Creating An Unschooling Environment

Unschooling is all about the child learning through engaging with their surroundings and then pursuing more deeply the concepts that spark curiosity and interest. The environment is key for learning to be a natural and smooth process. The environment should encourage children to explore their interests, learn from experiences, and pursue project based learning. Everything in the learning environment should encourage experimentation, problem-solving, creativity, and open-ended play.

The space should inspire children to direct their own learning. To create an engaging environment there are a few key areas to focus on – aesthetic, loose parts, natural materials, and basic resources. 

The space should allow time and space for a child to linger with an idea or project they are interested in.

Key Loose Parts

Wood Blocks

Play Silks

Stainless Steel Bowls

Sensory Bin Tools (Scoopers & Tongs)

Art Supplies

Modeling Clay

Watercolors

Chalk

Math Tools

Size Relevant Block Numbers

Counting Puzzle

Weaving Loom

Color Pie Puzzle

Play Clock

Play Money & Cash Register

Market Stand With Scale, Clock, and Cash Register

Magnetic Number Board

Geography Tools

Magnetic World Map

World Map Puzzle

Science

Anatomy Magnet Puzzle

Human Body Puzzle

Pretend Play

Wood Pretend Dentist Set

Wood Pretend Make Up Set

Farm Animals

Play Kitchen

Sensory Silks

Organic Baby Doll

Early Literacy

My Favorite Kids Books List

Alphabet Matching

My Favorite Board Games

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What You Need To Read Before Homeschooling Your Child

Whether you’ve always planned to homeschool your child or have newly decided to homeschool due to changes from Corona Virus, homeschooling is a consequential and life-changing endeavor for the parents and child(ren). It’s important to be informed and change your view from mass schooling and typical education to individualized and personal learning.

Public school is intended to easily educate a mass of people, so when you choose to homeschool, it does not make sense to follow the typical teaching and learning methods used in the education system. In order for you, as an educator & guide, and your child to thrive in homeschooling, it is necessary to learn the research behind natural, child-centered learning. This list of books will give you more than enough information to become an expert (and happy) guide in your child’s home learning process.

As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend, at no additional cost to you, for any purchases made. Thanks for supporting a work at home mom!

Books to Read for Homeschooling

Unschooled by Kerry McDonald

If you read just one of these books, make it this one. This is a research and experience filled book that reveals the importance of taking an alternative approach to education that allows children to learn according to their own interests as well as how to support and optimize that learning process.

Passion-Driven Education by Connor Boyack

One of the reviews I read for this book talks about how it broke the mom’s heart that she didn’t read it before homeschooling because she felt she wasted years not igniting her children’s passion for education. A must read before homeschooling in order to change your approach and get your child(ren) engaged and passionate about what they’re learning.

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Brave Learner by Julie Bogart

Written by a mother who homeschooled her own children, this book teaches parents how to make homeschooling a part of daily life rather than forced and scheduled curriculum. It invites parents to live curiously and role model for their children how to learn by exploring interests and adventures. It provides practical and applicable ways to make homeschooling easy and effective.

Free To Learn by Peter Gray

A developmental psychologist discusses the importance of shifting learning away from structured and forced schooling to children pursuing their own interests through play to become passionate and curious learners.

Balanced and Barefoot by Angela Hanscom

Learn the importance of unrestricted outdoor play on your child’s health and development. The book also provides helpful strategies on helping your child thrive regardless of where you live.

How To Raise A Wild Child by Scott Sampson

A research filled informative book on why and how to get your child interested and engaged in being in nature and outdoor learning.

“The best education does not happen at a desk, but rather engaged in everyday living – hands on, exploring, in active relationship with life.” ~ Vince Gowman

https://greenmamalife.com/2020/01/27/20-quotes-for-world-schooling/

You may also like: The Nature Books You Need In Your Homeschooling Library and 20 Quotes For World Schooling

Preparing For A Home Birth

Home birth is a beautiful and grounding birth option that allows you to experience birth your own way from the comfort of your home. 

Home birth may be an option for you if:

•You are having a healthy, low-risk pregnancy

•You want to avoid an episiotomy, cesarean section, epidural and other similar interventions

•You want to share the experience with family and friends

•You want to be free to move around, change positions, take a shower, and eat or drink freely during labor

•You want to enjoy the comforts of your home and familiar surroundings

https://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/home-birth

Benefits of Home Birth:

“Benefits of planned home birth include lower rates of maternal morbidity, such as postpartum hemorrhage, and perineal lacerations, and lower rates of interventions such as episiotomy, instrumental vaginal birth, and cesarean birth.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4399594/

“An average uncomplicated vaginal birth costs about 60% less in a home than in a hospital.”

https://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/home-birth/

Birth Supplies:

Although you don’t need much more than your body to give birth, it’s helpful to have plenty of supplies to create a comforting and relaxing environment that can address any issues should they arise.

The birth supplies you’ll need will depend on whether you’re having a midwife or an unassisted birth. If you’re getting a midwife, you’ll want to ask what they will supply, otherwise you’ll need to get most items yourself.

This post may contain affiliate links. As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made on links with no additional cost to you.

Helpful Gear:

If using a birth pool and planning a water birth, there are a few additional items you may want or need.

  • Lead-free potable water hose
  • Sink water hose adapter
  • Fish net (in case any accidents happen in the pool)

The Basics:

  • Extra sheets, towels, and rags
  • Thermometer
  • Underpads
  • Plastic sheet or shower curtain liner

Setting The Environment:

  • Dim lighting options
  • Essential oils

Comfort & Pain Management:

  • Birth gown for mom
  • Organic Herbal Heating Pad
  • Ice Pack
  • Healthy Snacks
    • Homemade fruit popsicles
    • Peanut butter
    • Vegetable Broth or Soup
    • Any quick & easy healthy snacks you love!

Unassisted Birth Medical Gear:

Home Birth On Your Own Terms: A How To Guide For Birthing Unassisted

•Hanging Weight Scale

•Blood Pressure Cuff and Stethoscope

•Umbilical Cord Clamp

•Kleenprint Footprint

For Baby:

  • Newborn diapers
  • Receiving blankets
  • Birthday cake (for family to celebrate!)

You may also like: Natural Ways to Prepare Your Body for an Easy and Intervention-Free Birth and The Best Resources For Planning Your Ideal Birth

5 Quick Steps To Improve Your Parenting This New Year

1. Make a Detailed List Of The Parent You Want To Be

Include at least 10 characteristics of what an ideal parent is to you. For example, you could say you want to be calm, kind, and affectionate. There is a free handout to help at the bottom of this article! Read more about setting expectations as a parent.

2. Write 3 Things You Want To Change About Your Parenting

Get specific and write out all the details. I would even suggest writing a story down of an example of the parenting characteristics or actions you want to change. This will help you clarify the issues and pinpoint what you want to change and how you may be able to do so.

3. Make An Action Plan

Write a detailed plan for the new behaviors you are going to use to replace your old unwanted behaviors. GET SPECIFIC. For example, instead of telling when my kids aren’t listening I will calmly give them two choices. Write yourself an example to make it real: “You can get your shoes on by yourself or I can help you.”

4. Make a List of 3 Ways You Will Bond With Your Child(ren)

Choose specific activities that you will both enjoy and can do regularly. Also try to choose activities that allow you to chat and focus on each other. For example, if your child is sporty, instead of playing laser tag or something with a lot of distractions, try putt-putt golf so there’s lots of time to chat. Some ideas for bonding with younger children is art activities, going on a walk, or some of these easy activities. Whatever you choose, schedule it in at least twice monthly. Get a calendar or planner, write it down, and stick to it. The consistency of your efforts will mean the world to your child (whether their old enough to express it or not).

5. Reflect and Improve

Although reflection requires a lot of effort, it will by far make the biggest difference in your parenting. Take time at least weekly to check in on your parenting goals and see if you’re meeting them. If not, where can you make little adjustments to make the goals more obtainable. What new examples can you write down to help remember and put into action the way you want to parent? With each reflection, you’ll be able to better embody your parenting goals.

Free parenting goals handout!

You may also find How To Be A Better Parent and The Secret To Being A Calm Mom helpful!

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Car Seats Are For Cars: How To Not Container Parent

Car seats are extremely important and have saved many little ones’ lives. It’s important to use a car seat when in a car, however, because they’re intended for the sole purpose of keeping baby safe from an impact, they do absolutely nothing in terms of supporting the baby’s development and actually hinder development. Because they actually impede baby’s development by confining and limiting movement, it’s important for baby’s well being to only be left in the car seat when in the car.

Please note this article is not intended to shame parents but rather to inform and empower them to make the best decision for their family.

Switching from one container to the next reduces the amount of time and ability for a baby to kick, turn their head side-to-side, wiggle and move as a baby is supposed to do in order to develop the needed strength and coordination to learn new skills such as rolling over, sitting up, crawling and walking.

Nation Wide Childrens

Over use of a car seat (along with other container devices such as a baby swing, rockers, strollers, etc.), can result in issues such as delayed development, flathead syndrome (plagiocephaly), maldevelopment of the neck muscles (torticollis), ADHD, and maldevelopment of reflexes.

 Time in containers should be limited to no more than 30 minutes maximum per day

https://azopt.net/container-baby-syndrome
As an Amazon affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made. Thanks for supporting a work at home mom!

Earth Mama Organics

Alternatives

Baby Wear

Although a baby carrier is still considered a “baby container,” it is a much better option that leaving baby in a car seat. A carrier allows baby to be close to you, regulating their breathing, heart rate, and it allows baby to feel safe and involved with whatever you are doing. Baby can learn by watching and listening to you, while babies are often left out of whatever is going on when left in a car seat. It also prevents head deformation as baby has different positions for head support, if any, when in the carrier. 

Wearing babies allows you to carry them in a position that’s beneficial to their physical health and development. It helps prevent flat head syndrome and can promote digestion (helping with colic and refluxes). Babywearing also increases the amount of time spent doing skin-to-skin with your baby, which research has connected to decreased rates of postpartum depression.

https://www.mother.ly/life/10-benefits-of-babywearing

Lille Baby Carrier

Organic Boba Baby Wrap

Play Mat

In terms of supporting development, a Playmat is your best option. It allows baby to move freely and develop his or her own movements. Although a great option, I know it is not always a realistic option when in public spaces. However, if you’re in a safe environment with baby, always have a Playmat on hand to let them develop their skills!

Organic Explore Playmat

Organic Cotton Round Playmat

Portable Play Yards

A great safe option to let babies play and grow is a portable Play Yard. It keeps baby from any accidents while still keeping them safe. While it’s best to use a play mat in a safe environment so baby can feel more involved with the surrounding world, play yards are a good option for when that may not be safe or realistic.

Lotus Portable Crib and Play Yard is the safest play yard as it the only playard with non-toxic certification (low voc & no lead, phthalates, pvc, heavy metals, etc).

Holding Baby

Of course there’s always the great option of just holding your baby! 

Having Someone Else Watch or Hold Baby

If you’re engaged in something important or unsafe enlist others to hold or watch your little one. Almost everyone will say yes to holding your baby!

Convertible Car Seat 

A great solution to limiting time in a car seat out of the car is eliminating the option! Get a convertible car seat that will grow with baby that stays in the car. This way if the temptation arises, it’s not an option because you definitely won’t lug around a huge convertible car seat. You’ll happily strap on the baby carrier or grab the play mat and head on your way.

The Maxi Cosi is my favorite because it has great safety ratings, it’s easy to use, and they don’t use toxic flame retardants on their seats.

How to support your baby's development

How do you avoid or limit container parenting? Any tips?

Ecocentric Mom box

You may also like: 5 Tips For Attachment Parenting

Survival Tips For The Work At Home Mom

Plan Everything

Grab the planner, calendar, and sticky notes! If you try to do it all, you realistically just won’t remember it all. Use any tools at your disposal. I fill out a monthly calendar and a weekly calendar hanging for everyone to see. I also use a planner daily to keep track of all the little to-dos that may arise as well as track goals and check off accomplishments.

Minimize

While more organization tools and scheduling is always helpful, doing and having less is always the best route to succeed. Make clear what your goals are and stick to what needs to get done to achieve them. Minimize all the extras that don’t really help you achieve your goal or bring you what you need (note: relationships, happiness, self care, and fulfillment are all needs).

This also applies to belongings. Old toys, clothes, useless extras around the house? Donate them! Or even better, sell them and make a little extra cash. The more things in your space, the more time you will spend trying to manage it all. Clean out anything that does not bring joy, provide a purpose, or is of importance to your family.

Learn more about living minimally here.

Set Clear Boundaries & Expectations

Let everyone know what time will be used to work and focus on working during that time. This may mean agreeing with a partner that you leave the house to work two or three times a week while they’re home or letting children know when a set time is for them to have quiet solo play. For example, I get some work done during nap time, but it is often not enough time, so I take two evenings a week to head to the coffee shop to focus on work.

10 Minute Speed Clean

As a work at home mom, it’s hard to not get caught up in the constant demands of the home. It’s necessary to decide set times to clean so it does not interfere with work time. As soon as my little is down for a nap, I give myself 10 minutes to speed clean and pick up anything that could distract me from my work. This way I’m not overwhelmed with a mess while working, but also not losing valuable work time.

Work While They Sleep

Of course, this a no-brainer if you have a little one who still naps. If they’re really young, you still may need to rest as they nap, but when you’re able to, take the time to get work done because getting work done while littles need your attention is not likely.

Delegate, Delegate, Delegate

Stop trying to do it all. I learned this the hard way, but it’s true, no one can do it all. You can’t keep the house spotless, work full time from home, and parent while maintaining some sanity. Call on those around you and use what support you can. As I started working more, I asked my husband to take on more of the chores. We keep a chore chart of who does what on what days to keep things fair and organized, which I suggest everyone do. Every family functions differently but make sure to talk to those around you and explain that even though you’re home, you have more than the home to focus on.

Survival Tips for the work at home mom wahm

Any tips you’d share? Drop them in the comments!

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