5th grade

Reiki I

Tonight things went all wonky with my vision. Everything had holes. Things got kaleidoscopic. I was getting a migraine.

In years past I would pop an Imitrex, wait a few hours and start dosing with Vicodin. I was sick for days after these things. Now, when the vision gets weird, I plop into a very hot bath to draw the blood int onto the capillaries in my body, and out of my brain. I also have a homemade tincture of things like poppy seed, valerian and schizandra berries. I take some of that and the bath.

Tonight I tried something else. I asked for and received a hands-on Reiki treatment. My practitioner was barefooted and sucking on a Tootsie Pop.

You see, my 11 year old daughter is an Energy Healer. She has her Reiki I certification but she has always been a treater-of-ills. She touches animals, prays over them, has always instinctively touched things where they needed it, where they hurt. Tonight I got (another) turn. The kid has hot hands. Starting off her hands were icy. ICY. By the 2nd position, they were burning like the burners on my stove. It’s amazing what happens when she starts channeling the energy through her.

As the mom of a child who has this gift, I feel like I have to be responsible for certain things, like reminding her to stay grounded, and reminding her that it’s not her energy that’s coming into me–she is simply the conduit through which the Universal Energy flows. Before I realized that she needed these reminders, she would be limp and exhausted after trying to help someone or something. Now? She’s perky when she’s done. Maybe even more energized.

I am learning about these things. ‘Wash your hands when you’re finished and remember to think about grounding that energy, baby.” She’s learning, too. The difference is that I’m learning all about this stuff. She came into this life knowing a great deal. I’m flattered that she chose me to be her guide. It’s also kind of cool that I can do this blog post thanks to her innate ability to pour that cosmic energy through into another being.

Categories: 5th grade, Energy Healing, Reiki | Leave a comment

Diwali Oil Lanterns

Yesterday, as part of our study of Ancient India, we had a small Diwali celebration. We cleaned the house, cooked palak paneer and chicken tika masala for supper and made oil lanterns. The lanterns were easy and though this tutorial will be scantily papered with photographs, you can see that the end results was cute and, knock on wood, nothing exploded!

Use small jars with lids for the lanterns. Narrow jars hold less lantern fuel, which is a bonus, as the fuel comes in the smallest containers imaginable.
Gather your jars, hemp cord for wicking, lantern oil (can be bought from Michael’s or WalMart or your local, mom-and-pop hardware store), a hammer and either a long, narrow nail or small, thin screwdriver (for making holes in the lids).
The picnic table is the ideal place for most of this work if you don’t care if you make dents in the surface. Really, that is the important part: that you do this somewhere you can make dents in the surface. The ground will work in a pinch.
Place the jar lids, top down, on your work surface.
Using your hammer and screwdriver or nail, put a hole in the center of the lid by putting the point of your pointy implement in the center of the lid and hitting it sharply with your hammer. It is important that your holes are only marginally smaller than your hemp cording/wicking. If the holes are a lot larger, the wick will slide back into the jar. Not a good idea.
Pour lamp oil into your jars, filling the jars about 1/2 way. Cut your hemp cord so that you have about 1.5 inches more than the height of your jars. Ours were various sizes.
Put the cord up through the holes in the lids and press them into the sharp metal that’s going to be at the edge, on top. Be careful of your fingers and don’t get cut! Then feed the bottom of the wick into your jar/s and screw on the caps.
Let the jars sit for a little while, 15 minutes is good with the hemp. It is quite absorbent.
Then, light them! Voila! Cheap and easy. Just like you like it.

Categories: 5th grade, crafting, family fun, festivals, Fire, homeschool, social studies, Waldorf | 1 Comment


We are currently working on Ancient India in our one kid schoolhouse. This is one of the most interesting units we’ve done so far. And today is Diwali! The Festival of Lights. We will be making lanterns, of course.

My daughter’s main lesson book contains, thus far, pages on Manu and the Fish, the castes of India and some information on various gods. We are looking at the aum symbol in Hindi script and she uses it in her border decoration. We are reading the Mahabharata–a children’s version, not the real thing and we will read some of the Baghavad Gita.

We are in love with the connections we are finding to our daily lives–both of us are level 1 Reiki practitioners, we love yoga–and the colors and photographs and illustrations from this culture are all so rich and beautiful that we spend too much time gawking at them.

We have the rest of this week and one more to move through Ancient India and I think we will be sad to leave this rich culture behind.

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My daughter helped to butcher and put away the meat from 4 deer. Rock on, girl child, rock on.

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In Lieu of Something Thought Provoking

…a photo of the kid with Christmas tree ornaments on her ears.

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Our daughter goes to bed around 8:30 and sleeps until she wakes up. Generally this occurs about twelve hours later.

I feel like  I should be blowing reveille and yanking her toes, rather that allowing her to lay abed until 8:30 or 9:00 am. There’s this little voice though that’s telling me that she needs to sleep if she’s sleeping.

Is it bad to allow this child to sleep so long? Am I training her poorly? Will she suffer through life being unable to wake up when it’s time to go to work or classes in college? Will she be a lazy ass? 

How important is making a child wake up early and do something? Will she be smarter, stronger, healthier, more resilient if I start shaking her at 7am?

What do you do at home?

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Today I Asked Her if She is Happy

And she said, “Yes. Are you happy?”

My response was to tell her that I didn’t want to talk about myself, but about her. Does she feel safe? Does she enjoy the things she is doing in life–ballet; riding; piano; our homeschool co-op.

She said, “Yes. I’m very happy. I get to do almost everything I want to do.”

Which, in my ears, made it sound like she understands that wanting things is part of being happy. That a life without the tension of desire might be a little flat and boring. This is not a spiritual life question but one sent to a young girl who is in 5th grade, a year of changing and growing up and finding that she is a separate entity in this world.

What does happy mean for you or your kids?

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Voting Over Mom’s Shoulder

We did it. I took the 11 year old girl to the booth with me. She watched me fill in boxes with dark ink. She kind of stared at what the guy next to us was doing until I told her to stop and moved her closer to me. She met a bunch of the neighbors while waiting in line. We have history in this neighborhood, ya’ll, generations of it. Grandma was working the polls, taking names and kicking ass so far as I could tell. The girl child has gone with me to vote at every Presidential election since she was born. I’m torn about whether I think my measly little vote matters, well, no I’m sure it doesn’t, but I like for her to see the process anyway. Nothing takes the dread and fear away from doing something, like having seen it done before.

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Cold Comfort

The kid went camping with her Girl Scout troop over the weekend. It was cold, in the 30’s overnight, but she says she was warm and snuggly. The 2 Kelty, 20+ sleeping bag burrito she climbed into each night probably helped.

We have struggled with the decision for her to be a GS for a couple of years now. I had bad experiences when my older daughter did GS and have struggled to shed them, in spite of the truth that our current leaders are wonderful, strong, amazing role models. In the end, the leader’s acceptance of our desire to be a part but just an honestly small part, of the troop pushed us over the edge.

Now my little girl is a Junior and gets to spend some focused, fun time with some other wonderful girls from our homeschooling community. It’s a journey that isn’t in the GS manuals, but one we are happy to be on just the same.

Categories: 5th grade, ObX | Leave a comment

5th Grade Ramblings

Soon enough we will begin 5th grade. This year I jumped in and ordered the Christopherous 5th grade package–the very first time I have used a complete curriculum for any of our kids. I am excited! It has arrived, in a box much smaller than one might expect for a full school year of information. There was a lot in that little box, though, and I’m digging through it, planning, reading, getting more and more excited about the things we will be doing.

What sort of things? Geometry, botany, Gilgamesh, Ancient civilizations including China, Egypt and Greece, decimals, fractions.

For the past couple of years I’ve been struggling mightily with organization and lesson planning, with pulling off the lessons each day because my planning approach hasn’t been as thorough as it might have been. Martina has managed to do just fine and made a typically excellent showing on her required, standardized test, so I’m not deeply worried but…I could do better. This year I will, thanks to Donna Simmons who has done much of my planning and putting together of texts for me.

Now is the time to fill in the tiny details, lay things out on a calendar in a format that I can understand and schedule in a way that will work for us. This year we will forego morning extracurriculars and only do our livestock care and school work. Afternoons can house music, dance, riding lessons, etc. This is the mantra for the year: Mornings are sacred.

As we get deeper and deeper into the grades, it is clear that we must have sacred school time. Time set aside specifically for learning. This doesn’t mean forced learning, just that we have a window that is always open at a set time for main lessons, a time that is sacred space for things to do with learning. This is what works for us.

What are your plans for this school year? How many children do you teach at home?

Categories: 5th grade, homeschool, Waldorf | 2 Comments

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