Monday, 8 December 2014

Seasonal Un-school Curriculum

 I have noticed the same thing happens for us around this time of year. 

We go into hibernation mode.

I used to bookmark an abundance of seasonal crafts and activities imagining all the glitter flecked memories we would make.
But often, it would feel like we were list checking not meaningfully engaging.

The wonderful thing about the internet is the amazing amount of information, ideas and inspiration you can glean from the screen at the click of a mouse.

The terrifying thing about the internet is the amazing amount of information, ideas and inspiration you can glean from the screen at the click of a mouse!

It triggers a dormant type A within that I never knew existed.

I have learnt to trust our natural cycles and rhythms. 
 Usually they are in alignment with the natural cycles and rhythms of the seasons.

Modern life leaves little space in the margins for life's messy workings out.

With ever increasing work and school hours there is barely enough time for people to recover from the flu, let alone listen to their bodies need for seasonal rest and renewal.

Though seasonal cycles don't always match up with the modern 24/7 lifestyle they are good reminders of our limitations.

If I listen close the signs of the seasons, even this gloomy, rain specked afternoon, I will learn better what my real priorities are.

If I don't heed the whispers of the wild seasons both within and without I can end up ploughing through fields that need to be left fallow if they are to ever yield.

I can find myself pushing through tasks that end up being of little importance to the bigger picture once time gives perspective and retrospective "eyes to see."

As a result I'll only feel out of sync or like I'm trying to play catch up.
 Kids will pick up on the discord and begin to squabble.

They will also pick up that downtime or introspection is meaningless.
Thus buying into a materialism that values tangible product above inner process.

But the truth is that the quality of tangible products is always dependent on the inner processes that conceive them.

So we make time for process, however messy or disorganized it may look from the outside.

“We come spinning out of nothingness, scattering stars like dust.”Rumi

Learning from the source.

Leaves tumble and rustle along curbs and margins.

A small, grey hedgehog waddles beneath rambling bracken, seeking a place in the margins to curl undisturbed.

The leafless trees stand mute in distant fields and along the margins of roads.

 I find, also, my own strength (mental, physical, emotional) waning with the ebbing light of the season. Like the hedgehog, I want to find a place to curl, undisturbed.

 Taking time to reflect, and filter the extraneous from the truly necessary is so important for me.

Like the trees, I need to shed the curling brittle leaves to make room for new, tender, green ones.

Yet, in today's fast paced world, nature is given the frayed edged margins of life and so is our own human nature.

John Trudell says we are beings first, the human part comes later.
Seasons remind us to honour our being: The part that is connected to the all.

My children know their needs.

There will be a week where one child will study nothing but owls, or astronomy, or stop motion, while yet another will simply potter about, sleep and play.

I am glad they are able to trust themselves.

I am still learning to trust myself.

I still often feel as if someone is looking over my shoulder judging me for simply being me.

I still often feel as if I should be looking for some external validation or justification for my life and the choices I make.

I'm un-learning this conditioned response. I am slowly but certainly learning to trust ever-more in my own placing of my feet upon the ground.

Thankfully my children are patient teachers. They don't mind waiting for me to catch up with them.

"It is no secret. All power is one in source and end I think. 

Years and distances, stars and candles, water and wind and wizardry, the craft in a man's hand and the wisdom in a tree's root: they all arise together. 

My name, and yours, and the true name of the sun, or a spring of water, or an unborn child, all are syllables of the great word that is very slowly spoken by the shining of the stars

There is no other power. 

No other name."

Extract from "The Earthsea Quartet" Ursula Le Guin



  1. Thank you for this, it is good to know that there are others out there who are still learning where this journey of learning is taking us. I have days when I am thinking that maybe we are doing things quite right and then the next day will be completely different. It is so hard to turn off that feeling that we are being judged, we are doing something that is beyond the bounds of understanding for so many, sadly this can put them on the defensive. Hibernation and reconnection is a good way to spend this time of year.

    1. Thank you :) I relate very much to that feeling like we are on the right track one day and completely not on others. Taking time to reflect and filter out the necessary from the extraneous is so important for me.

  2. Ah yes I struggle with feeling judged a lot of the time, sigh, praying for release. I learn so much from my children in this regard (and many other regards too!) & I'll keep on learning. Trying to stay away from the internet too (darn you Pinterest) as there are indeed so many exciting and beautiful projects out there...this is a time of rest. And peace. God bless you Suzy x

    1. Pinterest is a warren full of rabbit holes each as enchanting as the next :) And yes, I so agree, we have to release those feelings of judgement and trust in our own truth. Thank you so much for your comment :)

  3. it's all so beautiful here ... words and pictures and spirit. it's like a warm, calm smile.

    1. Thank you so much Sarah :) I'm really touched by your comment. I really hoped to create a peaceful spot here. I'm so glad you find it so. xx

  4. You are very wise Suzy Mae. It took me many years to relax in our school learning and to trust that what my children needed they would get, but I finally made it. I am a little sad that after this year all my babies will be gone, off into the big world, but at least they always come back to visit.

  5. I love this so so much Suzy. So much.


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