Elements of Waldorf: Block Learning



  1. Read Shakespeare poem
  2. Review science chapter for test
  3. Do daily math exercises
  4. Begin writing assignment
  5. Read chapter in history book






I left my 10 year old at home with a list of school work, as I ran to do some errands. I told grandma not to worry, he was responsible enough to get it all done. Three hours later, when I arrive home, my son runs up to me excitedly, “Mom, Mom, can I read the Shakespeare poem to you?” Before I had a chance to breath he expressively begins “performing” the Shakespeare poem. He feels the words and expresses (and pronounces) each correctly. I listened in awe. When he finishes, he obsessively babbles about the poem – the meaning, the new vocabulary words it contains, the historical context and references made in the poem, and how he had listened to it read on youtube over and over again so he could read it with correct enunciation, pronunciation, and expression. “Isn’t it just beautiful, Mom?”  – At that moment, I realized he had spent the last three hours delving into Shakespeare and checking the other items off his list had not even occurred to him.

Before I had ever heard of Waldorf or “block learning” my ten year old taught me. He was simply not capable of switching the channel in his brain to a new subject before the story line in the subject he was studying was “complete.” It wasn’t that he loved Shakespeare – although he does – because if I left him the next day with Science being on the top of the list, science is all that would be done. Thus, when I started studying Waldorf’s concept of “block learning” – it made sense to me.

What is block learning?


Block learning is the pedagogy that one subject is taught and studied for a block of time usually lasting three to six weeks. Then another topic is taught for another block of time. This contrasts dramatically with the current practice of a student studying new material in multiple subjects each school day.

In Waldorf schools, block learning begins in first grade – it is not geared for preschool or kindergarten – and runs through high school.

Math facts, mental math, spelling, and memorization exercises are practiced during circle time or extra lessons, usually on a daily basis. But, new concepts are learned during the block learning called “main lessons.”

Block learning is not student directed learning. The teacher chooses the block to be studied in accordance with the child’s natural development.

Block learning is not unit studies. One subject is studied in depth, although sometimes other subjects are incorporated in the process of teaching that main subject.

Waldorf is often associated with “delayed learning” philosophy – not introducing symbolic letters and numbers until the age of seven. What may not be known is that because of “block learning” students go much more in-depth on topics and their base of knowledge and understanding passes their peers in public school – usually by 4th grade. This is because of the concept of spiral learning.

Spiral learning is the progression of a subject from block to block within a grade level and then throughout the grades. Different methods of teaching are employed throughout different grade levels, which take into account child development. For example, math is taught through manipulatives in first grade, fourth grade math holds more emphasis on art and beauty, and eighth on logic and reason. Thus, students are not only learning at increasing complexity, but able to retain the information because it is taught in a way that resonates with their souls.

Why use block learning?


Block learning has proven successful. Students are fully immersed in a subject which is intensely and economically taught in an age appropriate manner. A Canadian study found that average intelligent students who studied in a Waldorf school showed the same characteristics of creative behavior, problem solving, and subject integration as gifted students who studied under mainstream methodology. Block learning and the spiral curriculum is beneficial to students ability to understand, think, reason, remember and cross-apply information.



How does block learning work?


Often when we think of learning for a two hour time frame, our mind goes to sitting in a desk, listening to a professor, twirling our pencil as we try to stay awake. Main lessons look nothing like this. They integrate mental, physical, and artwork to balance the learning approach. Listening, active learning, singing, storytelling, recalling information, and quiet seat work are beautifully balanced. Waldorf main lesson pedagogy used a multiple intelligence approach, before multiple intelligence was a thing.





What blocks do you teach?

Three to five subjects are covered per school year.  A typical year may include 3 or 4 Language Arts blocks, 3 or 4 Arithmetic Blocks, 1 or 2 blocks of Science, Humanities, or Form Drawing, and often the last block of the year is saved for a school play.


Block learning may be the most distinctive element of a Waldorf education, and for good reason. It is highly beneficial in developing children into lifelong learners. Thank you, Andres, for making me a believer.


Elements of Waldorf: Circle Time

Night DanceI look out our picture windows and see the neighbor, who is walking his dog, staring in and laughing. I don’t blame him. He’s probably never seen a mom dancing and skipping around the front room. I laugh too – not out of embarrassment, but out of delight – delight that is intensified as I look into the sparkling eyes of my daughter as she dances around with me. Circle Time may be our favorite part of the school day.

In a Waldorf education, Circle Time does not end in preschool or even kindergarten, but continues through elementary school. It holds an important place in the beginning of the school day, as a transition from free play or outdoor play into more focused school time. But it is more than  simply a method of transition – it is important to the Waldorf philosophy of learning. 

circle-1Why do Circle Time?

  1. Brain Development – Science has proven that the development of the body is in direct correlation with the development and ability to learn academically. Like any other body part, when the brain is exercised, it developes and can more easily be used to learn new information.
  2. God’s Word. What could be more important for raising children who are passionate pursuing God than a love for His Word. Circle Time is the ideal time to memorize verses and passages of scripture – that God will use to sustain and ground your children throughout their lives. Psalm 119: 11 “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”
  3. Language – both foreign and native. Through poems and songs children acquire enunciation, pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and language comprehension as well as a love for the flow and sound of language.
  4. Math Facts – Children move from counting to skip counting to multiplication tables in daily recitation, song and movement – making the facts hard to forget. Mental math and verbal story problems are also added into circle time as the grade progress.
  5. Memorization – Days, months, seasons, grammar facts, historical timelines, scientific information – anything that can and needs to be memorized can be done with a song and a dance.
  6. Music – Through singing, playing rhythm and wind instruments, and rhythmic movement children’s brains are being exercised. Numerous studies show there is a direct correlation between music and speech, language, reading, larger vocabularies, and the ability to memorize.

circle-2How to create a Circle Time?

  1. Establish a rhythm. Just like daily rhythm – circle time has a rhythm – breathing in and out moments. Breathing out includes big motor, movement, dance, rhythmic instruments, loud recitation. Breathing in may include the lighting of a candle with a verse, sitting on the floor doing finger plays, and quiet voice recitation. For best results – alternate breathing in and out.
  2. Establish goals and move towards specifics. Start by setting up what you want to memorize (Skip counting by 7s, Months of the Year, Greetings in Spanish.) Then find poems and verse to fit what you want to teach. Then add the detail of movement, rhythm and song that you will teach each with – keeping in mind the alternation of breathing in and breathing out. 
  3. Establish a base. Use two or three verses for the entire year. Change a couple seasonally. Switch 3 or 4 for each new block. The idea is to progress through the learning of new facts, but new facts are learned within a safe, established, comfortable rhythm and verse. – Keep in mind that the 2 or 3 verse you use as your base are more likely to be remember for life, so make them count.
  4. Establish a time frame. Think 20 – 40 minutes for circle time depending on the age of your child and the amount of material you want to recite.


Let’s not over-intellectualize Circle Time. It is fun! It makes learning fun – and this is a good thing. A 2012 German Study  found that 85% of Waldorf students had a positive attitude towards school and and were enthusiastic about learning. The students in the study reported that school was “fun” and “not boring.” (Jiménez, Fanny “Wissenschaftler loben Waldorfschulen”, Die Welt, 27 September 2012). I know that on the top of my list of “Why I Homeschool” is “To create a love of learning” and “To create lifelong learners.” Circle Time helps do this.




So, I may look silly twirling circles with my daughter in my living room – but I’m so glad we do it.

Elements of Waldorf: Delayed Academics

jusitification 2“My son can say and recognize all his ABCs – and he’s only two!”

“My daughter could read before she even went to kindergarten.”

“My child is four and he knows his multiplication tables to twelves.”

… Well, my child is six and only recognizes the letters in her name. She sort-of-kind-of writes her name and the the number 6 – since that is how old she is . . . and I couldn’t be happier about it. But then again, she’s my fifth – and to be perfectly honest, I worried endlessly that my first two wouldn’t be as smart or weren’t doing all the things the other kids in the sand box did.

Nothing strikes more fear in a parent’s heart than thinking her child is not quite “up to par.” Thus, “delayed academics” strikes terror in most homeschooler . . . at least in the United States of America. And to be perfectly honest, if you choose this route, you are going against the social norm and it is a bit scary. So let’s take a look at the educational philosophy of “delayed academics” and see why it just may be worth bucking the current system.

What is delayed academics? Delayed Academics is the philosophy that symbolic learning (reading, writing, and arithmetic) should not be taught to young children. In Waldorf the general rule is that these things are best taught after a child has had seven Easters – more often than not, that means a seven year old.

“Delayed academics” was not delayed at the time Rudolf Steiner introduced Waldorf – it was the norm in the late 1800s and all through the 20th Century to start teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic to children at the age of six or seven. It is also not “delayed” in Europe in 2017 (which overall ranks higher than the US in Education.) Most of Europe has play based early education, and reading is taught around the age of seven. It has only been in the last ten years, in the United States of America, that preschoolers are expected to know and recognize all their letters and kindergartners are taught to read.

Why delay academics? Basic understanding of child development.


  • Brain Development.
    • Bilateral Integration. Each section in our brain does different things. For some tasks the different sections must interact with each other to do the task efficiently. For example, in reading – one part of the brain deciphers phonics and another part creates mental pictures which help one to comprehend what the phonics means. If these two sections are not communicating well a child can learn to read and not comprehend, or what happens even more often is that a child learns to read but gets stuck in 4th or 5th grade when the reading becomes more difficult. Most children’s brain sections begin to interact with each other sometime during the sixth year of life.
    • Symbolic Language. Children under the age of seven do not think symbolically, but concretely. So although they can memorize letters and numbers and phonics, they can not truly understand them.


  • Physical Development
    • Visual Tracking. Children must be able to track letters on a page with their eyes in order to read clearly. This tracking occurs naturally around the age of six. Children who are encouraged to read before this tracking has developed will struggle with learning and often develop learning challenges.
    • Proprioceptive System. Academic learning involves sitting still, listening, and paying attention. In order for a child to sit still, pay attention, and visually remember shapes of letters and numbers, he must first develop his proprioceptive system – or his sense of body in space, the relationship between the body and the brain.  This is usually fully developed at seven or eight in most children, though sometimes a little younger for girls. Problems in the proprioceptive system have learning challenges like ADHD, dyslexia, and nonverbal learning disabilities.
  • Lack of Stress.

Amazingly, there are more and more children in early elementary who are experiencing stress and stress related illnesses. Many researchers are attributing it to expectations – especially academic. Small children are being asked to read and write before their bodies and brains are physically ready to do so – is it any wonder they are stressed?


  • Best Policy

In a 2012 Study done in the US comparing students in a Waldorf school to those in a public education, the study found that children in a Waldorf 2nd and 3rd grades had lower test scores than their counterparts, but in 7th and 8th grade the Waldorf student had far surpassed those of public school. A New Zealand study found the same – that by the age of 10 the Waldorf students had caught up with the early learners and then they surpassed them.

From my own personal family, I have not seen any difference in academic ability of a child because of the age they learned to read. I have one child who taught himself to read at the age of 3, one learned to read at 6 and 7 and one that didn’t learn until 10. By the age of 12 – they were all reading the same books!

In my countless hours of research, I have yet to read of a solid study or article that shows any academic advantage for children who read, write, or do arithmetic before first grade.

To be perfectly honest – this science was not available when Rudolf Steiner developed his theory of education. He wrote Waldorf education after years of observation and study of children. The science just proves what he observed to be true.

So do I just let my kids run wild until they are 7?

No. “Delayed Academics” does not mean a lack of education. Waldorf is rich in early education, but early education is play based and not academic based.

  • Open Ended Play
    • early-2Imagination. Blocks become zoos and castles and towers. Silks become super hero caps, princess dresses, and forts to hide under. Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
    • Problem Solving. How many rocks, how big do the rocks need to be, and where should I put the rocks if I want to cross the creek without touching the water?

    • Understanding of Numbers. Numbers are not simply symbolic symbols hanging in the air – they are concrete – the cups of flour we use to make cookies, the number of rocks we line up next to the creek.
  • Outside Play
    • early-4Bilateral Integration. Skipping, riding a bike, swimming, and climbing a tree all use cross over body movements and alternating sides of our body – which in turn trains the different sides of the brain to communicate with each other.
    • Proprioceptive System.  Children need to experience their bodies in space – going forward and backward, left and right, jumping up and down – often with some sort of resistance. Therefore great ways to develop the proprioceptive system are to dig with a shovel, pull weeds, and hang from monkey bars.
    • Science. Just being in the outdoors – without explanation – exposes children to the attributes of God, seasons, biology, chemistry, the laws of physics – and makes them question why and how God’s creation works.
  • Handwork and Art
    • questions 14Hand-eye coordination. Digging holes in the garden for our seeds, finger knitting, and finger plays all develop hand dexterity and hand-eye coordination.
    • Visual Tracking. The eyes naturally follow beautiful water-color paint as it glides gracefully across the wet paper in wet-on-wet painting.
  • Linguistically Rich
    • Singing Mother 3Phonics. Singing elongates vowel sounds and stresses consonants.
    • Development of Mental Pictures. When a parent-teacher tells a fairy tale (without using a book, movie, or picture) the child creates images in their mind to correlate with the words of the story. This will later transfer to reading comprehension.
    • Memory, Vocabulary, Enunciation, Pronunciation, and Foreign Language. Through the recitation and memory of verses, poems, and Bible Scripture in both your native and foreign language – children are learning a love of language itself.  
  • Learning is Fun.  How many five year olds do you know who would rather sit quietly behind a desk and try to decipher letters and numbers on a piece of paper instead of running freely through a field and digging a hole with a stick in the dirt? Case closed.

So how do I know when my child is ready for academics?

  • early-1Changes in physical body. Longer limbs, loss of teeth.
  • Brain has developed. Can skip, swim, and/or ride a bike.
  • Displays maturity in behavior. Can sit still, listens and follows directions.
  • Can track visually. Can throw accurately and catch a ball. Eyes can follow your finger without headache or strain.
  • Able to retell a story. Retells stories with clear sequence of events and a few details.
  • Strong desire to learn to read. A child who has a desire will learn so much faster than one who is forced.

Because it goes against the social norm, it is hard to “hold your child back” and not teach them what other kids their age are learning. You may have to educate (or forward this blog) to extended family, well meaning friends, and your child’s therapist or Sunday School teachers. I encourage you to study, know, and believe for yourself that you are choosing the best educational method possible for your child. This will help you stand your ground when challenged, and give you a peace in your heart that you are doing the right thing – even when it may not seem like it in the face of society.


*Although this blog post is accumulated information from years of personal research and study – the clearest most detailed information on this topic can be found in articles by Susan R. Johnson, M.D., FAAP.




A summary of research done in different studies on Waldorf Education can be found at – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studies_of_Waldorf_education – and if you are a total research nerd, like me, you can click on many of the studies at the bottom of this page and read them more in detail.

Elements of Waldorf Education: Inner Work

inner-work-4When I tell people I homeschool, one of the first reactions is for people to tell me why they don’t. Interestingly enough, the reasons most people give me have nothing to do with best educational practices or money or time. The most common reasons I hear for not homeschooling have to do with the lack someone feels they have in themselves. The two most common reasons being, “I don’t have the patience” and “I’m not organized,” with the third not so far behind, “I’m not smart enough myself.” Funny – but don’t public school parents, and childless adults need these things as well as home educators?


One of the really cool aspects of a Waldorf Education, and one of the reasons I am a proponent of it’s use, is that the teacher (or parent-teacher, in the case of homeschooling) works on his/her own personal character. This is called Inner Work, and the concept is that one must work on themselves in order to teach children.

inner-workRudolf Steiner, the philosopher and founder of Waldorf Education, wrote, “You will not be good teachers if you focus only on what you do and not upon who you are.”

A Waldorf Education is onto something important here. Personal growth should be a goal for all of us – not just home educators – but as home educators, it is the core and starting place for educating your children.

Why is it so important for educators?

So we are worthy of imitation. Children do what we do, not what we say. Therefore we should do and be what we want our children to do and be.


Deut. 6: 1 – 9

Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.

“Hear, O Israel:The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

inner-work-3This is one of the most commonly taught passages of scripture on parenting. But the parenting part is a result of the personal part. God command YOU to love the Lord and to obey him – and then as you live out your life doing so (as you sit, and go about, and go to bed, and get out of bed) you teach your children to do the same as you are doing. Imitation.

I love the concept that as you follow God, “you will multiply greatly.” This is not just talking about having more children – it is talking about your children have an abundance of what you have (a love of the Lord), and your children’s children having even more. I know one of my greatest joys in life is watching my preschool age grandkids talk and sing about loving God!

inner-work-2The most important aspect of homeschooling (or teaching, or parenting) is focusing on my own relationship with Christ and my own personal growth – Inner Work.

How do I do Inner work?

Rudolf Steiner recommended meditation. I agree – but only if you meditate on the right thing!

In Psalm 119:15 David is speaking to God when He writes, “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.”

The true means of Inner Work is to meditate on God’s Word, and to fix our eyes on Christ and His ways.

In the New Testament, Peter tells us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:18)

inner-work-9One of the interesting things about personal growth – is that our focus should not be on personal growth. Let’s look at the verses above for example –

In the Deuteronomy passage our focus is on loving God and keeping His commandments – or on obedience to Him. In Psalms, we meditate on God’s principles and ways. And in II Peter, we build knowledge of Jesus.

Our personal character, and building our self-esteem is never our focus or our goal. Instead, it is the result of focusing on Christ and obeying God’s Word.

Galatians 5:22 – 23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

When we focus on God and obey Him – love, joy, peace,patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control will be the resulting fruit that the Spirit produces in us.

Now I’m going to get real. If you don’t have enough patience to homeschool – then you have a deeper issue than your inability to teach your kids – a spiritual issue – and issue in your relationship with God.

Waldorf Education starts with a teacher’s Inner Work. As Christians, our Inner Work needs to be spending time with our Lord and Savior by studying His Word and obeying it. And God will grow you into a person who is worthy of the imitation of your children.


*Over the next few blogs, I’ll be going over some of the basic elements of a Waldorf-inspired education. Stay tuned for: Delayed Academics, Rhythm, Block Learning, Circle Time, Handwork, Art, Nature Learning, Stories & Books,

Creating Peace in My Do Over

peace-1My mom once  told me that her idea of heaven was that every fifteen minutes of the day was scheduled out and the schedule never changed and was never interrupted. To me that sounds like hell. I love excitement, surprise, spontaneity. I love when a friend drops by my house unexpected – and I have no problem dropping whatever plans I have to meet a friend for lunch.

Most of the 29 years I’ve been a parent – my schedule has been dictated to me by coop classes, sports practice, theater practice, music lessons, and the many activities that we as a family chose to over commit ourselves to. This has led to a different type of hell – one of anxiety. I’d have to leave in 5 minutes because my kids can’t be late to XYZ, but I couldn’t find my keys, I only found one shoe, I have no idea where the jackets got thrown when we took them off last, I forgot I was supposed to take something for the potluck (guess I’ll pick up a fruit tray at the store), I’m yelling at the kids, I’m angry at myself for being such a witch to my kids and losing my temper. This is not  fun! This is not how life is supposed to be lived. I’m thanking God, once again, He is giving me a do-over. Four kids are grown and gone – and one is just starting – so she’s my do over. I don’t regret the activities my kids went to – they are who they are largely because of them. I do regret my disorganization and my lack of preparation and my attitude because of my lack of these things.

So what am I doing with my do over?

Committing to less. There will come a time that Rose wants to do ballet, or play cricket – but she’s not asking, so I’m not offering. I think twice before I say “yes” to any activity outside of my home. My first ministry is to my family, and everything I say “yes” to will be scrutinized to see how it will affect it.

Creating a family rhythm. Rhythm is different from schedule. Schedules are time oriented, rhythm is a “steady, regular, repeated” pattern. For our family this looks like a lax, flexible schedule. We get up, have meals, and go to bed at approximately the same time each day. We do the same series of events before breakfast, between breakfast and lunch, between lunch and dinner, and between dinner and bed. For example, between breakfast and lunch, we light a candle and say our Bible verse, have story time and circle time, then do art work. But the times are flexible. Sometimes, it is a five minute let’s get this art project over with, and sometimes we revel in the enjoyment of it for forty or forty five minutes. That’s ok. That’s one of the differences between rhythm and schedule. Within my do-over rhythm:


  • I’ll give myself time to breath in. Time to read my Bible and journal it, time to pray, time to take a bath by candle light, time to write, time to have lunch with a friend. TIme alone to just be quiet and think.


  • I’ll give my child time to breath in. Time to play independently. Quiet time to look at books, color a picture, paint, play with clay, or build with blocks or legos. TIme to lay under the stars. Time to ponder imaginary worlds. Time to be quiet and get lost in her thoughts.
  • I’ll give our family time to breath in. Time to eat meals together, saying grace, enjoying each others company. Time for long road trips with Daddy – viewing nature as it rolls by the window. Time to quietly walk through a zoo or museum together contemplating God’s creation.
  • I’ll give myself time to breath out. Time to minister to others – both in my family and outside of it. Time for dates with my husband.


  • I’ll give my child time to breath out. Time to climb trees, dig a hole in the dirt, and skip rocks in a pond. Time to dance as she recites poetry. Time to arrange all the teddy bears in a row and jump over them. Time to chatter obsessively without being told to be quiet.
  • peace-4I’ll give our family time to breath out. Time for extended family running and yelling through the house. Time for holiday celebrations. Time for all family members to pull out their instruments and sing and dance together in the front room. Time for local art and music festivals. Time to minister to others as a family unit.

Creating a home rhythm.peace-6

  • Declutter and simplify our house. I am on my way, but have a long way to go.
  • Stop losing things. Make a home for every object, and have every object stay in it’s home unless it comes out to play – then it needs to return home.
  • Establish a cleaning schedule. My home is my main place of worship and ministry – I will treat it with the sacredness it deserves.
  • Establish a cooking schedule. Honor my family with delicious meals made with love.

I’m still in the process of working out my “do over,” but so far it has proved peaceful.
What do you do to establish peace in your home?

Best Thing You Can Do for Your Kids in 2017

It matters not if your kids are 3, 9, 15, or 26. It matters not if you are the mother, father, grandparent, or foster parent. It isn’t starting a college fund, or reading more, or even spending more time with them – all of these things are good, but not the best.  The number one thing you can do for your kids in 2017 is draw near to God.


“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8)

imitation-6When you draw near to God, and He draws near to you – God enables you to make better decisions.

Parenting is a serious of questions. Should I give birth in a hospital, birthing center, or at home? What do I do when my toddler throws a fit in the store? What do I do when my child is bullied? Should we allow our child to date – ever? How will we ever fund college? How do I relate to my adult child? Those are the important questions – then there are the day to day ones you don’t want to admit you ask – Will eating boogers harm my child? How many days in a row can my child wear his superhero shirt before a well meaning philanthropist gives me a bag of hand-me-down clothes? Why do I feel more like a stalker than a parent while chaperoning a date?

Got questions? God has answers. He will lead you every step of the way as you parent your kiddos.

Isaiah 40:11 says, “He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” and James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” Couple that with Proverbs 2:6 “For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Draw near to God and He will guide you and give you wisdom.


When you draw near to God, and He draws near to you – you will be a better parent. Another verse that says much the same thing as “draw near to God” is John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” When we draw near to God, abide in Him – we bear fruit. Galatians 5:22 -23 tells us what the fruit we bear looks like, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”  Notice: 1) The fruit is singular – they are not individual character traits. 2) The fruit is a result and not a goal. We should not try to be more loving, have more joy, learn patience – etc. Instead, we should abide in the vine and the result will be the Holy Spirit living in us – which appears as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control to the outside world. 3) The fruit is not for us. Fruit which hangs on the tree too long rots. Fruit is meant so others can be nourished by it and enjoy its sweet taste. Draw near to God and the Holy Spirit will produce fruit in your life that your children will taste and see that God is good. (Psalm 34:8)

father-son-2When you draw near to God and He draws near to you – you will be worthy of imitation.
87% of youth raised in church walk away from the church and from their faith in college and most do not come back. The 13% who stayed strong in their faith all reported having at least one adult – usually a parent – who demonstrated a close relationship with the Lord and discipled them to do likewise.

In The Education of a Child, Rudolf Steiner states, “Most people would ask how a child should behave, but …adults should learn how to behave in front of children, even in words, attitudes, and thoughts. . We must have and live the thoughts that we feel could and should live in the child.”

The apostle Paul  believed in the importance of Imitation as well. He wrote in I Corinthians 11:1 “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”

If we want our kids to draw near to God, we must do so first.

The best thing you can do this year for your kids is to put God first yourself. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you – in 2017.


New Year’s Resolution: Look in a Mirror

My New Year’s Resolution: Look in a mirror before leaving the house.


“Can I talk to you in the hallway for a minute before you start?” My husband waves me down before I stand before a group to speak. He smiles and informs me, “Your shirt is in inside out.” The crazy thing is – it hadn’t been the first time this month that I’ve worn my clothes inside out!

Another time, I rushed around getting everything together to leave the house. Got everyone in the car. As we arrive at our destination – I realized I hadn’t brushed my hair all morning.

eat-4These are funny examples of a much deeper issue. I simply neglect taking care of myself. I feel guilty if I spend money on new clothes, I don’t get the medical check-ups I need, I don’t eat or exercise like I should. And for some reason – I’ve worn this neglect prouder than any monk. In my discombobulated logic – I justify my neglect as thinking more of others than myself. “My time is spent caring for others – so I don’t make time for myself.” But I’ve had an epiphany: I matter to God – and I should treat myself like I do.



eatFirst, Romans 12: 1 says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

Old Testament law demands sacrifices to be the first, the best, and without blemish. If I allow my body to go – don’t take care of my health, my body, my appearance – am I offering my body as a holy and acceptable gift to God?

eat-10Secondly, In I Corinthians 6:19 – 20 God says, “Or do you not know that your body’s a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

The “temple” of God – is where God dwells and it is beautiful. The “temple” was God’s idea, God’s design (just as our bodies are – Psalm 139:13). The Old Testament Temple contains embroidered linens of blue, purple and scarlet, as well as precious metals of gold, silver, and bronze.  In Revelation 21 – God describes a new temple or dwelling place – made of precious jewels – jasper, sapphire, emerald, topaz, pearls. God’s dwelling place is always filled with beauty – and He sees us no differently. In Ephesians and Psalms God says we are his handiwork, in Malachi his jewels, in Isaiah his “crown of glory.” We were created to be a beautiful dwelling place of God.

The Bible makes it clear that our personal beauty is not for the purpose of self-gratification, or others looking at us and honoring us because of how good we look. Beauty for self-glorification is a sin. Proverbs 31:30  “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised,” and I Peter 3: 3 – 4 “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious,” both indicate that outward beauty should not be what people are drawn to. People are drawn to us because the Holy Spirit dwells within us. Our outward appearance should be pleasing enough to draw people, and lead people to the presence of the Lord. As with the Proverbs 31 Woman – I can be dressed in fine linen of purple (the clothes of royalty) and still be clothed in strength, dignity, and the fear of the Lord.

God is passionate about His temple. He designed it. He dwells in it – and He demands it be kept holy. We see this when Jesus found unacceptable things within the temple and wiped it clean (John 2: 13 – 16). Likewise, God is passionate about me. He designed me. My body is a living holy sacrifice to Him. My body is the temple in which His Spirit dwells. Anything which is preventing my body from being holy is unacceptable to God.


Christ, turn over and throw out the tables in my life:

  • Turn over the table of pride – pride of not honoring my body as well as pride of wanting to be seen and honored by others for it
  • Throw out  the gluttony – my over-indulgence and over-consumption of food to the point of extravagance.  
  • Demolish the table of emotional eating – dwell in me freely so I find comfort and joy in You and not food
  • Forgive my laziness – help me to work as unto You
  • Forgive my ungratefulness and disregard for the temple you have made me


Dwell in me:

  • Keeping my body worthy of being a holy sacrifice for You
  • May my body honor You
  • Help my outer beauty to draw others to me – so they can see You – not me
  • May every bite I take glorify you: I Corinthians 10:31 “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”


I resolve: To look in a mirror before leaving the house.



Blogging through Tears

I’m typing this at a 16 font – because I can’t see anything smaller through my tears. I write from a broken heart. I write of broken dreams, unmet expectations, pure frustration, and uncertainty of the future. I’m actually a little surprise how genuinely downcast I feel.

I chose to drop Rose from ballet. Not life changing – but for me it is.


She loves to dance. Since she was little she has put on a tutu and danced around the living room performing for anyone who was available. Heaven forbid you don’t clap after her 28th twirl – even if you clapped for the 27 prior ones. I knew she would love a dance class and performing on stage where hundreds of people were clapping for her.

Travis Academy of Fine Arts was the perfect fit for her. It’s focus is training artists to use their gifts and talents for the glory of God. The staff and the teacher were so accommodating, loving and supportive of her disabilities. It was perfect.


After the first two classes, she happily put on her ballet uniform at home after class and demonstrated her “happy toes, sad toes” (flex, point) and her  popcorn – “pop, pop, pop, explode” (releve, releve, releve, jump). We clapped.

The third week she was comfortable with the class. She made “friends.” But everything changed. The teacher had to send her out in the hall with me because she was invading her “friends’ personal space, and the other students were upset (a social clue she missed).  She was supposed to sit with me for a couple of minutes then go back to class. Instead she had an all out melt down – fell on the floor, kicking, screaming, sobbing – and it didn’t end. I picked her up, and took her to the car and drove home.

ballet-1Since then, every time ballet is mentioned – she becomes anxious – her entire body becomes tense, she contorts her face, and she rubs her fingers together until almost raw in obsessive, repetitive manner. Last night, as I put her to bed – I tried to reason with her that ballet class would go better this week, and she’d like it again – you know, “if you fall off the horse – get back on” – right? She started crying uncontrollably and gouging her arms with her finger nails. I simply held her and prevented her from hurting herself farther. I realized – getting back on the horse was not possible at this point in time. It may only take one good class to make her enjoy it again – but that one good class was not going to happen. She is incapable of bouncing back and having the “one good class.”

I dropped her from the class – and I cried the whole time I did so. It is about so much more than a ballet class. Enrolling her in the class had made me feel like a “good parent” – I was giving her a social outlet, I was building upon her interest – her gifts and talents. Enrolling her in the class had made me feel like she was a “typical” “normal” little girl – instead it opened my eyes that she is not “typical” or “normal.” I knew that in my head – but dropping ballet touched my heart – and I can’t seem to stop crying over it.

Ballet was my wake up call. At this point in life – Kymee doesn’t need her gifts, talents and interests encouraged as much as she needs skills to pursue her gifts, talents and interests. She needs social skills so she doesn’t “pop other people’s bubbles” (invade private space). She needs skills in dealing with change and transition (being sent out of class was an abrupt transition). She needs skills to manage her anxieties – so she’ll stop harming herself and start enjoying life. She needs therapy not ballet.

That’s a hard pill for this mom to swallow and I can’t stop crying I will reset the type to 12 now.


Thanks, Evil Queen

The book, Healing Stories for Challenging Behaviour by Susan Perrow asks the question, “Could truths contained in the rich realm of story reach children more directly, and in a way more in tune with their innate imaginative capacities?” I can firmly say, “Yes!” – and sometimes itś from the least likely story and character!

kymee-6I do not fully understand how such a beautiful sweet little girl can struggle with such strong feelings of anxiety and insecurity. Rose has been adored and uplifted her entire life – by countless friends and family members who love her – she often complains that “no one loves her.” These feeling of being unlovable are exaggerated when those closest to her pay attention to anyone but her.

I told a little girl she had beautiful curly hair. Rose cried, “You don’t love me. You don’t think I’m beautiful.”

“You hate me – you are holding the baby and not me.”

“It is a horrible day – you love the dog more than me – he is always on your lap.”

I was singing praise and worship songs as I drove through traffic. Rose began screaming and crying uncontrollably. I finally got her to calm down enough to tell me what was wrong – “You love Jesus more than me!” she stated through her tears.

I am at a loss. I have no idea how to deal with this issue. I cannot reassure Rose of my love enough. I cannot stop loving others, complimenting others, or singing praises to God because of her insecurities.  I’ve been praying about how to deal with this egocentric need for love and affirmation.

Enter -stage left – Snow White’s stepmother – the Evil Queen.


After a year had passed the King took to himself another wife. She was a beautiful woman, but proud and haughty, and she could not bear that anyone else should surpass her in beauty. She had a wonderful looking-glass, and when she stood in front of it and looked at herself in it, and said—

“Looking-glass, Looking-glass, on the wall,

Who in this land is the fairest of all?”

the looking-glass answered—

“Thou, O Queen, art the fairest of all!”

Then she was satisfied, for she knew that the looking-glass spoke the truth.

But Snow-white was growing up, and grew more and more beautiful; and when she was seven years old she was as beautiful as the day, and more beautiful than the Queen herself. And once when the Queen asked her looking-glass —

“Looking-glass, Looking-glass, on the wall,

Who in this land is the fairest of all?”

it answered—

“Thou art fairer than all who are here, Lady Queen.”

But more beautiful still is Snow-white, as I ween.”

Then the Queen was shocked, and turned yellow and green with envy. From that hour, whenever she looked at Snow-white, her heart heaved in her breast, she hated the girl so much.

Little SnowWhite from Grimm’s Household Tales by Margaret Hunt

Rose’s eyes opened wide – “That’s not nice. She’s not nice.” Then she began to cry – not her uncontrollable meltdown sobs – but a watering trickle that brightening her already blue eyes. “I don’t want to be like her.”

I had expected Rose to relate to Snow White – beautiful, kindhearted, helpful – because that is how I see her. Instead, she was confronted with the self she struggles with.  Since the first step in changing is realizing and admitting you have a problem – I see her self-reflection as a huge breakthrough.


Tomorrow, I’ll pray where to go from here, but today – I am thanking God for the Evil Queen.

First Day K6

First day of official homeschooling. First day of Kindergarten Six. First day of Rhythm of Grace. First day’s rhythm in pictures.


Started my day with personal devotions. Daniel 5:23 “God in whose hand is your breath” – reminded me that living today is a blessing from Him and my life today should praise Him and bring Him glory.


Woke my sleepy head and 9:00. She crawled in bed with me and we cuddled and read “Autumn Story” from The Complete Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem.


Rose loves to make the bed – even if I am still in it.


Rose chose to wear her new Sunday dress for our first day of school. Then we had her favorite breakfast – bagel with cream cheese. The CapriSun is a complete treat, left over from the holiday weekend.


Morning outside exercise and counting practice. Rose jumped 163 times before falling!


Lighting our candle, and beginning to learn Psalm 8. “O Lord, Our Lord, How majestic is your name in all the earth.”


Rose acted out the “Snow White” with her figurines, while I told the story.


Dancing, chanting, singing, and finger-plays in Circle Time.


Coloring a self-portrait for the first day of school.

“Mommy – my picture of myself is beautiful – but yours is creepy!”


“Dear Jesus, thank you for Mommy and school at home. Thank you for colors, and Snow White, and music. Thank you for this happy day. Amen”


Chores. “Hey Mom, I’m just like Snow White – sweeping up the dwarfs house!”

Free Time choices: nature table, coloring, legos and …

Still life photography (Still life arranged & photographed by Rose herself)

All in all, a very good day – only 2,339 to go.