Holistic Health & Wellness, Home Education

Teaching Natural Health & Wellness in Your Homeschool

You can probably think back to what health and wellness classes were like when you were in school. I remember learning about health from a physical education, government issued food pyramid, safe sex, and just-say-no to drugs point of view. However, I don’t quite remember learning about health and wellness from a natural, holistic perspective.

If you’re anything like me, then you’re most likely an anti-vax, clean eating, natural product using, modern yet alternative-seeking mama. I believe what drives our decisions to be opposed to what Western medicine suggests and endorses could be the very foundation to the kind of health and wellness we teach in our homeschool.

Sure, you may have questions of where to start, when to start, and what to use… so, keep reading – I answer all those questions, and some!

Where to Start

This is honestly and totally up to you. I recommend starting with your current (or even past) lifestyle. If you haven’t always lived a natural kind of lifestyle, that can be the very starting point. It would help your children better understand what a natural lifestyle actually looks like if they have something to compare it to.

Talk about the not-so-good-for-you foods that you used to eat. Discuss personal hygiene products you may have used, taking a close look at the ingredients. And if you’re super “crunchy”, then you could probably talk about why you don’t use plastics, a microwave, certain cleaners, or disposable diapers!

Simply put, start with the changes you’ve made personally and what you’re currently doing now.

When to Start

Again, I can’t be the giver of a definite “start date” for you, but my suggestion is the sooner the better – in all aspects. If you have young children, believe it or not, they can understand much more than we give them credit for. They may not remember the big words or technical terms, but they’ll have memories of “mama making a rub in the kitchen that took away the boo-boo” or the mindset game that helped through a tough time.

Those are the types of stories I miss so greatly about my older relatives who have now passed on. My great-great aunt used to tell me about rubs and tinctures that at the time I couldn’t quite understand. Now, I get it! Stories of how they pulled things from “beyond the trees” now resonate to my core, and it’s these practices that my husband and I both want to teach our children.

When should you start? Start now.

What to Use

The type of natural, holistic health and wellness we’re talking about in this post is one you won’t find in many (if any) curriculum or textbooks. Although the big curriculum companies have done outstanding jobs on creating resources for us to use, sadly, a lot of it still looks like public/private school materials.

If you want to get traditional in the sense of getting back to the “roots” of natural living (no pun intended), I suggest starting with your public library. Those places are the hubs for books that date back further than dust (okay, maybe not that old) – and they’re free. Another source is Amazon, although some of those herbal and natural remedy books can get pretty pricey (but worth it).

Google is another option, but you’ll want to do some extensive searching to ensure you’ve landed some good resources that haven’t sold out to the .gov, CDC, or FDA perspective of health. Good resources are out there though! One you should definitely consider is the Earthley Herbal Club. It’s free, comes in form of a printable download (PDF), and has all the information you need for teaching!

How to Start

They layout provided in the Earthley Herbal Club printable is the perfect way for introducing lessons that pertain to natural and holistic health and wellness. In a nutshell, you would:

  • Introduce a topic/concept by discussing what it is and why it’s important.
  • Expand on the topic/concept by providing information about how it works and how/why you use it (or not).
  • Deepen the learning with hands-on application (if possible).

The hands-on approach not only deepens understanding but it also puts the good ole “STEM” term to use. Imagine your children being able to create salves and teas right alongside you or work naturally through what would be a sabotaging mindset. Not to mention, there are lots of topics within the natural health and wellness field that you could use for teaching:

  • Herbs
  • [Essential] oils
  • Carrier ingredients (for teas, tinctures, salves, etc.)
  • Preparation methods (for the DIY creations)
  • Clean eating
  • Meal planning/prepping
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Cleaning products
  • Air quality
  • Physical health
  • Emotional health
  • Mental health
  • Natural remedies

The list could go on! These are definitely great topics to start with and give plenty of information to start with. And you never know… you may have little naturopaths, psychologists, and health coaches on your hands by the time it’s all said and done!

CHIME IN: What are some ways you teach health and wellness in your homeschool? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.

Home Education

How to Use Children’s Books for Unit Studies (+ Book Review!)

I was recently given the opportunity to review a new children’s book called Grandma Snuggles. After reading this book, I knew it would make a great addition to my homeschool library and be used as a valuable resource in my animal unit study.

Here’s why…

Grandma Snuggles highlights eight different animals:

  • panda
  • hedgehog
  • beaver
  • mouse
  • dog
  • duck
  • rabbit
  • cat

Each animal receives its own “grandma” highlight and also makes mention of foods they eat, places they live (and sleep), and animal attributes.

The overall story is well written and uses words that any child can understand. If you have an early reader, you can even pick out sight words for them to read.

The pictures also add to the written detail of each animal, and will help when showing my children illustrations of what I’m reading.

On a side note, this book also makes a wonderful gift for the grandmother in your children’s lives!

How to Use Children’s Books for Unit Studies

First you’ll want to choose a unit study theme. In the case of Grandma Snuggles, the theme will be animals. You could even break it down to pets (dog, cat, rabbit) or forest animals (hedgehog, beaver, mouse, duck).

Next, gather your resources. In addition to books, you may also want to include:

  • videos
  • documentaries
  • movies
  • hands-on projects
  • activity pages
  • lapbooks or interactive notebooks
  • field trips

Then, create a unit study plan. In most cases our unit studies last at least a week, sometimes two. If the kids are really enjoying it then we’ll go as long as they’re interested.

Having a plan is a great idea but don’t feel tied down to it. Also keep in mind that multiple subjects can be crossed with a good unit study resource and activity. Using Grandma Snuggles alone, I will touch base with:

  • English & Language Arts
  • Geography
  • Science
  • Math
  • Socio-Emotional
  • Preschool basics (colors, shapes, etc.)

Once you have your plan and resources in place, all there’s left to do is get started!

GIVEAWAY ALERT!

For one week only, you can enter for a chance to win a hard copy of Grandma Snuggles! Simply answer this question in the comments below – Do you use unit studies in your homeschool? Why or why not?

(NOTE: Must be U.S. resident and at least 18 years old to enter.) Thank you, Zonderkidz, for providing the winning book. This giveaway ends Monday, September 7, 2020 at 11:59 pm CST.)

(I was given a free copy of Grandma Snuggles for review in exchange for writing a blog post and hosting a giveaway.)

Holistic Health & Wellness

Make the Switch to Natural Products – Here’s How!

Now more than ever people are starting to wake up to the need for natural products. Question is – How can you easily make the switch? I’m not super triple crunchy by any means but there are some switches we’ve made that have changed everything!

Why switch to natural products?

Of course the answer to this is a given. The harmful ingredients in majority of the products on store shelves have never been good for us, and never will be. If you look at a label and can’t pronounce the name, that’s red flag number one.

I like to use a website and app to help me see how natural (or not) a product is before I buy it. It lets me know what ingredients to stay away from and which ones are safe.

Should I purchase or make my own?

I found myself asking this question, too. I figured I would try both ways because let’s face it… as a busy work-from-home, homeschooling mama of 5 kiddos (newborn to preteen), I need things to be frugal and practical.

There are a few things we make ourselves:

  • laundry detergent (literally we just use vinegar, baking soda, and occasionally an essential oil or two).
  • all-purpose cleaning spray (vinegar, juice from a lemon, water, and an essential oil)
  • diffuser blends

For other stuff, we buy it. And it doesn’t stop at non-toxic cleaning supplies. There’s also bath, body, and hair care products to consider.

How to Make the Switch to Natural Products

Decide to do it.

Everything starts with a choice, but not every choice ends up how you may have imagined. Not only should you choose to start your non-toxic journey, but also choose to be consistent.

Choose a product to start with.

Do you want to start with cleaning products? Bath and body? Hair care? It’s a good idea to chose one product to start with and then gradually add others as you see fit. One of the easiest to start with (in my opinion) is an all-purpose cleaner.

If you’re not sure what product you want to start with, try a subscription box like Simply Earth. They offer non-toxic solutions in the form of DIY recipes and they provide (most) everything you need (more on that later!).

Research.

One Google search and you’ll find hundreds of product suggestions or do-it-yourself recipes to try. Take into consideration what you want out of the product you’ll be using and research away.

Pick and purchase.

Once you’ve selected a product to start with and did some research, all there’s left to do is pick and purchase. Whether you’re going with an already made product or dabbling in the do-it-yourself route – just do it.

What’s the easiest way to make the switch?

Try a subscription box!

Earlier I briefly mentioned Simply Earth, but I’d like to go into a bit more detail about who they are and how they can help you easily start switching to natural products.

In a nutshell, Simply Earth is a company created to make having a natural home fun and easy at honest prices. Their concept involves giving people the opportunity to get awesome essential oils for far less than you’ll pay with some companies, and help you create recipes from them.

From that, the idea of providing essential oil recipe boxes was born. With the essential Oil recipe box, you get everything you need to make your home natural; easy and fun recipes to follow, honest prices, and products that work.

It puts you in charge of the products you’re using and you can enjoy time together making natural recipes with friends and family.

I recently became an ambassador and received my first bonus box and recipe box! Check out my video below to see the awesomeness! In the meantime, if you want to give them a try, click the banner below and use coupon code HUDDLESTONFREE at checkout to get a $40 eGift card (when you start your subscription, only $39/month).

How do you make the switch to natural products?

Home Education, Reviews

How Unit Studies Changed Our Homeschool

As homeschooling evolves, there are more and more methods and styles surfacing. One of the newest methods is known as the Unit Study Method, and a lot of homeschooling families are loving it! The biggest reason is they practically fit any learning style. 

What are unit studies?

Unit studies are what they sound like… You are basically using the study of a particular topics or concept to teach across several (if not all) subject areas. Unit studies have changed the way I homeschool and I can’t say I’m ever going back. Plus, I want to tell you about one of the coolest resources you should check out for summer fun learning!

4 Reasons to Give Unit Studies a Try

Unit Studies give my kids a variety of ways to learn.

Whether we are studying butterflies, the ocean, or a certain culture, my kiddos get a variety of ways to learn about the chosen topic. Through books (especially living books), field trips, videos, and hands-on activities, they never get bored.

Not to mention, a variety of ways to learn is super important when you’re homeschooling multiples.

Unit Studies have the ability to cover any and every subject.

At first I wasn’t sure how I was going to get those “tough subjects” in. As I started researching and finding resources, I quickly realized that it would be easy.

For example, we are currently doing a Butterfly Nature Study using a resource from Holistic Homeschooler. In this resource, she provides over 20 pages of printables that touch science, handwriting skills through copywork, reading, and geography. When you come across a resource like this, it’s like hitting jackpot!

Unit Studies open the door to deeper understanding.

With almost every unit study we did last homeschool year, my kiddos have been intrigued to want to learn more about the subject or was led to want to discover something else.

Best part about this is it shows that their minds are hard at work, and they are eager to learn more or learn something new. With Holistic Homeschooler’s Butterfly Nature Study Packet, my kiddos learned how to identify butterflies. Now when we go outside, they are on the lookout for butterflies and get super excited to be able to identify them!

Unit Studies make education flexible.

Going back to the Butterfly Nature Study… the flexibility of this resource is amazing. I am homeschooling three kiddos (at the time) with a six-month-old baby in tow so it’s important for me to score resources that meet various levels of learning.

The ability to have printables on hand for my toddler, preschooler, and fourth grader has made learning about butterflies and their nature smooth. When we can group learning together, it makes it so much more fun!

A Unit Study You Should Try

As you can probably already tell, the resource I want to tell you about is Holistic Homeschooler’s Butterfly Nature Study Packet. Upon receiving this resource I knew it was going to be a perfect fit for our homeschool because I’m homeschooling multiples from toddler to fourth grade.

Anytime a resource offers printables that all the kids can use, I’m all for it. The Butterfly Nature Study Packet comes with beautifully made printables, two of which I decided to print and laminate {the butterfly anatomy and life cycle pages} so the kids could practice identification with what is now a reusable resource.

The fact that this resource aligns with the Charlotte Mason method means that my kiddos are seeing real life pictures of butterflies and the life cycle process. There is also a list of living books that can be found at the public library to incorporate.

This really brings learning to life and helps my children learn about the nature of a butterfly in a realistic way. This resource also fit perfectly with some other resources I used for our unit study of butterflies. Its a win-win and that’s why I recommend that you check out Holistic Homeschooler’s Butterfly Nature Study Packet. You’re welcome. 🙂

Psst… if you’re looking for ways to incorporate unit studies into your homeschool, I recommend checking out my free unit study lesson plans page. It is chocked full with {free} resources you can use from printables to videos!

CHIME IN: do you use Unit Studies as part of your homeschooling? If so, what are some of your subjects/topics to study?

Home Education

How to Homeschool with a Mixed-Method Style

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to pick just on homeschool style. To be quick honest, you’d be stressing yourself out by trying to put your homeschool in a box.

Going into my seventh year of homeschooling, I’ve learned how to homeschool with a mixed-method style. Here’s how you do it… and in 3 easy steps!

Choosing Methods That Work for Your Family

Notice method(s) is plural. Most homeschooling families today will claim one dominant method, but when looked at closely, they use several.

Of course it’s not necessary to even choose a method at all; however, it does help with teaching inspiration. Without going into details of all the individual methods, the most common are:

  • Charlotte Mason (real-life learning)
  • Unschooling (child and interest-led)
  • Eclectic (a little bit of this and that)
  • Unit Studies (themed-approach)
  • Classical Conversations (leadership education)

Each method offers an approach to learning that has since become a style that’s used to educate children at home. There is no right or wrong method. The main objective is to choose the ones that work for your unique family. Keep reading to discover how to homeschool with a mixed-method style.

How to Homeschool with a Mixed-Method Style

Step 1: Take the best, leave the rest.

Instead of looking at the different homeschooling methods and trying to hit every point, only use what resonates. In other words, don’t try to do it all and don’t worry about what doesn’t work.

If homeschooling through themes works, do it. Your children love nature walks? Incorporate them into your themes. If your children have an idea about how to do something, use it! Want to bring a lesson to life? Read living books.

Believe it or not, those examples are four homeschool methods in one! Once you have an idea of the different styles (or methods) you want to use…

Step 2: Gather resources.

There are tons of curriculum resources to choose from these days, so there’s no lack in finding what you need. Between Google, Pinterest, and Facebook – it’s all a click away. I personally steer toward the do-it-yourself route so I can piece together different things I need. Whatever you choose, always consider your child’s development level and learning style.

For example, when it comes to teaching about Ancient Egypt, Sonlight’s Ancient Egypt curriculum resources works perfectly. I’m able to introduce my children of varying ages to Ancient Egypt with an unschooling, unit study approach by reading novels, using coloring pages, and assembling fun paper figures.

They also include fun hands-on projects and illustrated non-fiction easy readers to provide even more context. I like how they provide a guide to help assist in planning what to do each day. Sonlight has definitely helped us connect with Ancient Egypt!

Step 3: Plan of action.

With your methods/styles chosen and your resources gathered, it’s time to create a plan of action. Put together a schedule that meshes with your unique family dynamic coupled with lesson plans that will help you get it all done.

Don’t forget to consider any pre-made lesson plans that are provided with the resources you choose. This is a plus, but totally not necessary. However, if you need help with putting together your own curriculum and lesson plans, I’ve put together a mini course that will guide you in an easy peasy way! (just click the graphic below to find out more!)

That’s it!

I’ve always been an advocate of homeschooling your way, and that includes using as many methods and styles as you choose. Never be afraid to try something new and ditch what doesn’t work. Your nerves will thank you for it!

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