After attending a private kindergarten, my parents decided to homeschool my sister and I. Back twenty-five years ago, when my parents were just learning about homeschooling, there were few choices in curriculum. My mom had a couple of books about homeschooling. One dealt with the Charlotte Mason style of learning. But we didn’t have the resources to put that together at the time. So we used cookie-cutter program. It was good and we learned a lot. So I figured I would use the same for my children.
With my first child, we used the same curriculum. But I didn’t start his education till he was 5. Looking back, I wish I had done more research and started doing things with him when he was wee little. I feel the same about how we started with our 2nd son. With our 3rd son and now our daughter, I found that I wanted to start doing things that would help them learn without them really knowing it.
The curriculum by Flowering Baby is a good guide for those looking for a way to incorporate every day things to help their children enjoy learning. I feel that it is very Charlotte Mason-esque!
I started reading about Charlotte Mason about my 3rd year into homeschooling and I really liked what I was reading. It was then that I decided to alter my oldest son’s curriculum. But I was lost on how to apply it to my younger children. It is my one fault. I love what I read and want to do it, but unless there is a definite plan in front of me, I am completely lost!
Flowering Baby was created by a Martha Saunders & Carolyn Schulte, a mother and daughter team. The mother was an Early Education Expert whom the daughter called quite often. At the urging of her daughter, they worked together to create Flowering Baby. Flowering Baby has 5 different levels.
Each level has you spend approximately 20 – 40 minutes a day with your little one working on various skills. Each day has one activity and a book or music. Your little one will be exposed a variety of every day items, classical music, books of all kinds and you will have fun with your little one!
To look at each level click the age range below. You can also view a sample of each level if you click after each level.
Birth to One – Sample
One to Two – Sample
Two to Three – Sample
Three to Four – Sample
Four to Five – Sample
During my review period, I was able to download the PDF files for the levels I wanted to use. So, I chose to use Birth to One for Cordelia, our now 9 month old daughter (she was 8 months when we started reviewing). I also used level Three to Four for Josef, who turned 3 in January.
So here are my thoughts of the Birth to One program. It is very simple and easy to do. I do recommend going to a library for the books (unless you have them in your house or an unlimited amount of funds to buy books). At our library, we can reserve them online and they will let us know when they have arrived. Pretty nice system! I also love how they said you can exchange books if you needed to. So if you or your library didn’t have Goodnight Moon, you could do some other night time book that you had or found.
Cordelia LOVED having books read to her. The look on her face as we would get books down and look through them and read them was just so sweet. She would touch the books, then look up at me. And if it was just us (which occasionally it was), she would snuggle in as we read together.
I also loved how they incorporated classical music! I grew up in a very musical home and had been really lacking on sharing my love with my children. This gives suggestions for each day and uses a variety of classical artists! This was not just education for my daughter, but the entire family. 🙂
My favorite part and I think that of Cordelia was when we did hand games together. The Itsy Bitsy Spider is one of our favorites! She makes the cutest faces when we do them. To make things more fun, my Mother-in-Law had taught me a hand game in Slovak. So not only did I do the ones suggested in the curriculum, but I also incorporated something from my husband’s heritage. She also enjoyed playing with different things. She loves to bang spoons off of pots and pans and enjoyed experimenting with her food as I let her feed herself. They also encourage tummy time (important for motor development skills) and other various skills.
Now you may be asking, how did you do 2 different levels with 2 different kids? It wasn’t that hard to do, but you do need to be able to plan it into your day.
The Three to Four curriculum is divided into 2 parts. A Monthly curriculum and a Themed curriculum. I did a little bit of both.
The monthly curriculum is fairly similar to the younger levels in that you do an activity, read a book, listen to some classical music, but it is done at a higher level as your child is older. Josef, enjoyed the activities quite a bit! While he is a very active child and it did take quite a bit of coaxing for him to actually sit and do things, when he did sit down, it was quite enjoyable for both of us.
I would say that it covers learning letters (you sing the alphabet song almost daily), math (counting), and reading books aloud to help build vocabulary and understand sentence structure (all without them knowing it). It also has them listening to music.
Josef even enjoyed the one day where he got to “read” to me. It was so cute to have him tell me his version of the story as he sat on my lap.
Something else is that you can find all sorts of resources to go with some of these books that you read. One of the other Review Crew found a lapbook to use in Day 7 (monthly curriculum for January) for Blueberries for Sal. Now, while Josef was too young to complete it all, we did do a couple of the activities. I also made sure to have blueberries on hand as we read the book and studied the color blue.
The themed curriculum is also fun to do! We chose the “Winter” theme. The themes are short but have such great activities to do. Since it is winter we had a blast. We built snowmen and played in the snow since we happened to get some during the theme time. We also found every book on snow in our house. It was so much fun!
Josef also loved anything where he got to color! The child has to be an upcoming artist or something. We have artwork all over our walls! 😉 We try to confine him to paper but sometimes that just doesn’t happen. I think that having this curriculum has been good for him. It has helped him not only learn new things, but also think creatively. He shows me his art work and is proud of it. And yes, even though there is a mess on my walls, one day they won’t be there and he will be out of my house and I will miss my little boy.
I believe that anyone wanting to do something hands on with their children will definitely benefit from the Flowering Baby Curriculum. It encourages individual growth but also time with each other and learning. What was great was even my older 2 sons, Jonathan & Jordan (10 & 5), came to sit with us when we read our books or sang silly songs with motions. They enjoyed sitting together as a family. I think it encourages quiet time as well. They have to sit and listen to the story. Most importantly, you are investing in a way that encourages them to want to learn.
Josef now brings over our ABC book which we use to go through the alphabet, he loves to play with shapes and sort them. He also likes to put things in order and sing songs.
Cordelia loves when we sing songs and do hand games together. I love being able to share that with her. She is also learning textures, sounds, cause & effect with some of the exercises in the curriculum.
If you want to make a good investment into early learning with your child but you don’t know how, Flowering Baby is a wonderful place to start. It doesn’t require you to do something every day. But you do have something for most of the days. I think that is nice as you don’t want your little one to get too overwhelmed.
I really liked how Flowering Baby was put together. I also liked how it uses things that you probably have in your home or that you can get easily. The library was our best friend during this. Utilize that resource! It will be your best friend too. Don’t panic if you don’t get everything done for a day. Homeschooling is supposed to be flexible and let life happen.
You can purchase Flowering Baby online and receive either a CD with the files (for the level you choose) or download the PDF’s which will then be available for instant download. I had the PDF files and then printed them to take to my local office supply store for binding. It made them easier to use and durable to carry around. It was well worth the cost and something I recommend for you to do.
The costs for the Flowering Baby curriculum is as follows:
Birth to One – $30
One to Two – $30
Two to Three – $30
Three to Four – $38
Four to Five – $38
You can order the CD’s directly from their site, here or for instant download here. Also, Flowering Baby, LLC has offered a discount for the blog readers! WOOHOO!! So, if you would like to save 10%, use the code “Blog10” when ordering! NOTE: This is good ONLY for orders directly from their website!
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.