Handmade Christmas with Children

The best Christmas memories are made by hand…

The best Christmas memories are made by hand…

The best Christmas memories are made by hand. 

And if that is true, then perhaps the worst Christmas memories are those made when we spend the majority of the holiday season in department stores without our children, trying to purchase toys that will be played with for a few days and then forgotten. 


I love gifts, and giving them is important to me, but often the gift that our children most long for is the gift of our undistracted time.


On the other hand, many of us envision making things by hand as just another distraction from our children. When these gifts are difficult projects that must be done solo, we are again forced to choose between time with our children, or time doing something for them, but not with them.


A few Christmases ago, we made some changes that have set a precedent for more family time at Christmas. We had a theme of "used or homemade" for Christmas gifts which meant that I would take a few children at a time to hit up thrift stores, or that I was sewing simple gifts for them such as capes and doll blankets, while they worked on their own homemade gifts.

By choosing alternative ways to celebrate, including forgoing gifts in exchange for a Christmas vacation, we have been able to lower expectations and focus on family time. However, we still want to have a few gifts on hand for grandparents and friends, and we have chosen to have at least a few of those be handmade.

These are a few of the simple gifts that we have made;


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Rolled Beeswax Candles


You need:

Beeswax Sheets

Wick


  • Carefully cut your beeswax sheets in half lengthwise. 

  • Cut your candle wick to fit.

  • Place wick at the edge of the beeswax and carefully fold over the first roll.

  • Finish rolling tightly.



Our two sheets of beeswax made 4 thick candles. You could also cut the beeswax in thirds for thinner candles or cut in quarters for short candles.

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Essential Oil Bath Salts

Soaking in bath salts is a great way to supplement your body with magnesium and get better sleep.

You need:

1 32 oz package epsom salts

essential oil (we used Young Living Lavender Oil)

pint sized mason jars

Christmas fabric and ribbon

  • Pour your epsom salt into a large bowl. You could also add himalayan pink salt, dead sea salt, or other mineral rich salts.

  • Add about 15 drops lavender essential oil.

  • Stir well to combine.

  • Use a scoop to pour bath salts into jars.

  • Cut circles from your holiday fabric that are slightly larger than your jar lid. We used a gallon size jar lid as a template.

  • Place fabric over lid and then screw on jar ring. 

  • Tie ribbon around jar ring and add a gift tag if desired.

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There are loads of other possibilities for homemade gifts, bean soup in a jarcloth doll, a simple cape, or even potted plants such as geraniums that you start from a cutting. Our new Christmas Guide includes tutorials for several of these activities, along with stories, games, and early learning activities to bring more joy to this holiday season.


We can turn the tide on Christmas expectations, and create a holiday celebration that is defined by precious moments spent with our loved ones.

If you are struggling to figure out how you can pay for Christmas, please check out my course, Bountiful Homeschooling. When you use code, "Budget" the course is only $18.

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Favorite Books for Advent

Christmas Books and Toys for Intentional Families

Christmas Stories

and A Simple Santa Mask

Christmas Books and Toys For Intentional Families

Christmas Books and Toys

I’m excited about Christmas! We have traveled away from home the last two years, but this year we will be home, and we are planning lots of memory making around crafts, service, and family togetherness.

Our new Christmas Guide is full of inspiration for making sweet memories in your family. We include heartwarming literature, nature based crafts, and developmentally appropriate counting and phonics activities to create a Christmas to remember.

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While most of our Christmas celebrations revolve around making memories together, we will also have a few gifts under the tree. We use the guide, “Something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read” to help keep our shopping simple and intentional.

These are a few items we love that fit into this formula.

Ever Earth Jr. Ramp Racer

Melissa and Doug Shape Sorting Clock

Melissa and Doug Fold and Go Dollhouse

Melissa and Doug Multi Craft Knitting Loom

Paper Making Kit

Holiday Pajamas

We’ve also loved experiences and subscriptions for gifts that keep on giving. The last two years we’ve forgone presents in exchange for exciting adventures and this year we are enjoying fun monthly boxes from Kiwi Crate.

Check them out here

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Although you will be inundated by opportunities to buy and spend this season, we want you to know that the most wonderful gift you can give your child is yourself. As you read to your child, bake favorite holiday treats, and just hang out, you are building into your child the knowledge that they are a delightful human, and people who feel delighted in, have the confidence to make the world a better place.

You might also enjoy:

Favorite Books for Advent

Handmade Christmas with Children

Christmas Books and Toys for Intentional Families

Christmas Stories

and A Simple Santa Mask

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Fall Nature Study

Fall Nature Study

Fall Nature Study

We love fall in our family! The leaves are turning colors and my house smells of apples and cloves as I bake and diffuse.


One of our favorite activities each season is nature study, and we love observing the change of seasons in our favorite places. We try to take time on every outing to pause at a scenic spot to sketch or play.

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Sometimes getting young children to actually observe nature, requires giving them a craft that involves natural materials. This allows them to slow down enough to actually observe the leaves, bark or feathers that they are supposed to be studying.


One of the resources that we are using this year, is the book, Exploring Nature With Children, by Lynn Seddon. This manual includes activities, book suggestions, an overview of the topic and even poem and art suggestions to go along with the theme of the week. 

We also enjoy collecting leaves on each of our outings and identifying the trees they came from. Our new Tree Guide has been a helpful resource for observing trees and enjoying the fall season.


We have also used the book, Look What I Did With a Leaf for our annual leaf creatures, and one of the girls in our local nature group, made this fabulous horse, using ideas from the book.

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Another family fall tradition that we have is a visit to a place called Apple Hill. We don't live as close as we used to, but purchasing fresh apples and fresh apple donuts is worth the drive. You may have apple orchards or pumpkin patches near you where you can celebrate the changing season.

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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.

Fun With Ancient History

Fun with Ancient History!

Fun with Ancient History!

We are on our 6th week with The Precious People and having so much fun. In all honesty, ancient history is not my favorite thing to teach. Many of the stories are so heavy, and it is so long ago that it can be hard for us modern families to find a connection point with ancient people. We’ve solved this problem in part by starting the year with a reading of The All Of A Kind Family, which ties the life of a 1900’s era Jewish family to stories from ancient history that relate to Jewish holy days and Ancient Egypt.

With the sweet stories and projects that I included in The Precious People, this time period is coming to life in new ways. We celebrated Rosh Hashanah with goal setting and sweet food, made mini sukkahs from graham crackers for our harvest themed celebration of Succoth, and then, for the first time in my 22 years of homeschooling, made sugar cube pyramids as we studied Ancient Egypt (I promptly threw the extra sugar cubes in a bird bath and watered them down so that children wouldn’t be tempted to eat them. I’m hoping sugar is good for birds and bees.)

I especially love the projects included in The Precious People. Projects are an amazing way to promote STEAM learning in our homes, and as we made small buckets from clay and set up a model of a shadduff, we were learning about simple machines, while being amazed at how hard it was for ancient people to irrigate a field.

Each parent guide from The Peaceful Press has a similar focus, and as we learn through great stories and projects, a much deeper intellect is formed in our children. When learning is literature based, hands on, and multi-sensory, skills are built that will enable your child to excel in many areas of life.

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A Few Favorite Stories For Getting Started With Ancient History

National Geographic Readers; Pyramids by Laura Marsh

Hands On History! Ancient Egypt by Philip Steele

The Egyptian Cinderella by Shirley Climo

All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor

On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur by Cathy Goldberg Fishman

Galen and the Gateway to Medicine by Jeanne Bendick

The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw

We will also be studying papyrus and making paper in the next few weeks, so we ordered this deckle to help with that project.

Economy Deckle

We will also be working on building this Roman Villa as we start studying Ancient Rome.

While studying the ancients might not be quite as engrossing as learning about American history with The Playful Pioneers last year, we are making the most of it with The Precious People.

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I hope you enjoy these resources as much as our family has!

-Jennifer Pepito

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Learning Through Play- A Forgotten Element of Education

“Let’s play Fox and Geese!” My five year old is referring to a new game that we learned from The Playful Pioneers. It’s a version of hide-and-seek and they LOVE it.  We pick a home base (usually our couch) and I pretend to be a fox while they are the little geese. I count to twenty as my two girls scamper off giggling to their favorite hiding places. When I’ve finished counting, I make a big scene of sniffing for delicious geese snacks. I can practically hear their little hearts beating with anticipation. If I pass them, they run to base. More often than not, I do catch them. I envelope them in a hug while giggles and laughter ensue. Our hearts are connected.

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My husband joins in these games, usually in the evening after dinner has been put away. It's a way for the girls to get their last wiggles out before bed, but more importantly a way for them to connect with their father. They play Fox and Geese and more recently “Mad Dog” as Laura and Mary played with Pa (Little House in The Big Woods). My husband gets on hands and knees, acts like a ferocious dog, and chases the girls. Usually somewhere during this time he changes into a dragon, play swords are brought out, and the girls have either defeated or tamed the dragon (depends on the day).By the time they are through hearts are pounding and there are smiles all around. Connections have been deepened and warm, sweet memories have been tucked away in their hearts.

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Whole movement play has such a unique way of uniting our hearts together as a family. The laughter that echoes and the connections that are made are too important to just let slip past. Right now it’s play that speaks to my daughters' age and ability. So it’s games such as Hide-and-Seek, Mother May I, and The Floor is Lava (the kids LOVE hopping across couches and pillows!).

The play possibilities are endless. It just takes some time to brush off the dust settled on our memories of childhood play and jump in there with our kids. It’s tiring, but invigorating and the memories made are worth it. 

Melina Boswell

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Check out our playful parent guides for a year full of learning fun.

The Peaceful Preschool

The Playful Pioneers

The Precious People

BE SURE TO ALSO CHECK OUT

Our Tree Guide and Ocean Guide are one month, literature, project, and nature based units for 3-5 year olds. They make a perfect introduction to learning with The Peaceful Press.

Discover the beauty of learning through play!

Discover the beauty of learning through play!

A Preschool Guide To Trees

Last spring I shared here on the blog about a tree unit study our family was enjoying at that time and that has blossomed into a very lovely preschool collection. You can read a bit more about that learning unit, the books and the activities I shared HERE, as well as the heart of why I love studying trees with my little ones. 

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Following a similar four week breakdown, this tree unit is broken into four components, which are:

A Tree Begins 

The study of how a tree begins to grow and how to care for a growing tree. Transferring acorns, sorting tree seeds and watering plants are a few activities we do this week.

About A Tree

The study of what makes up a tree and how tree are similar, yet different. This week we measure trees, sort bark, and make leaf prints.

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A Tree is a Home

The study of the habitat that is within and surrounding a tree. We will explore the world of bugs and birds and other tree dwellers in this week of playful learning.

A Tree Gives

A study on some of the ways a tree gives to us. This week we will play with fruit, making a rainbow fruit snack, apple star print, and learn about some of the beautiful gifts the tree generously gives.

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My heart is that as you study trees with your little ones you will see your hearts grow together and your roots in your family deepened. This study has a mix of living books,  simple crafts, directed printables, fun activities and adventure.  You will also find simple food preparation and home skills you can work into the rhythm of your day.

These lessons are created with play in mind, but offer some skills an older preschool or kindergarten student will also enjoy as well. They have been loved by my two year old on the simplest level, engaging for my four year old, while still grabbing the attention of my six year old. We have been testing out and trying all of these activities in preparation to share them with you. And I have been praying over each mama, and each little learner, who reads and journeys through this tree unit. I am here cheering you on as your love and lead your little ones.  

Book List

A Is For Acorn by Analisa Tripp

Because of An Acorn by Lola M. Schaefer

A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Aston

Seeds and Trees by Brandon Walden

The Busy Tree by Jennifer Ward

A Tree is Nice by Janice Udry

A Log’s Life by Wendy Pfeffer

Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman

Farm Anatomy by Julia Rothman

Trees, Leaves, and Bark by Diane Burns

The Tree Book for Kids and Their Grown Ups by Gina Ingoglia

The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger

Going on A Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger

How do Apples Grow? by Betsy Maestro

The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall

Johnny Appleseed by Steven Kellogg

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman

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With Love, Lisa Wilkinson

Instagram.com/tencre8chaos 

You might also like our other post LEARN ABOUT TREES.

Enjoy this 4 week breakdown of A Preschool Guide to Trees!

Enjoy this 4 week breakdown of A Preschool Guide to Trees!

Happy Birthday World-Rosh Hashanah Activities for Children

Rosh Hashanah Activities for Children

Rosh Hashanah Activities for Children

Our newest curriculum, The Precious People, includes celebrations of several ancient feast days to bring what we are learning to life through food and fun. Enjoy this guest post about one of these festivals.

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Rosh HaShanah is the Jewish New Year. It is the first in a series of holidays that mark the fall feasts. Rosh HaShanah are Hebrew words that mean “beginning of the year”. It falls on the first day of the month Tishri in the lunar based Hebrew calendar.

The month before Rosh HaShanah, the month of Elul, is a time of preparation. The Jewish person looks deep inside his soul, at all the actions he has done over the past year; of all the words he has spoken. Were they loving and good? Where is there room for improvement? How has he behaved before G-d and before his fellow man? Has he or she been generous, patient, kind and forgiving? It is a time of repentance and cleansing or purification, not just internally, but externally. The home is made spic and span; new clothes are bought; special foods prepared for the feasts that lie ahead. Each day in the morning, the shofar, or ram's horn is blown. Its loud booming sound is supposed to wake up the sleeping soul. “Get ready! Get ready to stand before the Lord!!”

Rosh HaShanah begins the period known as the Ten Days of Awe or Days of Repentance between the New Year and the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. Jewish people throughout the world celebrate Rosh HaShanah. In America, it is customary to send New Year cards to friends and family. The greetings read “L'Shannah tovah tickateyvu!” which means “May you be inscribed for a good year!” It is a family time; a time not only to attend synagogue, but to enjoy a big meal with family and friends. In Israel, it is a time of gift giving – usually something for the home, such as flowers or sweet foods.

Many families celebrate the holiday with a seder, a ritual meal with special foods, prayers and blessings to bring in the New Year. At the beginning of the meal, at sunset, the women of the home light two candles and say a blessing. It is a way of sanctifying, or making holy this time. A special prayer is recited by all, thanking G-d for preserving us and bringing us to this holy time. The father sings the blessing over the wine; the hands are washed with accompanying blessings, and then there is the blessing over the bread.

On the Sabbath day, there are two loves of freshly baked challah, a light and sweet egg bread that has been braided into three parts. On Rosh HaShanah, the challah is round in a crownlike spiral. This represents the cycle of the year as well as the fact that G-d is the King. At the meal, it is customary to eat sweet foods, most notably apples dipped in honey for a sweet year. The apples are raised up, and all present at the table say to each other; “May it be thy will, O Lord, to grant us a sweet and happy year.”

At Synagogue many prayers are said: prayers of repentance; prayers for forgiveness and mercy; prayers of thanks for the past year; and prayers for a good year. Besides the many prayers, the Torah (the first five books of the Scriptures) is chanted in Hebrew from a handwritten scroll. If the New Year does not fall on a Sabbath, the ram's horn, the shofar, is blown (blowing the shofar is extremely hard work, so if it is Shabbat or Sabbath, no work can be done). It reminds the Jewish people of the shofar blasts as Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. In the afternoon, many Jews gather near a flowing body of water for the tashlikh, or “you will cast” service. Often crumbs are carried in the pockets, symbols of broken promises, sins, bad attitudes, which are thrown into the water as a symbol “to cast all sins into the depths of the sea.”

For the Jews of Israel most holidays only last one day, but outside of the land of Israel, holidays are celebrated for two days. Because Jewish time is marked from the beginning of the creation of the world, Rosh HaShanah, 2018 is actually the beginning of the year 5779.

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Rosh HaShanah Seder

Items needed:
2 white candles (or pure beeswax candles)
1 cup/glass red wine or grape juice
1 round challah bread
1 large round plate containing the following items

*a pomegranate

dates

apple slices

honey

(some seder customs add other foods and blessings as well)

Order (seder) of Blessings: (in English)

Blessing over candle lighting:
Blessed are You, O Lord, our G-d, King of the universe, who sanctifies us by His commandments and ordains us to light the Holy Day lights. Amen.

Thanks for the season:
Blessed are You, O Lord, our G-d,
king of the universe, who has kept us in life and sustained us and enabled us to reach this season. Amen.

Blessing over wine (or grape juice):
Blessed are You, O Lord, our G-d, King of the universe, who gives us the fruit of the vine. Amen.

Blessing before hand washing:
Blessed are You O Lord, our G-d, King of the universe who ordains us to wash . our hands... forgive me my sins and wash away my iniquities. Amen.

Blessing over bread:
Blessed are You, O Lord, our G-d, who brings forth bread from the earth. Amen.

Raise the pomegranate and say: May it be G-d's will that our lives may be as full of good deeds as the pomegranate is with seeds. All respond: AMEN!!! 

Raise the dates and say: May it be Your will, O Lord, that we would have a year of peace. All say: AMEN!!!

Dip the apple slices (or challah) into the honey. Distribute and say:
May you renew us for a good year, a happy year, a healthy hear, a holy year, and may we all be inscribed in the Book of Life. All say: Amen!!!

Say all together: Let the old year end with all its problems. Let the new year begin with all its blessings! AMEN!!!


Many learning activities can be inspired by the celebration.

Apple Activities:

Cut apples in half, dip in paint, and use as stamps on card stock.

Make the apple stamp cards into greeting cards for family and friends.

Apple Themed Picture Books

Apple Cider Making Days by Ann Purmell
The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall
The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons

Honeybees and Honey Projects:

A great way to start the school year is to study about bees and honey. It is customary in the Jewish religion to start the first day of a child's formal schooling with a spoonful of honey. This represents the sweetness of learning.

There are many books for children about the life cycle of the bee; the many products bees produce; and great crafts as well:

Make rolled beeswax candles

Buy honey-sticks in different flavors. Tie up a bunch with twisted yellow and black pipe-cleaners to give as New Year treats to family and friends.

Children's Books About Bees:

The Honey Makers by Gail Gibbons

The Beautiful Bee Book by Susan Unstead

Bees: A Honeyed History by Piotr Socha

To introduce young listeners to classical music, listen to The Flight of the Bumblebee by Rimsky-Korsakov.

One of my favorite bee resources is from Israel. Search for Dvorat HaTavor. Scroll down to the English setting and watch a great video on beekeeping from Biblical times to modern day. 

Photo by Lisa Wilkinson

Photo by Lisa Wilkinson

Rosh HaShanah Books

Celebrate Rosh HaShannah by Deborah Heiligman  


The Days Between: Blessings, Poems and Directions of the Heart for the Jewish High Holiday Season by Marcia Falk  


Your Guide to the Jewish Holidays by Matt Axelrod 

Recipe for Rosh HaShanah 

APPLE HONEY CAKE (Vegetarian) 8 servings

I absolutely love this recipe for Rosh HaShannah and Shabbat! First of all, it tastes amazing and looks like it was topped with crème brulee. It looks so elegant and fancy, like you've been to Master Baker classes, but it's deceptively simple and quick. Also, if you adhere to the Jewish dietary laws of Kashrut, and cannot mix meat with dairy at the same meal, this is pareveh, or neutral, meaning it can be served at any meal. Lastly, because it's a tradition to use apples and honey as a symbol of a sweet new year, this is a perfect recipe. As an added bonus, it also uses four of the “seven species” grown naturally in Israel listed in Deuteronomy 8:8 – wheat, olive(oil), date(honey), and fig. I serve it all year long.

INGREDIENTS:

2 red apples, peeled and sliced
2 green apples, peeled and sliced
4 large eggs
2/3 cup pure honey or silan (date honey)
5 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1⁄4 tsp salt
5 Tbsp granulated sugar
5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 fresh figs (Mission), quartered for optional decoration

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 (180C). Grease or line (I do both) an 8 inch (20cm) round nonstick baking pan with parchment/baking paper. Line the bottom of the pan with all of the apple slices to form concentric rings - there should be a lot of apples on the bottom, looking like a sunflower. In medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, olive oil and two of the eggs. Blend until just smooth (I do this by hand). Pour all of the batter over top of the apples. Bake for 20 minutes.

Take the pan out of the oven. Increase temperature to 400 (200C) degrees. In separate small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 eggs and the honey (or silan). Pour the mixture over the cake and return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes, until the top looks golden brown like a crème brulee and toothpick comes out clean. Arrange fig slices in four clumps towards outer edges. Delicious eaten warm or cold.

Written by Tamar Dunbar Karmi’el, Galilee

Israel 2018/5778

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Homeschooling Busy Boys

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My boys, ages 1, 3, and 5 have been eyeing the new books, supplies, and schoolroom with excitement and finally break down my desire to begin in Fall. We start. Running out of the gate, full steam ahead! They love it! I love it. This is great. Day two, day three....and then the new wears off a bit and a hesitation starts in my eldest when I suggest we head to the school room. I watch his exterior change. No more shiny eyes, shoulders hunch, and he wants to keep playing. My heart tunes in to his. Why? Why is my son suddenly choosing to avoid our newfound adventure? I watch his shiny blonde head in the playroom, imagining, singing, and his body twirling and stretching. I had tried to make our homeschool fun, but I had not kept the wonder! 

That’s it, mamas. Nothing too wild or difficult. The best advice I can offer a mama homeschooling littles (children under 7) is maintain the wide eyed wonder. When you pull out the read aloud, pull out the peg dolls, the silk scarves, the tinker toys, the blocks, the fort making supplies....something, anything, to invite them to jump into the story and live with the characters. Make the food the book describes, do a craft like the main character, visit somewhere like the setting, anything you can to keep their minds alive with wonder about the lives and experiences of those in the stories you read. 

When they show interest in letters and reading, please don’t buy a full phonics or reading curriculum and expect them to spend 30 minutes a day sitting with you learning to read. Choose something light and natural, with play and whimsy built in. The Peaceful Preschool does this so innately and beautifully. If you do use a phonics curriculum try something brief. I found a wonderful little phonics set called “Dash into Readingthat takes all of 5-8 minutes a day and incorporates horses, pirates, dogs, rats, young children, games, and beautiful watercolor pictures all in its simple lessons. 

When your child begins to count their toys and recognize numbers as you wander through the grocery store aisles, don’t hurry to find the best math curriculum out there. Instead, encourage them to sort their toys, count beans, the wings on bugs, the legs on a butterfly, have them paint what they see and count too! Let them enjoy the wonder and discovery they are naturally prone to. 

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Don’t be afraid to spend days outside with your littles, mama! Whether you call yourself Charlotte Mason, Classical, Montessori, it doesn’t matter. Get those littles outside. The sunshine, the trees, the bugs, the natural world - it saturates, invigorates, and soothes their little souls. I have a very active and excited little tribe of boys that comes alive and even focused in the woods. Find a small group to spend hours with at a stream or field. Explore, play, investigate, bring lunch, read! You will be rewarded with great naps and lots of smiles all around. 

If you are still reading, thank you and welcome to the journey with me. Let’s explore a week at Arrow Hill Academy.

On Mondays and Tuesdays we begin our day with about 3-5 minutes of reading from a great book (The Ology). Then we sing a hymn together and go over the alphabet/letter sounds and our scripture. We do this at breakfast and the boys have come to expect it. Then we are off! Lunch is packed, swim suits or play clothing is on, and we bustle to the car! Out to the woods for 4-5 hours. We explore and play and read and eat with friends at the same location for 8-12 weeks at a time! It is a wonderful little program I help direct called Free Forest School.

When we arrive home, we rest. My boys often sleep 2-3 hours on these days! Later, we may read or do a craft or poetry together. I typically allow my eldest two to choose the rhythm for our afternoons on these days.

The rest of the week, we start out with our bible and hymn (morning basket) routine at breakfast and then head to our schoolroom for a read aloud from The Playful Pioneers. My boys love Almanzo and talk about him and play “with” him unprompted throughout our days. While I read, they draw or play with blocks or get out our vintage Playmobil log cabin, Native American figurines, and toy animals.

After our reading, we talk about the book, draw together, cook, or enjoy a craft. I have a gentle math and language arts curriculum if and when my eldest wants to do it, and I offer it daily. When he chooses it, we love the game based learning it incorporates and my 3 year old often joins in! We use Dash into Reading for phonics on these days and sometimes play the games it has too.

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On the days we don’t stay in the woods, we enjoy outside time in the afternoons and my boys collect bugs in the yard, write in the mud with sticks, or kick balls, and watch birds and squirrels. Our academic pursuits in the schoolroom might last an hour, or they might be 30 minutes. Then, we play and cook and enjoy time exploring and having fun!

If I can leave you with any great nugget, any strong encouragement, it would be that you watch that little one and keep their wide-eye wonder! If it begins to lack it's luster, watch them, assess, take inventory, and make adjustments.

Our littles need us to be the great protectors of their childhood. The ones that guard their inquisitive souls from the dull and the sedentary.

So, mother of littles, go and set up a homeschool adventure around that wide eyed wonder, create an atmosphere for it to thrive and roam and indulge because all too soon it will naturally settle and they will leave Never Never Land and alight in our beautiful school rooms with logical minds ready for academia. 

Sarah Ruth Owens

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