My daughter turns 14 on Tuesday and, as always, I'm looking ahead to my homeschooling year for all three of my children. Wait. With two teenagers now, are they still considered children? Hmmm...
Homeschooling is a topic that I often get asked about. As it gets more popular, there are many who ask me about how we juggle so many different balls. Both my husband and I work from home, we travel a bit and then there's our two 14 year olds (one turns 15 in October) and our 8 year old son, who are all schooled at home. I think often people have images of me pouring over books attempting to re-learn high school so I can pass it on to my kids, and that sounds like torture.
The truth is that my children... sigh... my teens... know a heck of a lot more in academics that I do now. Over the years we've explored so many different curriculum and approaches, but I learnt early on that I was going to be alright with them being readily involved with how and what they learnt, and at a certain point, they were going to have to find ways of learning that didn't go through me.
Math is my downfall. As someone who was also homeschooled until I was 16 and went early on to College, my mom was wonderful at passing on classical literature, but math and sciences often fell to the wayside. (Has it affected my life? Not really. I struggled in college with essay writing, but math wasn't in my goals, so I was fine.) However, I do want my daughters and son to have the freedom of having every door open they can. More doors than I did.
Therefore, they do math.
My son and eldest daughter LOVE math. (Yeah... just another sign of how unique we each really are.) and therefore, online curriculum have saved us various times.
My middle daughter... well she's the head in the workbook girl, until she got into Oak Meadow. Now she says Math is finally making sense.
So, how do I home school my middle school and high schoolers?
I don't. We do it together.
We've set up a system where they set their goals (like my eldest wants to go to High school for a couple of years, so she has to earn credits this fall. Looks like Correspondence/distance learning is on the horizon.) and we talk about what they need to complete, and then we all start looking for the best way to accomplish those goals.
Like I've mentioned often, it really came together this year for my middle daughter. (I just posted a video review of our experiences so far with the grade 7 curriculum from Oak Meadow. You can visit that here) Whereas I used to have to be a little more insistent about the work she completed so I could fill in my reports in June, this year she even schedules her own work in each Monday and keeps me up to date on how she's doing. The grade 7 curriculum for this program has been so beautiful in transitioning her from being reliant on me to set her up each day to being more independent and eager to learn. She still sometimes falls into the habit of asking me if she's done enough, and I keep reminding her to follow her schedule and also her gut. If she want's to do more, she can. If she's completed her daily schedule, go play! (yeah, at 14 we still play around here. )
We became such happier homeschoolers when I realized it could still be the teamwork we'd set up in everything else. I don't have to force anything, because we've been open to exploring what needs to be done.
And yes, sometimes my eldest does come up to me and says she needs to get more workbooks.
When you work together, openly, honestly and with presence and vulnerability...
miracles happen every day.
I had the most wonderful exchange during my interview yesterday for the upcoming summit How to Live the Laptop Lifestyle and I wanted to tell you about it.
I’ve never done an interview about how my business works and I have to admit I was nervous sharing this with you. You may wonder why I’m telling you about this as I know most of you don’t work at home or run your own business, but I still think this could be a valuable listen for you.
It’s been a bumpy ride at times along my work path, with self doubt and mis-steps, which has attracted more of the same. But, in this interview, we ended up talking about vulnerability and showing up in your day, which really works across so many lifestyles, and I’ve learned to see as a priority in everything I do.
When I first decided to become a coach with my Spiritually Aware Parenting work, I kind of sat on the fence for awhile. Could I really find balance in working and homeschooling as well as just keeping my own parent focus and spiritual awareness? It didn’t come clear overnight, there was a lot of trial and error, but like you’ll hear if you sign up for the interview, I can now find the balance to keep all the balls in the air… (or at least the tools to keep them up most of the time! There’s always “those days”.)
But the most exciting part of the interview was really when we talk about how when you remember it’s not about being perfect, but being yourself, when you remember that you can’t know it all before you begin, rather the only thing you can know is your self, your connection and each day’s offerings.
We’re offered way too many shoulds when we become a parent, we often feel like we have to leave ourselves behind to get done what needs to get done. But what is amazing is that when we let that fall to the sidelines, and chose to shine as ourselves instead, well everything gets done in such harmonious brilliance.
Because the women on this summit are all about following passion and calling, I think you could actually get a huge amount of inspiration from the series. They are about showing up authentically and working with life rather than struggling through it.
So often as parents, we feel we “have to” follow certain courses of action, right? So often we are told the approach to take, and I really want to help you feel empowered to wake up each day, connect to your truest self and shine all day long, finding your flow and knowing your calling!
I may be the only parent coach on the panel, but the summit is filled out with so many amazing Life coaches and fellow moms, I think it may inspire you to shine as Who You Really Are.
Feel free to check it out.
Oh, another thing that I really wanted to tell you about before the weekend...
Spiritual Kids is on sale this month, You can get it for $90, which is really about the cost of a yoga class each week AND you'll be part of the study and accountability group on Facebook where I'll be coaching you through the material starting July 25th! It's going to be fantastic and inspiring all rolled into one! I hope you can join us!
I was raised with books. To this day, my mother has a room lined with books, from ceiling to floor. As a child I would lie on the living room coach and memorize their spines.
Sometimes they were audience members to my imaginary performances... sometimes they were just there, as hidden worlds that I would try to peak into.
One day, I stumbled upon one she didn't have. Which, really in itself was a miracle.
It was called the Celestine Prophecy, and I can't even remember the event that led it falling into my life, but I do know that the story within those pages, changed my life forever.
I still remember the scene where the main character was introduced to seeing energy emitting off plants... witnessing the spiritual essence of living things. It deeply touched me and was a huge step on the path I'm on now. It was like someone knocked on the door of my spirit and whispered... believe what you know. It's true.
Well, guess what? I was interviewed by Christina Louise a few weeks ago for her summit on Parenting for a Peaceful Home, and guess who else is going to be on?
James Redfield, the author of the Celestine Prophecy.
Life is so wonderfully intertwined sometimes, isn't it?
I can't wait to hear all the different speakers that are on this summit; including parent coaches and experts whose work I admire and love.
This interview was such a great experience and a time of so many firsts! Christina (she has such a great name! LOL) really created a space that allowed Spirit to flow, even creating a meditation before the interview began and asking me to lead a meditation during the interview. The conversation flowed and we talk about so many topics in practical spirituality and parenting.
And then... there's James Redfield. What's he going to be talking about?
I really think this could be the parenting series of the year so I want to make sure you get a chance to be a part of it!
Boy-o is turning 8 tomorrow.
8 years since he came earthside under that full moon.
I don't understand where time goes.
I think the whole family is having problems adjusting to his growth spurt. His sisters barely know how to play with this, suddenly, older boy. He's just no longer little.
But maybe the one who has the hardest time adjusting is our boy himself; and that's showing up in one of the worst cases of birthday-itis our family has ever known.
Not only has he been feeling off, overwhelmed, emotionally fragile, overexcited, dizzy and frustrated all at once in the past few days, but I've never seen the law of attraction respond so quickly to his offness.
Birthday-itis is a condition that usually has my husband and I, shaking our heads sadly, saying “I can't stand birthdays”. It comes from the knowledge that a birthday is around the corner and the mind chatter starts to breed discontent and nerves, leading to life being too much.
From around 6- 10 years old our children have been “preparing for birthdays” and having their own plans spiral into the cause of tempers running higher, meltdowns being more... melting, and basically everything being slightly more on edge. All rooted in spiraling thoughts such as:
What will I get as a present?
What if I don't like it?
What if they can't find what I want?
What will it be like to be older?
I don't want to change.
Change is scary.
What do I want from my birthday breakfast?
What if it rains that day?
What do I want to do?
Will everything change when I'm a year older?
I should change now I'm going to be older.
What things should I do when I'm a year older?
I guess I'm too old to do somethings...
I don't want to change.
Change is scary...
What if I don't like what they get for my present...
And so on, spirals and spins through a child's head.
Don't get me wrong. It makes total sense.
Birthday-itis and the thought processes that create it, are completely natural.
A child senses something out of the everyday, an event which is special for them, there will be cake and presents, its supposed to be fun. But it also symbolizes change and different expectations, even from themselves, so that sounds scary. Scary and exciting rolled together creates chaos.
A case of birthday-itis is always greeted with compassion, hugs, and comfort around here. A suffering child is given some time off, some comfy days of quiet play and grounding love to create the reminder that they are themselves, undefined by age. Change can be gradual, not over a day. They are celebrated daily, so a special day for it doesn't need to be too over the top.
But then, sometimes they don't want to settle into that. Sometimes the energy of the event and the spining thoughts are laced with a touch of excitement and down the rabbit hole they go.
I think that's what happened to our soon to be 8, boy-o.
And the only way I can tell is by the attraction point that's presented itself.
In one day he managed to get his fingers trapped in a window, which was an almost impossible accident to have happen as my husband was holding it, and my son's fingers were only in the vicinity for a second.
and he also went into his sister's room and had an accident with a glue gun she was using.
It was an awful day. And after lots of hugs, cuddles and ice-cream, the next day we started talking about how birthday-itis had created a pretty dangerous sign to be held up as an attraction point.
It opened up the conversation from a different angle as, although he's been talking about his “magnet” and the law of attraction for years, he'd never seen the direct result of his thoughts.
It can be so frustrating when we see our children go through “growing pains”, as they learn to observe their inner story and see the results it creates.
I often want to run and make it all better... wrapping them up in cotton wool so they don't get hurt. (Well actually our son was told that he couldn't do much in the lines of biking or swimming or... anything... until after his birthday, because with his attraction point being as it is, we couldn't take a risk.)
Because, no matter how much of a cycle is created with birthday-itis, we have to be aware enough to stand at the side of it. We can't dive in the deep and feel pity or coddle it, we can't become the vocal support of a negative inner dialogue or victimhood.
So, we hug, we comfort, and then we support the positive story.
What's the worst that can happen on your birthday? So what if it all goes horrible? What do you have in life already? What do you love about today? What do you appreciate?
How do you want to feel? What thoughts can feel better?
These are the positive, re-enforcing questions that empower our children to own their thoughts.
These are the questions that promote the healing of the birthday sickness... as well as any bout of self pity or questioning.
We all hold up negative signs sometimes. We all worry or “use our imaginations to create unhappy outcomes” especially in the thick of something that's important to us.
But the awareness of that sign is all that needs to be established, because once we know we're holding it up, we can choose to hold up something different.
There's a hysteria that can be calmed when we observe ourselves, and our children can often suffer from that hysteric run of a thought process.
So, sometimes, the only thing we can do, is hold them tight, tell them we love them more than all the stars in the universe and then help them, step by step, find thoughts that feel better.
And when they start to create feeling better journeys on the pathways of their own minds, then that's when we sigh, and know that, birthdays or not, they are indeed growing up well.
The law of attraction is one of the many topics covered in the Spiritual Kids course, with tools such as crafts, stories and worksheets to empower you in passing on this valuable perspective to your children. Feel free to visit the course page.
This week I held a webinar and I shared a really fantastic tool to help you find your center.
I thought I would share it here on the blog today, so you too could feel the relief as participants did.
I call the process the Octopus Affect.
See, we're all incredibly busy. As parents, we are systematically known for feeling scattered and overwhelmed. We run about, like toddlers, often after toddlers, focusing on as many things as we possibly can for as little time as possible.
I used to identify this scatteredness with the feeling of having lots of tabs open on an internet browser. We try to focus on one, but we just can't. So we have to train our minds to close the tabs.
And then, I figured out the Octopus Affect.
Imagine an octopus, with its tentacles spread out in all directions.
Now, imagine that each of those tentacles are things on your to-do list, they are scattered, varied and all over the place.
Imagine when you feel scattered and all over the place you are focused within the tentacles, scattered in all directions. You try to focus on one, but then feel guilty for the lack of attention to the other ones.
You try to move all tentacles at once and life goes haywire.
Now imagine shifting focus to the core body in the centre of your octopus. Withdraw the arms, knowing that by putting energy within that core and creating stability, the flow of life will take care of all the other parts of the whole.
This is what its all about. We can all spend too much time chasing our own tails, running for tentacle to tentacle, task to task.
But when we draw that energy within, and focus within that core, then we feel relief from the chaos and can find ourselves again... so that we can radiate out through all those tentacles, fully and aligned.
Isn't it exciting? To know that some simple self care techniques can have the incredible ripple affect of bringing ourselves back in the moment and withdraw from the scatteredness of day to day life?
Now, the next step of the exercise is to allow a word for that core to flow to you.
Withdraw your mental tentacles, breathe deep and listen. Give yourself a moment to hear that specific word that signifies that core of your inner “octopus”.
This word may surprise you. Mine was “stillness”, which was less exciting or energizing than I thought I'd find. But still when I tried it on, it really was exactly what I needed to hear.
Now, when you have that word, try breathing deeply and focusing on the word. You can even let the word flow out on your breath, letting it really resonate within you.
This simple tool can be pulled out whenever you feel overwhelmed or stressed. By using the image of the octopus you have a reference point for your own focus.
Within the day, you can ask, are you focusing from the outer ring, from the tips of your tentacles and scattering that energy... or are your resonating from within your core; centred within yourself?
This little exercise really reminds you how important a bit of self awareness and self care is. Its more than a to-do list item. Self Care can't be one of those tentacles. Rather, it has to be the focus of the core, so that the rest gets done. Self care is an inside job. Its a focus and intentional job and once we practice it, well then, woosh, everything else just gets done in a flow.
I am really passionate about helping you find ways of fueling that core self this summer. I believe that in this time, when routines and patterns are thrown in the air, you can consciously put your mind on, well your mind and allow stillness to enter within.
I have just released my Stepping into Your Light Course over on the website.
This course runs for 4 weeks, and although its self contained, meaning you get the videos and workbooks in your inbox to complete on your own time each week, over July I will be doing group coaching and support through the private Facebook group.
I want to make sure you feel empowered to break down those patterns of living on the wide edge of tentacle focusing. I want you to shine from within, to your core.
Because this is the first time we've practised this sort of group coaching through a course, I'm offering it for basically the cost of a yoga class each week.
Actually, that's a good way to think of it. This is a yoga class for your spirit... and after its done, the material is yours to do again and again.
If you'd like more information, please check it out here on the website.
Enrollment closes on July 1.
Christina shares her personal experiences as a Spiritually Aware Parent as well as tools and tips which will help a parent's journey.