Managing the routines of children in different age groups and meeting their different emotional and academic needs will test anyone! Usually, the ones who fall through the cracks are the babies. Flowering Baby has helped me feel more equipped to better meet the needs of my younger children.
Martha Saunders, a stay-at-home and homeschool mother, co-authored Flowering Baby with her mother Carolyn Schulte who has a Masters in Early Childhood Education. Their collaboration has resulted in a program for children ages birth – age 5 that:
- engages the child in age-appropriate ways
- is packed with daily activities that are easy to implement into any routine
- challenges the child in a wide variety of areas like music, fine and gross motor skills, literature, critical thinking and foreign language
I have been asked to use and review two of their curriculums, One to Two Years (for children between the ages of 1 and 2) for my baby girl and Three to Four Years (for children between the ages of 3 and 4) for my son.
I am very pleased with our experience and have already seen results in both of the children.
I have included a separate review for each. Read the one that best applies to you!
One to Two Years
The program is divided up by month. Each month has 20 or more daily activities for you to do with your child for 20 minutes a day. The focus of this year is building confidence, independence and expanding the child’s vocabulary. The curriculum includes:
- A full list of all items and books you will need for the year
- Monthly lists of daily, age-appropriate activities focusing on various skills. Each month lists the materials and books you need, making it easy to prepare for.
- Daily musical activity; either listening to classical music or singing songs (words to songs are included in Appendix)
- Daily suggested book to read
At this age the daily focus is usually on one concept or activity, like:
Expansion of vocabulary (i.e. household items)
Dancing, galloping, kicking, hopping
Imagination and Pretend play
Dressing, undressing, putting shoes on
Play dough, painting, clay (recipes included in Appendix)
A Sample Day (click on image to see a sample page!)
How We Used It
In the evening I would look over the next day’s activity and set aside any needed items or books. In the morning, while my older children worked on classes, my daughter and I would do the activity for the day. Usually, my 3-year-old would join in! It was hard for him to see us crawling, painting and dancing and not want to participate!
If on a given day I had other things to tend to, I would enlist one of my older boys to do the games, sing the songs and/or read the books to their sister! I have always tried to incorporate sibling time in our schedule, and appreciated how Flowering Baby gave us a higher level of structure for this time. Having a specific task to accomplish with their younger sisters added to the level of responsibility for the older sibling. The “lessons” were more like games for the kids and made for great memories with their sister!
One thing that made this work the most for me was the flexibility of not having to do it all in one sitting. I did what the author encouraged, which was to read the cues from my daughter. Some days she lost interest sooner than others or was not in a good mood. I would not hesitate to do the rest of the activity at a different time. We sang songs during bath time or read the books for bed time.
To keep this program fun for both you and your child it is important to be flexible. Especially for younger ages, these are activities you can enjoy with your child throughout the day.
What I liked
- The activities were simple, making it easy to ask an older sibling to do with the baby
- The layout of the program made it very easy to use and required minimal preparation
- Many of the activities were easy to do in different settings (living room, during baths, in the car)
- The things needed were common household items
- Though the activities were simple, they progressed in a pace that was gradually more challenging, but always age-appropriate and fun!
There were days when my child wanted to do more and the activities were too short for her, so I did the next days’ activity.
What My Child Thought About It
My daughter enjoyed the activities but more than anything the extra individualized attention she has been getting this month! Her favorite pastime is singing, and with all the new songs she has learned this month, she has been doing lots of it!
Three to Four Years
The program includes General Education Guide and the Theme Studies.
General Education Guide for three to four includes 10-15 days of activities per month, each lasting 30-45 minutes. The activities build foundational academic skills for math, science, reading and even foreign language! Though you can do any language you choose, the program uses Spanish. This worked for us since Spanish is our second-language.
The Theme Studies give your child the opportunity to learn more about a specific topic. Themes include:
- Farm Animals
- Self Image
- Bodies of Water
- and more!
You’re encouraged to work on a theme that most interests your child and it is suggested you do two a month. They each have six days worth of activities.
How We Used It
Separating the kids lessons is, most times difficult to do. I usually had to combine this curriculum for my 3-year-old and the baby and many times my 6-year-old. Some days my 8-year-old would ask to read the books to his brother. We tried to use it in a way that best fit with the routine we already have in place:
- We did the General Studies Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, in the morning, while the other children completed their own work.
- We worked on the Theme Studies on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
- Reading, coloring and other activities were usually done in the afternoon, so the brothers (and sometimes baby sister) could be included
What I Liked
We all LOVED the Theme Studies! So far, we got a chance to do two themes. My son just had a birthday in December and wanted to do “My Birthday”. We read some books about birthdays, talked about the day and place he was born and together baked a cake.
We live in Ohio, so being that it’s January, it makes sense to do “Arctic Life”! I especially loved the list of books recommended, and so did my kids!
A favorite was Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear by Eric Carle, who’s one of our favorite authors! Even the older boys wanted to read it for quiet time!
I thought this curriculum was for my 3-year-old, but his brothers strolled in and joined many times!
Flowering Baby has brought back one of the simple things that has been missing from my home and my homeschool for some time now. As I get used to homeschooling a big family I don’t do as much of the engaging activities with my younger ones as I did with my older ones when they were little. As I plan our days and our year many times I forget or don’t have the time to be intentional in planning for activities that will engage my younger children at their level. With Flowering Baby I have solved this problem, with minimal planning on my part! It has challenged and stretched my children and me!
Because of Flowering Baby we now:
- listen to classical music during playtime
- my 3-year-old now fills his own basket of books at the library
- I spend much more time on the floor dancing, climbing and playing with my 3-year-old and singing and painting with my baby!
Flowering Baby has enriched our life and homeschool and nurtured sibling relationships!
One of the things that makes this program work for any busy mom is how simple and easy it is to use! It is designed to complement your day and not to be a burden.
For a limited time the vendor is giving my readers a 10% discount! Make sure to use discount code “Blog10” when purchasing!
Click the links below to see sample pages of the curriculum!
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