Our Family

Our Family

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Flowering Baby

I spend a lot of time during the day working with the children on their school work.  The younger girls see their big brothers and sister doing school work, and they want work of their own too.  I was very excited to have the opportunity to review Flowering Baby with my 22 month old and 3 year old.

Flowering Baby is a "whole child developmental approach from birth to age five."  The curriculum is co -authored by Carolyn Schulte who has a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education with an emphasis in Special  Needs and her daughter Martha Saunders a homeschooling mom who decided to blend the Charlotte Mason, Classical, and Unit Study approach in her homeschool.  They decided to co-author this curriculum in order to share with parents and teachers the hundreds of simple and inexpensive ways you can positively affect a child's growth and development.

Their program is designed to work with your child for 20-40 minutes a day on different skills depending on their age.  Each activity is designed to develop a full and solid educational foundation.  The curriculum contains at least 20 different activities per month.  The program is designed by year and broken down by month so you can begin the curriculum at any point in the year.  The curriculum can be purchased in the following levels:

Birth to One- Designed with activities for you to work with your baby for 20 minutes a day for 20 or more days on a specific skill.  Each day there is usually one activity, one story, and one song.  The goal of this year is to expose baby to a wide variety of music, sounds, activities, words, and your family's environment.  You can find a whole month of activities here.  You can purchase here for $30.00 CD format.

One to Two- This year is about exploration.  Your child will work on directional tasks, experience paint and Playdough, find out about new tastes, and figure out his independence.  Each day there will usually be at least one book, one activity, and one song.  You can find a sample month here. Purchase here for $30.00 CD Format.

Two to Three- This year your child will still be learning about the world around him.  In addition he will also start learning more academic things such as: ABC's, counting, shapes, colors, nursery rhymes, perform simple experiments, listen to a variety of music, and more.  Each day there are multiple activities to choose from.  See a full sample month here.  Purchase here for $30.00 CD Format.

Three to Four- Starting at age 3 the curriculum changes somewhat.  There are now 2 parts.The first part is a general educational guide which includes math, language, science, phys ed, self help and more. Your child will learn many new things such as magnets, cooking and nutrition, safety, games, read, sing, listen to music, and more.  The second part is a Theme Guide which contains 24 mini unit studies that you incorporate throughout the year choosing two per month.  There are approximately 6 activities for each theme.  The themes range from holidays, to sports, to animals, and more.  Books and activities are included for each theme.  See a month's sample here.  Purchase here for $38.00 CD Format.

Four to Five- This year's curriculum is in the same two part format as the three to four year olds; a general educational guide and a them guide.  Your child will be able to count to fifty, count by two's and start writing numbers.  He will put together puzzles, paint, use Playdough, and do a variety of physical activities.  He will learn about weather, holidays, city, state, and country, and listen to a variety of music and stories.  The theme units are similar to age 3 but include more challenging activities and additional books are read.  See a sample here.  Purchase in CD Format here for $38.00.

You can also purchase the entire 5 year set for $132.00 here.

DISCOUNT CODE- Receive 10% off your purchase by using discount code "Blog 10" while ordering.

I had an opportunity to use the One to Two level starting with month 22 and the 3 to 4 level starting with January and the Winter and Zoo theme units.  First I am going to talk about the One to Two Level.

The guide starts with an introduction talking about the curriculum and it's focus.  There is a list of common supplies you will need, Music CD's,  and a book list.  The book list is full of recommended titles, but you can substitute with other books if they are not available to you. Then it goes into the activities starting with the age your child is.  I started with the 22nd Month.  If there are additional supplies you will need they are listed first (for Month 22 colored cellophane and a xylophone were listed), followed by specific book recommendations, and the Music choice for the month.  In the 22nd Month there are 23 days of activities.  Some of the activities are just general life activities (ex. work on dressing today),   some are game-like (ex. matching, finding things that don't belong), some are crafts (ex. draw or paint), and everyday has a book or a  music suggestion or finger play, or both.

It can be hard getting photos of the little ones while you are doing the activities with them, but I did get a few of Emelia.

Drawing a picture while listening to music

Playing a "Where did it go?" Game

Emelia's Painting
The Age 3 Curriculum Guide starts off just like the 1 to 2 year old, by describing the curriculum, talking about what you will be focusing on, and listing necessary supplies, Music list, and suggested books.  The 3 year old curriculum is divided my months of the year instead of by the child's age.  We began working in January.  The first page will list specific supplies (ex, blueberries, sequence cards, plastic food) the suggested books for the month, and the music for the month.  January has 13 days worth of activities with each day having four or five different activities to choose from.  An ABC and Math activity are everyday with the other activities varying between reading, reasoning, healthy foods, cold days, color blue, music, triangles, physical activity, Martin Luther King Jr Day, Ears,  and safety.

Drawing Circles

Making A Healthy Food Collage

Painting with different shades of blue

Listening (and marching) to the music on Wee Sing

In the Theme Guide you are encouraged to work on two themes per month and a suggested schedule for what theme to do when is listed along with general supplies needed, and websites used to support this curriculum.  I started with the Winter theme (even though it was suggested for December, it still applied in January) and Zoos because we have been to several zoos in the last year and Lily loves animals.  On the page for each theme there is a list of specific supplies for that theme, suggested books, suggested websites, and fun activities.  There are 5-6 days worth of activities in each theme with a book to read and suggested activity and a few closing questions at the end of the theme.  

Making a snowman
One of the things that I loved the most about Flowering Baby was that I could include the littles in my school day without having to come up with the activities on my own.  I love that the curriculum is flexible and you can pick and choose what activities you want to do.  Although they give a list of suggested books, you do not have to use those books.  Our local library is very small and did not have any of the books I needed, but between what I had on the shelf and a few I borrowed from a friend, I had more than enough books to cover each topic.  The general supplies were not things that were hard to find or expensive.  Anything that I didn't already have on hand, I could easily pick up at Walmart.  I loved the music suggestions, and Emelia and Lillian really loved dancing to the music on one of the suggested Wee Sing Cds.  The craft and games were not things that I could easily come up with on my own.  In the 1 to 2 year old curriculum one of my favorite activities was to take pictures of your child's favorite toys or stuffed animals and have your child match the photo with the object.  My favorite part of the 3 to 4 year old curriculum is the theme guides. It is a great way to dig into some topics that children in that age range enjoy the most. 

Some of the "activities" for the 1 to 2 year olds were just not something that I would really spend time teaching my child to do, but were more like things that  they would just do naturally like learning to dress themselves, open and shut things, drink from a cup without a lid.  For my 3 year old, a few of the activities were a little repetitive.  We colored with blue, painted with blue, dressed in blue, and counted with blue, and she said, "Are we done with blue yet?  I want to do brown or pink today, " so I told her to color or paint with whatever colors she wanted to.

To see what other crew mates had to say click here.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product 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 I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.
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