A Day in the Life

A Day in the Life

I spend so much of my time here and in my Nature-Inspired Learning Group helping other families make changes in their lives and their homes to embrace a child-led, natural learning experience. I figured it was about time to pull back the curtains and show you a glimpse of what the day-to-day life looks like in my home! Enjoy this sneak peek!

Our days begin early, but joyfully slow.

How to Model a Love of Reading

How to Model a Love of Reading

Take a look inside your personal memory bank for a minute, and find those memories of learning to read, being read to, and other literacy-related memories. Can you recall fond memories of learning to read by your parents reading consistently to you (or are you lacking that memory and longing for it)? Do you have memories of seeing your family members read to themselves? Did your dad read the daily paper? Did your mom take time to read books? Did your grandparents read for pleasure? Intentional or not, this act of modeling an appreciation for and love of reading goes a long way in creating a literacy rich environment for your children!

How To Ditch the Drab Playroom Walls Using Only Nature

How To Ditch the Drab Playroom Walls Using Only Nature

Today I want to talk to you about something that might seem a bit “off the wall” (Sorry- that’s my attempt at a pun). I want to share with you the benefits of using nature to decorate your learning space.

BENEFITS

You may have heard me talk about bringing light into a space, using natural parts in play, and incorporating plant life into playrooms, classrooms, and learning environments. But when I look at photos of most learning spaces (homes and classrooms alike), so much of what my eye is drawn to is the blank wall space.

Very Best Ways to Stay Warm Outdoors (Even on the Coldest Days)

Very Best Ways to Stay Warm Outdoors (Even on the Coldest Days)

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you are stuck inside! Learn the very best ways to keep you (and your children) warm when enjoying nature in the winter, even on the coldest days! I’ll tell you all about how to layer, what materials to avoid, and how to make sure you’re being safe at all times. Plus – get a FREE downloadable Activity Guide with 5 Outdoor Winter Activities for Cold Days!

The Truth About My “Perfect” Homeschooling Life (Instagram is a Lie!)

The Truth About My “Perfect” Homeschooling Life (Instagram is a Lie!)

Everyone loves to scroll through Pinterest and Instagram and look at all the beautiful, angelic faces of children happily playing with some wooden blocks in the sunshine or digging in the mud peacefully with their siblings.

“They must play that way for hours! How simple and wonderful.”

“That Mom never runs out of ideas! She’s always ready with a new, amazing activity for her kids! They’re probably so smart.”

“I bet they eat themed Bento lunches every day!”

Sounds so great, right?

Except maybe you kinda want to punch them in the face. Maybe you kinda want to punch me in the face? Totally understandable…. keep reading anyway.

Do I Have to Pick a Methodology or Philosophy?

This one might ruffle some feathers…. I have two Masters degrees in Education. I don’t say this to brag or to make myself look more educated than another person, but simply to start out this post by showing that I have spent over a decade and many many many tens of thousands of dollars (cringe) on studying the various philosophies and methodologies about childhood education around the world. When I first started working with and supporting the homeschooling community years ago, I realized that there is a bit of an obsession around the particular teaching philosophy that one holds to when deciding to educate their children at home. In a way it’s almost like denominations of a religion, in that I see people getting so incredibly caught up in particular methods and processes and routines that they sometimes forget that the entire point for educating their children at home was to create a unique learning environment for their unique child! And I definitely realize that I’m going to be pushing some buttons and hitting some pain points here today, but I think this is a very important thing that we need to be looking at in ourselves. Recently I stumbled across an online quiz that a parent could take to determine what teaching philosophy they best fit within. Just to see what the questions were like, I took the quiz for myself and what I noticed was that every single question in this quiz had to do with you – the parent, the adult, and what your beliefs around education were. There wasn’t a single question about your child…...

What’s FOOD Got To Do With It?

As many in this community know, the focus of my work for the past many years has been an emphasis on natural learning, following your child’s interests, and getting them outdoors exploring and playing freely in nature as much as possible. This has been a central part of raising my own children and I am so happy to have developed programs and curriculums and courses and communities around these ideas that have reached thousands of families all over the world. Today, however, I want to talk about another related issue that is extremely important and has been weighing on my heart for quite some time. This is the issue of developing healthy eating habits in our children. As I’m sure all of you are aware, there is an epidemic of childhood obesity and related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, etc. running rampant through our nation and expanding to other parts of the world. Recent research has shown that a good portion of even our two to five-year-olds are obese. There are many, many factors at blame here, including things like the quality of food available in America, the cost of healthy eating, a lack of education, an abundance of fast-food restaurants, targeted advertising, change in family schedules that has removed daily family cooking and eating from the norm, limited recess time in schools, an abundance of screen time keeping children indoors and less active, and on and on and on. However, as our child’s parents we need to take responsibility and understand that the burden lies on us to develop these healthy eating habits for our children. The...
Don’t Worry; Be PRESENT

Don’t Worry; Be PRESENT

Being Present It’s a common habit of parents to be constantly thinking and worrying about the future. This is especially true when it comes to our children’s education. We worry about whether they’re learning at the appropriate pace, we worry what kind of school they should go to, we question what type of learning philosophy they’re being taught, we worry about how to get them into the right college, and on and on and on….. But what often happens is that we spend so much time concerning ourselves about the future that we never take the time to fully be present. As our parents and grandparents tell us so often, we should be cherishing these moments because they’ll be gone in a flash. And as Timehop so lovingly reminds me every morning with pictures of my chubby little babies from long ago, I know that they are absolutely right. Luckily for us we have the perfect models of how to be present and fully live in the moment right in front of us! Young children are rarely concerned about the future (unless there’s something that they are very much looking forward to, and then of course they ask every 15 seconds if “now” is here yet!). They are only ever immersed in the current moment, enjoying what’s around them, and finding the beauty in the smallest things! If you need an example of seeing this in action, ask your child to take a walk outside with you and watch how they soak up each and every moment. I see parents so often, especially in my own online community, weighing...
Using Nature Exploration to Teach Compassion

Using Nature Exploration to Teach Compassion

I love living in Oregon, where nature abounds everywhere you turn. It’s a fantastic place to be raising our two little ones, because it takes very little effort to get them in a situation where they can be outside communing with nature, freely exploring, and getting all of the amazing benefits that being outdoors has to offer.   One of my favorite benefits that children receive by spending time in nature is that it teaches them compassion. Studies have shown that when children spend time freely playing in nature and are given the chance to explore at their own pace, they develop understanding and compassion for others and the world around them. The greatest thing is that this is true regardless of whether they’re playing alone or with someone else. Yes, when a child is outdoors freely exploring nature they are actually learning how to interact and care for another person even if they’re outdoors alone. Isn’t that awesome?! This compassion extends not only to the natural world, but also to other people (including strangers) and a general compassion for all living things around them. For example…. Last week we went on one of our many family bike rides through the park near our house. There’s a small reservoir / duck pond that my children love to visit and watch the various creatures going about their lives. Right now is the time of year when many birds have laid their eggs and are settled in on their nests. Because of this observation, my oldest son has developed a keen interest in bird life and bird watching. We were walking...
5 Elements of a Successful Child-Led Learning Experience

5 Elements of a Successful Child-Led Learning Experience

Child-Led Learning. At first glance, it seems like a wonderfully simple way to educate your child – find out what they are interested in, and teach them that! Easy peasy, right?
But… when many families begin to implement this type of learning, they often become quickly frustrated:
“My child’s interests change all the time! How am I supposed to plan for anything?”
“How in the world can I come up with enough exciting activities to keep my child engaged if they stay interested in the same topic for a long time?”
“I feel like we’re doing the same thing every day.”
These are EXACT snippets of conversations I have had with families who really want to follow their child’s interests with learning, but feel overwhelmed by the actual implementation of it.
So, I’m here to tell you:
CHILD-LED LEARNING CAN BE EASY, FUN, AND DONE WITH A PLAN.
And in this post, I’m going to teach you the 5 essential elements to having a successful child-led learning experience!