Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Flowering Baby- A Curriculum for Children Birth through Five- A Review


Are you ever stuck trying to figure out what to do with your young children? Are you unsure of what would be developmentally appropriate for your little one? Or are you feeling that you are neglecting working with your youngest children because you are so busy with your older children as I have been lately?

May I introduce you to Flowering Baby, LLC: A Whole Child Developmental Approach For Birth to Five, a curriculum created by Martha Saunders along with her mother, Carolyn Schulte. Martha researched homeschooling methods and early childhood education when she decided to stay home with their son and homeschool. I was intrigued to discover that Martha blended Classical, Charlotte Mason and Unit Studies to create this curriculum for her son. On top of this, Carolyn was a kindergarten teacher for over 30 years and has been working with children from birth to age 3 for the last 12 years. So I feel assured that this curriculum has been put together, not only with love, but with wisdom. With this well rounded curriculum "you will work with your child to develop his cognitive, language, gross motor and fine motor, social, emotional and self-help competencies." 

Flowering Baby is organized by year, and within each year it is sort of broken up by month, though there is some variation depending on the year. When I was given the opportunity to review this curriculum on the Schoolhouse Review Crew I decided I really wanted to work with baby Harold in the Birth to One Year Curriculum.


The Birth to One level includes activities that help stimulate your baby and get you interacting with him or her on a developmentally appropriate level.   The activities should last approximately 20 minutes a day and they can be broken up to suit your schedule. There are fun hands-on activities, plus suggested books to read and classical music to listen to. I found it to be very flexible. Some days I would sit baby Harold in his chair at the table and work with him while the girls were doing their work (sometimes the older three joined in). Other days I would sit down with him on the living room floor after lunch and we would read and play. The classical music was usually playing after breakfast, before we started lesson time. I would have taken it in the car to play on our way to play group and co-op, but I kept forgetting.

I wasn't exactly sure where I wanted to start with Harold. The way this year is organized is slightly different than the others. It starts out with Birth to One Month, but then it groups One to Three Months, Three to Six Months, Six to Nine Months, and Nine to Twelve Months together. This was a little confusing as the one grouping had 65 days, the next had 64, the next had 73 and the last had 75. I just decided to start at the beginning of Months Nine to Twelve and see what fun we could have. (Now that Harold has turned 1, we will probably skip to the One to Two Curriculum, just to stay on target. This next year the days are organized similarly to Birth to One, though it is broken down by month.)

We actually put off starting this curriculum for a week because when we were supposed to start, Harold had RSV. Not only wasn't he feeling well, but having a stuffed up and runny nose made doing the first few activities impossible. Once he was well he enjoyed the edible smells test and the non-edible smells test. I sat him at the table and brought out a variety of foods/objects and had him smell them while telling him what they were. As I did with other activities, I included the girls by making it a guessing game for them. I showed them what scents we were exploring and then the girls closed their eyes and had to guess which scent I was placing by their nose. Additionally, on Wednesday of this first week we were to use an empty paper towel tube as a "talking tube." This tied in perfectly with our My Father's World lesson as we had just started the letter "T," so the girls also got Talking Tubes and we sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  On Thursday he was to drop objects into a box or container. I already knew this would be a hit as he has been doing this for a while.  Each day of this week we alternated either reading Goodnight Gorilla or listening to selections by Wagner.

Some other favorite activities were:
The sound containers, where I used 4 empty Gerber Puffs containers to place different shake-able objects (rice, popcorn kernels, kidney beans and pennies).
Push and Pull, where Harold pulled objects to himself using a string or a blanket and pushed them away.
Homemade drums, where we used tins and pans and other containers along with wooden/plastic spoons and even a hairbrush to make drums.

I really enjoy the way I have been able to include the girls as well. We marched around the dining room with the drums, each girl taking turn as leader. Additionally, we worked on following different beats. 

(Tabitha is holding our "sound containers" from the previous day to use as shakers.)

What really stood out to my husband, was that even a couple of weeks after we have done an activity it has stuck with Harold. For example, to this day he will pick up a canister or a paper towel tube, or even a empty foil tube to "talk" into it.

I was primarily working with Harold on this curriculum, but I thought it would be interesting to have some specific activities to do with Hannah as well. Though she is working with us on My Father's World, some of it is still over her head, so I thought it would be nice to have some special time for her.

While the Birth to One curriculum only has 1, or at the most 2, suggestions for each day in addition to the music/book, the Two to Three Curriculum includes ideas for several different subjects.


In Month 33 these subjects include: Language, Math, Story of the Day, Composer of the Month, Physical Exercise, and other, which could be an activity or a project. I did note that not every month is exactly the same. For example, Month 34 includes an animal of the day to go with the book of the day, Month 35 adds a color of the day and Month 36 has a place in the community to discuss and hopefully visit.

As I was planning on working with two different levels I decided to make myself a little grid to help keep myself organized. The actual curriculum has a lot more detail, which I do read at the beginning of the week. Then I jot down a short description on the grid. If I have any questions I just pull up the curriculum on my computer to refresh my memory. Most of these activities are self-explanatory, it's just that the curriculum goes into the details, including the whys of some of them.

Here are some of the things we did for language this month:
We looked in a dictionary to choose a new word to use throughout the day. This wasn't as easy for me as I thought it would be because Hannah still isn't talking as much as her sisters were at this age and I didn't want to pick a word that was too difficult for her, I wanted it to be one that could be used naturally. Sometimes I didn't use the dictionary, I just used the words we were learning with our unit of the week. 

We sang the ABC song and wrote with crayons.

We formed letters with Cheerios (another fun activity for all the girls)

There were so many other great ideas we didn't get to, such as:
Eating alphabet soup for lunch, using bathtub paint, blowing into a straw to move objects (we have done this in the past though), creating a story with 5-6 pictures cut out from a magazine and labeling items around the house with a 3x5 index card. 

For this month we were reading from Mother Goose and sometimes passages from the Bible. I found a couple of great Mother Goose collections at the library. I do have to say, we usually ended up reading more than one Rhyme at a sitting. The older girls would join in and want to read more of them, and I surely wasn't going to tell them no. 

For math there was a lot of counting, to either 5 or 10, plus counting backwards and counting in Spanish. We rote counted and we counted one-to-one with the drums or snacks or other objects. Some other suggested activities were board games, puzzles and skip counting by 2. 

I think the favorite physical exercise was jumping over the toilet paper tube candle they made the first week.

As I stated, I was primarily using Flowering Baby with Harold, so I didn't do everything scheduled in the Two to Three Curriculum. I do think she got a lot out of what we did get done and I am looking forward to continuing with it. I feel I can pick and choose and not feel guilty when I don't get everything done. I'm sure it would be easier to do all of the scheduled activities with one or even two children, especially when they aren't already participating in another curriculum. 

The one thing that bothered me about the Two to Three Curriculum is that the activities selected seem so random. This is just my personal opinion, I love to be able to make our activities mesh together as I feel they flow better. Other than that little pet peeve, I really have enjoyed Flowering Baby.

Flowering Baby is a gentle curriculum, which I would expect it to be knowing that the author has researched Charlotte Mason. The scheduled activities can be done throughout the day as a part of your daily routine. I love that classical music is included as it has been shown to expand "intellectual abilities and cognitive thinking skills."

As the children get older the curriculum does change a bit. In fact, I am looking forward to April when we get to start the Three to Four Curriculum.


This volume has 2 different parts. There is the Monthly Curriculum and the Theme Curriculum. The Monthly Curriculum is organized by month of the year instead of month of age like the previous years. There are 10-15 days of activities that you are supposed to make sure to fit in throughout the month.  The activities should take approximately 30-45 minutes a day. There are ABC's and Math scheduled each day along with different activities for different subjects. In addition, the curriculum for the older age groups also adds the Theme Curriculum. The authors have included a suggested schedule, but have left it up to the parent to choose when each theme would work best for them. Each theme includes a list of suggested books and needed supplies for the 6 day unit.

If you would like to purchase Flowering Baby you can visit their store on the site.
The CD's for each year range from $30 to $38 depending upon the age you are purchasing. The younger ages are only $30 and the curriculum for the older children are $38 (these are the ones that include both a Monthly and a Theme Curriculum).
The author has generously offered our readers a 10% discount. If you are interested please use the code "Blog10" when ordering.


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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