A Little Update

Ok, so I have been failing at the whole updating regularly thing. I just can’t seem to stick to a schedule, and life never lets me take a break when I want to.

Homeschooling has been off to a very, very slow start. It has taken us three weeks to get through the first week of the curriculum! Between friends moving away, bad days, inspections, family coming to visit, and no one ever respecting the fact that we homeschool, we have had to put off lessons a few days at a time. Well, not anymore. I guess I am going to have to advise friends and family that we are not available until lessons are finished, which will likely be between 1 and 3 in the afternoon. Sunstone has been getting better at his Form Drawing – we worked on Straight and Curved lines. It was pretty nifty. I decided to supplement the Waldorf curriculum with some typical school workbooks, so I can feel like he is at least meeting the Common Core for our state (he is picking up on a lot of different words, and his reading is improving!). We do a few worksheets every day, and have a spelling test every week. I am keeping the sheets sort of connected with our Main Lessons (he has practiced writing A and E, learned about the Short Vowel sounds for those letters, etc).

His Form Drawing does need improvement, and listening to directions is something we really need to work on. He got very upset that the final product he put in his MLB was not good (in his opinion) – he is a perfectionist, like me. But I encouraged him and told him exactly how I felt – that it was perfect for where he is right now, and he will get to see how he improves through the course of the lessons. That seemed to help him a bit.

I have some pictures to update as well, but I may as well make those a part of a different post, something like a walkthrough of our stuff? LOL.

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Dear God in Heaven

These children are going to kill me. Maybe not literally, but already my right hand is hurting. Unfortunately, a lot of the stories provided in our curriculum are not engaging enough for these sweet little ones. Once I introduced Bran and Bryn, Sunstone and Moonstone have been uninterested in the other tales I’ve been telling. You know what that means, right?

I have to write more. And with no printer, and a current lack of funds at my disposal, I have to write it all by hand. With arthritis. Needless to say, I’ve only written about four pages… of the first chapter for form drawing… I’m going to die.

But, you wanna know something? First of all, I am really enjoying writing more (even if it isn’t my normal topics), and if it gets them engaged and willing to learn, what the hell?! I’ll do it. We are also going to follow a different type of Form Drawing block than the one provided (just for the Main Lessons, everything else will remain the same).

So, now we have The AlphabetThe Esbatsand Form Drawing as adventures for Bran and Bryn to go on. These little kids sure are busy bees!

Friday Update

Another short post, have a lot going on right now. We have hit quite a few bumps in the first week of homeschooling – primarily, finding the time between everything else to actually do the lessons. Inspections, errands, cooking, cleaning, spending time with friends (our best friends are leaving in about a week and a half) – all of this seems to throw off our groove and take up a lot of our time.

I’m going to try and play catch-up this weekend and next week, hopefully find a groove and a rhythm for this whole thing. I’m going to take some pictures of our progress this weekend, and I really hope to get going with this. I just need to prioritize our time.

Why does life always have to take a turn when new projects and stuff is started. I’m so lost right now, and I have very little support from those closest to me. I floundering with my head barely above the waves, but the kelp is wrapping around my ankles and trying to drag me down. I’m so scared.

I’ll keep everyone posted on how it all goes. Also, I’ll post the Prologue for the Alphabet portion of Bran and Bryn’s adventures – sometime this weekend.

Homeschooling Update

On Monday we did the first Main Lesson for Form Drawing (straight lines), and I read the secular story of Saint George (not sure I liked it though, I might look at the non-secular one tonight and see how I like it). Sunstone – and Moonstone – practiced their form drawing (Moonstone wants to do everything her big brother is doing, and honestly, I don’t see anything wrong with her doing a fair few of the activities, though they are a bit above her level – if she has one, why the hell not?!)

Yesterday was a bust – we didn’t seem to get anything done except the handcraft activity, which was a Sit-Upon (a pillow). We finished those up today, along with the prologue for Bran and Bryn’s Alphabet Quest.

I also finished sewing the Gnomes cloaks and hats, as well as Bran and Bryn’s cloaks. The peg dolls are finished, for now.

I’ll write up a more detailed post about our adventure thusfar later on this week, once we have completed everything. I’ll even post pictures!

It’s Really Real…

Oh, dear god… We start schooling on Monday.

I am so frazzled.

We also have an inspection for the apartment that day. We are doing our Imbolc cleaning, getting everything taken care of and making sure the house looks good for the inspection… I finished the kitchen today – well, nearly finished the kitchen, I still have to finish the bar-counter and do some spot cleaning.

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Fear

I know that fear is healthy, especially when you are starting something new. It is healthy to feel apprehension about something, because that is a part of our learning process, it is an instinct that keeps us safe, but it can also be paralyzing. I wasn’t feeling fear when my husband left for basic training, because I am not afraid of being alone, I am not afraid of handling things on my own – I hate that he is so far away, and that I barely get to talk to him, and that he is going through some tough shit right now with the army, and I am scared of what might happen if he doesn’t make to/through basic training, but I do not feel fear of him being gone. I got this. I am strong. I can homeschool, and keep a clean(ish) house, and I can work on getting my online storefront ready. I can do this.

But right now, the fear is real. No lie. I have this anxiety building in my stomach. Are we ready to homeschool? But I don’t have this, or that – oh, Sunstone needs this for his lesson! What about this? Or that? … I don’t feel prepared. I feel like such a newb, and I am so scared. What makes me think we can do Waldorf inspired homeschooling when I was recommended to be held back in a Waldorf school?! What makes me think I can teach my son any better than the teachers at an established public school? I don’t have training!

Right now, I am working on a set of stories to give Sunstone a deeper understanding of the vowels and language in general. He has the basics down, thanks to public school – he knows the vowels, knows his letters, and can read little bits (but he gets very frustrated with reading, so I am hoping this deeper understanding will help to alleviate some it). I am also finishing up a set of Math Gnomes for when we start our Math Block.

But is it enough? Is it too much? What about the schooling area? Is Moonstone’s Frozen table really a good learning table? Should we have wood bowls and plates? What about playsilks and wooden toys? Nature table or tray?

I am scared. I am nervous. I am ready to start this, but at the same time I don’t feel ready at all. We are all so excited about February 1st, when we had decided to start schooling. I am grateful that we live in a state with pretty relaxed homeschooling laws. I can pretty much do whatever I want as long as we touch on the core subjects. I have a First Grade curriculum that is amazing (and so easy to tweak and add to).

I know that I need to do some inner work, do some reflection and have some time to myself to really focus on the root of the feelings I am dealing with. But trying to find the time right now is such a pain.

Something I need to realize, and accept, is that I am not everyone else. I am not calm, I am not peaceful – I yell, I get angry, I hide in my room for days on end, I just can’t even on some things. I am me, and all I can do is be the best me I can be for myself and my husband and my kids. I can work on myself, but I will always have a temper, I will always have to deal with anxiety and being an introvert, and I will always cuss like a fucking sailor. But I am ok with that – deep down, I know that I am ok with the negative things in my personality.

I just need to stop worrying, because in the end, we will all learn what works best and what needs to be discarded. We will figure it all out.

The Alphabet

So, we are going to be using the Earthschooling curriculum for first grade, and we are starting with the August lessons (the very beginning of the academic year, the month deals with Language Arts and getting into the rhythm of school). I like some of the stories offered in the curriculum, but some of the verses, and the delivery, are lacking. Because of this, I decided to give Bran and Bryn some more face time with the kids, and they will be going on a quest to obtain all 26 symbols, place them in a magical book, and keep Wisdom in the world. The finished product will be The Tales of Bran and Bryn: The Alphabet. The tale is inspired, highly, by The Wise Enchanter by Shelley Davidow. The letters themselves will still be introduced by the tales and in the order provided by the curriculum (at least if I like the stories), but they will be introduced in the context of Bran and Bryn’s quest.

Bran and Bryn’s first symbols will be A and E (AH and EH). The book will not be in alphabetical order, so in its final form it will not work for traditional school (however, I don’t doubt that the resourceful Waldorf homeschoolers out here in Blogging Land, will be able to modify and adjust the stories to fit their needs).

I just finished the Prologue and AH-The Vowel of Wonder, and am starting to work on EH-The Vowel of Balance. I will post the tales each week, with the artwork that goes along with it (both my feeble attempt at chalkboard drawings, Sunstone’s MLB, and whatever else we decided to draw, paint, or make).

I’ve also written some verses for the vowels (currently need to work on EE and OO) with suggestions for movement/eurythmy for each line.

As you can plainly tell, I am super excited about this. I am anxious about not being prepared, but I am so ready to start! I am going to introduce the vowels with a story starting on Monday (last week of January) – the story is provided with the curriculum, and is called The Golden Key-Rainbow Colors. I will read it to the kids while we drink our chamomile tea before bedtime. It is a really long story, so it will work for the entire week, and then on the first day of school, we will read the Prologue I wrote.

I will leave you all for now, I have to work on these tales!

Oh, as a side note, I got some wooden People from Hobby Lobby and painted them yesterday! I have the Math Gnomes done, and I even made one of Bran and one of Bryn! I will post some pictures once I have their capes and other accessories finished!

The Tales of Bran and Bryn: Esbats

Alright, so I know I posted about this last night – I wanted to expound upon the topic of these stories a bit, and where I want to go with the series.

The Tales of Bran and Bryn: Esbats is a series of short stories that follow the adventures of the siblings Bran and Bryn each Full Moon. I believe that next year, come January, I will begin writing short stories to go with the Sabbats as well (as Sunstone and Moonstone will be older and more solid in knowledge of the seasons and the Wheel of the Year). Though we plan on working through the Sabbats starting with Imbolc this year, I will be using tales found on the internet. For all my studies these last 15 years, I am still at a loss for Sabbat inspiration! I am going to try and outline some ideas for the Sabbat series before January comes again, try to get a feel for what it should entail and such.

Though deities do have a role to play in the Esbats series, they may not play a traditional role as we adults would view it. They guide the children on their quests, and offer materials that will help them in their spiritual growth. In Storm Moon, the children meet Brigid of the Well, and she gives them a clear crystal that will summon her if their need is dire (it wont work for simple problems or mundane tasks, more of a life or death situation). She also gives the children a task – to find her three sisters. I know that Brigid is a Solar Deity, a Fire Deity, but the Sun and Moon are linked and therefor her three sisters are Lunar Deities: Diana, Arianrhod, and Selene.

Why did I choose Deities from different pantheons? Because I believe in providing my children a well rounded spiritual education, and they need to know that all deities ARE equal. I am not against those who focus on a single pantheon, I did for many years (started with Greek, then Egyptian, then Celtic) but realized that it didn’t matter who I called on for specific work or that I mixed Hindu and Greek deities in a job spell – it all worked for me, nonetheless.

Back to Storm Moon. Bryn holds onto the clear crystal. Diana gives Bran an enchanted Arrow that will guide the pair to her at any time – really what it means is that it will guide them out of the path of danger, but it uses Diana’s energy so an arrow may appear to direct them away from the danger, or her Stag may appear. Arianrhod gives Bran an owl shaped Moonstone pendant that will help the siblings to be wise and to find the answers to even the toughest questions. Finally, Selene gives Bryn her torch in order to light their way through darkness – whether physical or otherwise.

I just want to say that though I used traditional deities, they may not appear in any of the tales as how you might see them. The reason for this is because I write about my experiences with them, however brief they may be, not traditional experiences.

I really do hope that everyone enjoys these tales, and if you decide to use them in your own practice, I sincerely hope that you are yours enjoy them as well!

The Tales of Bran and Bryn: Storm Moon

So, instead of waiting to reveal the tale of the Storm Moon, I have decided to post it early in case anyone else wants to use it. I am doing this with some serious faith in the blogging/reading community. Please understand that this story is mine, and it took time to write.

If you use this, please leave a comment on this post telling me how it worked. I would strongly prefer that you only repost a portion of the tale, and link back here so that your readers can get the full version.

If you repost without credit or claim this as your own tale, I will probably get incredibly pissed off, send some strong words, and perhaps do some retribution work – though the first two are not too severe, retribution work is nothing to take lightly. Again, I am trusting you to be respectful of me as an artist and a fellow Pagan.

A note on Age Range: Though my children are 4 and 6, I believe this tale is good for any and all ages, even adults! 

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The Tales of Bran and Bryn

So, I stated in my last post that we are homeschooling now. Well, we are starting in February, and the curriculum is a Waldorf one. This style of education is art centered, and very free in the academic department. It is wonderful, and with all the problems Sunstone has been having with traditional education, I truly believe that this is an appropriate educational method. I will talk about it more in a later post.

The Waldorf style allows for a lot of introduction into my faith, which is generally a Pagan faith. I am very eclectic, and though I am not particularly religious about my observances, I know that children benefit from having a faith. So, I’ve decided that Sunstone is old enough to start learning this path. We are going to start with basic Sabbat information – pretty much a story, a craft, and a meal will be our rituals. I am also going to get Sunstone and Moonstone into doing Full Moon rituals. They are going to be a bit more involved, but I will post our ritual once we perform the first one (for the Storm Moon in February).

For these rituals, I decided to write a story. I am going to write each story the month before, which means I just finished the story for February. I am of the mind of a Universal Pantheon, which means I draw deities from all over the world, and even mix deities in my rituals. I have never experienced anything negative from this, and I definitely do my research before hand.

These stories are called The Tales of Bran and Bryn, and are based on a brother and sister who go on adventures and meet Gods and Goddesses associated with the Moon and/or that particular Full Moon for that month. As Imbolc, or Brigid’s Day, is February 1st/2nd, this month they will be meeting Brigid who is in search of her sisters Diana, Arianrhod, and Selene – all of which are associated with the Moon.

I am going to sit down over the next few days and try to do some artwork to go along with the story, but I may just end up doing some little peg figures to represent the children and symbols for the deities. We shall see. I will post the story after the Full Moon ritual, with how it worked for the kids.