If we want our children to be creative, open-minded,problem solvers, and freely themselves, the best way that we can do that is to provide them with an environment in their space where they can freely access materials to create at any point. This post will give you pointers into setting up an art studio in your home (if you’re in a classroom, the info is the same, just on a larger scale). Make sure to check out the post about Why Your Child Needs an Art Space to understand the incredible benefits of doing this – it’s some serious motivation to make this happen! Setting up an art space in your home might seem overwhelming if this is something you haven’t done before, but if you follow some of these guidelines, this will help make it seem a bit easier and get you started on creating this wonderful free art space for your kids to enjoy.
Art is one of the most important forms of self-expression for our children. As parents and educators, our hopes and goals for our children are that they grow up to be independent free thinkers, always curious, and looking for problems that they can solve. When they are younger, the best thing that we can do to support all of these traits is to create an open and inspiring art space in our homes or classrooms for our children to create in! “Art has the role in education of helping children become more like themselves instead of more like everyone else.” – Sydney Gurewitz Clemens
So often I get asked some form of this question: “I love the IDEA of homeschooling, but my biggest fear is socialization. How will my child learn to connect with others his/her age?”
It’s an age-old joke. Homeschooled kids are weird. Awkward. Don’t know how to fit into society.
So naturally it’s something that crosses every new homeschooling parent’s mind – what about social growth? How do I make sure my child knows how to talk to other kids? What about participating in events? How do I find local things for them to do…. So I CAN SOCIALIZE THEM.
One of the most important pieces of interest-led learning is often left out of the process of developing learning experiences in the classroom/home – adapting the environment.
Once you’ve determined an interest that your group has, and you’ve figured out their background knowledge so you have a good foundational place to start with new learning experiences, you naturally want to start researching ideas for activities to explore that interest. But before you head to Pinterest or start exploring teacher blogs for ideas, you need to bring your attention back to your own environment first!
Winter is a season that, when we’re not in it, makes us think of beautiful snowy landscapes, happy kids playing in the cold with red noses, Christmas lights, cookies, and love….. Buuuut when it actually rolls around, we often find ourselves struggling with the desire to bundle up and go outside, determine what to say yes/no to doing to have the “Best Christmas EVER,” and deal with the dreaded cabin fever.
I reached out to my Facebook Group audience to find out what they find themselves struggling with the most in the winter months, and I’m answering with some tips to the top 3 responses….
Happy December First!!
We’ve officially entered my FAVORITE month and time of the year, and I can’t wait to spread holiday cheer to everyone around me!
I wanted to start with you, my beloved friends! So, I have some holiday gifts that are completely free and ready for you to open up and enjoy with your kids and for yourself.
Ready? Here are three gifts that I hope you can use to make your holiday season the best one yet. After all, life is so short… make every second count.
For years now I’ve seen posts and photos of gorgeous wax-dipped Fall leaves; and I have always wanted to give it a try. Finally this year, with my sons’ obsessive leaf-collecting habits in full swing, it was time!
This is a great activity for kids starting around the preschool/kindergarten age. The wax is hot, but solidifies as soon as it touches skin, so it’s not dangerous. My 5-year old handled the project with ease. The 2-year old helped with leaf gathering on our nature walk and laying them out to dry.
From math activities that helped to distract him and learn new language for describing feelings, to daily drawings of what was on his mind, to yoga becoming part of our mornings again, this curriculum really helped us open up and talk about things more constructively, and I started to see an improvement in his mood. Of course, he’s still in a period of transition and misses his dad while he works, but now we have a great line of communication and activities to help. Thank you, Leah, for including “My Feelings” as part of the first grade curriculum.
I have parents asking me all the time how they can create both a child-led learning environment but also still teach their children to read and write! Believe it or not, a child-led experience leads very nicely into the development of reading skills. Creating an environment where reading is a focus, a joy, and a part of everyday life is one of the most important ways to help your child boost their early literacy skills.
How many times in a day do you tell your child to “hurry up?”
Rushing out the door. Get your shoes on. Eat your dinner faster. Walk quicker. Chin up, eyes forward, let’s go! We’ve got to HURRY…..
To where? To what?
Do you stop and ask yourself what you’re rushing for? What is so important that you are pushing your child so quickly through their childhood?
The other incredible thing that happened in this moment is that Charlie had a tangible reminder of a memory. You see, young children have incredibly short attention spans and are very quickly moving from one moment to the next and one emotion to the another. Because of this fluid movement of our thoughts as young children, we have few memories that we carry from our early childhood for the rest of our lives. However, what this seemingly worthless crab shell did in this moment was give Charlie a tangible object that he could feel and see and hold, to bring the memory of that adventure back to life in a very vivid way.
Learning happens anywhere and everywhere, even on family trips. One of my favorite benefits of homeschooling is the ability to take his learning with us and travel, without having to wait for summer. Reading about different places, climates, and habitats is a wonderful way to learn, but we love to bring our physical learner to different places where he can see, touch, and experience these worlds in person.
Do You Have A Morning Routine? Oh, you mean stumbling out of bed when you hear the kids rummaging through the fridge and praying your husband already started coffee doesn’t count? No, no it does not. 😉 One of the most proven ways to have a positive outlook for your day is to start off your day with a good and consistent routine.
I want to answer another of the questions I hear over and over again (because I bet this is one that you’ve had streaming through your head a time or two). And that is “But what about the ABCs?” Or, in other words, if I don’t TEACH them, how will my child ever learn to read or write?! This is something that starts to freak parents out BIG TIME the second they get excited about child-led learning. That fear kicks in and a lot of times, they run away from the unstructured, free and flexible learning experiences for the rigid, “sit at a desk and learn stuff on paper” way of learning that they’re used to. But you don’t have to do that.
If you’re feeling completely overwhelmed with everything that you’re doing – planning healthy meals for your family, keeping track of bills and birthdays, planning learning activities for your kids, making sure you get to appointments and meetings on time, balancing a job, or any of the other thousands of things that parents do… well then you’re right where you need to be!
I don’t know about your family, but around here, we LOVE to cook and bake! Letting our kids be a part of the “food process” in our home has always been a priority from the time my oldest was very little. There were quite a few reasons we did this:
1. Research is very clear that if we help children be a part of the process of growing, cooking, and preparing their own healthy food choices, they’re more likely to make those healthy choices for the rest of their lives.
It’s funny really… it’s so easy for us to see how natural and magical this type of lifestyle can be. Figuring out what our children are interested in, guiding them towards the information that they need to learn as much (or as little!) as they want about that particular topic, and then seamlessly moving onto the next topic. It’s almost like (gasp!) REAL LIFE!
But then… well, then we let the fear kick in.
Whether you are decorating your playroom, bedroom, or living room, nature is a low cost – high reward option!
You know that it’s important to get your kids outside. You love to plan awesome family adventures. You have a beautiful vision in your head of being that awesome hippie mama living out of a decked out camper van with your family traveling around the country visiting national parks, foraging for mushrooms, and drinking from freshwater streams.
Except for one problem…. you actually hate nature