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

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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Wellness Wednesday: Reporting on the Luddite Experiment

At the beginning of October, I began what I intended to be only a month-long break from social media. You can read about that in my original post on “Joining the Luddite Experiment.” Now that it is nearly the end of November, I thought I should report on how that experiment has been going, because, as you may have guessed, I have not really gone back to Facebook or Instagram yet.

I have checked a couple of things on Facebook in the last week, namely the Close Reads Podcast group to find out when we start reading The Great Gatsby (this week!) and a local homeschool group to see if there are any exciting field trips scheduled in December that we don’t want to miss (nope). But otherwise, I have been perfectly happy to be off social media and plan to continue to stay away for the remainder of the year.

So what have I been doing with all that time I had been spending scrolling through feeds? Well, I find myself spending more time doing things offline that are important to me, like reading and knitting and journalling. I am less distracted or worried about what so-and-so out there in the world might be doing and more content to just live my little life right here with my family. I have enjoyed having local friends over for a homeschool mom’s book club, and I have reconnected with other AmblesideOnline parents on the AO Forum. I also have been enjoying more time spent in devotional reading and prayer in the mornings.

So, overall, I have to say that this time away from the hubbub of the virtual social scene has been exactly what I hoped it would be, and I don’t have any plans to go back any time soon. Especially now that the holiday season is upon us, I am looking forward to more cozy, contented days cultivating relationships with my family and local friends and doing what I love without worrying so much about what “everyone else” might be doing. My emotional and mental health have truly improved over the last two months, and that alone is reason enough for me to continue in this Luddite Experiment.


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!


Wellness Wednesday: Thanksgiving is Good for You!

Yes, I know that a lot of our more traditional Thanksgiving meals here in the U.S. are not what we think of as “health food.” We have to be careful to make good food choices when we come to the holiday table. But that isn’t the reason I am saying that Thanksgiving is good for you. I am talking about the health benefits of gratitude.

When we choose to cultivate a grateful attitude, we not only put ourselves in a more positive mental state. Certainly thinking of focussing on our blessings is beneficial to our emotional health. We think more clearly about the things we have to be thankful for instead of those that tend to bring us down. I believe we all would acknowledge that if we struggle with negative emotions, one way to improve our outlook is to intentionally set aside time to practice gratitude.

But did you know that having an “attitude of gratitude” can also be good for your physical health? According to an article in Psychology Today, that is the case!

Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and report feeling healthier than other people…grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health.

Another interesting study cited in the same Psychology Today article found that people who practice gratitude sleep better, especially when people write down a few things for which they are thankful before going to bed. Even more fascinating are some studies mentioned in a Greater Good Magazine article, in which researchers found a connection between heart health and cultivating gratitude.

I don’t know about you, but knowing that God has made our minds, emotions and bodies to work in such an interconnected way…well, it makes me truly grateful for His wonderful design. And I am definitely rebooting my habit of recording reasons for gratitude in my prayer journal, not just because I want good health, but because the Lord deserves to receive the praise.

So, this Thanksgiving, don’t just choose to eat health when possible. Choose to truly give thanks for all the blessings you’ve been given. And start on a habit of gratitude today!


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!
  4. Bonus points if you post about the link-up on your social media. I will feature a post from one or two Wellness Wednesday participants on my Facebook page during the week after the link-up, so please head on over there to follow me and see if your post is featured!


Day 31: Close #write31days2018

It seems like just a few days ago I was starting on the Write 31 Days challenge, and here we are at the close. This month has flown by at an incredible pace, and I have had a hard time keeping up with the demands of writing every day. As I close and look back on the challenge, I am proud of myself for completing it. Even though I had to double up on posts some days, I did write for every single prompt this time. I made time to write, and I made that time a priority. Forcing myself to come up with something to write daily has stretched my creativity. I have put some of my thoughts and contemplations into words on the page, which always helps me clarify them even more in my own mind.

If you have been reading along with me through this challenge, thank you so much for taking the time to peruse my meandering thoughts! November’s posts will be more sporadic than October’s, but now that I know I can write nearly every day, I hope to be here multiple times a week like I was back in the early days of this blog.

With that being said, if there are any topics that you would like to see me write about here, would you kindly leave a comment or send me an email and let me know? I would love to bring you better content that is relevant to you if I can! Thanks again!

P.S.–If you want to go back and catch up on any of my challenge posts, you can find the index to all 31 posts here