"We've been homeschooling since birth". It was a phrase I heard many years ago when we were first investigating the idea of homeschooling that left me feeling a little baffled. But as we researched more, and more importantly as we dove into homeschool ourselves, I quickly discovered that homeschooling is a way of life. It's hard for me to answer questions like, "How many hours a day does it take for you to do school?" because I know that we begin teaching our children as soon as their eyes are open each morning and until they close at night.
Practically every mom is a homeschooler whether she claims it or not. We moms teach our kids to walk, talk, and tie their shoes. We teach them to be kind to their siblings, to tame their tempers, and to fold the towels correctly. We teach them to use 'inside voices', to ask for forgiveness when they've wronged someone, and to love.
Yet, when it comes time to "do school", we moms falter. We feel unqualified to teach our children, afraid that we are not trained enough to handle teaching a preschool education. Thankfully, there are programs available to offer guidance and encouragement.
Flowering Baby, LLC is a program developed by Martha Saunders (a homeschooling mom) and Carolyn Schulte (an Early Childhood Education expert and Martha's mom). It is a "whole child developmental approach" for ages birth to five. It offers direction in the form of a simple, but purposeful curriculum to guide you in the early education of your children.
The program is divided into 5 one-year plans.
The first three year plans cost just $30 each. Years Two to Three and Four to Five are $38 each. You may also opt to purchase all five year's worth of plans for $132. They come as a PDF on a CD-Rom. If you click on the links above, you will find information about each year plan as well as a full-month sample of the curriculum.
I received the full five year program in PDF form to review. I read through the material and found delightful activities for each age level. Suggestions in Birth to One include reading Guess How Much I Love You to your newborn and playing Mozart as well as games and exercises to help large motor skills as they grow. None of these "lessons" will take longer than 15 minutes a day.
In One to Two, once again listening to a song, reciting a nursery rhyme, or reading a book is featured in each day's lesson as well as a short activity. Your one-year old will be introduced to many fine motor skill activities such as stacking cups, coloring, and painting.
In Two to Three, Math Concepts, Color of the Day and Shape of the Day, as well as the alphabet are incorporated into each day's lesson. The lessons are still short and simple but are starting to resemble more of a "curriculum feel".
In both the Three to Four and Four to Five, the plans are divided into two Curriculum Guides: the Monthly Curriculum Guide and the Theme Curriculum Guide. You will work through the Monthly Curriculum Guide according to the calendar month. These daily lessons include ABC and Math skills as well as other preschool activities often revolving around holidays. In addition to these lessons, you will choose two themes from the Theme Curriculum Guide to complete each month. Themes include: Bodies of Water, Bugs & Birds, Farm Animals, Flowers, My Body, and Transportation. There are 25 themes in all. Each theme includes two weeks worth of lessons with book suggestions, field trip suggestions, and activities.
I chose to use Vol. 2 One to Two Years with J1 specifically for a few different reasons. First, he was the only one of our little ones that I wasn't specifically using a preschool curriculum with. Secondly, he has been showing a desire to be included in lessons during our "school time"...mostly in the form of climbing on siblings desks, stealing their pencils, or demanding to be held by me or one of the big kids at all times. I also appreciated that the lessons were so simple at this age, I could easily print them out and assign a big kid the task of "doing school" with J1.
So for the past few weeks, J1 has been "doing school" with an older sibling for about 15-30 minutes directly before lunch time and it looks a little something like this...
Here J1 is learning how to use a glue stick and animal recognition by making a collage of magazine cut-out of animals.
A10 helped him with this project as well as sang a song with him and read books to him that day. Depending on who is caught up with their school work at the moment, our 12, 10, 9, or 7 year old will take on the task of completing these lessons with J1. Other activities J1 has done this month are crayon rubbings, identified body parts, worked on 'left' and 'right' skills, and drawn with markers.
My favorite part of J1's lessons is seeing my older children reading to him, and that my one year old is beginning to discover the wonder of books.
I mean, really...isn't this one of the most precious sights?
Go to the Flowering Baby online store to purchase this curriculum and use the code “Blog10” when ordering to receive a 10% discount. You may also like to check out more reviews of Flowering Baby from the TOS Review Crew.