it evolved from the beginning of humanity: spoken language developed first, then people drew pictures to communicate their ideas, followed by symbols such as hieroglyphics and finally the abstract letters of our modern alphabets. Once there was a written language, people learned to read. This unfolding inspires the sequence of the literacy program laid out in Daily Wonder curriculum. For Daily Wonder, the central theme for all lessons, in every subject, is the human story. We use storytelling to shape and deliver the living pictures behind every lesson, including the literacy program.
In the Early Years, from birth to age seven, the focus is on the spoken word. When children are young, the emphasis is on spoken verses and stories: nature stories, folktales and fairy tales. Parents and teachers are ‘storytellers’ and are careful not to ‘dumb down’ or simplify the language of fairy tales. Parents and teachers are encouraged to be careful to use clear speech and enunciate well, as this immersion in literature is the basis of literacy. This immersion in the spoken word also supports children later when learning to write and spell.
Repetition supports retention. When the same sequence and stories are repeated daily for weeks, children learn these stories, songs and verses ‘by heart.’ Current brain research confirms that repetition aids a child’s brain development. The connections of billions of neural pathways in the brain are strengthened through repeated experiences.
Writing Begins Holistically. In Year 1 of the Daily Wonder curriculum, the alphabet is introduced in an imaginative, pictorial way. Each letter of the alphabet is presented as a picture representing an element from a story the children are told. For example, they might hear the story of a knight on a quest who had to cross mountains and a valley. The children will then draw a picture with the letter “M” forming the Mountains on either side of the “V” for Valley.
In this way, the child develops a living relationship with each letter rather than going straight to the abstraction of the alphabet letters themselves. These ‘pictures’ can be described as the bridge between the pictorial thinking of the child and the abstract thinking of the adult.
After learning all the letters, children experience copying mom or dad’s writing into their portfolio. The portfolio is an artistically created record of the learning that children using Daily Wonder curriculum create themselves. These first written sentences and stories come from the children’s own experience, and the children’s first practice of ‘reading’ is the reading of their own text.
Reading begins with decoding. It is important to know that reading requires decoding skills that develop in children at varying ages. At Daily Wonder we understand that learning to read will unfold naturally in its own time for the vast majority of children when given the proper support.
Just as a normal, healthy child will learn to walk without our teaching them, and just as a child miraculously learns to speak their native language by the age of three without lessons, worksheets or a dictionary, so will a child naturally learn to read when they have a positive relationship with the spoken and written word and have been provided with the necessary tools and skills.
At Daily Wonder we follow the well-researched three-year Literacy program set out by Janet Langley and Jennifer Militzer-Kopperl in their book “The Roadmap to Literacy.” Over the three years of the program (Years 1 through 3), Daily Wonder supports parents to bring the six layers of literacy to their children (phonemic awareness, phonics instruction, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, writing).
Once the child receives the alphabet letters and sounds pictorially and through verse and song, they begin to learn approximately 33 phonics rules over the three years. The rules support understanding and skill-building for future spelling and reading. Vocabulary, fluency, comprehension and writing are regular parts of the daily lesson plans and expand over time.
Classic books expand vocabulary. At Daily Wonder, we encourage parents to provide their child(ren) with age-appropriate, well-written literature to expand their vocabulary and keep their love for reading alive. We also love a good graphic novel for those who need shorter reading stints to maintain their enthusiasm for reading. Practice is key, and preference is personal.
There can be negative impacts of pushing reading too early. Research has shown the negative impacts of pushing academics, such as reading, at too early an age. Forcing children to read too early often hurts their self-confidence and general passion for books. This research indicates that kindergarten and preschool-aged children should focus on age-appropriate activities such as playing, exploring and socializing. Finland is an excellent example of this, given that its schools lead the world in education standards. Finnish children generally don’t start kindergarten until age 6. And kindergarten is focused mainly on play and socialization; there is no reading or writing. Additionally, their school days are not more than 4 hours long.
Daily Wonder’s teachers are saying that children who read when they are ready can maintain a passion for stories and a love of reading further into their older years. In our experience, when reading is not rushed before writing, students are typically reading at or above standardized government levels and with improved comprehension.
I think we can all agree that we want our kids to love reading and have the ability to express their heart's desires and gifts in writing and speaking.