Since the Autumn Equinox, the earth has been falling slowly into its slumber. As Winter Solstice approaches, the time of darkness and reflection is upon us. As spiritual beings we come inside ourselves after a long season of reaching out and expanding. The sun is reborn through the winter solstice and light returns again to guide us on our path.
It’s time to wrap our souls in woolen blankets and hot tea. This time of year is one of rebirth of creativity, new direction and releasing old ways that are not serving us anymore. Embrace the New Year with hope and a fresh feeling that all things are possible.
Homeschooling during the winter months at times can feel challenging, with colder days and the tendency to stay indoors. Try layering up and going out at least once a day and more if possible. Keep the rhythm and harmony with nature by exploring your yard during this wintery season. It can be exhilarating to run through the snow, inhaling brisk air. Notice what birds and animals are still around. Freshen the nature table with pine cones and small evergreen stems planted in tiny pots.
Thoughts Month by Month
With all the festivals, holidays, crafting, gifting, and baking, these bustling weeks can become your ‘school lessons’. Lively stories of St. Nicolas and a myriad of celebrations provide richness in tradition and verse.
Instead of “trying to get it all done”- opt for a goal of enjoying this precious time of year and embracing a few activities instead. This truly will be a gift to yourself and your children. Doing less structured lessons while adding whimsical projects will brighten the dark days and time spent indoors.
January is a great time to catch up on anything left from before the holidays. Math Blocks are perfect for this time of year as focus and thinking naturally are happening in our bodies. Handwriting practice, recorder, woodworking, and finger knitting are some ideas to keep little hands busy.
I use the week between Christmas and the New Year to reflect on the first half of our school year. I use a 3-part process:
:: Look Back
What could use more practice?
Are you behind? Ahead? Should you remove something or extend the block?
Really reflect on how things are going — what is working and what needs changing. Don’t forget to reflect on your own perspective and role as well as that of the children.
:: Look Inward
Review goals for the year and for each child. I also meditate on my child’s progress. What does she need in particular to help her along? How can I bring the material to her so it becomes part of her?
:: Look Ahead
Check what is coming up next so you can get prepared for and order supplies if need be. Use these quiet days to find inspiration in a book or blog that expands your ideas.
This could be your coldest month, so most activities are inside the home just as we are inside ourselves — thinking and creating. Handwork is perfect to snuggle up with and enjoy the clacking of wooden needles. But it is also a month of anticipating the spring ahead. Plant seeds in pots indoors and get a jump on spring. Add warmth to your home by making candles for Candlemas. It is a wonderful full-day project and the candles are a reminder of these days during the rest of the year.
Soon, spring will be arriving, so take the time now to fully breathe into your lessons and get on track with your schooling.
Donna Ashton is the founder and CEO of The Waldorf Connection, an online resource that provides workshops, courses, and coaching to homeschooling families all over the world. As a homeschooling mother, entrepreneur, writer and coach, she knows the importance of daily balance and is dedicated to helping others with this balance in their own lives. You can read more blog posts and information at The Waldorf Connection.
Rhythm of the Home is an online magazine for families that focuses on creating with children, nature explorations, seasonal celebrations, conscious parenting, and mindfulness in all that we do.