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What is nature to you? To me, nature is a classroom full of endless possibilities, with lessons ready to be learned, and answers to all of my deepest questions. I grew up out in nature. It has always felt like my REAL home and is the one place where I am able to let go and forget all of my outside worries. Nature has been a driving force in my education as well. As a child, I was deeply fascinated with the ocean and the rainforest. I was obsessed with learning more about each of these biomes, and spent hours taking up our 1 phone line, using the internet to search for more information. This was truly the beginning of my green loving hippy ways. Nature has been at the heart of my education, from the day that my dad took me on my first hike.
The homeschooling curriculum that we are talking about today, A Child's World was created by Leah McDermott from the blog Crunchy Farm Baby (You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, & Etsy). I was generously given this curriculum to review and giveaway, but my opinions are my own! I will only share with you products that I myself love and use personally!
We're using nature as our classroom
After making the hefty decision to homeschool, I wasn't sure what education style we wanted to go with for our homeschool curriculum. I knew that whatever I chose, it needed to be deeply rooted in nature. I did a lot of research and found a couple of learning styles that really seemed to fit our Hippy ideals and placed a large emphasis on children learning with nature and through the cycles. The three that really stood out for us were (descriptions from Wikipedia):
- Montessori – Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. In Montessori classrooms children make creative choices in their learning, while the classroom and the teacher offer age-appropriate activities to guide the process.
- Waldorf – Waldorf (Steiner) education is a humanistic approach to pedagogy based on the educational philosophy of the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy.
- Unschooling – Unschooling is a method of homeschooling that puts the desire, drive, motive and responsibility for life – this thing we call learning, or education – in the hands of the learner. Unschooling is what defines a life lived on one's own terms, whether you're a child, a teen or an adult.
Not knowing anything about Unschooling I pretty much wrote it off immediately. I had assumed that Waldorf would be best for us and was planning on teaching in that style, but after reading through Lea's eye-opening book “What Is My Child's Unique Learning Style And How Do I Teach To It? Discovering Your Child's Individual Learning Identity” I was blown away to realize that Syfy and I both learn in the same physical manner, and that Unschooling and Montessori were a better fit for us. This made total sense with our ADHD brains and our need to touch everything. With this in mind, I am using Leah's nature inspired curriculum A Child's World to run our Kindergarten year and with it, I am combining a little of each of the three styles I mentioned above, to fit our classroom to our learning style. One of the best things that you can do for your own homeschool classroom, is to adapt everything to your own learning styles!
“Play is a child's work” – Maria Montessori
Many experts are now coming to find out, and agree with, Maria Montessori when she said “Play is a child's work”. According to Lea, “Real world, hands-on experience is absolutely the best way for a child to learn, especially [under the age of seven]! And nowhere but in nature are these experiences more readily available.” With all of the TV, video games, tablets, and other screens that our kids are glued to indoors, it's imperative that we get our kids outsides and playing. Recent research shows that the average American child spends only 4-7 minutes outside every day. You heard me right. That's crazy right? Nature has many benefits to the learning child, some of which have even been studied further:
- Supports creativity and problem solving skills – (Kellert, 2005)
- Enhances concentrations and lessens ADD-like behaviors – (Kuo and Taylor, 2004)
- Improves academic performance – (American Institutes for Research, 2005)
- Improves nutrition – (Morris & Zidenberg-Cherr, 2002)
- Reduces stress – (Wells and Evans, 2003)
Unique themes that bring together many different lessons easily
This is my first year homeschooling and I was a bit terrified that I wouldn't know what to teach about, how to teach about it, what activities to with it, or even what books to read. Those fears got thrown out the window the moment I received our curriculum in my email inbox. Everything was set up so that I could either follow along her given schedule or break up the 20 unique themes into the schedule that works right for us. Each of these themes have about 25 “cross-curricular” activities, as well as a list of needed supplies, and a list of the books to read. Leah lays out her advice on presenting the theme and the activities and if after all of that, you still have questions, you can ask them in the Members-Only Facebook group or to Leah herself, who personally offers her advice when needed!
Professionally designed by an extremely qualified educator
“With two Masters of Education in Reading and Curriculum Writing, dual teaching certifications, educator awards, and (most importantly) being a homeschooling mom of a preschooler, this curriculum is designed by an author with the most specific professional and personal qualifications!” I am blown away by the depth of knowledge that Leah has in education. Her curriculum has given me confidence in becoming a fantastic homeschool teacher myself, as well as hope for Syfy's educational future.
This #HippyHomeschool giveaway is the BIGGEST I've ever done!!! EVER!
When I sat down to think about what I could giveaway in celebration of our starting our homeschooling journey, I knew I needed to put together a package that every natural #HippyHomeschool needed, but even more than that, I knew that it needed to be BIG! I hadn't anticipated so many awesome people saying yes to join me in this celebratory giveaway though! I wanted BIG and I totally got it! I am so excited to announce that this month, I am giving away over $520 worth of natural #HippyHomeschool curriculum, supplies, and toys! This is by far the biggest giveaway I have ever done! This month, to 1 totally lucky winner, we are giving away:
- 1 year A Child's World Nature-Based homeschool curriculum
- Natural Earth Paints Kid's Earth Paint Kit, 1 set of natural paint brushes
- Sarah's Silks 6 Silks Squares 35×35 Rainbow Set
- $50 A Toy Garden Gift Certificate
- $50 Bella Luna Toys Gift Certificate
- The Organic Artist book, by Nick Neddo
- 2 fairy bendy dolls (1 boy, 1 girl) from Wildflower Toys
- Child's Wooden Apothecary Kit from Simple Gifts Toys
- 4-piece Hippy Homemaker Back-to-School Aromatherapy set – Medicine Woman Jr, Study Buddy, Good Night Sleep Tight, and Calm Your Squirrel
This giveaway is open to US & Canadian residents, 13 years of age or older. This giveaway is running from 8/15/15 – 8/30/15. You can enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below!
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