Nutrition 101 for Kids

One of the requirements for high school graduation in our state is in nutrition and health. Unlike the modern and highly incorrect dietary information that is current with our cultural teachings, I put together a reading program for the Real Health and Nutrition minded family. I have found several books useful for various age-levels as well as documentaries that I require of the course for the high school student. Here are a list of books we use in order of simplicity:

cutehannah

  • The Nourishing Traditions Cookbook For Children – by Suzanne Gross and Sally Fallon Morell – this little jewel is like the original except that each section is written in a language an elementary student would readily grasp. Complete with easy recipes to follow, explanations about broth, real milk, grassfed meats, and the like, the book is spiral bound (handy for in the kitchen) and has colorful illustrations.
  • Nutrition 101: Choose Life!  – this is more of a classical textbook/workbook style format. It has a lesson that describes different body systems, how they function and what they need to function optimally. It has recipes, activities, and book references. We have used this for a homeschool coop class and liked it fairly well. I use it has a bare-bones book to give my high schoolers a bit of basic foundational knowledge about the body and nutrition. My only caveat is that there is no real discussion about the importance of raw dairy, sourdough bread or grassfed proteins. These key points I would be sure to have covered through the documentaries and other books.
  • From Scratch – Easy Recipes for Traditionally Prepared Whole-Food Dishes – by Shaye Elliott. This book I originally bought as a basic cookbook for my budding 9 year old chef. She wanted written out recipes she could follow. The book is a little over her reading level, but with guidance she is able to find what she needs. The photography of the farm is beautiful and the recipes are fun.
  • Nourishing Traditions – by Sally Fallon Morell and Mary Enig. This book is THE staple of nutritional education. It covers what is wrong with the SAD approach and explains why traditional cultural foods are nutrition supreme to our “modern” food industry. A must read for all older students (and adults).

Additional Reading: If there is enough interest, I have them read the Omnivores Dilemna, The Untold Story of Milk, and The Maker’s Diet.

For documentaries: see my list of documentaries here and I usually require 2-3 for the credit. I also encourage them to watch the Nourishing Our Children documentary.

Throughout the year I like to have them tell me about the book, write up a review, or just have a conversation with me about what they learned. I love that I can share what I have studied over the past years with my children, that it has become just the way it is instead of un-learning years of harmful habits and struggling to replace them with healthy new ones. God can use our mistakes and turn them around for a blessing to our loved ones and even stretch out to those our children will eventually bless in their lives. God bless your endeavors!

 

Dialogue for the Disgruntled

My oldest children were around 6-8 years of age when we really made the switch to complete whole foods and everything from scratch. The older ones (now 13-15) every once in a while take some convincing that we are doing the best thing for our health and family. I appreciate the food documentaries that are out there for these times. They help to convey my convictions and research in a sort of 3rd party unbiased fashion that opens them up for discussion.

We watched Food, Inc. (again) last night for the benefit of the older ones who did not quite remember it. They were so enraged at the parts discussing the practices of Monsanto and other large food conglomerates. And rightly so! We discussed how we are helping make a change – with the way we are eating. I explain that when we choose to support our local farmers, not eat conventionally processed meats or produce or grains, we are taking away their business. If enough people stop buying their defective and harmful products, they would go out of business or be forced to change. This is the power of the free market.

MeatWithoutDrugs1

Understanding why we don’t eat out at most restaurants or grab “fast food” when we are out also gives them more conviction and strength to stand by what we know to be good for us. It helps to give them vision, especially when their friends or peers make fun of them for eating “weird food” or not partaking in junk food. I feel badly for them when I hear of others making fun of them; but I know that this is part of growing up and gaining character. I don’t want to make their lives too comfortable that they do not mold true virtue and perseverance in the face of hardships. People will always have something negative to say, no matter how old you are, or where you go. But we do not have to respond in anger or rashly. We can take it as an opportunity to educate, pray and share our stories.

So if you have disgruntles mumbling about, try watching a food documentary and having an honest dialogue afterwards about it. I also like to share how we should treat all creatures and all of God’s creation with respect as He would want us to, as worthy stewards of the gifts He has given so richly. Discussing the flaws in our society today with our young people can only spark a brighter change for our future.

Summer Schedule for Education and Beyond

Warmer weather, longer days, colors blooming everywhere – it’s officially summer here. As we have wrapped up our books for the past school year, it is time to get on with a new schedule. We educate year round. I mean, why not? Life is constantly happening, why would we stop learning? I also am not a fan of the brain fog that comes at the beginning of the school year or the fight against having to sit and do some lessons after several months of play time. I learned that the first year we homeschooled. Now, we simply take off time as we need to throughout the year: for outings, field trips, road trips, visits, and holidays. During the warmer months, we put up some of our subjects on a former level – like Latin, Poetry memorization, formal history/geography lessons, and composition/formal writing.

Image

I also allow for more child-led schooling during the summer. We frequent the library with a list for each of the children. I ask them to get at least one book in each topic: poetry, literature, history, biography, hobby/skill, and science. Those are the books they read during out quiet reading time. For the smaller ones who are still learning to read, I am loving the Playaways from the library, where each can listen to a classic children’s book on headphones. They’re enjoying Pooh, Peter Rabbit, Wind in the Willows, CS Lewis, and more. So wonderful if you don’t have the money to invest in books on CD; or if you have many children on different reading/learning levels and can’t read to everyone all the time. Definitely into making life more manageable.

Image

I post the schedule though, not as something that everyone should be doing, but merely because it always helped and encouraged me to see how others structured their days when they had a lot to do, and many hands to keep busy.  I also don’t really include a lot of actual times, because for us it’s more of an order of events than of a time schedule. Also helps me not watch the clock or ever feel like we’re “behind”. Life happens and the schedule is made to work for us, not the other way around.

Summer Schedule

6:30-9:30             Morning chores, Early school work (consisting of Math, Language                      Lessons, and Copywork)

9:30-12                Project of the week (skill or new hobby, research time) and free time

12-1                     Lunch and afternoon chores

1-3                       Quiet Time – required reading, audiobooks, art, crafting

3-4                       Free Time

4-5                       Help a buddy (the older ones get a younger buddy and supervise them so I can make dinner with my helper)

Evening               Dinner, clean up

Free Time

Evening Chores (2 children to a room for clean up)

Baths and Story Time

8:30-9:30             Bed – we do staggered bed times according to age

On Fridays, the children are starting up a presentation of the projects or subjects they learned about that week. Last week was our first viewing, still some tweaking to do, but it really was fun. Caleb created a nature house out of objects he found outside. He also put on a puppet show, which ran a little long, but he can work on it. His set and puppets were really neat though, and the little ones love puppet shows. Isaiah had some lego creations, as well as a drawing of the 9/11 attacks and a short description of why we should remember that day. Micaiah had a slide show presentation of pictures she’s been taking and editing. Nathaniel and Hannah had cardboard box buildings and pictures. Mikey just talked about someone else’s bottle rocket. Lastly Ian told us about his drawings. I was pleasantly surprised, and also made notes on how we could make the evening run smoother.

Image

I also want to get back on track with daily devotions in the morning. To help spread the responsibility and thus ownership of it, I have assigned a day to each of the three oldest to lead a different day. Mornings are tough for me, but I really hope this works 🙂 It usually takes a couple of weeks for a new schedule to stick or work without constant supervision. Every day is a new day to start again!

What about you? How are you enjoying your summer?

(photo credits to my daughter, Micaiah)

Teach Them Diligently Convention

Easter

Resurrection Day at the Farm – my 2 daughters and baby boy

The past weekend we were blessed to have attended the “Teach Them Diligently Convention” in Nashville, TN. It is always so encouraging  gather with other like-minded parents who are educating their children in, well the home, but really in full time living.

St. Valentine's Dinner

St. Valentine’s Dinner Together Celebrating Love

God dealt with us to bring our children home and diligently instruct them in the ways of truth almost 8 years ago. For an entire year before we pulled our oldest two out of a private school, the Lord had been talking to my husband’s heart about home education. He was also dealing with me on the topic as well, but I never knew until a year later that God had been speaking to both of us through so many personal experiences. He showed me how my children are my ministry right now.

Isaiah Engineering Whole Communities

Isaiah spends many a day engineering and designing communities, battle scenes, etc.

I am to disciple them for Christ, to lead them in truth – in every area, and show them how God is involved with every aspect of life. How could I do this if I only saw them in the evening for a short time before schedules and bedtime? I also had seen how negative peer pressure could influence my children in ungodly ways, and develop a secular worldview instead of Biblical one.

Best of Friends

Best of Friends – the youngest ones

Nate Procrastinating

Nathaniel Procrastinating

This world can be a dark place, I desired to train my children to be light, to be prepared to bring God’s truth into the darkness. I reflected on my own childhood and how detached my siblings and I were from each other.  I wished that my children would all grow up to be best friends – iron sharpening iron. And I knew it would not happen if they hardly saw each other during the day.

Sir Caleb - Knight of the Rectangular Table

Sir Caleb – Knight of the Round Table

After finding out that my husband had the same thoughts and convictions, we brought our children home. It has been a journey – a challenging, but also more rewarding journey than I could have imagined. God is faithful in calling us to this walk and training our children and is not slack in equipping us for this challenge. One of the ways we have been equipped is through homeschooling conventions in different states.

Isaiah's Revolutionary War

Isaiah’s Eclectic Early American History

Each year we try to go to one, because we know we will receive insight, Biblical teachings, practical advice, encouragement from veterans, and so much more. It is a time of refreshing and sharpening our vision for our family.

Nature Study at Its Finest

Nature Study at Its Finest

This conference was just outstanding. Though my nursing babe kept me out of quite a few of the talks, I still gleaned much from the spread. I loved listening to the various speakers and also talking with them at their booths. Some of my favorites were Sally Clarkson, Ken Ham, Mark Hamby, and many others. Here’s the full list of speakers.

A Trip to the Zoo (Michael)

A Day at the Zoo – Michael Admiring God’s Creatures

I really enjoyed the convention and am so thankful for the opportunity we have here in the US to follow God where ever He leads – and that we do not have to go it alone. I pray we will guard our freedom to train our children up in the Way. And that He will always be in the spotlight for home educating families. Here’s to finding joy in the journey!

It's A Wonderful Life

Book Recommedation – TJED

I have heard much about the book “A Thomas Jefferson Education” by Oliver DeMille. Yet, it was’t until recently I finally got a copy to read. Being a HUGE fan of the ideas of Charlotte Mason in education, this book mirrors a lot of her philosophies.

The central theme of the book is of what it takes to raise a generation of leaders, such as the Founding Fathers. It takes a historical look at our nation’s education and what has worked in society to produce leaders and good moral people. The book’s audience is not limited to a particular student – it can be applied to both the public school and the homeschool.

The simplicity of teaching the classics always strikes a chord with me. It’s’ not about having the right curriculum or perfect environment or social structure. The greatest minds in history were shaped using these core principles, which can be applied with any student.

Having a greater desire to read more of them myself, I hope to initiate more lively discussions revolving around the timeless character found within classic works of literature. Have you read this book? How has it changed or strengthened your resolve on the education?

 

Nature Study

I am a big fan of making the children play outdoors. The more I read about children and nature (Last Child in the Woods), the more I want them outside exploring! We utilize a Charlotte Mason approach to our home education experience, of which nature study is a big part. It never ceases to amaze me how when the children have the worst attitudes, argue about everything and are completely contrary, but then I send them outside for a while – their attitudes and demeanor are wholly changed by the time they come back in. God knew what He was doing when He designed such calming beauty for us to enjoy.

Yesterday was a good example. The boys had been inside playing with their Legos for a couple of hours, when I realized what a beautiful day it was outside that just begged to be thoroughly appreciated. After putting up quite a fight, the boys finally trudged outside. Since it had been such a battle, I decided to go out with them and perhaps fan a flame on their natural curiosity. Baby in the Ergo and toddler in hand, I led the way to the woods near our farmhouse. I walked into the edge of the woods where there before us lay several huge fallen trees, crossing one another. Oh here was an adventure! The boys immediately set to work building themselves forts, and brainstorming ideas for a game. The little ones played in a ditch of dirt with sticks, happy as clams. I sat back and took all in. It was a brisk, sunny autumn day. The leaves just turning, the forest floor cracking as we walked, excited voices bouncing about; it was such a wonderful scene.

Even though they do complain about the transition to going outside, saying, “There’s nothing to do out there,” or “It’s too cold,” or “We ALWAYS have to go outside;” it is truly worth it. I hope to smooth the transition, but if it never smooths out, the reward of happy, peaceful children who are excited about their adventures outside and eventually thankful to be out there is worth it all.