Emotional Dead Weight

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At some point in your life, you have found yourself in the presence of a personal growth vacuum.  Maybe it's someone you have known for a long time, or maybe it's the mailman who brings your packages to the door and all of his baggage as well.  When this happens, what do you do?  Do you offer an ear to bend and little time and patience?  Maybe you take a moment to lend sympathy to someone in need. But, when is enough actually enough?  Do you give until you have compromised your own growth?  Over the years I have found that for myself, I haven't always been able to walk away from something when it feels like it's leaving my emotional tank on "E".  I would continue to let it deplete me and leave me feeling dissatisfied when in actuality, I know I have such magic in my life.  I've always considered myself someone that is connected with living things not just based on time spent with them, but more on the fact that as living creatures, we all are connected.  I'm the one that sees a stranger in need and offers them my help or a mother that is frazzled so I offer an extra hip for their child to rest upon while she checks out her groceries.  The drawback of this is that often times I tend to absorb other peoples negativity and make it my own.  I have ultimately found that when life shows you what it has to offer and you aren't digging it. Turn that shit loose!  With that being said, my husband is currently stomping around the house (on his good leg due to a bum knee) because he can't seem to find clean underwear. Now,  I'm not going to turn him out to pasture because he is pissy. I'm just going to keep on enjoying my coffee and bringing life lessons to you guys because we all know that his underwear is hiding in the ever elusive closet.  Of course, everyone has a bad day from time to time and will find themself in need of someone to lean on, myself included.  The problem begins when they lean so hard that it begins to alter the way you grow.  Have you ever been hiking through the woods and see a mature tree that has managed to grow leaning completely to one side like the Leaning Tower of Pisa?  You think to yourself, how does this happen and why isn't the tree just collapsing under the weight of its own canopy?  The reason is that its roots are planted deep and firm,  and while the weight of outside forces caused it to lean, it doesn't fall but instead alters its growth.   As adults, we allow outside influences to keep us from achieving our full potential and we allow them to suck the nutrients right out of our personal soil.  Sometimes I look around and think about how grateful I am for the handful of friends that I have that are near and dear to my soul because we support each other's growth, no matter the direction, and we allow one another to remain upright without compromising the foundation.  Surround yourself with those that support your growth, and leave the bullshit at the door.  This is your journey, and deep roots will support you so long as the weight isn't too great.  If you need to let things go, it's ok to do that.  It's not being selfish to allow yourself nutrient rich soil in which to grow.  If you are a giving soul, just imagine all of the wonderful things you could do, if only you saved enough of yourself to allow for growth and stability.  We could do amazing things with an unwavering sense of who we are and begin to make magic happen.  Goodness knows we need a little more magic in the world.

What Is Unschooling, Homeschooling, and Waldorf education

When it comes to the topic of school, it's sometimes a topic I'd rather not discuss.  If you are a unschooling parent, you are often met with a look of disgust.  Hell, I've been in the middle of a grocery store trip mid day in the produce section with Charlie while he gathers his list and weighs his items, to look at me dead in the eye and ask me if I was "one of those homeschoolers".  That was the first year that I had taken on the task of teaching him myself, and I was very defensive of my decision.  Not only was I defensive, but I would think about where I was going and what I was doing during "school hours" because I knew that there would always be encounters with nay sayers who were determined to tell me that my child should be more socialized.  Now that I am 3 years in, I feel 100% confident and all of the questions or comments that I receive are welcomed.  I want people to know that I am in no way shape or form anti-public school system. What I am, is anti public school system FOR US.  I have a lot of people to ask me what type of curriculum we do or what curriculum we use.  The beauty of being in charge of his education is that I can decide what exactly it is that I want to teach him.  When we first began, I knew that it was important to me to use a Waldorf curriculum.  This meant that we did not have any screen time whatsoever.  Waldorf is something that you have to be passionate about, especially if you have not always been one to follow the Rudolph Steiner and his Anthroposophical philosophy.  It's most definitely a lifestyle.  Waldorf education puts traditional academic methods of teaching aside.  Instead, most of the programs that are the first to be eliminated by budgeting within a government controlled system, are the crux of Waldorf such as Art, Music, and Foreign Language.  We focus on things that required fine motor skills such as crocheting, knitting, drawing, and modeling.  Instead of having Charlie to memorize words by sight, and keeping a score on how many books he could read, we didn't teach reading at all.  We would explore fairy tales and literature and as his desire to read came about, it was encouraged but not demanded.  Under Rudolph Steiner's philosophy, children are to be in an environment in which they feel safe and nurtured, away from harmful influences of broader society.  I don't teach based on economic or political motives, but instead from the goal of producing a self-sufficient free thinking individual.  I could go on and on about Waldorf and all of the positive things that go along with this method of teaching, but I'd never even graze the surface in one post, so if there are any questions, I'd be happy to try and answer them, but keep in mind, I am no expert.  As we entered our second and third year, we began to explore a mixture of Waldorf in the home but more and more we discovered the positive influence of what some consider unschooling.  We do have a rhythm to our day but should we decide that based on the flow of things that our time would be better spent on nature trails or at the library, we do that instead.  Life is about being able to determine what your instincts tell you to do and following those instincts.  Children are very intuitive beings and while they may not be able to determine the exact cause of a feeling, it is my job as a parent to try and help Charlie navigate his own way through life.  Does that mean I let him decide if he wants to splash in the creek, or learn how to multiply?  Of course not!  It is as much my job to prepare him with the knowledge he needs to make his way in life and society as it is for him to follow his inner most intuition about the good, bad, and ugly of life and decision making.  Listen, this life isn't for everyone.  For starters, we don't spend money lavishly because I stay home to educate my youngest children.  There is also a certain amount of weight on the shoulders of a mother or father who take on the task of educating their child and being responsible for their continuing education once their job of teaching ends.  When we travel, we usually camp because the kids can use all the time they spend outside actually learning and exploring.  Charlie will make his own decisions as to how safe a hill is to climb that hill or hike that steep trail.  THAT counts for teaching hours on so many levels.  While we are having a fun family camping trip, we are covering Science, Ecosystems, decisions making, and best of all life skills.  Charlie will be in grade 3 this year.  We will be doing Americal Sign Language as our foreign language at least for this year.  We may switch over to Spanish next year once we have completed ASL.  We are now implementing small amounts of screen time for him to do his math work but that is all.  His reading is at the pace he chooses.  If he can read and he enjoys it, I'm not at all concerned as to how many books he completes.  Still, in 3rd grade, I will continue to read to him as well as encourage him to have an independent reading time of his choosing of book that he finds interesting.  When I teach him poetry this school year, I will forgo iambic pentameter, and instead, teach him that his soul will speak and he needs to follow that.  I am happy as a homeschooler or unschooler, or whatever you want to call it.  I learn each and every year as we continue our journey, that there will always be tweaks here and there, and I'm totally ok with that.  Its my life and the life of my roots, and we are growing just fine.