I've started to notice a pattern. I feel incredibly, hopelessly overwhelmed - like I'm drowning. Then I feel on top of the world! Then I'm overwhelmed again. Last Thursday and Friday I was feeling hopelessly overwhelmed. Today I feel likeI might finally be getting things under control, more so than I've felt in a long time. That might mean an even bigger crash than usual is coming.
This past September I started a new program at Sunday school. I went back and forth a lot with wheather or not I was going to do it. I really wanted to find a Montessori-style church class for Acorn. There are quite a few, and I keep finding more. (Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Godly Play, Young Children and Worship, Faith and Play) But I did not have much luck contacting the two programs closest to me, and I had no ties to those churches anyway. I'm a pretty firm believer that if you can't find the resource or group you're looking for, you should start it yourself. But I didn't think I should start another certification program until I finished my Infant-Toddler Montessori certification. I was really trying to not make any more commitments until I felt I could handle all my current commitments. And I had trouble finding the resources to do it myself with the training. Then I read in the comments of this post at Living Montessori Now, that the book Young Children and Worship contained everything I needed to get started, including templates and instructions for making my own materials. And then I read another blog post about how you don't have to have all the materials and how many classes don't even have a permanent location. I decided this was important enough for me to make the time. (I'm not getting much sleep these days though.)
I've been studying the Bible a lot in the past 6 months or so. One reason is that I'm teaching Sunday school for kids age 3 - 3rd grade. We're using the book Young Children and Worship, which is very similar to Godly Play and Catechesis of The Good Shepherd, all Montessori-style programs. It's very diy. The other reason is that about the same time that I started preparing for Sunday school, some Jahovah's Witnesses showed up in our neighborhood and I welcomed them into my home. So I'll probably be posting a lot about Bible study for awhile, and about these two aspects of it in particular.
I really appreciate when I'm looking up a specific scripture, and while reading the text before and after it to have better contextual understanding, I find something I wasn't looking for that is applicable to what is currently happening in my life.
Gah! Let's try again. I just downloaded the weebly app today during naptime so I can update again. (My old computer doesn't want to load the website.) But as with everything, there's a learning curve, so whatever I typed here during naptime is now gone. Hopefully it will work this time.
Warning for future posts: Some of the things I write about might be controversial. You might not agree with me on some of these things. You might even shake your head and think I'm an idiot. (I might be doing the same thing on my end when you let the world know how you feel.) I hope we can still be friends. Please be respectful and kind when you disagree. I will try to do the same.
I wish I had more time to post on here, but motherhood is keeping me plenty busy. Here is the message I'll be sharing in church this morning for Mother's Day.
As I mentioned in my last post, I've been going to Bible study before church every Sunday recently. (I'm not going today. My husband is home, which is rare in the fall, so we're staying home to watch the parade with him.) Last Sunday I didn't think the lesson spoke to me at all. It turned out, I just needed to keep listening.
The lesson was on the "Healing of a Demon-possessed Man," from Luke 8:26-39. I could not come up with answers to the reflective questions. Here they are in brief:
Granted, I was a bit distracted by Acorn, but that is nothing new. I just wasn't feeling any of these things applied. On Thursday afternoon Acorn and I walked to the library and a book had come in that I forgot I requested. It's called 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, and was brought to my attention by A Little Bit of All of It's September book selection. I've often had this feeling that we have too much. I've talked about it to a few people, but always feel paralyzed when it comes to doing anything about it. A lot of our stuff I would like to get rid of, but for most things, I rationalize why I need all this stuff and more. I've only read the intro so far, but it's really resonating with me now. I hope this book will help me.
One of the reviews on the back says it's not a guilt-trip, which is good, because I'm good at coming up with plenty of guilt on my own. In fact, during that Bible study, that was the answer to my first question. "If I could be free of just one thing, it would be guilt." But I couldn't tell you guilt over what at the time. And I thought, "well, guilt can be good; it keeps us on the right track." But if you're not doing anything to relieve yourself of the guilt (other than waiting until you forget about it), then it's not really doing you any good. At the present moment I am: all of the above? The most helpful thing my group can do for me is: get excited about what God is doing in my life, be part of it, and help me see what else God could do in my life.
"While I feel it is beneficial to recognize the importance of our role with young children, I am the first to admit shortcomings in my attitudes and actions in bringing up my own children and in being with young children in many given moments. However, we not only try to do the best we can, but we can also strive to do better, or the most important work of the parent with young children is inner work on oneself. The young child accepts us as perfect and good; once he becomes older and sees our imperfections, the most important thing is that the child sees we are striving to do better. Our desire for inner growth (or our complacency) is perceived by the child and has a very deep effect on him." From Your Are Your Child's First Teacher p.332
Have I posted on here yet that I decided to get my Montessori Teacher training for infants and toddlers? Most of you probably know that by now though. I did most of my academics this spring and summer. Right now I'm taking Acorn to a parent child class on Thursdays and Fridays. It's quite a hike, but as a practicum student I'm assisting instead of paying the class fee, so it's totally worth the drive. Plus I get to continue learning from the amazing instructors. I still need to find a regular practicum site where I would work in a classroom with children anywhere from 0 - 3 years old without their parents, for a minimum of 15 hours a week, spread over three days, for nine months. (Run-on sentence anyone? Sorry.) I also have my advanced seminar coming up in November and there will be another one in the Spring. I have to journal about every parent-child class or practicum day. I have tons of assignments to get done in the next 2 1/2 years.
And why am I doing all this? "the most important work of the parent with young children is inner work on oneself." Looking back at old posts, I see that I did post a little about this...When I was pregnant I was looking for a parent-child class and the closest one I found was about an hour away. Now I want to bring something like this closer to home. Unfortunately, Montessori is often kind of an elitist thing because it costs so much! I understand, we go through a lot of training, and pay good money for that training, so teachers should be paid well. I wish it was that way for all teachers. But since it's not, I want to share my good fortune with others. I want to start a low- or no-cost parent-child class in my area. I want to help as many families as I can do the best they can with what they have.
Other ways I'm doing inner work on myself? I've been attending bible study before church. (More about that in the next post...) I also want to read The Spiritual Hunger of the Modern Child: “ten lectures by notable speakers representing a variety of religious perspectives including Judaism, Christianity, Subud, and Buddhism...All of the writers agree that who you are and what you do around young children are more important than religious dogmas or indoctination. Reviewer Rene Knight-Weiler summarized the book's common theme as: 'Religion must be caught, not taught, and indeed it cannot be caught from someone who doesn't truly have it...'...In one of the essays...'That is really the fundamental thing to satisfy the spiritual hunger of the child - that the grown-up does not stop working upon himself, that no day does he stop working on himself.'" (330)
Another quote from You Are Your Child's First Teacher: "enrichment programs not only become the social norm, but then they also become required by law. When Georgia Governor Zell Miller first proposed the idea of publicly funding pre-K in 1992, his plan was denied as 'state-sponsored babysitting.' Now Georgia's universal pre-K serves 61,000 children - and Miller now advocates mandatory enrollment...Unfortunately, no one is supporting, let alone funding, at-home mothering." (p. 287)
"through her research on brain development, Jane Healy...concludes: 'Even babies can be conditioned to associate two stimuli that are presented repeatedly, but this learning lacks real meaning for the child and may use inappropriate parts of the cortex instead of those best suited for the job. In fact, forced learning of any type may result in the use of lower systems since the higher ones which should do the work have not yet developed. The "habit" of using inferior brain areas for higher-level tasks (such as reading) and receiving instruction rather than creating patterns of meaning causes big trouble later on...brain power - and possibly neural connections - are stolen from the foundation of real intelligence. Reading becomes a low-level skill, and there is a danger that it will remain at the level where it was learned and practiced.'
Healy points out that truly gifted early readers are insatiable in their desire to learn to read. They don't have to be taught, and they make instinctive connections with thought and language." (285 - 286) From You Are Your Child's First Teacher.
I read this awhile ago and just never posted it. This book was o.k. I guess some might like it better than others. It had a lot of things in it I was already familiar with, and some of the suggestions of what to do with your child seemed obvious. But I guess that is only because I had such stellar parents. Thanks Mom & Dad!
And on a more recent note, Acorn has started to count. Well, not really, but he's learning the sequence. When Dad counts slowly Acorn will often say what comes next.
"Wabi-sabi is the quintessential Japanese aesthetic. It is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble. It is a beauty of things unconventional... It is also two separate words, with related but different meanings. "Wabi" is the kind of perfect beauty that is seemingly-paradoxically caused by just the right kind of imperfection, such as an asymmetry in a ceramic bowl which reflects the handmade craftsmanship, as opposed to another bowl which is perfect, but soul-less and machine-made. "Sabi" is the kind of beauty that can come only with age, such as the patina on a very old bronze statue." Excerpt taken from Wabi-Sabi: For Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers, by Leonard Koren.
Many of you have probably seen some variation of this height ruler on Pinterest. We actually went out and bought a board to make one for Acorn's birthday, but didn't get it done (or even started) on time. I found out at his party that my grandma was also making one for him, but also didn't get it done in time. Part of the reason is that she shared her plans with other people who, with the best of intentions, told her she needed to do it a certain way to make it right. In the end, she ended up doing it all herself, and doing it her way, and it's perfect! We finally picked it up from her about a week ago.
There are a couple of typos. (This is my favorite part. Can you find them?) It's not the color I would have made it, or the font I would have chosen, or the technique I would have used. But all of those things carry no weight compared to the charm that Grandma's ruler comes with. Plus, it's done in time to still measure Acorn's height before he grows up. It might have never gotten done if it was left up to me. Also, we found the board in the corn crib on Great-Grandma & Grandpa Bagwill's farm. It was actually there from when the repaired the porch, not from the corn crib itself, but I think it's still significant. Thanks Grandma! We love it!
Blogs I follow (Does it count as following if I have 50 unread posts sitting in my RSS feed?) when I have time:
A Montessori Home
Ali's Art Adventures
At Home with Montessori
Feeding the Soil
How We Montessori
Jordan Bagwill Eusebio
Our Best Bites
Simply Natural Mom
Three Chord Me
Under the Sycamore