Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rhythm In Our Home : Transitioning & Storytelling

First day back!

We are currently at a time of major transitions. K started had her first day of school last Friday and C, Baby L and I start our parent/child class this Thursday. Our whole rhythm needs to adjust accordingly. This is one of those examples as to why it is good to have a flexible rhythm.

The first thing in need change is our Wednesday and Thursday rhythm. I mentioned last week that we keep our busy Wednesdays simple with drawing day, but now that our parent/child class is on Thursdays instead we will reverse drawing day and handwork day. We are trying it out for the first time this week. I don't foresee it being an issue, but we'll see what happens.

We also need to adjust the timing of our daily activities. With school in session we can no longer do our baking, crafting, etc right after breakfast as I am driving K to school then. I think we'll go back to what we did the last school year when we would do our activities after I picking K up from school. Our kindergarten program only runs half a day so it gives us plenty of time.

One major issue I did not take into consideration was the transition from school to home. I thought we got past that issue last autumn and that since this was her second year of kindergarten, it wouldn't reoccur, but I wasn't thinking very clearly. Friday's pick up at school was quite the event with a melt down so huge, she cleared out all the highschoolers eating their lunch at the picnic table by our van. Yep, it was that kind of day.

At the beginning of the last school year K had a really hard time with this transition. So much so, in fact, that I started doubting my decision to have her in school all together. I thought it was a sign that maybe she wasn't happy in school, but I couldn't have been any further from the truth. What was really happening was that she had so much fun in school she didn't want to leave. Thank God, yet again, for K's angel teachers and the wisdom they shared with me.

Preparing for the school to home transition actually starts the night before with a special story just before bed. I mentioned story telling that is almost a form a discipline in a previous post, and this will open that up just a bit. When a child hears a story, especially when it is not being read from a book but instead in your own words, it really resonates with them nurturing their soul. When K's teacher first suggested storytelling to me to help her with her transitions (along with clear expectations), I was a bit close-minded thinking 'there is no way that will work', but I still trusted her teacher's knowledge and went with it. I don't know where I would be if I hadn't.

The story I tell for transitions may change from season to season as it needs to, even the family of (now) five may change from fairies to bugs or bears (as they were tonight), but the basis of the story always stays the same. My stories come to life more as I am telling them to my children but I will try to type up an example. Of course as I sit her staring at this screen my mind draws a blank...

Once there was a happy family of bears. There was a mama bear, a daddy bear, a big sister bear, a little sister bear and a weeeeee little baby bear. It was near the end of autumn and the bear family was exploring the woods in search of food before their long winter nap. Big sister bear, little sister bear and weeeeee little baby bear were enjoying some berries with their mama bear when daddy bear came running up to them full of excitement. He had found a honey tree. The bear family quickly followed daddy bear to the tree. Big sister bear inhaled the sweet smell of the honey, making her tummy rumble uncontrollably as they grew closer. When they arrived, they saw that the tree was old and hollowed out, filled half full with honey. Weeeeee little baby bear squealed with delight. Honey was his favorite treat.
The family thanked the honey bees for such a delicious gift and then dug in. Each bear took turns sticking their paws into a large hole in the tree and bringing it back out covered in gooey, dripping honey. They would then sloooowly lick their paws clean to savor every last drop of their honey treat.
As they were enjoying their meal the weather suddenly turned. Daddy bear sniffed the air and announced, "King Winter has arrived bringing a blizzard with him! We must quickly get back to our den before this storm is too strong and we can not make it". Mama bear, little sister bear and weeeeee little baby bear started to make thier way back home but big sister bear refused to leave. She did not see any danger and just couldn't leave all of that honey goodness behind. Mama bear noticed big sister bear was not behind her and called for her. Big sister bear responded, "Just a minute!" and continued to eat the honey, not noticing the weather quickly changing around her. Now daddy bear, little sister bear and weeeeee little baby bear were back safe in their den but mama bear was still trying to get big sister bear to come with her. The blizzard had hit and mama bear's voice was drowned out by the sound of the wind and the stinging hail. Big sister bear realized she needed to get to her den and her family but she didn't know how to. The storm was so strong, and the hail and snow was falling so fast and thick she could no longer even see the tree in front of her. She called for her mama but didn't hear her. She was shivering from the sudden bitter cold and stood their alone. Then suddenly mama bear appeared, she fought through the storm to find big sister bear. She gently picked her up and put her on her back saying 'hold on tight!' and ran through the forest as fast as she could to get them to safety. When they arrived back at their den daddy bear, little sister bead and weeeeee little baby bear were there waiting for them, relieved to see them back home. They all helped to wrap big sister bear up in blankets by the warm cozy fire. Mama bear made some broccoli soup. The smells of the fire and the soup comforted big sister bear, putting her at ease. She felt so warm and safe with her family, it was her favorite place to be. As the rest of the family joined her by the fire she told them all how sorry she was for not listening to their words and how she now understood just how important it is to always have her listening ears on. Her family was so relived to hear this and they all gave her a big bear hug. After they finished their soup they all snuggled up around big sister bear, holding her tight, and closed their eyes to drift off to their long winters sleep.

I prefer to tell stories like this before bedtime so that way it it is with them as they drift off into sleep.
To continue the transition preparation the next day, I let K know my expectations of her for pick up time as I am dropping her off at school in the morning. I will say something like when I pick you up after school today we will stop at the bathroom, then walk straight to the van and drive home for some fun crown making.

I told K a story Sunday night and again tonight. I reminded her of my expectations of her this morning when I dropped her off at school. And today's pick up?? So much smoother. There was still a tiny bit if stubbornness there but nothing like Friday. I hope to tell transition stories the rest of the week and then maybe come this time next week we'll be past the transition period. If not, no rush - we'll just keep doing what we are doing and when she is ready, she'll get past it, I know it.

Please remember - this is just our family rhythm and what works for us at the moment. This isn't meant to be hard and fast rules on how rhythm should go in every one or any one's homes. I just thought to share it because I receive quite a few e-mails asking about our home rhythm, and I also just wanted it documented for me to remember when they are older and on to another rhythm.

Thank you, again, for joining me in the rhythm fun! Here is the linky list. If you have a (new or old) link you would like to share about your family rhythm, please enter it below so that we all may see. Then please link back here in your post. I look forward to seeing your inspiration!
Thanks friends!

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