home education | the process

Two years ago, I wrote a big post on why were choosing to homeschool. It’s hard to believe it’s been 2 years since we started out on this discovery journey. We have learned a lot about ourselves and our goals. I haven’t posted much about it on the blog, but I have posted quite a bit over on instagram. Most of the pictures throughout this post are from my hashtag #mccownhomeschool and #mccownhomeeducation. I’m going to use this post to walk you through what we planned, tried, failed, re-planned, re-learned, and tried again. For me, that’s a huge part of the beauty of educating at home, we have the space and grace to learn, without fear of “getting behind” or looming standardized tests.

Initially, as you can read here, we started out with a “school at home” approach. As a former teacher, I had preconceptions about how learning occured and the “best” ways to achieve learning. I had the privilege of attending one of the best College for Education, and I am very thankful for the wide gamut of experinces and knowledge I gained while there. It was made very clear that learning occurs in many different ways, and we were always encouraged to challenge the status quo and break out of the “public school box.” But to be honest, in reality, that is extremely hard to do with the current set up of public schools. I know there are MANY teachers who go above and beyond and create a learning environment that stimulates children in many ways. However, when it gets down to it, you have to have a certain number of “graded assignments and grades.” This ultimately results in many worksheets. Some kids thrive on these. Others not so much. I know many teachers that worked hard to provide many of the things I will list below, but in my first attempts to homeschool, I tried a bit too hard to recreate school, but at home.

Overall, this didn’t work very well for Jarvis and me. While he loved Bede’s History and his Geography book, and he LOVED any kind of read alouds, he didn’t love the 7 pages of math and reading that we “needed to complete every day to finish the book by the end of the year.” I found that both he and I were getting easily discouraged and didn’t look forward to school time. We discovered many things that didn’t work for us during that time, but some that did. One afternoon, I recall telling my husband (and posting on Instagram!), that I wished we could just sit and read books for school. We learned so much from them and we all loved it. Soon after, I decided to make this our goal. In my effort to redefine our homeschool experience, I did some research. I wanted a curriculum or theory that was based on quality literature.

And I found it. About 6 months after our initial forray into homeschooling (when Jarvis had just turned 5 and was still technically a pre-ker), I discovered Charlotte Mason methodology. I’ll share (in a nutshell) the premise behind her methodology. Jamie over at Simple Homeschool has an awesome list and explanation, hop over there for more in depth discussion of each section.

The 7 Characteristics that define a Charlotte Mason education.

  1. Instilling good habits.
  2. Short, quality lessons.
  3. Living Books (vs textbooks or purely informational books)
  4. Oral narration of read alouds
  5. Dictation for spelling and grammar
  6. Art and Music Study
  7. Nature Study

This is also a great little chart about the ways she suggests to study various subjects, created by Simply Charlotte Mason (which is where I purchase many of my resources). I utilize this website as a jumping point for most of my curriculum choices, except for reading and math.

Subjects Methods
Basic Principles for All Subjects Short lessons; Habits of attention and perfect execution; Varied order of subjects
History Living Books; Narration; Book of Centuries
Geography Living Books; Narration; Map work
Bible Read aloud; Narration (discussion for older students); Memorize and recite regularly
Math Manipulatives; A firm understanding of why
Science Nature Study; Living Books; Narration
Foreign Languages Hear and speak, then read and write
Writing Copywork for handwriting; Oral and written narration for composition
Spelling Building words; Copywork; Prepared Dictation
Grammar Not formally studied until older than ten
Art Picture Study for art appreciation; Art instruction; Handicrafts
Music Music Study for music appreciation; Instrumental instruction; Singing
Literature Living Books; Narration
Poetry Read aloud and enjoy frequently; Memorize and recite occasionally (include Shakespeare)

I think I will share more about our exact curriculum selections and how we are organizing our days in another post, as I found a fabulous resource on “Morning Baskets” and schedule looping. It has been working wonderfully for us. In reality, they are all still so little. So we spend very little time on “formal” schooling and far more time playing and learning organically. For me, that is one of the biggest benefits of educating at home. It isn’t just a set schedule and workbooks, it’s a lifestyle, where we take time and space to grow in all sorts of ways!

To wrap up this long and picture-heavy post, I just want to share what Jace and I believe are the goals of education and a vision for what we want to develop in our children during the time they are in our home. It’s not necessarily complete, and will likely change and evolve and grow as we learn more about exactly WHO God created our little people to become and what we want to create as their legacy.

We believe:

  • education is a life-long process
  • the love of learning in innate and it is simply our job to help our children cultivate it.
  • in the need to teach a lifestyle of independent learning, so that they will have the skills to seek out knowledge for need or love.
  • in empowering our children in a pursuit of their God-given passion and focus for their lives.

Our vision is to help all our children:

  • learn to comfortably and effectively communicate through written and spoken words; to be able to argue and debate respectfully and effectively.
  • learn an inner discipline that calls them to personal responsibility and social responsibility for others in need.
  • have the opportunity to express creativity and exercise critical thinking skills.
  • be exposed to the not just the practicality, but most of all the beauty in logic, music, art, math, science, and literature.
  • have an understanding of the forces and people that have shaped history and the ability to critically apply that knowledge to our current world.
  • understanding of how our bodies are meant to function and how proper diet and exercise can affect their ability to perform at their best, physically, emotionally, and mentally.
  • develop life skills such as cooking, housekeeping, homemaking, and finances.
  • create a entrepreneurial spirit and critical thinking and wisdom for follow-through.
  • cultivate a value of character traits such as compassion, self reliance, generosity, patience, humility, responsibility, empathy, and self worth.
  • be exposed to the depth of Christ’s love for them and an understanding of his life, salvation, and call for Christians.

So there you have it. Home education, McCown-style. One last question: Why home education vs homeschooling? Because we are not doing “school” at home. In fact, there isn’t anything we are really taking from government schools (as my libertarian husband likes to call them). Instead, we are educating ourselves. All together. In a fluid, real, life-giving manner.

In the end, we are not responsible for what they learn. We are not responsible for creating good little Christians or citizens. It’s not my job to make sure they can read fluently or be able to do Calculus. What they actually learn or do not learn is NOT important. 

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What is important, is that we spend time, diligently and faithfully exposing them to the great wonders and truth of the world. That I lay a feast of knowledge before them and allow them the opportunity to learn. I simply can not make them learn anything. But if knowledge is presented with the love and wonder and fascination that it is due, they won’t be able to help but learn.

 

vitality line | nourishing habits

So far, we have covered diffusing, topical application, and Seed to Seal Quality. Up next is utilizing the Vitality Line of Essential oils for ingestion. Remember, we talked about how all EOs are NOT acceptable for consumption. I only trust Young Living EOs for consumption.

There is a lot of mixed information out there on ingesting essential oils. And a lot of fear mongering. Here’s my take, I ingest occasionally for quick, strong system support. I honestly would rather ingest essential oils than a lot of the junk that is in many things you can purchase a drugstore or heck, even most processed foods. I feel that it is a safe practice, with the appropriate awareness of the potency of Young Living oils. Do your own research- empower yourself in your own health.

Young Living, in accordance with the FDA, has put out a new line of oils called Vitality Oils. These oils are the same quality of product as the rest of their oils, but have specialty labels that have instructions for internal use. They come in a convenient 5ml size and are super simple to carry with you.

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The simplest way to take EOs internally is a drop under your tongue. For many oils, this is a fantastic way to get them into the bloodstream quickly and effectively. Some oils, however, may not taste that great. So another option is to purchase clear vegetable capsules to drop the EOs into and then swallow. I usually add my drops of oil and then fill the rest of the capsule with solid coconut oil. I find this helps reduce the “oily burps.”ūüėČ

As always with EOs, start small and work your way up. One drop may be sufficient for you, or you may need to work your way up to more. Be prepared for potential slight detox side affects (headaches, nausea, etc) as the oils help you body systems learn to work more effectively. ingest-5

Immune Boost Capsules
2 drops Oregano, 2 drops Thieves, 2 drops Lemon

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Digestion Aid Capsules
2 drops Digize, 2 drops Peppermintingest-7

Another one of my favorite ways to utilize the Citrus Vitality line is in my water. Drop a small pinch of himalayan pink salt in the bottom of your {glass or stainless steel*} cup, add a drop of a citrus oil, and then fill with water for a yummy, refreshing drink that may help suppress appetite! Peppermint Vitality is also spectacular in coffee or hot chocolate!

Be sure to only use glass or stainless steel when drinking with EOs, as they can eat away at plastic. ingest-8

Another way to take EOs internally is to utilize the Oil-infused drinks from Young Living. NingXia Red is a fantastic antioxidant drink utilizing wolfberries, juices, and oil infusions. It is delicious and I take 1-2 oz every day!ingest-1

Probably my favorite Young Living product is NingXia Nitro. This little sachet is my afternoon pick me up, utilizing essential oils, juices, and natural caffeine. It’s fabulous.¬†ingest-2

Want to learn more? The vitality line oils are included in the Premium Starter Kit. Read more here.

Disclaimer: This info is based on my experiences and resources. Please use common sense and the advice of your qualified health professional when making your health decisions. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. download.jpg

seed to seal | nourishing habits

This week I have shared about diffusing essential oils and applying topically. Next up we will be talking about ingesting essential oils- BUT, before we can move onto that, we need to discuss something SUPER important.

Quality.

There are a lot of companies out there selling essential oils, and these days, you can find them just about anywhere- grocery stores, farmers markets, online, etc. But all essential oils are not the same. There is no regulation on the distilling, bottling or labeling of essential oils. So any company can put “100% pure essential oil”, or “therapeutic grade essential oil” on their bottles, even when the bottle¬†contains many other chemical and compounds to make the oil cheaper to produce. So please, be aware and do your own research. Through my research, I discovered Young Living and their Seed to Seal promise.

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There are 5 steps in Young Living’s Seed Seal.

  • Seed
  • Cultivate
  • Distill
  • Test
  • Seal

There is a ton of information on Young Living’s page and some fantastic videos to watch on the entire process. I trust their entire process and integrity to bring us the purest therapeutic-grade essential oils. I only feel comfortable ingesting Young Living essential oils.

I often get questions about cost of YL oils compared to grocery store oils, but when you really understand the process, how many lavender plants it takes to distill and create a 15ml bottle of highly concentrated Lavender essential oil, you begin to wonder how companies can sell large bottles of “pure” essential oil for next nothing. Something has to give somewhere- either they are adding chemicals and compounds to stretch the amount of oil, or they are using sub-par lavender plants to produce oil. Perhaps both! You get what you pay for! A wholesale membership is a fantastic way to get the oils you love from a quality resource for a reduced price!

I had the opportunity to attend Young Living Convention, and my favorite part was watching Young Living’s Founder, Gary Young’s passion for the product and health and wellness. He truly believes in his products and promoting wealth, not just in making money.

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Want to try out some oils? email me at chelsea(dot)mccown(at)gmail(dot)com. Or read here to learn more!

Disclaimer: This info is based on my experiences and resources. Please use common sense and the advice of your qualified health professional when making your health decisions. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. download.jpg

topical oils | nourishing habits

Be honest, you read tRopical oils when you glanced at this blog title. Ha. I keep giggling when I read it. “What is this crazy hippy talking about now?”ūüėČ

I shared yesterday about how we love diffusing oils in the morning, during school, at night, all the time. Well I’d like to share another way we use Young Living Essential oils: topical application.

There are two was you can apply essential oils topically:

  • Neat: un-diluted, by themselves.
  • Diluted: using only a drop or 2 of essential oil and mixing with a carrier oil

 

In general, I always suggest people always start applying oils diluted. Some oils are considered “hot” because of the warm or cool sensation they create.¬†The number of drops of essential oil to drops of carrier oil depends on who you are applying the oil to and the desired effect. Start with a higher dilution and reduce as you desire.

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What is a carrier oil? A carrier oil is any oil that you use to suspend the essential oil within, enable spreading, and slow the absorption and evaporation time. Pretty much any oil will work, such as coconut oil, fractionated coconut oil (stays liquid at room temp), almond oil, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, rosehip oil, olive oil, etc. Fractionated coconut oil or almond oil are my favorites for adding to roller blends (more on that below), and jojoba or rosehip are my favorite for facial care and oil washing. I particularly like Leven Rose carrier oils.

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When applying essential oils on my kiddos, I usually dilute them. You can do this in two ways, in your palm or with a pre-made roller. For quick application, simply place a small amount of carrier oil in your palm, add the drops of essential oil, and rub on desired area. I like to make pre-mixed roller for any oils I use regularly, like our bedtime rollers, digestive support, or mood support. I purchase roller bottles on Amazon (the best ones have metal rollers). Simply add the essential oils you want to use to the empty roller bottle (10-30 drops total depending on your desire dilution ratio), then fill the rest of the way with a carrier oil. Toss on a label and you have simple to use essential oils!

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Young Living also carriers a whole line of pre-diluted essential oil blends, which are a fast, simple way to utilize essential oils. Here are a few of them!

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When I apply oils to the bottom of our feet, I rarely use carrier oils, I apply them neat. The feet are a fantastic way to get the oils into our bodies fast! 

Want to learn more about Young Living Essential Oils or get some of your own? Read more here.

 

Also, gotta love my little helper!ūüėČ

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Disclaimer: This info is based on my experiences and resources. Please use common sense and the advice of your qualified health professional when making your health decisions. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. download.jpg

diffusing | nourishing habits

Alright, let’s talk diffusing! Today, I’m going to introduce you to the¬†Young Living‚Äôs Dewdrop‚ĄĘ Diffuser!

What is a diffuser?¬†This particular diffuser¬†functions as a humidifier, atomizer, and aroma diffuser.¬†“Its ultrasonic technology breaks any mixture of essential oils and water into millions of microparticles, disperses them into the air, and releases the constituents found in Young Living essential oils. Custom designed with up to four hours of continuous run diffusion, automatic shut-off, and ambient light control, Young Living‚Äôs Dewdrop Diffuser can transform any space into a spa-like atmosphere. The ultrasonic frequency generates waves at 1.7 million times per second, releasing essential oil molecules into the air.”(From Young Living’s Website)

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Why would I diffuse? Basically, a diffuser is a spectacular way to not only make your house smell fantastic, but also¬†reap the benefits of essential oils through your olfactory sense. ¬†“As scientists have studied to understand the neutral basis of emotion, they have discovered that the limbic system of the brain plays a vital role in interpreting and channeling intense experiences, particularly memories of fear or trauma. Interestingly, the two parts of the limbic system that play a major role in emotional processing- the amygdala and the hippocampus- are located within less than an inch of the olfactory nerve” (within the mucosa of the nasal cavity).¬†Another way in which essential oils can assist in helping people to move beyond emotional blocks is through their relaxing effect. The aldehydes and esters of certain essential oils such as Lavender, Ruta, Frankincense, etc. are very calming and sedating to the nervous system (including both the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems). These substances allow us to relax instead of getting caught into a downward spiral”. (From Essential Oils Desk Reference)

How do I diffuse? Remove the lid of the diffuser, add water up to the fill line (about 3/4th of a cup), and simply add 5-10 drops total of essential oil depending on the room size. Start small just a few drops and see how the oil spreads around your room. Plug it in and press the button on the front once to start the diffuser with the blue light on, press it twice to turn it on with no light, and press again to turn it off! Super simple! The diffuser will diffuse for several hours or until the water has been all used up.

That’s enough science-y stuff for now- onto my favorite diffusing blends!

Sleepy Time Blend
2 drops White Angelica, 4 drops Cedarwood

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Immune Boost Blend
4 drops Thieves, 2 drops RCdiffuser-12

Holiday Blend
3 drops Christmas Spirit, 3 drop Orangediffuser-11

Fresh and Clean Blend
3 drops Purification and 6 drop Orange
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Summer Time Blend
2 drops Lime, 2 drops Lemon, 2 drops Citrus Freshdiffuser-9

Let-It-Go Blend
3 drops Release, 6 drops Lemondiffuser-7

School Time Blend
3 drops Clarity, 6 drops Limediffuser-6

Motivate Blend
3 drops Grounding, 3 drops Envisiondiffuser-5

Mellow-out Blend
6 drops Lavender, 2 drops Surrenderdiffuser-4

What your favorite diffuser combo?

Don’t have a diffuser? Want one? The best way to get one is with a premium starter kit, read more here.

Disclaimer: This info is based on my experiences and resources. Please use common sense and the advice of your qualified health professional when making your health decisions. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. download.jpg