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I had promised change for the year 2011, and it starts first in the form of a new blog.

Being the change compulsory woman that I am (just look at my house to understand), I felt like this new path we are taking also needs a new form.  And since I am having the hardest time finding a form that I truly enjoy on WordPress, I am moving this blog to blogger.  (blogger, you better be good!)

so please follow the winds : http://thefreechild.blogspot.com/2011/01/welcome-bienvenue.html for our continuation!

 

please come and join me there!  I’d be happy to see and hear from you!

I’ll be back in just a little while 😉

 

Well, first off, from my family to yours, merry belate Christmas, and happy (belate) new year!

 

May this year be a one filled with love, happiness and joy (and can I add for my own self sleep? –  thanks to this little bundle of love…:)

We have been very busy during the holiday season, and so I decided to really focus on my family during this time.

Transitions and special occasions are always a little hard on my oldest son, and in those times, he always requires more mama time 😉  (bless him!)

When I was a kid, I used to really love Christmas, but not so much new year’s.  I never really quite understood why, probably because there wasn’t as many traditions attached to it compared to our Christmas celebrations.  But in the last few years, I have started to appreciate more this day, as I see it with new eyes.  We still don’t have many traditions attached to it, but I now see it as a new beginning, a fresh and clean slate for the upcoming year.  A time to pause and congratulate myself for the good things, and ponder over the not-so-good ones.  And this year, this cleansing process, this assesment of 2010 was necessary.  I really want to make (again) some more changes around here, I am ready to go onto another level of personal growth.  I needed to really take the time to analyse what changes I want to establish which one to priorize and how to make all this happen.

2010 has been a year of research.  A year of learning: new things, new philosophies, and also learning about me, my family and about llife in general.

2011 will be a year of appliying this, of making it happen, making the changes I am  longing for.  And I am excited.  SO many possibilities seems available to me, it feels great.

So what is in store for me (us) this year?

Returning to work part time in september after having spent a whole year with my last born son (my last year of the kind sadly 😦  )

and maybe officially homeschooling my then-6-year-old son, whom I am doubting more then ever will start school at our local public school

Dealing with 3 soon to me mobile kids…that should by itself be a challenge!

and implementing those changes that I feel my family is ready for.  Going to another level of APing, of sustainability, to keep on working with my oldest son (more about that in another post), continuying on making our house our home, changing our ways of doing of speaking of thinking in so many situations.

So it should be an exciting year.  I hope you’ll stay along to share all of this with me!

goodbye 2010, hello 2011!

I cannot beleive it.  The never ending end of semester is basically over.  I have one little thing that I have to get over with, and this will be it.  It was about time I must say, as my concentration has completely shift elsewhere a few days ago, when I realized that my DD’s b-day was a month away, and thus our little pumpkin is going to be here in a month and a half!!!! :O

Finishing all thise correction has given me some time to red a bit more.  I missed that so much.  I went through 2 very interesting book

The first one is the Unschooling handbook

is has been on my shelves for quite some time, but I just never got the time to really read it.  I finally did, and I am glad I took the time to.

Unschooling is a category of homeschooling.  The approch is that instead of having a predetermined curriculum, you let the child follow his interest…Basically, the basis for this is : FOLLOW THE CHILD…how could I not love this book?  The author stress that the parent is a guide, a facilitator, helping the child be able to teach himself, or guiding him to find ways to get the teaching he wants.  Remind any Montessorian of anything?

After reading a very interesting post from What did we do all day about the difficulties of homeschooling and the Montessori approch, I have been pondering on this topic as well.  I can see that indeed, providing a Montessroi environement in a home setting will not be the same as what my son experience when he goes to his preschool.  I wondered for a while if the purchase of a premade curriculum wouldn’t help me have some kind of a structure to help me go through what we have to and give me ideas of themes and activities to do between the work.  But as much as this thought was reassuring, it was also scary as heck, because I could see the amount of preparation to be done beforehand, and what if this is not in the timing where the kids are into this?

This is where this book, and these ideas becomes of so interesting to me.  YOu follow the lead of the child.  Follow his interest, follow what he wants to learn.  And I don’t see this being so far away from Montessori.  You let the child take the lead, and the responsability for his education.  I like the spontanianity this creates, and the feeling of endless possibilities.  I think I will be able to combine both, the Montessori approch, but in an unschooling setting.  If the kids wants to go and learn with the material so be it, but if they are drawn to something else, I will follow them.

With the summer coming, I also see a little bit of Waldorf sprouting out in our days.  Days working outside, playing with rocks, branches, and yet exploring the nature around them.

Summer is so much easier with children.  Granted, I am a summer girl…I LOVE summer, and despise winter.  BUt the endless possibilities in summer, being able to get out without having to put on 3 layers of clothing, being to eat outside, to just roll on the grass and explore the many bugs, insect, plants, flowers, being able to have fresh air coming in the house it is all  just the best.

I cannot wait to see how all of this will unfold.  THis year will be the one where we officially decide on how we will go about schooling for the next few years.  I have a few more things I want to read before officially making my mind up, and yet so many things to prepare.  The Montessori aproch will be used to some extend.  But I can feel that unschooling will also be used.

I am currently finishing this book:

and OMG, this fits perfectly with what I have been seeing in the last few years while being a teacher.  I so agree with many things said, I am so living many of the examples that are given.  I am happy to see that my viwes of the current school are shared with others, and that I am not completely out of it.  But this definetly doesn’t put me in favor of sending my kids to a public school any time soon.

you just need to get yourself some flowers for all the moments you feel you deserve some and don’t get any…

And it has been so cloudy lately, that I couldn,t even get enough natural light to take this shot without the pop up flash that I hate so much…

There is something that is so comforting in flowers and craft books, even in the toughest week.  Thus I putted this right in front of my bed.

I wasn’t sure how this would happen.  After trying once last summer, he knew that he wasn’t ready.  And when we asked him if he wanted to try again without the small wheels this year, he was rather hesitant. But he came back home from running errands with his daddy with a brand new bike, with no extra wheels, and all ready to try it up.

Truthfully, I was already getting out the first aid kit, when DH came back home telling me that he had done it…while still being in one piece.  He was as amazed as I was to see that he made the jump so fast, and that he just got it.

Ever since, DS asks daily to go out biking.  And I see him getting better and better.  After learning how to break (whihc was a must considering at first he would just throw himself off the bike!) and getting better at really mastering his own bike, he even got the chance to go on a ride with his dad around the  block.  You should have seen then smile on his face when he got back home.  A smile of contentment, of proudness.

Sring has sprung here and I can see it’s color everywhere…

From the growing green grass to the burgeoning flowers

and even in DD’s hair.

Summer is slowly making it’s way, and so baby that is making its presence being felt!  Nesting effect is full force now…Only a week to go before the craziness tames down, and I finally find the time to get ready for him. Patience is a virtue that I get to practice daily…

Until then. 🙂

this moment of peace is brought to you in part by Ikea…

Last week was a week off.  We were unsure of what to do, but we ended up planning, at the very last minute, a trip to the Caribeans.  And when I say last minute, I mean making reservations 2 days prior to departure.  We had to run in order to get everything ready, but we made it, and let me tell you, it was all worthwhile!

We decided to leave the kids with their Grand parents, we really needed a 1 on 1 break, DH and I before ou 3rd one arrives.  Although we missed them A LOT, we really needed this break together to spend time on our own, and be able to breathe a little.  Next time, I can assure you  that they will come with us, but we were glad to have this moment of peace.  Now that I am back with them, I feel like I have a renewed patience with them, and it allowed me to put things into perspetive, something we sometimes forget in the nitty gritty of the usual life.  I SO needed that.

It is funny how we find inpirations and role models in places we would never thought, or when we are not looking for it.  I defintely found that while being over there.

I was waiting DH, who was playing volleyball, for lunch.  And while waiting, a young mother came to sit with her 2 daughters near me.  The oldest must have been 3 yo, and the youngest, I would say around 18 months.  This family looked so peaceful.  Both the kids were sitting at the table waiting for the buffet to open.  They were nor excited, or running around, there were, the both of them just sitting there, enjoyng the time with their mom.  I honnestly had a hard time picturing my lot being so calm, and yet so peaceful waiting for lunch at a table.  They would have been running around, which would have make me a little nervous and on the edge (which obviously wouldn’t have helped the situation).  But the mom was super calm, and they were just there being…Those little girls were just so adorable.  And they seemed so happy, it really struck me.

This image just stuck in my brain for the next few days.  I kept asking myself why do I have kids that are oh so much more excited then those 2, question to which there is no answer.  And then, then question turned around in my head, making a answer suddenly possible.  “What do this family do that help those kids be so peaceful, and clam, and yet so happy?”

And after seeing them on and off, I was able to answer that question.

– They are calm.  I have never seen those parents be stressed out, or over react for some things those kids did.  They were showing them how to BE calm.

– they were letting them FREE.  I have seen that 3yo just walk around on her own, under the supervision of her mom or dad of course, but still go walk and explore whatever she was feeling like looking at without having a parent hoover over her.  Sometimes, it even made me feel uncomfortable to see how far from her parent she was without them being worried.  They really looked like they had confidence in her that she  will not go too far, and act properly.

And then it hit me.  This is the freedom that Montessori talks about.  The one that allows the kid to be normalized.

These kids were calm, because they knew that they could go and explore whenever they felt free to do so, and their parents wouldn’t restrict them for touching, hearing, smelling…They can concentrate into one task, wheter it is playing in the sand, or walking out to explore without being interrupted by their parents.

I doubt these parents were “Montessorians” and yet, they were applying, in their everyday life, one of the most important rule of the Montessori frame of mind.  And this made me realize that you do not have to be hardcore Montessorian to raise your kids the Montessori way.  You just have to go by the”concepts”, and adapt them to your life.

And that, is one thing that has put things into perspective for me this week.   I feel like I need to kid my kids space, and let them BE.  I feel like I don,t need to apply with Montessori thing by the letter, but just adapt it to our life.

Something else just put things into perspective.

Materialism.

I have been in this place where people are happy receiving a tip of 1$.  They don’t have money, and they work really hard to get some, and yet, they are happy.  And we, we left with one suitecase each.  Containing clothes and bare essentials, books, and a few games.  And really, that was more then enough.  It felt good not to have too much choices, not to have to much stuff.  And upon returning, I felt this ure again of owning less, and giving the kids less.  Being able to be happy with what you have and not for what you get/buy/…

And this made me think about something that I have a hard time comprimizing with lately:  the amount of stuff that Montessori requires vs our want to diminish on the quantity of things to own.  I feel like that liberty that Montessori education requires doesn’t work with this mindset that I have of trying to limit the quantity of stuff to own.  To allow my kids the liberty of doing the activity they want to do, this implies that there is a need for a lot of things on shelves to grab one of my kid’s interest…but I want less.  How to deal with that?  How to compromize?

And this is one question I have yet to find an answer.  I am happy to have had the time to construct the question in my head, and clarify it.  But I have yet to find the answer that will work for us.

How much is too much?

This time away really gave me time to think, time that I was having a hard time to have lately, having to much on my plate.  And it really feels good to be able to put some orders in all thoses thoughts that have been running through my mind lately.  And I think those encouters I did really putted some words onto questions that I had inside me, but couldn’t formulate.

Nap time is over, time to go enjoy their compagny again.  I missed them so much, but yet, this moment was so necessary for me to be a god mother again…

I am finally coming out of my hiatus.  Many changes have occured recently in our lives, and some important realisations have also been made.  One of them being our methods of “education”.

I do not like using this term, as I don’t feel and don’t want to be educating my children as the word usually make it sound.  I like to think of it as our way of living our lives, and influencing our young ones towards their own selves.  Helping them to develop as they are meant to be, and finding who they really are, what they really like, and what they really think.

We have, for the last months or so, been living following the Waldorf ideology.

Waldorf is a wonderful pedagogy that wishes  to protect the senses of the child, and makes sure that he will not be exposed to things (ex reading) before  he reach a certain age, a point in developement where is should be ready,

Waldorf wants to make the mind work, the imaginary part most of all.  Fairies and gnomes are important figures of the teaching, and are even used in the classroom to help learn language and maths.  It is enchanting to think about it really!  I am sure it would have made my math class more interesting…  Down to earth, and practical things are taught too, how to knit, felt, make dolls, which I think is amazing.  Cooking and the kitchen is also a turning point in a Waldorf house, where kids are encouraged to participate to the making of their meals.  Rhythms, rituals, celebrations are keyword of the Waldorf education leading to special and magical moments of sharing and learning.  And all this learning is made in a wonderful medium:  ARTS.  Arts are not taught in a waldorf school, it is used in and every day basis, in all the classes.  Students have to draw their lessons, in their lesson books.  And you should see those lesson books.  WOW, some of them are just amazing!  Watercolors, block crayons, beewax modeling, all natural materials, with rich and yet peaceful colors, wooden toys…what is there not to like about this?

But then, where is Waldorf?

We did try it.   But after a few months, I have to admit that aside those values that are cherished here and have already been implemented for long before finding about Waldorf, some other things are just not fitting in.  Pea and Peanut have been clearly been showing us that while some of those Waldorfian ideals are very interesting, being what they are, realistic, down to earth, cartesian, rational…they are just not able to live by something that is so imaginative.  Forget about the fairies, and the gnomes, my kids much rather build a house for the squirrel that live on the other side of the street, or the bee that makes yummy honey.

My kids like to learn, learn the real and tangible things of life.  When they play, they play that they are going to work, and speaking to “important people” on the phone. And this is not because we taught them to do that…

Given the choice between a toy or helping out in the house, the choice is clear, they much rather do the real life stuff, and learn about the world that surrounds them and how it work then to play with the most amazing doll house (or truck) ever.

When I see them go around, I see what Maria Montessori has described abour kids.  They are interested about learning about their environement, and how it work, and contribute to that, and that is what their play is about.  It is about working, and THEY LIKE IT!

I think Montessori and Waldorf have some things in common, but not that much.  They both hope for a joyful, and well adjusted child that grows into the best person that can be.  But I think that their interpretation of what the child is, and how he grows and what it takes to get there is totally different.

And with all that being said, I doubt that one method is better over the other.  I think one method fits more for a child then the other.  And this is he conclusion we are arriving to.  The Montessori method is way better adapted for the kind of people we are, and most of all for the kind of people my kids are.

I have been realzing this for a while, and all that time, what I felt inside was “FOLLOW THE CHILD”  Maria Montessori’s famous words.  And that is what’s brigning me back to my first love.  I am following my children.

Heck, I will be, and am totally influenced by many Waldorf principals, and many Waldorfy things will be applied here in our home.  But I cannot deny what the evidence is showing me.  My kids are Montessorians, and so am I.

SO off to a new path, one I feel I have a lot of work to do on, loads of reading, preparing and learning.  But I think it will be all worth it.

It has been forever since I updated here.

SO many things have happened, I am still in awe of how things can change quickly and just turn life upside down…

Good change 🙂

So I will merge this post and the WIP post (that should be wednesday, but that will be tuesday here instead…again part of all those changes…)

Because I am working on big things.  ONe in particular is a major undertaking..

THis is what I am working on… 😉

A little pumpkin is on the way (since that is pretty much the date he was conceived) for the end of july.  We are all extatic, and praying that everything will go smoothly this time, and that we will have the chance to meet this new addition, and we pray that he will be healthy.

and while time passes, and my body does it’s miracle again, I get some time to work on other things.

My latest acheivement is this:

much to the delight of Pea, who has been patient enough to see me work on this for a while now (I started before Christmas) and not play or even touch it before it was completed.  Well, I finally added the last touches to Zoe this morning, and was able to finally hand it over to her  very enthousiatic new owner.  Pea is happier that I have every see her be.  She just couldn’t put her down to have dinner.  She kept getting up to see if Zoe was still sleeping, if she was still there, and just to give her a kiss or even hug her.

making a doll like this is sure hard work, and time consuming.  But it is worth it.  Worth all the work, worth all the efforts, and not only to see the delight on my Sweet pea’s face, but because it is very satisfying inside.

I really felt good being able to give my DD a toy that she seems to cherish, that is made out of material I know, and feel good her having, and playing with.  It feels good to have devoted my time to create this, a doll that defintely has a purpose, and that will accompagny my daughter in whatever she does.

I am happy to be done, but most of all I am proud to have done it.  Who would of thought that this added bonus would add itself to the already happy result.  it really pushes me to do more, not dolls, but anything that is needed and might be cherished.  The process of creating really has a magical to it that you can only feel once you have acheived it.

She is not perfect, IMO, there is way too much hair, but hey, Pea loves it that way!

I used a pattern by Joy, while she was selling everything to close to out of business.  But if I had to do it again, I wouldn’t re-use this one.  There are details that I didn’t like in the construction.  The feet at THE thing that bugs me.  I would have like better to make tubular feet, and then reattach it at the leg to form the feet instead of having a seem that runs down the leg and that divides the feel in 2.  I also wish there was more details at the butt 😉  I ended up really creating buttocks with some embroidery thread.  But again, I am not fond of how the legs attach to the body, so this area is defintly not my favorite.  For the rest, the pattern was ok, but honnestly, there are as good pattern for free out there

I bought the fabric at Weir Dolls, and the yarn for the hair comes from Dancing rain doll.  They have kits of already mixed hair.  I used the quantity they send me, plus a small ball of 50 y to make the crochet cap, and it is almost too much.  I have to admit that the buns are inspired by Bamboletta.  I sewed the hair on top to have the separation effect, and I guess that is where I made my mistake of sewing a tad too much hair there.  But hey, live and learn.

Next on the drawing bord is Peanut’s quilt.  There is already a good amount of work done, but there is also tons left to do.  And since this is my first patchwork, quilting experience, this shall be exciting…