Hey there bliss finder, I’m so happy that you’re here! I’m a big believer in divine relationships, and just know we’re meeting here for some meaningful exchange.
My name is Stefanie. I’m a 30 something East Coast mom of 2, committed to living a blissful and intentional life.
I started this blog because I wanted to re-commit to finding the bliss in my life again after many different health challenges with my son; transitions in removing old negative ways of thinking, and the desire to help others find the purpose and joy in their lives again. Everyday we can choose to find the positive in life – even when it’s less than the ideal we have pictured in our heads. We just have to choose.
Here you’ll find inspiration from my daily life, thoughts or experiences – that can help you live a more blissful life. You’ll find writings or talks about: homemaking, homeschooling, personal growth, parenting, blogging, spirituality, and natural living.
So What’s the Story?
Almost 10 years ago I was on the track of trying to *make it* in the world. I was working a marketing job in the city (NY), in a long but satifisfying 9 til 9. About 3-4 months into my dream job, I found out I was pregnant and shortly after had to have an unexpected appendectomy. It was a very scary experience, and I was so anxious about my baby’s health up until he walked and talked that first year – because of all of the meds they gave me for pain!
After the surgery I was put on bed rest, and unfortunately lost my job shortly after. I was devastated and angry. But I also knew on a deep level that I never wanted to depend on a company for my livelihood again. I also knew I had to turn this into a positive experience for the sake of my still fragile health. So I started planning my baby shower..
After the party I decided to try and make some extra cash planning children’s parties by repurposing my own children’s party decor. My strategy went something like this.. I purchased high end items for a desert buffet, table decor etc., and then rented it out where I could recoup the costs and eventually make a profit. Here’s one of my tables!
Check out one of the many features here: http://www.gigglehearts.com/blog/2013/4/12/a-nursery-rhyme-inspired-childrens-party-the-petite-soiree.html
For the first few years I made my money back and then some but it became obvious it was a business that needed constant attention, and space to store the goods. I didn’t feel like I loved Party planning enough to invest in a rental hall – so I decided to close, and go back to school to pursue my childhood dream of becoming a psychology college professor (I’m an IO psych by trade).
The problem was I had no idea what college teaching *really* involved, or what the climate was like.. Eventually, I found out it was not the right path for me – and all the while processing this and freaking out on what to do, we were handed some horrible experiences during at my son’s prek year. During those 2 years and 2 different school structures (public and private), we had a rude awakening on how learning is viewed in schools, and experiences with things like bullying, that made us disillusioned with the entire system. These experiences also aligned with many of the things I saw in academia. The signs as they say were everywhere.
As a result, we decided to give homeschooling a try. Thinking to ourselves, “we’ve already been through so much, we can never go back to what God has shown us will not work for us.” We knew in our hearts it was the right decision and fast forward almost 4 years later.. it was. Although we take homeschooling year by year, we’re very happy with our journey so far.
It was through homeschooling that the spiritual practice of trusting and letting go began for me. In many ways I would not be where I am spiritually if it were not for homeschooling. It has really helped me dig deep in my soul as a parent and person. I had to embrace the unknowns and in the process reconnect with my intuition and gut. This has led to a unique, confidence, growth and empowerment in our family
I hope that if this opportunity is knocking at your door in whatever way it may be manifesting itself – that you’ll answer it.
So What IS Homeschooling?
For those of you reading this who are unfamiliar with homeschooling. Homeschooling is an educational movement where parents are going back to educating their children at home. In many ways this is the way it *used to be done* before public schooling was introduced, to satisfy the need of needing more workers in the workforce during industrialism. Its also the natural rhythm of learning we do as mothers, the moment our babes enter the world. For some reason we’ve bought into the idea that this intuitive and natural method needs to stop at some point and the government or *someone else* can raise and teach our children better that we can. Doesn’t that sound unreal to you?
Many factors influence why families homeschool such as, religious, health (food allergies, disabilities), bullying, giftedness, educational beliefs – and also just realizing the amazing results and journey that this approach provides. If you’re curious about how homeschooling works and the history of it – I highly recommend the documentaries Agenda & Indoctrination, as well as any books by John Taylor Gatto – retired NYC public school teacher. As well as any articles by Peter Gray Boston professor and researcher whose written extensively on this topic on Psychology Today.
What Kind of Homeschoolers Are you?
We’re Ecclectic & *Intuitive* homeschoolers, which means we borrow from many different educational philosophies and approaches, and intuitively follow what we think our children need to focus on or may need by observing their longitudinal learning rhythms. We take home learning year by year for this very same reason and our open to letting our children become active decision makers in their learning journey, which may mean they may want to try a coop, public or private school in the future. We aim for a collaborative and positive relationship.
I believe in looking for intellectual readiness or interest, but also guiding myself spiritually on when I should pursue something or wait by taking cues from my child on what I feel is best for them and their abilities as a parent. Some of the educational philosophies I like to be guided by are:
– Charlotte Mason. Character building and the importance of having good habits. Getting out into nature to explore and pay attention to the divine timing of things and learn intuitively how nature and animals work.
– Unschooling. Children are intelligent, and HUGELY in tune with what they want to learn and need. I love to be an active facilitator for my pod. I also love teaching them to be open to feedback or areas that they might not particularly like but they might enjoy by just keeping an open mind. We create curriculum for interest areas, or modify it according to my children’s learning styles.
– Classical. I absolutely love diving deep into classic novels and poetry from yester year rich in history, and a unique advanced vocabulary and prose. My children love the stories of adventure where children are given *so* much responsibility and succeed in pursuing their dreams even at a young age.
What Ages or Grades Are You Currently Homeschooling?
E is my 8 yo old son currently doing 2nd grade-ish work. He loves minecraft, puzzles, and any adventure outdoors or via a field trip. We currently unschool science and art, and bring the history we are learning from to life with field trips for him. He just finished writing a book he hopes to self publish, and really loves inventing, architecture and engineering. He has long planning talks about his future home, robots and ways to make life easier in the future.
M is my 6 yo daughter doing 1st grade-ish work. M loves medicine and I had the opportunity to create a Human Anatomy curriculum for her last year during Kindergarten to really delve into this passion area. This year she has shown a big interest in pet studies and becoming a veterinarian instead. So she’s exploring this through a mobile pet vet class she will be starting soon. Aside from having such a wise and deep care for people and animals’ health – she also loves to design jewlery, clothing and imaginatively play. M also has an early love for communications by doing youtube videos and speaking about different topics. Inspired by her brother’s book making, M loves to do custom cards in her spare time.
We also have a vivacious and very curious 9 year old corgi whose become our class pet of sorts and the children joke – the smartest dog in the world 😀
What Curriculum Do You Use?
We’ve used a variety of curriculum, and have a few favorites we’ve tended to always come back to because of how well they fit with our learners and the high quality.
– My Father’s Word as our history base, and we also use their recommendations for Language Arts. We are a spiritual family. I see myself in being open to letting my children explore and find their own form of spirituality in the future. But for the time being, find going through the Bible and the life and moral lessons embedded throughout as a great way to get a spiritual knowing and life going.
– Math. We use a combo of Singapore and Right Start Math. Singapore has fun paper practice with fun characters. Right Start uses games, kinesthetic manipulatives, and mental math problems to learn math. Stay tuned for videos and posts on all of these for more info.
– Reading. MFW, Horizon Phonics, and Logic of English. MFW is a great introduction to phonics. Horizons – builds on this with the use of blends, and a very logic walk through of rules. LOE covers oral, and kinesthetic ways to introduce phonics and is more a supplement for us.
– Writing. We use copywork of sentences and then move onto paragraph copy work sheets from with Draw Write Now. During the very early years, having the child narrate their stories or documenting important things – where the “see” the importance of writing through you is good to establish the connection. Reading about how early civilizations used writing to preserve history is also very helpful.
– Science. During the early years we unschool science and go based on what their interests are or how it intuitively is incorporated in whatever units or themese we’re working on.
– Art & Music. The curriculums above cover Art in a very age appropriate way we also use a gentle and fun curriculum to encourage everyday drawing. We also do art observation through musuem and art cards.
We outsource music to our lovely piano teacher Ms. Amy.
When Do you Do Your Formal Learning or “School”?
I am a huge believer in honoring play, getting out into nature, and letting children have the precious introspective time they need to marvel at the world and in so doing finding their passions. This is such a HUGE part of what education is supposed to be about! Its something that our children are unfortunately greatly robbed from in traditional schooling.
We begin our formal learning subjects mentioned above after lunch and let the children play all morning.
What’s the purpose of this blog?
I started this blog on March 4, 2017 with the longtime purpose to chronicle and document our homeschool journey. I first had the inspiration for it when we first started homeschooling in the summer of 2014, but as any new homeschooling family setting out on a new journey – things became very busy figuring out our style and groove. I posted a few times under another name blog name, but started thinking about this blog and brainstorming names about a year ago. I felt the call to re-commit to living a more blissful and intentional life, after having some health challenges and spiritual awakenings along the way.
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