Primarily written by Adrienne, a homeschooling mother of seven, ages 10 and under. She chronicles life, laughs, struggles, and lessons learned as she raises a larger-than-most sized family and tries to figure out what she's doing day by day.

With occasional posts, Alexandra, Adrienne's older sister, writes of her ranch life in Nevada and raising four sons, ages 5 and under. Life is never dull and her boys have given her some pretty awesome stories to tell.

Stick around awhile, and you're sure to laugh, nod, smile, be encouraged, and see what life is like with a big (little) family.


TOS Review: Flowering Baby LLC

For the last several weeks, as part of the Old Schoolhouse Magazine’s Review Crew, I’ve been using Flowering Baby, LLC’s Volume 3 and Volume 5. Volume 3 is for children ages 2 and 3, and Volume 5 is for 4 and 5 year olds. Charlotte and Ruby have been eager participants and have loved having their own “school” to do. Painting and coloring and reading and other “normal” household activities are abundant in this curriculum that can be purchased either as a download or as a CD with PDF pages that can be printed out. (I didn’t print it; using it from the CD worked well and saved my printer from 300+ pages of activities.)

Flowering Baby has recently developed curriculum for each age group, from birth to age five, to help your child to, according to their website, "develop his cognitive, language, gross motor and fine motor, social, emotional and self-help competencies". You can begin the program at any time, during any given year.

With several kids to homeschool, and several more to parent, life is pretty busy. My little ones are getting less formal “schooling” than my first few. I've felt bad about this often, but with limited time and the older ones requiring more and more of my time as they get older, (How is this? Aren't they supposed to become more independent? We’re not there yet.) this curriculum didn't require much extra time, and my girls loved it. Cooking next to me is one of the suggested activities. I can do that. I already do! There are often 4 little stools lined up during the supper prep hour, and two more children who are finally tall enough to stand on their own two feet. Being reminded to talk with them and discuss what we’re doing during that process was good.

We read books (and olders read them books when life got crazy) and made jell-o and discussed colors and shapes. Charlotte, I learned, doesn't know her shapes at all. She didn't get her colors right very often when we started, but now she’s almost always right. She really enjoyed all the time we spent together working on the activities. Making jell-o and eating blueberries and walking the sides of a square and putting toys above and below the chair to practice those concepts is quite thrilling when you are two! Music to listen to and books to read are all listed for the 20 lessons to do each month, separated by their age in months. (Charlotte is 28 months.)

Ruby worked with Volume 5 and worked on her penmanship and learning to assign one number to each thing she was counting was an improvement for her. When I asked her if she liked her schoolwork (Flowering Baby), she replied, “Yes, I liked everything. Except writing 2’s. I don’t like writing twos.” Well, then. We’ll work on those!

Ruby often feels like she gets left behind. As the oldest of the youngest, and the youngest of the olders… yeah, she’s stuck in the middle. Spending time with her working through the activities suggested (some, obviously, more fun than others!) was good for her. Since we were studying this while visiting my parents’ sheep farm in South Dakota, we picked the farm week to study. Talking about farm animals, getting some hands-on experience in the lambing barn, and discussing which animals produce which of our foods (Ruby’s hatred of milk became a full-blown discussion right about then! She agrees beef is good but milk is decidedly bad – unless chocolate is involved.) was part of that week. Charlotte and Pierce especially thought making animal noises was hilarious and even Blaine joined in our study, unknowingly, when he found videos online of cows and ducks mooing and clucking. What a world we now live in, now able to find videos for these noises instead of making complete fools of ourselves trying to sound like a cow. (Whether this really went on in our house that week, I’ll never tell…)

As with Volume 3, Volume 5 includes a great book list and also has website suggestions to go along with it’s themes and curriculum, which is sorted by month for Volume 5. Each month’s holidays are discussed and learning a bit of Spanish each day was fun for Ruby. Since Blaine speaks French, I’m tempted to switch that out a bit (since he’ll be able to take that farther than me and my one struggle of a semester of Spanish) but for now, Spanish is easy. I can count to ten.

All in all, as a fan of less book work and more life experiences, I was impressed with this curriculum. If you’re looking for ideas and suggestions to keep your young child learning in their play, this is a great (and economical, really!) way to go. I’m going to try to keep this up, since the girls have learned much and had a ton of fun with this. It took us about 20-30 minutes a day, and they begged for more. The book list is super, and the girls will be better prepared for formal learning when that time comes after making a habit of learning each day with Flowering Baby.

Volumes 1-3 are $30 each. Volumes 4 and 5 are each $38. The complete set of all five years can be purchased for $132.For a 10% discount on the curriculum, enter discount code BLOG10 at checkout.

To read other reviews from the Review Crew on this curriculum and the other age options available, click here.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of these materials through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed in this review are mine and my family’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

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