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, 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

Circle Time at Home

Did you ever attend a library program when you were a child?  Do you ever take your children? Some of my first memories when I was little was going to the Hortonville Public Library (Wisconsin) with my friend. I have memories of the books, music, and crafts we did.  When our first child was little I had a small home daycare and Circle Time was part of our daily routine. I hope this post will give you some ideas to incorporate this into your routine, daily or even a few times a week!

I like to start out my circle time playing the fish game. Make some fish out of some cardstock or cardboard and let the kids decorate them. Add some magnets to them, make a magnetic fishing pole, and the kids take turns catching them. On the back there will be things they need to do. Here are some suggestions:  

  1. What is your name?  

(A great way to practice saying their name. We also work on introducing ourselves and asking the other person what their name is. Practice shaking hands as well.  Sometimes I’ll ask them to say their age as well.

  1. Say something you are thankful for.
  2. Jump on one foot.
  3. Sing a song.
  4. Make up your own dance.
  5. Pretend to be an animal.
  6. What is the weather like today?
  7. What is your favorite thing to eat?
  8. Give someone a hug.    
  9. Stand up, turn around, sit down!

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Here is a finger play to that practices counting: 

“1,2,3…Once I Caught a Fish Alive”

One, two, three, four, five

Once I caught a fish alive.

Six, seven, eight, nine, ten

Then I let him go again.

Why did you let him go?

Because he bit my finger so.

Which finger did he bite?

This little finger on the right.

Sing With Your Child

Did you know research has proven that singing to your baby and children? Here are just a few reasons: attachment, communication, literacy, math and spatial skills, rhythm and rhyme, and fun.  Here are some of my go to songs with finger movements added in:

  1. You are My Sunshine
  2. The Itsy Bitsy Spider
  3. I’m a Little Tea Pot
  4. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
  5. Jesus Loves Me 
  6. The Wheels on the Bus
  7. ABC’s  (have a chart that you can point to the letters each time, will help with letter recognition.)

Singable Books

Books are always a part of our circle time.  I have a basket that we rotate through. Here are some of my favorites.

Iza Trapani has taken a nursery song and added to the story.  These are great because most of us know the song and can sing through it ( this is called a piggy back song where you take the song melody and change the lyrics. A great skill to know!)

 

Barefoot Books’ singable story books are another great option.  These include a cd with the music that you can follow along with. Remember to SING along though!

 

I hope this will inspire you to learn more! I have a great handout that includes the printable fish pictures to decorate and a bit more info. Keep singing and moving!

CHIME IN: Is circle time a part of your homeschooling routine? If so, what are some things that you and your children do during this time? Share with us in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!


Janet Stephens is the founder and creator behind Bear Paw Creek’s creative movement props and bags. She is passionate about learning and sharing along the way. 

Home Education

Lesson Planning Made Simple

You’ve opted out of purchasing curriculum and resources that have the lesson plans mapped out for you. Maybe you’re even giving the do-it-yourself route a try. Regardless of what you’re using to homeschool, I want to share a method that makes lesson planning a breeze!

Choose Monthly Themes

You can find all types of holidays, special days, and commemorative days for just about every month. A simple Google search will pull up just about anything you can think of for each month and for different places around the world.

This is a great place to start when brainstorming a theme to use for the month’s lesson plans, activities, field trips, and so on.

Once you’ve selected a theme for the month, it’s time to break it down into organized plans.

Choose Weekly Topics

Choosing a weekly topic allows you to break down an overall theme and “stretch” it to include as many aspects and facets as you can imagine. Often times as homeschooling moms (and dads) we feel like we need to get everything done and taught in a week’s time.

I beg to differ!

I believe we can can (and SHOULD) spend as much time as we want on any given theme and/or topic. Take the fall season, for example. So much can be learned about fall – from trees and leaves to life cycles of apples and pumpkins and weather cycles.

These topics can also be spread across multiple subjects – all stress free!

Choose Daily Themes

Choosing a daily theme gives you a creative way to carry out that month’s overall theme down to the weekly topic. In the free October-themed lesson plan and guide I have for you (at the end of this post), I use the following daily themes:

  • Sundays introduce a new topic revolving around fall (trees, leaves, apples, pumpkins, and weather).
  • Mondays are read-aloud (or independently) days.
  • Tuesdays are for video (or documentary) watching.
  • Wednesdays are nature walk days.
  • Thursdays are for lapbooks and/or interactive notebooking.
  • Fridays are field trip days.
  • Saturdays are used for researching Scripture about that weeks topic.

This makes it easy to know what to do each day of the week and for weeks to come!

Keep the Resources Simple

When I go on a search for resources to use, my go-to places are:

Regardless if you’re looking for free, cheap, or no cost cap – the above avenues will pull up lists with more resources than you’ll ever need, but having all the options is great. To easily store what you find I recommend creating a labeled bookmark folder and saving the links in that folder. Make a note in a notebook (or on a template I provide with the freebie) of the title (or website) name.

Choose a day to gather the materials you’ll need for the upcoming week. If you easily get overwhelmed I strongly consider taking it one week at a time. I pick Sundays for gathering the upcoming week’s materials.

If you’re more of a long term kinda planner, try planning 2 weeks at a time. And if you’re really a planning pro, knock out the entire month! You could always use the workbox system, file folders, storage bins, or a filing cabinet for storing any printables and supplies you need.

Let Me Help You Get Started!

I created an October-themed lesson plans and guide printable to help you get started on planning out a month’s worth of activities revolving around the fall season. You’ll find a common thread (mentioned above) with daily themes and icons you can click on.

When you click on the icons listed for Monday-Friday you’ll be directed to playlists, book lists, ideas from Pinterest, and more (over 75 resources)! All you need to do is download, print, and hang it up where you can see it. Then, hang on to the digital copy so you can easily navigate the websites included.

If you’d like to get your hands on a monthly lesson plan already prepared like the freebie below then consider joining our Homeschool Library MembershipThere are so many perks to this membership, it’s worth WAY MORE than the $7/mo fee!

To snag your freebie, simply fill out the form below and it’ll be on the way! By filling out the form you’ll be added to our Subscriber Community which comes with the password to access our FREE Resource Library AND I’m throwing in the FREE copy of our digital magazine, Take It Easy!



Home Education

Top 4 Science Resources for Homeschoolers

I asked close to 20K homeschooling mamas (thank to ALL the Facebook groups I’m in) their top resource choices when it comes to science. After tallying up all the answers I compiled a detailed list of the top 4 science resources for homeschoolers.

You’ll get detailed descriptions, the style of learner it best fits, and some other important information so you can make the best possibly choice when it comes to incorporating these resources into your homeschooling journey.

Apologia

This company is considered a veteran to the homeschool community and “are a #1 publisher for homeschoolers having earned over eighty top awards from homeschool parents and media for over twelve years in a row!” The basis of their work is based on three concepts:

  1. Teaching from a biblical worldview.
  2. Helping homeschooling families home educate successfully.
  3. Helping Messiah-followers defend their faith.

With this in mind, they “publish creation-based science curriculum for grades K–12, biblical worldview studies for six to fourteen-year-olds, Apologetics studies and Constitutional Literacy for high school students, and practical resources for homeschooling families including the Ultimate Homeschool Planners for moms, teens, and students.”

When it comes to learning style, Apologia seems to cross most brackets. For the child who likes to read, their textbooks are filled with engaging, conversational style writing, beautiful colors, and top-of-the-line material. For the hands-on learner, you’ll get plenty of interaction through hands-on experiments and other ideas suggested by the Apologia community.

Families who are looking for curriculum and resources created from a Biblical worldview with the ability to teach multiple ages and grades – not to mention, online class options – then Apologia is worth looking at!

Price points for Apologia: $9 – $309

Scroll to the bottom to enter {time sensitive} giveaway!

Moving Beyond the Page

Moving Beyond the Page is a comprehensive homeschool curriculum that covers science, social studies, and language arts. Their curriculum and resources start for ages as young as four-years-old and go through high school.

There’s no second-guessing if they’re resources are for you because they provide a detailed requirements list for each age group. You can also watch overviews, read more about each age group, and review samples all before making a purchase.

MBTP understands that “a child’s biological age does not always correlate with his “readiness” — his ability to comprehend a concept or develop a skill. Because of this, Moving Beyond the Page is not structured around grade levels — kindergarten, first grade, etc. Instead, it is structured around the recommended age levels of children using the curriculum (for example, Age 5-7, Age 6-8).”

While they aim to create a curriculum for the gifted, creative, and hands-on learner… they start with state and national standards, then wrap those standards around a concept-based curriculum that encourages different learning styles. This is amazing for the homeschooling family looking to be aligned with state standards! Find our more about their methodology here.

Moving Beyond the Page offers several purchasing points:

  • Multi-subject packets: Everything you need in one package. All packages include science, social studies, and language arts, and many include math as well.
  • Single-subject packets: Customize your year by with single-subject packages.
  • Unit studies: Choose among science, social studies, or language arts units to complement what you are already doing.
  • Individual items: Specific resources like a curriculum book, manipulative kit, or a literature book.

Price points for Moving Beyond the Page: $4.99 – $1005.67

Kiwi Co

If you’re looking for hands-on science projects delivered straight to your door (for ages 0-16+), then Kiwi Co has you covered. It’s super easy to get setup and shipments started.

Each of the crates, no matter which one you choose, comes with everything you’ll need to create what’s inside. The detailed manual and extra learning booklet (that’s what I call it) adds the perfect touch to extended learning.

You can easily start and stop subscriptions depending on your homeschooling needs, as well as switch between which type of crate you’d like sent.

As a homeschooling mom of multiples, I was able to use 1 crate (the Koala crate) for both of my littles, and my son loved both the Doodle and Tinkers crates. As of now, they offer the following:

  • Panda Crate (0-24 months) *new*: explore and discover
  • Koala Crate (2-4 years) *one of our favs*: play and learn
  • Kiwi Crate (5-8 years): science, art, and more
  • Atlas Crate (6-11 years) *fairly new*: geography and culture
  • Doodle Crate (9-16+): art and design
  • Tinker Crate (9-16+): science and engineering
  • Eureka Crate (14-104): engineering and design
  • Click here to read more about each line.

As you can see by the list, these crates cross multiple subjects and offer a variety of learning points for children of all learning styles – but especially for the tactile learner.

Crates are not only their specialty. They also offer individual products, such as: chemistry sets, STEM packs, classroom packs, and gifts.

Price points for Kiwi Co: $9.95 – $199.95 (for individual products) $15.50 – $19.95 (for monthly crate subscriptions)

Supercharged Science

Aurora, Founder and creator of Supercharged Science, is your go-to virtual teacher for all things science. She offers detailed descriptions of science topics you children should be learning for grades 1-12, as well as curriculum best for them.

The science curriculum you’ll through Supercharged Science is self-guiding, so your children can do it on their own. Also, it’s very hands-on, so they won’t be reading boring lessons from a book – they’ll be doing real science, like real scientists do in the lab.

There is a ton of free stuff (science lessons, teaching resources, and online classes) available, as well as many curriculum resources to purchase. The purchasing options are:

  • Online curriculum
  • Science mastery
  • Single-topic curriculum
  • Small bundles
  • Summer programs

The e-Science Curriculum is a monthly subscription-style program. It is a video-based online science curriculum that explains topics to kids in a practical real-world way, by using step-by-step videos to guide them through every detail of activities, experiments and projects that let them apply the concepts they just learned.

The Science Mastery program has hundreds of science experiments, projects, and activities! Over a year’s worth of physical science and chemistry for K-12 kids. It also includes: science lessons, recorded live on CD, instructional step-by-step video DVDs, parts and materials, the Science Experiment Manual, and unlimited support for as long as you need it. Click here to read more.

Simply put, Supercharged Science is another program that is suitable for any learning style!

Price points for Supercharged Science: $25 – $225

So Much to Choose From, How Do I Do It?

That’s one of the top questions for homeschooling moms and dads. How do I choose the right curriculum for my children? It may not seem easy at first, but after taking the following tips into consideration, perhaps it become much easier from here on out:

  1. Don’t feel pressured to have to purchase a full blown curriculum right off the bat.
  2. Chat with other homeschooling moms and get their honest opinion and reviews.
  3. Take into consideration the learning style of your child. (there are quizzes you can take if you don’t know)
  4. Look for samples to try before you buy.
  5. Don’t be afraid to mix and match.
  6. When you find something that works, stick with it!

These tips can help guide you along your curriculum resource picking journey, especially when it comes to choosing for the science category.

CHIME IN: What is your go-to science curriculum resource? Have you tried something that you didn’t like? Share you thoughts in the comments below and help other moms/dads out!


ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE

Could you use some free curriculum? If so, you’re going to love this giveaway! Now through Sunday, September 22, you can enter to win your choice of a science curriculum from Apologia!

To enter, just fill out the entry card below. You can pick and choose which entry options you complete, and along the way, you’ll find some fantastic new homeschool bloggers to follow!

In addition, by entering you will also receive a Digital Swag Bag valued at $60 – so everyone who enters gets free curriculum resources! You can find the details of the Swag Bag below the entry.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Apologia Giveaway Info

It is your responsibility to read the terms and conditions upon entering. Entering this giveaway signs you up for the following email newsletters: The Fervent Mama, Life Beyond the Lesson Plan, The Art Kit, Peace Creek on the Prairie, Brookdale House, My Joy-Filled Life, The Unexpected Homeschooler, Finding Joy in the Journey, and With the Huddlestons email if you aren’t already subscribed. The winner has 48 hours to claim their prize before a new winner is drawn. Giveaway ends September 22nd, 2019 at 12 AM CST. 

 SWAG Bag Info

All entrants will receive the Swag Bag (valued at $60) within 24 hours of the giveaway closing. 

With the Huddlestons Science Experiments That’ll Blow Your Mind is a eCourse that comes with 4 videos and printable worksheet pages that are needed to complete each experiment. This is the perfect self-paced course for the science explorer looking to be wow’d! This is a $20 course!

The Unexpected Homeschooler Career Exploration Worksheets This is a course teens can do to explore what careers would be best for their personalities, interests, and strengths.

Peace Creek on the Prairie – The All About Animals an early childhood resource packet is filled with eleven lesson plans for elementary aged children to teach children valuable science lessons. $12 value

Brookdale House – Thirty Pages of Panda Themed Handwriting practice including letter tracing practice.  The fun panda graphics will help your child look forward to the next page of practice.

The Art Kit – Outer Space 3-Part Cards (4 sheets that include Sun + Planets) and STEAM Challenge Color Mixing Activity Cards. $10 value.

https://www.theartkitblog.com/outer-space-3-part-planet-printable-cards/

https://www.theartkitblog.com/color-mixing-steam-challenge-cards-printable-pack/

The Fervent Mama Our Bible Trivia for Kids Game Kit includes 54 printable pages of fun for ages Elementary and up! Valued at $15, each set of questions is sorted by difficulty and labeled by categories. There are 240 questions total; 40 Level 1, 60 Level 2, 110 Level 3, and a Bonus 30 adult questions. ($15 value)