|Photos from our village's annual picnic on the green and bake off|
The rhythm of social media seems so frantic, so demanding, so consuming at times. I naturally work at a slower pace. I need to take time away. I often wonder how some blogger/vloggers manage to deliver so much content.
I care very much about the connections I have made through the internet and feel bad for not keeping up, but real life seems to expand its boundaries as your children grow.
When the kids were little, in a tight little clutch everything was done together, as a family, as one, now they are branching out into their own diverting schedules which need a different kind of time and resources.
There are lots of balls in the air. Personal space and boundaries, are the hot topics of the moment. As bodies and minds grow and interests and hobbies become more involved and involving so does the need for space, a time and money and, well you get the picture.
Matilda loves all things craft. A dear friend recently gifted us a beautiful old fashioned spinning wheel which she has fixed and learned to use. It has somehow been squeezed into the girls room along with all the wool roving. It is hard to do minimalism with lots of kids with lots of hobbies. I have become good at paring down our resources to what can adequately fit in a large chest of drawers though. It keeps things manageable.
Sometimes I find myself gazing at photographs of when they were tiny and missing the simplicity of it all. Those times, when I could keep all their toys in one toy box and their crafts in a basket. There is much joy and beauty in the changes though. These days, we can have lingering philosophical conversations and debates over morning tea and it is great to see their opinions evolve. It also amazes me how little help they need anymore. Cooking, baking, sewing, knitting, organizing their schedules and toddler wrangling! I know it is good that they are becoming independent and they do still like my involvement from time to time. Matilda recently made a felted, Waldorf birthday crown which I will be listing in my shop once she has uploaded the pictures. She has also recently helped me create a peg doll tutorial for my shop blog.
We have been busy this new homeschooling year. Matilda at home now too and Boo is studying towards two GCSE's and a Performing Arts award. Our old flexible, unschooling, child-led routine was a beautiful foundation but we are now moving on to a much tighter schedule with more extra curricular activities. It seems, despite my frequent anxiousness, that a flexible, schedule (including delayed academics) well prepares a child for the rigor of exam prep when the time comes.
Rudolph Steiner believed that a child must become fully aware of their physical presence and use their will effectively through modeling, immersion in nature, play and movement before they can advance to their heart centre where they learn through creativity and reading myths, legends and folktales that will inspire them. He taught that only after the foundations of hands and hearts (will and creativity) were built, could a child be able and ready to move to their intellectual centre and begin academics. I can only speak for our own experience but this line of thought seems to have proven true. I have seen that each stage forms a foundation for the next and the next stage will only work as well as the previous one has been mastered.
The internet is a constant source of reflection for me. I go back and forth on it all the time.
I am fascinated about how it can make you focus so keenly on how you might be perceived.
In real life I tend to be too busy and probably too old to pay attention to what others might be thinking of me, well most of the time anyway. But online I scrutinize myself. Should I share something? Is it right to share pictures, videos or info about the kids? Should I share my heart with people who might misunderstand, judge or scorn me? I wonder at these things.
I find myself both inspired to be part of a wider community and share the beautiful, the good and the struggles while being afraid about who might be watching and reading and what their intentions or judgements might be.
Over the years it has been for me to read and hear other people's life experiences. The internet has opened up the world to me. I can you tube and google the answers to a myriad of problems, from the trivial to the philosophical and even the mundanely practical such as how to fix a blockage in the radiators (true story). When feeling isolated I can also instantly feel a sense of kinship with other Mums, writers and artists. My online shop and book sales have provided me a small source of income which has helped pay for the children's books and activities. These are all good and wonderful things and I don't dismiss them.
Yet more and more I find that blogs and you tube channels are becoming platforms for "personalities" or "personas." There is a detached slickness, a facade, a cynicism in many broadcasts and posts. More and more I find myself more drawn to the real, the raw, the true however imperfect the photography, video production or blog format.
The internet can also be a great number of emotions as much as an often welcome distraction and learning tool. Studies have shown that internet use has shortened our concentration span and I feel this in myself to be true. The online world can fill the empty spaces, the ones we may, in the past, have filled with prayer, day dreaming, emotion processing, feeling and connecting deeply with ourselves.
I am mindful of all of these things as I embark on a new project. One that will, no doubt be intermittent as anything else I do outside of my first priority, the day to day happenings and doings of my family and home. Yet it is something that the children are excited about and have been asking to do for some time. So here it is. A youtube channel focused on soulful living, homeschooling and everyday happenings. It has taken me nearly two weeks work editing our first 3 minute video. I am getting better at it with practice but don't get too excited, I don't think we'll be a daily vlogging, blogging family any time soon. But I thought it might be nice to share some of the things we've been up too this past term and if time allows, I may record some more snippets of our days in the year ahead.