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.
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!
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.
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