My son Woody turned six in November of 2011. That would have been the kindergarten year for most kids, 180 days that mark the beginning of the school career. But Woody did his learning in the big, wide, beautiful world, without school being a part of it.

I'm Teresa Honey, and I kept this blog to document this time in my son's life, to share pictures and stories with far-away friends and relatives, and to add ours to the many stories of families living rich, engaging, loving lives with learning happening all the time and in many forms, totally inseparable from every other part of being human.

Here you'll find 180 or so learning moments recorded from August, 2011 to April, 2012 in the life of a 5-turned-6-year-old radically unschooled kid.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Something that Helps

This is one of my favorite pieces of writing about handling tough moments. It's from the Parenting Peacefully page on Sandra Dodd's site. I visit this page a lot. I can point to probably ten posts here that  would have been much better if I'd been practicing these strategies more! But then again, I can point to ten or more posts that were much better than they might have been because I had these ideas in my mind. Here's the piece, written by Ren Allen:

It's Going to be Good
Someone had written:
I tend to "hide" from the kids when I'm overwhelmed and of course it's just a vicious cycle.
Ren responded:
Being sensitive to stimulation makes it difficult as a parent....I think being very proactive in a situation like that really helps.  Don't wait for the "overwhelmed" thing to happen, take steps when you're feeling calm and centered. 
Having many tools in your toolbelt the stash of toys, Pam's chopsticks, new games etc..., taking time to sit quietly with a cup of tea or a bath when everyone is sleeping, whatever feeds your spirit so you can connect with your children from a loving center. 
I have found that when things get tense, a short "meditation walk" will really help re-focus my energy...or if the kids come along, we all see new things, find our joy again by being in a new setting. 
Just a quick shift into a different place, or different situation can really change the energy in the house.  Going for a drive can do the same thing. I have a big enough van to keep the children that are having issues, FAR away from each other.:) 
Being present isn't always easy, heck, I forget to listen to my own advice at times!! We're human, we get cranky, we have hormones and life issues and frustrations. Luckily, we also have an incredible web of support (thanks to technology) and a chance to do better every day.  
I wake up sometimes and really think about how I will respond THIS day. Just today I'm going to be utterly present for my children, I'm going to be in their world (not just doing my own thing while they do theirs), I'm going to really hear them, I'm going to prepare myself to be present starting right now. I drink my tea, breathe deeply of the new day, think about preparing some yummy food they will love to help start their day off on a positive note.  
All this helps me really BE there when they awake and come out for hugs. Those are the days that things really flow, that I'm not getting as frustrated (even when challenges arise), because I've made a CHOICE.  Every day isn't going to be smooth...that's just life. But when we choose mindfulness, choose to be present in each moment, choose to prepare ourselves for the most important role in our's going to be good.