Guest Post: Raising Capable Children

Today’s guest post is by Angi Schneider, of Schneiderpeeps.com. I have reviewed her eBook The Gardening Notebook here on Homestead Honey, and enjoy reading her posts about gardening, recipes, crafting, and more.  Today she shares her perspective on a topic that is near and dear to my own heart – involving children in the work of the homestead.  Welcome, Angi!

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One of the things I love about visiting Homestead Honey is seeing how involved the children are in the homesteading process. As a mom of older children it’s really exciting to see young parents allowing and encouraging their children to be by their side as they go about their work. 

My own children are 19,17,15, 13, 11….and 4. Over the years we’ve tried really hard to include our children in our work. It isn’t always easy. In fact, when they are really young it’s so much easier to just do the work ourselves. However, we’ve found that as our children grow so does their ability to help.

Their abilities don’t just help us, they also help them. My boys are regularly called on by men in our church to work for them. In fact, one man hired the 17 and 15 year old to cut down a tree. When a friend found out that they were using a chainsaw and neither my husband or the man was there, she asked, “Is that even legal?” I don’t know, but they’ll be fine as they’ve cut down lots of trees with their dad. They’ve been taught how to properly handle a chainsaw. 

 

 

Another benefit of having children help you in your work is that they feel capable. We live in a culture that tends to be treat children as if they will always be children. Then we’re surprised when they’re adults and act like children. Children who are encouraged to work alongside their parents learn how to make decisions. They learn how to figure out what to do when something goes wrong.

 

But it’s not just in the area of work that these things happen, it’s also in the area of crafting. As I type this my 4 year old is working on a woven hot pad. It’s hard work for a 4 year old. She still needs help making sure she goes over, then under. She wants to make something useful and is proud every time we use one of her hot pads. 
Young children delight in working next to their parents.  And if you wait until your children are old enough to really be helpful to include them they probably won’t want to be included. 
I want to encourage you that if you aren’t used to having your children work or craft beside you that you gently begin to encourage it.  I think you’ll both be glad you did.

Angi Schneider is a minister’s wife and homeschool mom to 6 amazing children.  She writes about their adventures at SchneiderPeeps and is the author of The Gardening Notebook.

Wrap them up

Hailing from the Boston area myself, I’m feeling a little raw today.  I’m so relieved and grateful that my friends and family members who were watching or running the race are all home safe.  But it really pains me to think of all the families who are hurting today, and I am hurting with them.

I was reading Facebook earlier today, and a high school friend asked how to explain this to his 4 year old son.  One person’s response was to just give his son the facts.  I am on the opposite end of this spectrum.  Perhaps I’m too naive, but if there is anything I can do to protect my two year old and five year old from the terrifying aspects of this world, I would like to do so.  I’m not afraid to talk about life and death, because this is the cycle of life. Yet, their young minds can not truly understand the rational details of such an event; is it really worth giving them “the facts”?  I just want to wrap them up and keep them safe and innocent, just a little bit longer.

There were a few hours yesterday when I was waiting to hear if my brother was safe; what an unsettling time.  Thankfully, I had to remain present with my kids.  Ella and I had a fun photo shoot, showing off her new Regina (to coordinate with mine – so Hanna Andersson!).

EllaRegina2 EllaRegina3 EllaRegina1

Wrapping her up.

 

* This post shared on Yarn Along and Keep Calm Craft On.

Doing things that scare me

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”

This quote by Eleanor Roosevelt has been on my mind a lot this week.  On Saturday, I did something that really scared me – I auditioned for a musical.  Those of you that have known me for a long time know that I adore performing in musicals, and have been doing it for years.  But the audition process never seems to get easier. Particularly when you’ve just moved to a new town and have no local reputation, and the directors don’t already know you and your abilities.

This audition was particularly scary for me because a) there was no dance audition, and b) I had to prepare a monologue. Yikes!!  Dance auditions are totally my comfort zone. Love them.  Plus, dancing is my strength, so it really boosts me up a notch on the audition scale.  Monologues, on the other hand, make me break out in a cold sweat.  Probably because I’ve never “trained” in theater, so I don’t really know how to deliver a monologue.  I mean, I can get online and read tips on “how to ace your audition,” but standing up in a big room and delivering a monologue when the director has just asked you to “be funny” can be kind of intimidating!

Nevertheless, I went, I sang, I monologued, and I did my best. Heck, I even made them laugh a bit.  Who knows if I will actually get the part, but I feel really good.  It’s such a great feeling to push yourself to your edge and to learn and grow from the experience.  And throughout the week of preparation, when my stomach was in knots and I was flitting around the house running lines under my breath and randomly breaking into song, my kids witnessed me feeling uncomfortable about something, preparing carefully for something that was important to me, and following through with actually DOING something scary.  It feels really good to model to my children some of the values that I try to communicate to them daily: “give it a try,”  “do your best.”

What kinds of scary things have you done lately?

A Sweet and Simple Birthday Celebration

My sweet little Everett Alder turned two today.  It’s almost impossible to believe that the mellow baby I birthed two years ago is the same active and talkative little boy!  His sweet spirit has remained constant – underneath his loud voice and big energy is a sensitive soul.  We love him so.

We planned a day of quiet celebration, just our family, and after a big celebration for my (38th!!) birthday just two days ago, it was nice to have a peaceful day.  Ev awoke to a new (used) Brio train set, and after breakfast we biked to the train depot to watch trains.  What fun for a two year old boy to live in a town with an Amtrak station just a few blocks away!

I stitched him up a new wool felt birthday crown.  I’m really pleased with how it is coming along, and plan to add some more embellishments in coming months or years.

In the evening, we honored Everett’s two years by telling his birthday story, and lighting the candles on his birthday ring. (These rituals are taken from the Waldorf tradition and are so beautiful.  Brian made this wooden birthday ring, but they are available in lots of Waldorf-y stores.)  Some gluten-free brownies and a few simple presents and that was that.

(And yes, my birthday was also wonderful.  A picnic lunch at the land, dinner with friends, and afterwards an amazing goat cheese cheesecake, goat milk pudding, and a short somewhat-original musical performance entitled “Missouri!”)

Sweet and simple.

 

My 10 Favorite Parenting Resources

As the mama of two young children, I spend a lot of time reading, talking, and thinking about parenting. I’m always so excited to read a book or a blog that guides me towards new ways of parenting peacefully and unconditionally.  I would love to share a short list of some of my favorite parenting resources.

Websites and Blogs:

Books:

  • Naomi Aldort,  Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves
  • Alfie Kohn, Unconditional Parenting
  • Pam Leo, Connection Parenting
  • Lawrence J. Cohen, Playful Parenting
  • Anything by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish (Liberated Parents, Liberated Children, How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, etc.)

What are some of your favorite parenting resources?

First Steps

And he’s off!  For the past few weeks, Everett’s been standing up and taking one or two tentative first steps.  But this morning, something within him clicked, and he walked gleefully across the room from person to person, with a proud smile on his face that said, “I did it!”  And so begins the next era of our sweet babe’s life!

Starting now

Why put dreams on hold when you can START NOW?

I’ve been excited about starting a blog for over a year now.  Thanks to some gentle prodding from friends and family, here I go!  I expect to share some photos, get all crafty, salivate over food, and talk about our homesteading, Waldorf-y, natural parenting, handmade life.  Thanks for joining me!

Teri