Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about rhythm and balance. With the autumnal equinox rapidly approaching, I'm more aware of the balance of light and dark, of day and night, and the transition into fall. I’ve been planning curriculum for the very limited amount of formal ‘school’ I ask from Skyler (I know, I know, I’m late!!!) and trying to find a way to fold teaching into our day -- or to fold our day around teaching -- while still enjoying these beautiful days outside.
Rhythm is an idea I’ve embraced since first learning about it through Waldorf education. Rhythm is our movement through the day, repetition, the balance of in breaths & out breaths. Of all the many wonderful things I’ve learned from Waldorf, this has been perhaps the most helpful, and not just to homeschooling, but to parenting in general. I like thinking of our days, not in terms of schedule or structure, but in terms of rhythm. How do we begin & end each day? What is the pace of the day? When do we socialize, stay outside? When do we come in and embrace quiet? What do our transitions look like? Rhythm is not rigid, it’s paying attention to the flow of your day, finding the balance.
|Beginning our day with Yoga|
|Morning work - Skyler math|
|Morning work - Gryffin math|
When the boys were babies, their very clear needs dictated the rhythm of the day. Even last year our rhythm was dictated by early risers, a need for a lot of physical activity, and Gryffin’s very important afternoon nap. The boys were up at 5:30, leaving Skyler time to eat breakfast, get dressed, play, & still do an hour or so of mama-directed school work BEFORE we left the house @ 9:00. We filled our morning with activities, playground time, library, science museum, adventures, and then would head home for lunch & nap – when Sky & I (both introverts) would retreat with our books to opposite ends of the house. About once a week we would go out again after nap, but mostly that time was spent playing, doing ‘projects’, cleaning and cooking dinner. This rhythm was easy for me to hold, Gryffin’s nap was a precious and necessary (for all of us) priority. The balance of busy morning and quiet afternoon felt right.
|Homeschool meet-up - Playing 'Capture the Flag' with 20 other homeschoolers|
Then, this summer Gryffin rather abruptly outgrew his nap. Both boys started going to bed later & sleeping later (until almost 6:30)! We let go of any formal lessons as the weather got warmer and the rhythm of our days changed. We started hanging out at home longer during the still cool and comfortable mornings, playing, cleaning, and cooking. I started packing our lunches to go, and we’d leave the house around 10:30 or 11 for afternoon adventures – to Walden, the beach, the woods, or just park hopping around the neighborhood. We would come home late – usually right before dinner – cook something fast (to not heat up the kitchen), eat and take long lukewarm baths. This rhythm sometimes left us a little too busy to work on projects or keep the house tidy, and I have to say we welcomed those few rainy days to balance all the sun and fun.
|Lunch at home on the backporch|
Now it’s time to find a new rhythm. The weather is changing once again – autumn brings a return to our home, to cooking, inside work, crafting and ‘school’. But without the strong dictates of naps and weather, it’s a rhythm I will have to create – a HUGE challenge for me. I like a certain amount (read – ‘lots’) of floating through the days. Without structure imposed externally, I easily become un-tethered. I will start writing here & not notice that the kids haven’t eaten in hours…until I hear them start to fall apart in the other room. Some of the rhythm of the week is determined by activities, but the internal rhythm of our days is imposed by me, & I find this sooo challenging. And although Skyler easily floats through the day with me, Gryffin (because of his age and who he is) desperately needs a strong rhythm to lean against.
|Late afternoon playtime with Cousin Bea|
|Working on a project at the 'Fountain Park'|
What does the rhythm of your day or week look like? Do you find it changing for fall?