Sunday, August 21, 2011

Rhythm and Organization

In an attempt to make life more predictable, enjoyable, and FULL for the girls and me, I am trying to organize our days and our house a bit more. Ashley's new series of posts over at Lil Blue Boo couldn't have come at a better time! Nicole also started an informal series about rhythm at Frontier Dreams, so it was really like fate. I had already started some of my reorganization when these two started their series, but it's giving me more momentum and inspiration. Is there something about this time of year that ignites the desire to organize?

I have always envied the Waldorf rhythms, but I didn't think it would be a good fit for our family. I couldn't have been more wrong! Take a look at these simple daily and weekly calendars I whipped up using some of Ella's old watercolor paintings:

Each tag is attached to the ribbon or the board by sticky velcro dots so they can be rearranged as necessary. I gave E the option of putting the completed activity tags into a basket below, but she was not excited by that idea so we scrapped it. I also tried to get her involved with the daily ritual of planning the day, but she wasn't interested in that, either! She prefers for me to have the tags done by the time she wakes up. I "laminated" the tags that we will use frequently by sealing them up with two sheets of contact paper, and I have a bag of extra tags ready to be written on for activities that aren't yet planned.

Here's the great thing--E adores these charts and really gets into the rhythm! She is constantly checking to see what is happening next. Another bonus I hadn't considered was that it is improving our communication. One of the tags is to denote when we have a playdate scheduled. Well, E has tried to move it onto our daily plan every single day for the past week. I didn't realize she was wanting so much more socialization! I am now trying to make time for more playdates and group activities. Win-win!

You can also see that I have a rough guideline for the daily themes. I must admit that these aren't exactly the same each week. Sometimes I know that cleaning needs to come on Tuesday because Granny is visiting the next day, and sometimes it will get moved to a different day because we need to prep for a playdate. Looking at these charts makes my weekly planning so much easier, and Ella really loves knowing what to expect from day to day.

I'll be back in a couple of days to show you more ways I'm trying to organize our lives. Get ready to see our play room!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Here I Go Again...

I'm not sure why, but I suddenly occurred to me yesterday that my memory is finite and there is no possible way I will remember everything about my kids' childhood.  Yes, I was under the delusion (before my second daughter was born) that I would recall each adorable and/or maddening moment of motherhood. Those of you who are mothers know that I was certifiably insane to think such a thing.

So here I am. Again. I've tried blogging twice, but I lose focus. I am determined to keep this one going as long as possible, though. I don't "do" scrapbooking, so this is my last-ditch effort to record the important stuff.  You know, the little stuff. Because we all know that the little stuff *is* the important stuff, right?

If you don't know me personally, here's the short version of my interests and parenting philosophies. When I was pregnant with E, I did a bit of research and decided I was definitely into the attachment parenting style. That somehow lead me in the direction of unschooling, and I'm now in the process of convincing my husband and mother (who recently moved in with us) that it's the way to go with the girls. We had all already agreed that we didn't need rewards and punishments and that we didn't want to coerce the kids into anything, so unschooling seems to be the next logical step, no?

Anyway, that being said, I'm influenced by a ton of educational styles. I was a teacher by trade, and I now completely eschew the public education system. I like the approach of alternative educational philosophies such as Waldorf, Montessori, and Reggio-Emilia. I don't plan to ever approach my kids' learning with a curriculum, per se, but to expose them to the elements proposed by these schools (exposure to the natural world, child-led learning, play-based learning, etc.).

As for my personal life, I enjoy reading, sewing, knitting, random crafting, gardening, and novice woodworking. Wow, that really sounded like a personal ad, didn't it? Haha! I'm always finding new hobbies that I don't have time for (Hello, blogging! *ahem*). We live on a small rural plot in Central Virginia, and we used to have horses in our pastures. They now lay empty yearning for sheep or alpaca. We do have a few chickens that provide us with delicious eggs daily, and I attempt to maintain a medium-sized garden. We've gotten a fair number of tomatoes this year, but I have a terrible habit of being a bit too optimistic with the garden space. I crowd everything in because I think I can be an intensive gardener, and then everything fails. In short, no corn this year. Not a single freakin' ear.

Well, the rest of the pertinent information will present itself in future posts. Welcome, and I hope you enjoy what I have to say from time to time!