Monday, August 29, 2011

H is for Honored!

This summer has been a whirlwind for our family. I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship to attend a Radiant Child Yoga Training at Kripalu for an entire week while my wonderful husband stayed home with the children! What a blessing to have a loving, supportive partner in these times. I have been inspired and changed by the experiences I had there. My teacher, Shakta Kaur Khalsa is cited as one of the top five Kundalini Yoga teachers in the world and let me just say she is an amazing woman! She helped us to experience yoga in a whole new way, many of us first time Kundalini practitioners. She was patient, and loving in her guidance and helped all of us grown-up teachers how to go back to our innocence in essence. How to free ourselves from our physical and mental constraints and become what is yoga. How else could we be given the wonderful task of teaching it to the young minds of today?
I found that my biggest lesson was time for self. I needed to stop feeling guilty about any spare moment I got for myself and actually take the reigns. I continued my practice in the following weeks upon my return. I was able to, a few days of the week, wake up before the kids, and meditate and do yoga in the early morning hours. It really seemed to help center me for whatever came at me that day. Without trying to sound to hippy, drippy I feel that my experience this summer has opened me up to a new place in the Universal Conscience. Not long after my return my family began to receive all sorts of opportunities and life changing/fulfilling encounters. Even so far as appearing on the Today Show on a little segment about co-sleeping with your toddlers!! A lesson straight from the master Yogi Bhajan for this current culture which I find poignant and true is, "Keep Up and You'll be Kept Up." The less resistance we feel the deeper and deeper we open ourselves to all possibilities! I am so excited to have learned from this master on how to be and I'm hoping to bring all of this to my children's schooling this year.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

V is for Victorious

This year has been full of trials both internal and external all of which have been overcome! We are reminded time after time, story after story, that we have made the right decision for our daughter and our family. Thankfully Kindergarten is non-compulsory in New York (as in most states) and it has been a year of trial and error with no one breathing down my neck. It has been a year of discovery with no limits!
We have all changed and grown so much. I can truly say I am a homeschooling advocate now. But just as with religion I will not proselytize to those who don't or can't see the way. I will give those advice who ask and help in anyway I can to make our community grow and our children flourish.
Last year when we were in the process of this decision we said that this needs to be looked at as a lifelong (or at least 13 year) process; not a trend, or a few year commitment. Just as parenthood, we made the decision and we will put forth whatever effort it takes to get through victorious. I am not going to lie, I have had to come to some realizations, especially when it came to relying on other people to come through on their end. I started the year with a pretty broad base of individuals willing to help us out, in return for some of the same. Slowly our resources dwindled, but such is life. We are however very blessed to still have a core group of amazing and creative people who have stuck it out with us. We have had a wonderfully successful playgroup weekly which the kids love and all the mommies seem grateful for(some much needed "grown-up" time.) An old family friend has religiously taught Sophia violin in return for a gallon of milk, weekly(you can't beat that price.)My sisters, and my cousin have been invaluable in their advice and materials to make my classroom a success- thank you! Sophia's got a great friend and in turn I have also found one in her Mom- she has provided me with tons of education materials-including the latest trend in literature based learning. Perhaps the most inspiring of all however is a Mom of three who has home schooled her children in a very similar fashion for many years now. She has been a sounding board, a huge resource and I can honestly say a friend at this point- THANK YOU! We truly feel grateful to have so many amazing people surrounding our family and this decision- you have all made this year a victory!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

G is for Growth!

It's Spring, finally, and I am amazed when I think of the growth that has happened in the last 8 months!
Sophia has turned from an above average preschooler, to an inquisitive, holistic kindergartner. She has learned to read through a whole system approach using: tactiles; phonics; word recognition; and good old fashioned daily reading. She can count and recognize numerals 0 to 100, does addition brilliantly, and subtracts with some success. Soph loves all things science and has so much fun with experiments, gardening and keeping a weather journal. She loves to paint and continues to thrive in music and movement with violin and dance and open gym weekly. She also has her first job! She has been helping me with my yoga class every week and receives an allowance for her assistance. The amazing thing to me about Sophia is that she can draw conclusions, make comparisons and remember things we spoke of ages ago. She can put things together appropriately and in a wise and deliberate fashion far beyond her years.
I always knew she would be a wonderfully smart student and had no doubt she would thrive in any environment.
Although I have not made much mention of the younger two in my brood their success and growth has also been phenomenal this year! Part in thanks to Sophia and the structure of our "homeschooling" day. Liam's vocabulary has increased fourfold, he is potty trained (for the most part)and his attention span is that of a five year old. He loves to tell and read stories and is our resident jokester. His fine, and gross motor skills have gone from great to magnificent! He will just be three at the end of the month but has become quite the character.
My youngest, Margot, will be one on the 22nd. She has skipped so many of the "baby steps" trying to keep up with the other two, which is a character trait of the 3rd child I'm told. Straight from breast milk to solids, stacking blocks and crawl chasing everyone even up the stairs!! Her favorite things are kisses from Daddy and dancing with her brother and sister.
It took us all a while to get into the grove and a daily routine but now that we have a basic structure the flexibility just comes naturally. We love things the way they are right now and I wouldn't change a thing! We have learned to grow and have grown to learn, what a great year so far!

Monday, January 3, 2011

E is for Expectations

I think the Homeschooling "honeymoon" is officially over!! Time to get real! The ideal and the reality have come crashing into each other at full speed. To all of you moms out there who think you can't do it...I'm here to tell you you can if you do one important thing- let go of your expectation. Society has placed such a burden on all American women and I am here to bluntly give it the finger. Perfection comes at such a cost- one that has been created by the very institutions I am keeping my children from attending...schools, churches. Why, when I consciously know this and have made the decision to keep my children from them, can't I tear myself away from these expectations? Guilt, ancestry, "normality", fear?
I began to demand things from Sophia as they would in a "typical setting." She began rebelling- of course she did! I have raised her in this fashion and then act surprised when she acts this way- please!!!
Luckily I have a homeschooling mom connection who set me straight a few weeks ago. I explained how frustrated I was trying to get back into the grove after Thanksgiving break and she said this was very normal both in public schools and in a homeschooling setting. I took a deep breath and started to look in from the outside. She then profoundly stated, " The stress comes only from our own expectations. The kids are fine, they are learning every moment. Whether they are playing with their siblings, or coloring with crayons there is no boundary to their growth."
Ah-Ha!!! Revelation!
I am now making the effort to stop over complicating and bringing it back to basics-
I have prepared their environment so that my whole house can teach. I did this for a reason- I am not their "teacher" in the antiquated sense of the word, I am the "directress" here to expound on questions and instill the love of learning in their hearts. Enough about me!!