World History For Elementary Students-A Guest Post

Sharing about their gentle homeschooling experience as they journeyed to faraway lands through the Precious People. Even through life changes like a new baby this family enjoyed the Charlotte Mason approach to homeschooling using living books and hands on learning.

We were so excited to begin our year with “The Precious People” after a year of gleaning from “The Playful Pioneers.” I have to admit that we were sad to end our adventures with the Ingalls and Wilder families as our year came to a close. You can tell from our collection of Little House books how well loved they are. 

One of my favorite parts of The Peaceful Press curriculums is the amazing living books that bring our studies to life and that take us to far away lands. The Precious People does just that.

Our church has a group that meets for Bible study during the school year. The moms meet together while the homeschooled children meet together to study God’s Word. We all study the same book of the Bible and this year we studied the book of Exodus! Our studies lined up so beautifully with our studies of Jewish culture, holidays, and traditions, as well as ancient Egypt. 

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“The Gospel Story Bible” was such a gem for our Bible time each day. It was a wonderful addition to our “New City Catechism” weekly questions and our @happyhymnody hymn of the month studies. My children enjoyed the questions at the end of each Gospel Bible story which lead us to wonderful conversations about God’s Word during this time. It was such a great way to begin our days.

As we traveled the world, book by book, we became the travelers of far off places from our very own living room. It was such a joy to hear my children talk about countries, once foreign to them, as if they had visited there themselves through the characters they met in each book. 

One of my favorite parts about these curriculums is how they incorporate so many learning opportunities over so many subjects. Through living books, Bible stories and verses, poetry, fine art studies, practical skills, recipes, fables, time-line cards, narration, copy work, and more filled our days with such joy.

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I asked my children what they enjoyed most this year about “The Precious People” and this is what they had to say…

“It is so cool that we can come together and learn as a family even though we are different ages and in different grades.”  -Olivia, age 12

“ I felt like we learned more even though we did shorter lessons.”  -Emilee, age 12

“I really enjoyed reading “All of a Kind Family” and “More All of a Kind Family!” (Emilee and Olivia both borrowed the rest of the series from the library because they enjoyed them so much.)

-Emilee, age 12 

“I really enjoyed the lessons from the fables that we read each week.”

“I also really enjoyed following Jotham on his journey too!” 

-Owen, age 10

“I enjoyed the time line cards, painting, and the adventures of Rani and Teri in “It’s a Jungle Out There!” 

-Evan, age 8

They also agreed that they really enjoyed seeing how the history of the Bible fits into the timeline of world history and said that it gave them a better understanding of how the events of the Bible fit into the history of the world. They said that it makes it even more realistic to them. Besides just believing it in their hearts and hearing it in Bible stories they were able to see its place in time.  

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This year we welcomed another babe into our family right before the beginning of the school year. We took some time off to settle into a new routine after her arrival, per usual. On top of that we had an unusually rough winter battling colds and the flu that ran their course through the whole family the first few months of the new year. Again we were delayed.               

I am so grateful that this curriculum was flexible so that we could pick up where we left off when we needed to. We were able to snuggle up on the couch and read and discuss wonderful living stories as I nursed and snuggled the babe who often wanted to be in mama’s arms.

We also have a four year old daughter who has come alongside of her older siblings, as well as gleaned from her own lessons with The Peaceful Preschool this year. 

Once she completes her lessons we plan to lead right into The Peaceful Press’s unit studies. She has learned so much from “The Peaceful Preschool” as well as listening alongside her siblings with “The Precious People.” She is already narrating with the big kids! 

We have been so blessed by all of these beautiful curriculums and I cannot recommend them enough!

As my husband says, “You can tell when you throw dinner together and when you make it intentionally with love.”

Jennifer Pepito has put these beautiful curriculums together with intention and with so much love.

I am so grateful for these years learning alongside of my children and I know that we will look back fondly on these years with so much joy.


Kristin Dahman is a wife and homeschooling mother to six at @thequietwayhome and is the creator of the @livinghomeschool community.


We have many free items for your family. Parent guides, children’s activities, printable and book lists to give you a taste of The Peaceful Press Curriculum. Click the button below for access.

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Homeschool Organization

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Many times we start out the school year with perfectly ordered bookshelves and a shiny fresh start with our homeschool organization. By the time we are on the home stretch looking at spring, that order is a distant memory. The schoolroom slowly gets more and more disorganized.

School must go on though, but it goes so much smoother when I am organized. I’m making it a priority over the next few weeks to declutter, and organize our learning spaces. It’s important to me to have a variety of resources available for my children, and to have a lovely learning environment, so I’m excited about getting it whipped back into shape.

Our shelves are organized by subject, one for arts and crafts, another one for history resources, and another for science. I also have a shelf of our Peaceful Press teacher books and resources. Towards the end of a school year, I will cull the shelves for unwanted titles, and switch out our display books for new selections that correspond with our upcoming studies (this year it will be choices from The Kind Kingdom book list).

In addition to all the books, I like to have easy access for my children to markers, colored pencils and stick glue. In this way they can put together creative notebook pages, or quickly make a greeting card without having to ask me for supplies. I keep most of these supplies in a caddy in the middle of our school table, but several times a year I sort through each jar full of pencils, brushes, and pens to toss broken bits and resharpen pencils.

While there are tons of books to reshelve and organize, and pencils to sharpen, we can also get inundated by all the papers. Throughout the school year, I simply place finished work in a folder in each child’s school file. Then, at the end of the year, I will save a couple for their books, and toss the rest. Many homeschool cover schools require a few work samples per semester, and we try to keep at least that many in a file.

School at home can be so much fun, but one important aspect is taking the time to prepare your home to be a place where children can focus on their work, find supplies, and do the research they need to do, in order to be well prepared young people. Organization isn't just about having a nice looking room, it is also teaching our children good mental sequencing skills and making our homes more functional places to learn.

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A few favorite tools for organizing-

Book Buddy-an inexpensive app for cataloguing your home library

Brother Label Maker-label your shelves and supply boxes to streamline clean up.

Wide Mouth Mason Jars- cheaper at a local hardware store, but great for organizing paint brushes, pencils, and markers. We use the shorter ones for crayons.

Silverware Caddy-we keep a caddy similar to this one for storing all writing/painting/drawing implements.

Bookcase-our hall closet contains an 8 cube bookshelf for storing and organizing books by subject. A former home had multiple built in bookshelves, a home educators dream, but we make do now.

What are your best tips for organizing your homeschool area?

Click here for a favorite blog and A view of a well organized school room.

For one weekend in May, you can get a whole bundle of home organization and decluttering resources at a steep discount. Click here to learn more.

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The Kind Kingdom

We are excited to introduce the book list for our newest resource, The Kind Kingdom.  This resource will provide a 30 week overview of European history, using the Narnia books, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and Beautiful Stories From Shakespeare as a spine.  The Kind Kingdom could be used along with Classical Conversations Cycle 2, or as a stand alone Charlotte Mason inspired resource.

We are excited to introduce the book list for our newest resource, The Kind Kingdom, which will be available in May. This resource will provide a 30 week overview of European history, using the Narnia books, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and Beautiful Stories From Shakespeare as a spine. The Kind Kingdom could be used along with Classical Conversations Cycle 2, or as a stand alone Charlotte Mason inspired resource.

As with our other resources, The Playful Pioneers and The Precious People, The Kind KIngdom includes Bible, language arts, science, history, art, practical skills, and cooking. We also include a monthly hymn, and bi-weekly poetry selection. The student sheets include mapwork, and copy work corresponding with our Bible or poetry reading, along with quotes from inspiring people in history.

Some have suggested that we assign the Narnia readings in the order in which they were originally published, and while we researched the question, and its appropriate answer, we eventually came to this quote by C.S. Lewis,

“I think I agree with your order for reading the books more than with your mother’s. The series was not planned beforehand as she thinks. When I wrote The Lion I did not know I was going to write any more. Then I wrote P. Caspian as a sequel and still didn’t think there would be any more, and when I had done The Voyage I felt quite sure it would be the last. But I found as I was wrong. So perhaps it does not matter very much in which order anyone read them.”

If you disagree with the order, and prefer to read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe first, feel free to do so. The Narnia readings can stand alone without affecting the flow of the curriculum.

As you read through the book list, you will see that each month has a theme. This is to allow you to approach it as a block study, and to give you a framework for extra reading over the time period. You can easily find all of the books on Amazon (links are included) but we hope that families will borrow books from their local library, and you are free to substitute any of the science and history books for another book on the same subject. For instance, if the subject is Gutenberg and the printing press, you can find a different book about it, or even search a Youtube video for kids about it.

While we aim to make reading the larger part of our homeschool routine, one of the benefits of living in modern times is the ability to not just read about a subject, but to actually see the workings of machines, and nature, through the many amazing educational videos available. We recommend limiting screen time to allow for reading and imagination to develop, but interjecting a few minutes a day for educational videos is a fantastic use of technology in our opinion.

Weeks 1-4

Middle Ages, Botany, Harvest, Bees

The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis Box set-29.99

The Holy Bible This link has a $10 version, but you probably have one at home..

Kings and Queens of England and Scotland by Pamela Egan Prime for 9.99, used for $5.

A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston Amazon Prime for 7..99, used for $3.50

A Favourite Collection of Grimm’s Fairy Tales Illustrated by Anastasiya Archipova 14.25, used 8.68

Farm Anatomy by Julia Rothman 10..50

St. George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges, Illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman 8.00, 1.50 used

What Will The Weather Be by Linda DeWitt 8.27, 5.20 used

Draw Europe by Kristin Drager 15.64

The Kitchen Knight: A Tale of King Arthur by Margaret Hodges, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman  8.58, 2.95 used

Anywhere Farm by Phyllis Root, illustrated by G. Brian Karas 7.40, 2.40 used

Our Island Story by H.E. Marshall 15.83 Prime, .99 cents on Kindle, also available free online.

King Alfred by Christina Dugan 11.53, you could also read about King Alfred from Our Island Story

Explore My World:Honey Bees by Jill Esbaum 4.99, 2.50 used

A Medieval Feast by Aliki 7.48, 2.30 used

Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow retold by Robert D. San Souci.  from 1..90 used


Weeks 5-8

Kings and Queens of England, Homes, Seasons

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

The Holy Bible

Our Island Story by H.E. Marshall (also available free online)

A Year in a Castle by Rachel Coombs 7.50, used 2.50

Castle by David Macaulay 9.19, 1.28 used

How a House is Built by Gail Gibbons  7.99, 1.84 used

A Favourite Collection of Grimm’s Fairy Tales Illustrated by Anastasiya Archipova

The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane by C.M. Millen  14.99, 8.00 used

Joan of Arc by Diane Stanley 8.45, 2.41 used

Brother William’s Year by Jan Pancheri (Jan is a gardener at Westminster Abbey and is getting the book reprinted now, so hopefully it will be more affordable. You can choose an alternate season book until it is available). 22.95 now

Around the Year by Elsa Beskow 8.26, 4.28 used

You Wouldn’t Want To Work on a Medieval Cathedral by Fiona MacDonald 9.93, 6.85 used

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Week 9-12

Renaissance, Solar System, Gravity

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis

Holy Bible

Our Island Story by H.E. Marshall (also available free online)

Leonardo da Vinci by Diane Stanley 7.48, 86 cents used

A Favourite Collection of Grimm’s Fairy Tales Illustrated by Anastasiya Archipova

Michelangelo by Diane Stanley 7.48, used from 1.48

Starry Messenger by Peter Sis 8.99, 1.49 used

A Child’s Introduction to the Night Sky by Michael Driscoll 16.31, 2.01 used

William Blake’s Inn by Nancy Willard 7.00, 1.12 used

World History Biographies: Isaac Newton by Phillip Steele 7.81, 3.46 used

The Moon Seems to Change by Dr. Franklyn M. Branley 6.99, 2.05

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Weeks 13-15

Reformation, Printing Press, Christmas

Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis

The Holy Bible

Fine Print by Joan Johansen Burch  9.99, 1.25 used, this is a short chapter book about Gutenberg. I also loved this picture book version if you can find it.

Johann Gutenberg and the Amazing Printing Press by Bruce Koscielniak

Marguerite Makes a Book by Bruce Robertson  16.49, 9.47 used

The Life of Martin Luther by Agostino Traini 13.50, 4.87 used

The Legend of St. Nicholas by Dandi Daley Mackall 11.30, 1.20 used

The Clown of God by Tomie de Paola 6.21, 5.21 used

Good King Wenceslas by John M. Neale used from 3.64

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens 5.99, free online


Weeks 16-19

Exploration, Ships, Antarctica

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
The Holy Bible

The Endurance by Alfred Lansing 11.55, 3.60 used. Families with younger children can choose a simpler version such as the two mentioned here-

Shackleton’s Journey by William Gill 17.54, 3.50 used

Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World by Jennifer Armstrong 9.09, 42 cents used

DK Eyewitness Books:Explorer by Rupert Matthews 13.59, 3.00 used

Beautiful Stories From Shakespeare for Children by E. Nesbit  10.52, 1.99 Kindle, free online here

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1430


Week 20-23

Revolution, Flight, Nursing, World War I

The Silver Chair

The Holy Bible

Stone Soup by Marcia Brown 7.99, 1.65 used

The Glorious Flight by Alice and Martin Provenson 14.99, 1.99 used

National Geographic Readers: Planes by Amy Shields 3.99, 10 cents used

or- The Story of Flight by John Holcraft

A Picture Book of Florence Nightingale by David A. Adler 6.21, 3.00 used

You Wouldn’t Want To Live Without Nurses by Fiona MacDonald 9.95, 7.00 used

War Game by Michael Foreman 14.95, from 1 cent used

Where the Poppies Now Grow by Hilary Ann Robinson 12.51, 3.00 used

Beautiful Stories From Shakespeare for Children by E. Nesbit 

Christian Liberty Nature Reader Book Four edited by Edward J. Shewa 17.89, 2.45 used, available free online here


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Weeks 24-27

World War II, The Holocaust, Invention

The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis

The Holy Bible

Always Remember Me: How One Family Survived World War II by Marisabina Russo 10.49, 1.99 used

Star of Fear, Star of Hope by Jo Hoestlandt 8.99, 1.99 used

Diana’s White House Garden by Elisa Carbone 11.97, 4.38 used

Burn by Darcy Pattison 9.99, 4.53 used

The Little Ships by Louise Borden 4.39, 1.99 used

War Boy by Michael Foreman 13.40, 5.51 used

Beautiful Stories From Shakespeare for Children by E. Nesbit 

DK Eyewitness Book: Invention by Lionel Bender 9.82, 2.30 used

Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot by Margot Theis Raven 14.86, 2.47 used

Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming 17.09, 5.13 used


Weeks 28-30

The Cold War and Communism, Spring, Baby Animals

Animal Farm by George Orwell 12.50, Kindle 1.37

Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne 12.19, 1.36 used

The Holy Bible

From Tadpole to Frog by Wendy Pfeffer 6..99, 2.93 used

How a Seed Grows by Helene Jordan 6.98, 2.92 used

Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman 14.00, 8.48 used

Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner 10.98, 3.98 used

The Passover Lamb by Linda Elovitz Marshall KIndle, 5.99

Spring, An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur 40.00, 12.85 used

Where Do Chicks Come From by Amy E. Sklansky 5.99, 1.94 used

So how much does the curriculum cost? Well, if you were able to find none of the books at the library, and no substitutes, you could still purchase all the books for around $300 for used copies, and build an impressive home library in the process. That, in addition to the $49 for the parent guide, student sheets, art, and recipes, plus whatever resource you are using for math or phonics would make a complete homeschool plan for the year.

However, we’ve organized the curriculum in such a way that you can easily do it with a very slim book budget. Each month has a theme and so if you are on a super tight budget, you can borrow the Narnia books from the library, read the free online version of Our Island Story, and even find free online versions of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Beautiful Stories From Shakespeare. Then, you just borrow books from the library that fit the theme for the month. If we are studying the Queens and Kings of England, ask your librarian for a stack of books on the subject, read those books that engage you, do the projects in the parent guide that correspond with the theme, and enjoy diving into history with your children.

Our resources are meant to bring families closer together, to spark new areas of interest, and to spread a feast of learning before your children that inspires them to dream big about how they too can impact the world for good.

Please e-mail us with questions as you get started, hello@thepeacefulpress.com.

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A Day in the Life of The Playful Pioneers

Here you will find one day of lessons from our sample week of The Playful Pioneers. Take a break from your regular homeschool program to observe your children as you provide a framework of literature based activities, while also offering some free time for them to develop interest led learning.

Homeschooling with The Peaceful Press is meant to be life giving for parents and children. We offer lesson plans that provide a framework, but that don’t overburden families, so that you and your children can chase the spark of ideas and imagination together.

 

Below you will find one day of lessons from our sample week of The Playful Pioneers. Take a break from your regular homeschool program to observe your children as you provide a framework of literature based activities, while also offering some free time for them to develop interest led learning.

Morning Time:

Bible Time:

Sing a favorite hymn or chorus

Read the Jesus Storybook Bible pgs. 222-227

Review Memory Verses

Pray

Read Aloud

Read Chapter 3 of By The Shores of Silver Lake By Laura Ingalls Wilder “Riding in The Cars”

 

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Language Arts

Illustrated Copywork “Locomotive”

Ask your child to narrate the chapter

Point out that Laura was describing things for Mary who could not see. Act out that part of the story and take turns describing your surrounding for each other.

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Science/History

Read Locomotive by Brian Floca.

Boil a kettle of water and point out the steam to your children. Early locomotives were powered by steam

Add a train drawing to your notebook, along with notes about steam propulsion.

Break/Active Play

Math:

1 Math Lesson (you can choose your own math program, but we love Right Start Math)

Phonics/Spelling/Handwriting:(we recommend All About Reading for emerging readers)

Dictate New Spelling Words

Review Sight Words

Free Reading:

20-60 Minutes a Day (check out this post for history based readers)

Practical Skills/Art

Picture Study “Railway Carriages” by Vincent Van Gogh

Ask your child to describe the picture

Make your own copy with watercolor paints

 

Day in the Life of Playful Pioneers
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When you have finished with a simple day of lessons with The Peaceful Press, take a few minutes to observe your children, and take note of the ways that they continue engaging with the content in their free time. Learning to observe your child can help you see how much they have actually absorbed.

Would you like to try a free week of The Playful Pioneers? You can download a free sample and enjoy!

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The Garden Guide

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We’ve have a new guide here at The Peaceful Press and we are excited to share it with you. Spring is here and we have combined this wonderful season with a focus on the outdoors and gardening. This four week guide will delight you and your young child with its engaging literature selections, fun activities for developing motor skills, recipes and hands on application out in the sun.

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As we head towards the warmer seasons it can be hard to keep going through the homestretch but adding in interest led studies can help your children renew their love for learning, and keep developing skills while enjoying the hands on fun that leads to a gentle approach to homeschooling for the whole family.

In this unit you will find a basic introduction to gardening, including beautifully illustrated living books that bring the garden to you, as well as activities and life skills that bring the fun of the garden to your home. 

Lisa Wilkinson again contributed her amazing ideas to this guide, and the collection of books she curated is a lovely way to introduce young children to the beauty of the garden (click for Amazon link). We hope you can find most of these at the library, but feel free to substitute if necessary.

How A Seed Grows by Helene Jordan

From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons

A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Aston

Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert

Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert

The Reason for a Flower by Ruth Heller

My Garden by Kevin Henkes

Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman

Up In The Garden and Down In The Dirt by Kate Messner

The Imaginary Garden by Andrew Larsen

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

A Child’s Garden of Verses (optional)

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Jack’s Garden by Henry Cole

Lola Plants a Garden by Anna McQuinn

Farm Anatomy by Julia Rothman

Lisa also offered a bonus lesson based on the book, The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle.

  • Read The Tiny Seed

  • Practice sounding out the word “seed”

  • Make a Tiny Seed sunshine craft-In The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle you will notice that bright shining sun. You can take time to talk about how the growing seeds need that sunshine and create a paper plate sunshine to remind you what your plants will need. Paint a paper plate a bright, sunshiny yellow.  Next, add yellow, orange, and red strips of construction paper to the outside of your paper plate to create sun rays with a glue stick or stapler.

  • Hang a bird feeder

  • Plant sunflower seeds

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Field Trips are another important part of learning with preschoolers, and the garden guide sparks some wonderful field trip ideas.

Here are some field trip suggestions for this guide:

  • Visit a Local Farm. Discover what is planted in the gardens, how they care for the seeds and plants, and how they share or sell the harvest with others. 

  • Visit a local Farmer’s Market. Discover what can be grown and harvested in your area. Try new foods you find as your visit the stands full of beautiful color and variety.

  • Visit a Farm to Table Restaurant. Find out where they source their food locally and what ingredients come from what kinds of farms.


We are so delighted to offer you another unit to encourage you and your preschooler to grow together! Happy Gardening!

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Handcrafts in the Homeschool

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When I was a little girl I would often look to escape, whether into the woods to build industrious forts or into the wondrous, intricate writings of Laura Ingalls. So when I was introduced to the Peaceful Press through my Instagram family, I was delighted! It has been such a nourishing addition to our family rhythms.

Fitting in perfectly with our love of outdoor adventure, and fruitful, enriched learning, the curriculum is brought to life through wonderful literature, art and handcrafts.

Charlotte Mason said,

“… my object is to show that the chief function of the child—his business in the world during the first six or seven years of his life—is to find out all he can, about whatever comes under his notice, by means of his 5 senses..”

I completely agree, and this curriculum makes it easy to follow an interest led approach full of multi-sensory, learning fun!  

Reading and writing came naturally to me, so watching my oldest and youngest struggle with it was discouraging. After years of intervention with my oldest, he was finally diagnosed with Orthographic Dyslexia. This means his brain has trouble processing the relationship between spoken and written language. Since there is a genetic component to it, and I am seeing similar signs, it would be a safe to say that my youngest does too. Fear not! She is an incredibly clever girl, creating epic habitats or grand castles out of random trinkets and doodads. She can spot patterns, and tell fascinating stories, but reading and writing were not bringing her joy.

As soon as we started doing our read aloud from “The Farmer Boy” she was enthralled. We start our morning with bible study using “The Ology” and “The Jesus Storybook Bible”. We sing and dance, worshiping to the hymn of the month! After breakfast and chicken chores, Olivia can’t wait to see what Almanzo is up to, marveling and balking at his daily routine, asking questions like, “how can a yoke help drive the cow?” or “why does he have to do so many chores!?”

These questions, along with the wonderful narrating prompts that are provided on the daily schedule evokes thoughtful conversation. I feel so blessed to share books from my childhood, that encourage respect, hard work and humility. I can see that she is encouraged by Almanzo’s tenacity, and she can relate bashfully when he is mischievous.  She enjoys working on the correlating coloring pages along with simple copy work, while I read our chapter, which has been perfect for my reluctant writer!

As much as she loves to be taken on adventures through Laura’s descriptive tellings, her absolute  favorite part of this curriculum is the handcrafts! We have had so much fun retaining what we learn by using our hands and imagination! I am going to share a few activities that were so delightful for us.

Ma Ingalls was a very wise woman knowing the importance of good work habits being embedded into the tapestry of a child’s youth, so the whole family was involved in chores and running the household. One of which was the process of making clothes, from shearing the fleece, skirting the wool (which means to pick out all the organic bits and pieces) washing, then carding, and finally spinning! Olivia was immediately enthralled at the process.

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I found the sweetest mama on Instagram, Arielle, who sells a beautiful little kit with handmade carding brushes, freshly sheared wool, and wonderful instructions on how to prepare it! We got right to work, Olivia crinkling her nose while picking out little pieces of hay and inquiring about the “funny smell” which lead to a discussion about lanolin and how it is used today. The smooth, wooden carding brushes were the perfect size for her to use and she really enjoyed making the wool look like little “clouds”! Much to my disappointment, we do not have a loom to spin the wool into yarn but we were able to wet felt star ornaments and balls for garland, using just some hot water, soap, a fork and cookie cutter!

I had mentioned above that Olivia loves to build things, she is a thinker and has such an inquisitive spirit! When we were reading about Almanzo’s ice house we decided to build one of our own! We gathered the tools of the trade ( popsicle sticks, a hot glue gun, and some pine shavings from the chicken coop) then, after  concentrated construction, and alternating layers of ice and shavings. It was time to put it outside! Now we did this lesson in October, and we were having unseasonably warm weather so it was in the upper 50’s that day, but IT WORKED!! YAY! 

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I could go on and on, telling of potato stamp art, and watercolor masterpieces in our nature journal, using the beautiful references in Julia Rothmans “Anatomy” series. I have happy tears in my eyes thinking of my girl making bread for the first time in her poncho and sombrero. moments of hysterical laughter while vigorously shaking cream until we both almost faint! My 6 yr old may not show much interest in reading and writing but she can tell you who Benjamin Franklin is and what he added to his kite before he flew into that thunderstorm! She even assembled her own kite and hung it next to her fun timeline card that is provided for a great visual reminder. We have been inspired by poetry and classical art, exploring life with a newly found zeal! This curriculum has been like a perfectly timed hug, gently guiding us on our journey, introducing us to rich living books and an intentional, thoughtful education.


Warmest wishes

Ashley Taunton @3littlelambshomestead 

resources:

The Playful Pioneers Curriculum

PP Timeline Cards

Julia Rothman Anatomy Series

"The Ology" By Marty Machowski

"Jesus Storybook Bible" Sally Lloyd Jones

Wool from Arielle @our_enchanted_journey

Nature journal from Alice @twigandmoth 


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The Peaceful Press With Older Children

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Although our focus here at The Peaceful Press is helping families homeschool young children, the truth is that children grow, and many of you may be homeschooling young children and older ones, or even homeschooling little ones while mentally gearing up for later. I wanted to share a few resources we have used to homeschool children as they grow into late elementary and beyond.

When I wrote The Playful Pioneers, and The Precious People, I kept them open ended in terms of math and language arts so that a family with students of varying ages could use the guide together. One of my major goals with The Peaceful Press is to promote connection among families, and I am convinced that one mama trying to do multiple different curriculums with multiple children will most often result in burnout. My vision is for homeschooling to be fun for the whole family.

When I looked carefully at the components of a good education; the kind of education that prepares students for college, or at least prepares them to learn what they want to learn, I found a few important basics.

  1. The ability to read information.

  2. The ability to retell or communicate information.

  3. The ability to think critically about information.

Obviously, this is a very basic list, and every family will have a different set of information that is important to them, as well as a different set of values that they want to cultivate.

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A more in depth definition of a good education is articulated by John Ruskin in his book, The Crown of Wild Olive.

The entire object of true education is to make people not merely do the right things, but enjoy the right things-not merely industrious, but to love industry-not merely learned, but to love knowledge-not merely pure, but to love purity-not merely just, but to hunger and thirst after justice.”

In either definition, we should feel permission to devote the elementary school years to learning to read, learning math concepts, and learning to write, and these skills are easy to teach and don’t take all six years to learn. So what should we do with the bulk of our elementary homeschool years? I propose that we should present to our children the idea that we love them, that learning is fun, and that the world is open to discovery.

We do this through reading good books together, copying great thoughts together, learning about math together, baking and creating together, and enjoying nature together. Note the emphasis on togetherness, it is intentional because a child who is attached to their parents, who is full of the knowledge that they have parents who love and enjoy them, will be a child who can learn and achieve anything.

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In our home, we follow The Peaceful Press elementary guides with all children who haven’t started college classes (usually my high school students start college classes at the age of 14 or 15). If any of my children are home, they will join us for morning time, reading through The Peaceful Press suggested Bible, history, and literature readings, along with reciting memory work. We leave margin to follow interest led questions and learning, and write down new concepts on our blackboard. While I read aloud, elementary students copy or trace from Playful Pioneers or Precious People student sheets.

In our family morning time, we have also added in a daily Spanish language bible story for immersion foreign language, and singing, often with musical accompaniment by one of my children. We also add in interest led literature, science, and devotional reading.

Once morning time is over, each child moves on to independent learning while I move between them offering help and support. My elementary students use Teaching Textbooks math once they have worked through the first few levels of Right Start math, we are firm believers in the power that Right Start math has to make math meaningful for young children, but we also love Teaching Textbooks for the accountability and immediate feedback it gives. We’ve also begun using a geometry course by Waldorfish that the whole family is enjoying.

For language arts with older children, we start with having them make notebook pages based on our daily readings. This might be a picture and written narration about the chapter we read, or it might be a diagram of something we learned about in Farm Anatomy or another science themed literature selection. We also do a weekly lesson from U.S. History Based Writing Lessons from Institute for Excellence in Writing or Ancient History Based Writing Lessons. I love the way these guides teach basic grammar concepts and an objective way to look at the structure and style of writing. These won’t help your child write beautifully, that comes from reading great works, but it will help you begin to develop the skill of reading material, and then retelling it in your own words, which is one of the components of academic success in college classes (that and a good work ethic).

Another component of success in college classes comes from having a well developed vocabulary which is a direct result of reading great books. Instead of assigning particular books for children, I keep a basket or shelf of highlighted books for the time period we are studying. Many of these titles can be found in the Independent Reading List that is included in The Playful PIoneers and The Precious People curriculum. I’ve only had one child that had to be asked to read, most of my children have outpaced me with their appetite for new books, and so I let them choose which books off the list appeal to them instead of assigning books they don’t enjoy. Twice a month I require a longer written narration based on the books they have read.

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A few other resources we have used for older students-

Classical Conversations App-A low cost way to work on memorizing a body of information, and getting an overview of the Classical Conversations memory work.

James Stobaugh World History-There are many great resources for giving your older children an overview of world history including the books by Genevieve Foster, A Child’s History of the World by V.M. Hillyer and textbooks like Mystery of History, but this one is a great favorite of mine, partly because he includes women in his list of historical greats, including one of my personal heroes, Julian of Norwich, and partly because he presents events and leaves some of the moral implications for families to sort out for themselves, unlike some of the resources we have used.

Audible-We love using Audible for listening to more lengthy books, and for the ability to listen while I join in with painting or knitting, instead of all the reading aloud being my responsibility.  We listened to The Children’s Homer, The Bronze Bow, Ben Hur, and The Robe while working our way through The Precious People, and we listened to Shh, We’re Writing the Constitution, Justin Morgan Had a Horse, Across Five Aprils, The Freedom Train, and They Called Him Stonewall, while working through The Playful Pioneers.

Khan Academy-An amazing resource for learning anything, and a huge help for subjects that you get stuck on.

 

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Moments of Connection-Guest Post

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“Those things you learn without joy, you will forget easily.” (Finnish proverb)


After seeing this quote recently on Instagram, I decided to rephrase it a little:


“Those things you learn with joy, you will remember.”


Ahhh, there you go. Wrapped up in that sentence is exactly what I deeply desire for our little homeschool, which my two daughters (5 and 8) have decided to name “River Lake Sunshine.” Who wouldn’t want to enroll there, right?

Well, it might sound idyllic, but our homeschool is full of the same daily struggles just like you probably experience - poor attitudes, chaos, and mama trying to stay organized and sane without having to get revved up on copious amounts of caffeinated coffee.

Here’s where The Peaceful Press has greatly served our family. But first, a little background…

My husband (a farmer and personal chef), our two girls, and I live on an organic produce farm in the rolling hills of middle Tennessee. We’ve been homeschooling since my oldest daughter was in preschool, back when we lived in an urban neighborhood in Dallas, TX. Since the beginning, I haven’t really attached to one particular method but have felt most comfortable creating an eclectic blend of everything from Montessori, to Waldorf, to unschooling, to Classical, to Charlotte Mason. My main goals have always been: 1) Building strong character and 2) Encouraging a love of learning. I knew everything else would fall into place if we concentrated on those.

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Yet, I’ve struggled to keep our days flexible while also having a plan so everything doesn’t quickly fall to pieces. When I discovered The Peaceful Press, it was a breath of fresh air: I was delighted to find that they blend several of these homeschooling styles together using organized, creative resources that I could easily implement at home. And the plans were chock full of wonderful book lists!


There’s a joyfulness in The Peaceful Press resources, and the heart behind them can be felt. I appreciate the desire to preserve connections with our children, celebrate childhood, and draw conclusions about life while studying different cultures and time periods.


Here are the two things I’ve loved the most about The Peaceful Press resources we’ve tried in our home: 1) It encourages connection with my children over great books, and 2) It guides us in a way that we can learn alongside each other. Everyday, I’m re-educated as I teach my daughters.


Shortly after its launch, we began using The Peaceful Preschool for my youngest daughter, who was three-years-old at the time. I was giddy reading the book list - it encompassed several beautiful, classic books from my childhood (like Corduroy and Little Bear) along with some new-to-us books that have now become favorites (Stone Soup, Roxaboxen, and How To Make An Apple Pie and See The World). At the same time, it would help me introduce each letter of the alphabet in a fun and engaging way. For my second grader, we decided to use The Playful Pioneers, which also coincided with the U.S. History and timeline we were studying last year in our Classical Conversations group.

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This school year, we’ve been working through The Precious People resources and discovering so many fascinating things about Jewish tradition, ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. Learning about the foundations of our Christian faith has led to so many wonderful conversations around the table. I’m about to begin the Ocean Guide with my youngest, and we thoroughly enjoyed the Tree Guide and Christmas Guide leading up to the holidays.

I’d love to share some of our favorite moments using The Peaceful Press resources over the last year-and-a half...

  • Shaking our hearts out to make homemade butter and lemonade with our Playful Pioneers group.

  • Making bark rubbings down by the creek and looking up at the tall trees we often fail to notice.

  • Watching my youngest daughter’s small fingers count apple seeds while she crunched on an apple on her first day of preschool.

  • The day we all cried on page 12 of By The Shores of Silver Lake when Jack died.

  • Building our own replica of Little House complete with our own peg dolls.

  • Drawing and watercoloring herbs from Galen and the Gateway to Medicine and realizing how badly I needed that artistic outlet.

  • My oldest daughter and I rolling soapy colored wool between our fingers for hours to make felt acorns.

  • Our first time making challah bread, and it actually worked! My girls insisted on covering their heads with napkins during our feast.

  • The delight of cracking open All of a Kind Family for the first time on a blanket in the August sun.


The memories we’ve shared are priceless. We’ve learned that the books we read and experiences we have become a part of us and that we, too, can influence history. Our homeschool is far from perfect, but I’ll never take for granted this precious time with my girls.



Christine Bailey is an idealist, dreamer, writer, homeschool mom, and farmer cultivating life with her husband and two daughters on their organic farm in Santa Fe, TN (just south of Nashville). She can often be found planting lettuce, devouring a great book, cooking and sharing meals around the table, and chasing Tennessee waterfalls with her family. 

Instagram: @organicstine

Website: christinemariebailey.com

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