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What I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Homeschool Mom Self

Recently I have had a few conversations with younger mothers who are eager to embark on their homeschool journey. These chats have reminded me of all the things I wish someone had told me when I was considering homeschool in those preschool years. Since this is on my mind, I thought I would share here on the blog in the hopes this advice helps out some other mom who wants to make the most of the early childhood years! Before you go out and buy some expensive preschool curriculum or fill your child’s days with endless workbook pages, read on…

Tip Number 1:

My number one tip to you as you consider learning at home in the early years (up to age 6), is this:

RELAX!

Seriously. Just take a deep breath. It is easy to get caught up in the current cultural ideas of early academics. But the research does not back up the push to get kids reading, writing and doing math drills at a young age. The best thing you can do with your young children is to enjoy them being little and not worry about skills that will be easier to teach/learn later when they are more developmentally and behaviorally ready. Instead of stressing about curriculum, why don’t you spend some time researching different homeschool styles and philosophies. Take the opportunity to educate yourself and consider what sort of educational philosophy most resonates with you.

Tip Number 2:

But, you may ask, what can I do to add some intentional learning and structure to our days without going overboard? My first advice is to read aloud. A lot. Every day, multiple times a day, sit down and read a picture book to your child. Read the best books you can get your hands on. Get a library card and go as often as you can. Borrow audio books off Hoopla or Overdrive, and listen to them in the car. Look at AmblesideOnline Year 0 book lists for some great suggestions. Sign up for the free book lists from Read Aloud Revival for seasonal picture book ideas and family read alouds (not all for preschoolers, but still a good resource.) Or get your hands on a copy of the book Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt, which has a great book list, as well as inspiration for reading with your children!

Tip Number 3:

Other than reading all the time, go outside as much as possible. Take advantage of the good weather whenever you can and get outside. If it is cold, bundle up and go for a nature walk to see if you can spot migrating birds or find interesting seed pods or look at beautiful frost flowers. If it is hot, turn on the sprinkler or fill up the kiddy pool and get wet. If it is rainy, put on your boots and go splash in the puddles. Go to any scenic parks and nature centers you can find locally, not just playgrounds. Notice animals, birds, leaves, rocks, sticks, bugs, clouds, flowers, etc. Get dirty.

Tip Number 5:

For indoor play, look up sensory activities to experience together. Sand, water beads, “clean mud,” plain old water, pouring beans/rice, play dough, cloud dough, etc. (Google and Pinterest are your friend here!) Listen to beautiful music. Sing children’s songs (I have a list of good ones here —> 100 Songs to Sing with Children.) Look at beautiful art. Your library should have some books with collections of art prints to flip through. Let them paint, draw, color, stamp, and paint some more. Teach basic household chores like folding washcloths, matching socks, wiping the table, sweeping the floor with a little broom and dustpan, setting the table, and washing produce.

I’ll say it again…

Most importantly, I want to reiterate my first point. Relax. Enjoy this precious time with your young child. Embrace the wonder and curiosity that he or she naturally has right now. Don’t sweat the academics. There will be time for that later. Slow down. Don’t rush. They will grow up so fast, even though I know it doesn’t feel that way right now. Trust me…you won’t regret holding off on those workbooks and curricula, momma. Just love on your kiddos. It will be okay.

Further Reading and Resources:

The Homegrown Preschooler is a book that comes highly recommended and has lots of ideas for learning in the early years.

A helpful blog post by one of my favorite homeschool mentors, Brandy Vencel: Looking Back: What I Wish I’d Know About Homeschooling in the Early Years

Another of my virtual homeschool mentors, Mystie Winkler, also wrote on the topic of the classical kindergarten: Dear Mom who wants to give her 5-year-old a classical education

Sarah MacKenzie of Read Aloud Revival’s blog post on the early years: 6 Ways to Early Years You Won’t Regret

Goals, Habits and Intentions for 2019: Wellness Wednesday


Welcome back to Wellness Wednesdays here at Tuning Hearts! I have been slow to return to the blog since the holidays, but I hope to be more consistent in posting as the new year gets under way. I have decided to dial back my Wellness Wednesday link-up posts to one per month. Let’s plan to meet here every second Wednesday of the month and link up your wholistic health and wellness posts! This will not only give me to more time to think and write on relevant topics, but it will also give me more time I read and comment on your posts, something I have not been doing in as timely a manner as I should.

With all that business out of the way, let’s get on to this month’s wellness topic. Since it is the beginning of a new year, I am sure we all have goals or intentions for getting healthier and improving our lives in some way. Without going into all the whys and wherefores, I thought this would be an appropriate time to share some of the habits and choices I want to work on this year. I have added each of these to a habit tracker in my new bullet journal for 2019, so I can keep myself accountable for making progress in each area.

  • Scripture Reading Plan: In October I began a new 52-week Bible Reading Plan. The difference in this year’s plan is that it goes neither chronlogically or in book order as do most. Instead, each day I read a few chapters from a different genre of the Bible: Law, History, Poetry, Psalms, Prophecy, Gospels and Epistles. I have loved reading the Bible this way, and I am making new connections between books that I have not made before.
  • Breathing Prayer: I have written about this practice before, but I got out of the routine. I want to get back to the daily habit of taking 3-5 minutes for focussed breathing and prayer.
  • 10 Minute Workout: I joined “The Little Way” challenge hosted by Revelation Wellness this month, and it could not have come at a better time. I have fallen off the purposeful movement bandwagon, and this is the perfect way to get back to healthy movement while also feeding my soul. The workout options for this challenge are to do either 10 or 30 minutes a day. To begin easing back in, I am doing just 10 minutes a day. I already feel better getting moving first thing in the morning!
  • Read Non-Fiction: I struggle with finishing non-fiction books, at least those that are not in narrative format. My goal is to read at least a chapter a day from one of the non-fiction books that I have started and stopped until I finish them, then continue this habit with each new non-fiction title I begin after that.
  • Outside for 20+ Minutes: In the winter, especially, I struggle with getting outside enough and getting my daily dose vitamin D. Once spring comes, this won’t be such a necessary habit to track, but for now, I have to make it an intentional goal.
  • No Sugar: Another challenge I joined this month is 40 Day Sugar Fast hosted by Wendy Speake. I participated in it last year, and the faith-filled focus of the fast was a great boost to my spiritual growth at the beginning of the year. I am looking forward to this fast coupled with The Little Way challenge. I believe that getting my eyes on Jesus more and more and off the sugary snacks I use to reward myself or cope with emotional struggles is going to go a long way toward greater wholeness and health!
  • Food Log: This is partly added accountability for the sugar fast, but also just a simple, non-obsessive way for me to be mindful of what I am putting into my body each day.
  • Write Something: After the 2018 Write 31 Days blogging challenge, I learned that if I set my mind to it, I could write something every day. But I was tired and wanted a break from blogging like a crazy person. By the time the holidays rolled around I was so out of the habit of writing again that I did not even know where to begin. I dabbled in journalling a bit this fall, and I found that to be a beneficial practice for my thought life. So this year, I decided to combine my desire to blog more and my need to journal more into one basic goal of writing something, somewhere, every day. Some days I will only have time for a brief journal entry. Other days I will put some extra effort and time into creating a blog post. But I want to be doing something with words on a daily basis, because I know I can and should!

That sounds like a lot of goals, now that I have written them out in long hand, especially considering I also am homeschooling my kids and keeping house and cooking meals and trying to be a decent wife, friend and church member! But all these goals are also pretty small time commitments in and of themselves. And they are all things I have done before and can do again if I just make the right choices throughout my days.

Now it’s your turn! What are a few of your goals for wellness in 2019? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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Wellness Wednesday: Resting and Reflecting


Thanks so much for stopping by for another Wellness Wednesday! This week’s post is going to be short, sweet, and to the point. In the spirit of keeping the holiday season simple and family-centered, I’m going to be taking a break from doing this link-up until the new year. After Jan. 1, I am seriously considering changing Wellness Wednesdays to a once a month rotation instead of once a week. Even though hosting weekly does get me writing here at least that often, there are a lot of other topics I would like to explore outside of the holistic health arena. I don’t always have the bandwidth to write more than once a week, I want to use that time to the fullest and write on the things that are most on my mind and heart.

All that to say, Wellness Wednesday will continue in 2019, but possibly not as frequently. Please do go ahead and add your post to the link-up this time around! I will be leaving it open through Christmas and New Years for those that find this post a bit later in December.

Until next time, have a happy, healthy holiday!
Kiel
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The Reading Report, Vol. 17: Back to the Classics 2018 Wrap-up

How on earth is it already the second week in December? Life here in the Lemon house has been so full (of mostly good things) that I just can’t seem to keep up with the passage of time. But at long last, here I am with my final report and wrap-up on the 2018 Back to the Classics Challenge. I will be posting some other bookish news and reviews on non-B2tCC reads later on this month, I hope. For today, though, I will just be listing all the finished titles under their categories and linking each title back to the post in which I gave a brief review of the finished book.

Back to the Classics Challenge 2018 Wrap-up

1. A 19th Century Classic: Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

2. A 20th Century Classic: Howards End by E. M. Forster

3. A Classic by a Woman Author: Whose Body by Dorothy Sayers (read in place of Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton)

4. A Classic in Translation: The Wreath (book 1 of Kristin Lavransdatter) by Sigrid Undset

5. A Children’s Classic: Heidi by Johanna Spyri (This is the most recently finished book on my list, so I didn’t get a chance to post a finished review after last month’s “in progress” report. We both loved the book, although I did end up feeling like Heidi’s character was a little too perfect throughout. The lessons taught still ring true, regardless.)

6. A Classic Crime Story: The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

7. Classic Travel or Journey Narrative: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

8. Classics with a Single-Word Title: Utopia by Thomas More

9. Classic with a Color in the Title: White Fang by Jack London

10. Classic by a New-to-You Author: The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene (in place of The Spiritual Life by Andrew Murray)

11. A Classic that Scares You: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

12. Re-read a Favorite Classic: Persuasion by Jane Austen

I am so proud of myself for pushing through some of the less enjoyable choices I made for the challenge. And I must say that I am glad I participated this year! Also, according to my records on Goodreads, I have finished 54 books in 2018, which is a big deal for me! I honestly think this challenge pushed me to up my reading game across the board. Now I need to decide whether I want to tackle the 2019 challenge. We shall see!

Until next time, happy reading!

Tuninghearts (at) gmail (dot) com

Wellness Wednesday: Diffuser Recipes for a Happy, Healthy Holiday

 

As we enter the Christmas season, here in the northern hemisphere, we also enter winter and cold and flu season! So this week I thought I would share a few holiday diffuser recipes using essential oils to boost your immune health while also adding a bit of Christmas cheer to your home. Unlike scented candles or wax melts, essential oils do not add toxins to the air but, rather, support our overall health and wellness when we inhale them. Because of the amazing way that scent affects the brain, we also reap positive emotional benefits from diffusing essential oils. Enjoy these lovely essential oil diffuser combos during this season for a happy, healthy holiday!

Want to link up? I would love to read your thoughts on your own health and wellness journey! Follow the instructions below to join the link-up and share!

How to participate:

  1. Write a post on a topic related to wellness, and add your link to the list below.
  2. Grab the Wellness Wednesday logo graphic below and put it in your linked post, also with a blurb mentioning and linking back to that week’s link-up.
  3. Please stop by at least two other participants’ blogs and leave a comment on their Wellness Wednesday posts. This doesn’t take long, and it is really encouraging and helpful for building community and continuing the conversation!

P.S.--If you want to know more about the type of essential oils our family prefers, you can check out my Hearts, Minds and Oils page!