I want to remind myself and others that our homes can become sacred places, filled with life and meaning. – Gunilla Norris
IN TODAY’S SESSION…
We began our exploration of home by talking about thresholds – places of entrance and exit where we begin and end our journeys. We created name stones which we will use throughout this curriculum, and placed them on a labyrinth that will be a part of each future Creating Home session. By walking the labyrinth, the children experienced a ritual of journeying while still remaining within the “home” that we created in our learning space.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about…
Making name stones was part of our ritual of honoring each person and their place in our learning home. Children love to hear about their names, how they were chosen, and the associations to family, friends or values that led to the choice of their particular names. You may want to tell stories of people for whom your children were named, or stories about your own name that help to deepen your family’s sense of how you are tied together not only with each other, but also with your extended family or ancestors.
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try…
A Family Ritual
Your house is full of thresholds – not only the doorways that lead to the outside, but also doorways between rooms. You can bless your house and the many activities you enter into at each doorway by taking a journey together through the house. At each doorway in your house, say “When I enter this room I ….” (Everyone has a turn to say things that you enjoy doing in that room.) Then say together “May everyone enter here in joy and go out in peace.”
A Family Game
You can play a game at any threshold of your house by having an adult and/or a child stand in the doorway with their hands behind their back. A third person stands in front as the “Big Bad Wolf” and says “Little pig, little pig, let me come in!” The Big Bad Wolf tries, without using their hands, to get past the Little Pig(s) to enter the room. To reinforce a sense of safety and welcome in your home, once a child breaks through, the response can be “Oh, it’s you!” and a hug). After the “Wolf” succeeds, the players switch so that everyone has a chance to play all parts.
A Family Adventure
The children in Creating Home had the opportunity to explore a labyrinth, and your family may be able to walk a full-scale labyrinth together. The labyrinth locator on the website of the Labyrinth Society allows you to input your location and find a labyrinth near you. Most labyrinth sites welcome visitors, and walking a labyrinth together can be both an enjoyable experience and a spiritual practice for adults as well as children.
A Family Discovery
Labyrinths. Learn about the history of labyrinths and their contemporary spiritual and educational uses, as well as how to draw or build a labyrinth, from the website of The Labyrinth Society.
On his website, Tony Phillips, a professor of mathematics at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, offers information on labyrinths and mazes, along with activities for children to explore or build a Cretan pattern labyrinth. He also provides a systematic way to draw the Cretan labyrinth.
The Labyrinth Society of Edmonton website offers a good description of the difference between a labyrinth and a maze.
Finger labyrinths. See a variety of finger labyrinth designs at the Awakenings website.
Carved labyrinths. View finger labyrinths carved of wood available for purchase on the website of the Relax4Life Center.
An excellent adult book is Dakota by Kathleen Norris (Houghton Mifflin Books, 2001). The author describes life in her home on the prairie. She uses the term “spiritual geography” to talk about how place helps us grow and develop.
Home: A Journey through America by Thomas Locker (San Diego, New York, London: Voyager Books, Harcourt, Inc., 2000) has short poetry and prose sections about home, appropriate for school age children, by writers including Carl Sandburg, Henry David Thoreau, Jane Yolen and Abraham Lincoln. The writings and beautiful illustrations will delight young readers as they “tour” landscapes that others define as home.
A wonderful story for children that involves how we build homes and connects with the threshold game above is The Three Little Wolves and the Big, Bad Pig by Eugene Tivizas (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 1993).