I'm on a journey to find health and happiness through a more holistic and green lifestyle.
I find the world to be abrasive. =) That is to say, I feel the need to armor myself, physically and emotionally, in order to face life. Don't we all? Maybe. For whatever reason, it has become a priority in my life to rid my immediate environment of irritating things. And I'm sensitive! So there is much work to be done. But. I have thought for a long time that the things I come in contact with every day, and the stuff used to clean and maintain these things, need to be gentle and non-toxic. I have had eczema my entire life. For a long time I just dealt with it, and accepted that sometimes it's bad, and sometimes it's not, and that it will fluctuate a lot. Gradually over time I have come to find that certain things, fabrics, cleansers, materials, are more irritating to my skin than others. Stress can exacerbate it. In more recent times, I have realized that every aspect of my life improves when I improve conditions for my skin. Hah! What a concept! Thus my (long time) interest in going green, and my more recent desire to live a more holistic lifestyle. (I think I've felt a desire for a long time to live in a harmonious way with myself, my surroundings, and nature, but didn't have a name for it.) Anyhow, this blog is a journal of my trials and errors, and basic crooked path to find a balanced and peaceful existence for myself and my family. Thanks for your interest! I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!
Yesterday I wrote about changing things at home - adding more responsibility to the children, and encouraging more independence. I want to write a little bit about our first day. First of all, I filled my husband in on the plan, because consistency is key. To his credit, he did follow through with the plan, even while I was away. lol. Anyhow, for each meal we have asked the kids to clean up the table, which tends to be a catch-all during the day. We've then asked them to set the table, and to clear their dishes after the meal. Results? They do it. The first time, it was like a game. Both seemed to enjoy the tasks. After the first time, my oldest said, "We're doing this again?" But did so. The younger one needs much more one-on-one attention with this stuff, but he'll do what he's asked to do. Yesterday I asked my oldest to do a load of laundry. She did. At first she protested a little, but once she started, she actually said, "This is fun!" And this morning, she "reminded" me that today is our son's turn. (We were out all day, so time didn't allow his load to go through too) I have asked both kids to put their pjs in a basket on the stairs when they dress, and they do so. Not a lot to ask, and it takes reminders to myself some of the time, but if we keep it up, it will become part of the flow. It's a good start.
A couple of minutes ago, the Head of School for my daughter's Montessori school sent around the link to a YouTube video on one person's view of the comparison between traditional education and Montessori education. Whenever I see something like this, I think about how much Montessori education has meant to us as a family. My daughter spent her first year at Montessori last year, and being a child with anxiety issues which effect everything that she does, we were and are stunned by the changes that have occurred over the year. I give most of this credit to her. She has grown so much, and has taken on the challenges the anxiety presents to her with incredible strength and perseverance. But I also credit the school, the Montessori method, and her wonderful teacher. So much so that I have made it my mission to do as much as I can to help the school grow and flourish, so that it is available to her, to us, for as long as possible.
But I also compare the Montessori method of teaching to my parenting style, and vow to make changes. Then life happens, I make much smaller changes than I intend on, and life continues as is.
So today I am going to vow, again, to make some changes at home, that loosely reflect the Montessori method at school. Here are my thoughts.
First of all, I am going to ask the children to take on more of the responsibilities for making the house run smoothly. I started to do a little of this. Such as occasionally asking them to set the table. More frequently, asking them to bring their dishes to the sink. When I am with them at pj time, sometimes, I set the pjs in front of them, and ask them to get themselves changed, rather than doing it for them. I am going to try to be more consistent with this, and have it become part of the routine. I also plan to ask the children to complete one load of laundry every Saturday, from washing through putting them away. This will have the added (sighs) benefit of forcing me to have the dryer empty, and the laundry baskets empty as well!
I have gotten a bit lazy about making the kids, for example, turn the tv off during lunch. I have mixed feelings, and that is obvious because some days I reinforce this rule, and other days, I don't. I find myself feeding my kids sometimes, while they lounge on the couch. Yikes! I am going to try something new: when we are home, I will ask the children to turn off the tv, to set the table, and to help prepare and serve lunch. I don't think it will be a big deal to them. They are pretty easy-going, and I have always found that kids work well with routine.
My daughter works on reading every day, because she is too timid (Selective Mutism) to read out loud at school. I need to figure out how to work the Montessori method into this as well. She hates reading, and it can be a giant struggle getting her to focus. This is a hard one for me to figure out, because Montessori suggests that children should learn at their pace, yet at the same time there is concern that she'll fall behind for her grade level, and that it would be noticeable to her. So I force her to study every day. She'll complain, but then she'll realize she can read something while we're out and about, and she's obviously pleased by that. So .... anyhow, I stick to my guns with that, despite her protests. On the other hand, she loves the workbook work we do, so maybe I should allow her to do just workbook, which does involve some reading. Though that doesn't feel like enough. I don't know. I just want her to be in a place where she feels confident in the classroom, despite her shyness, and that means work at home.