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Hello fellow home educators!

Some of you may know me from my Adventures In Natural Learning books and Facebook page. For those of you who don't know me, here's a short bio: I'm Debbie, mum to seven amazing children from the ages of three to 25 years old, and we live in rural Nelson. We've been involved in the home education world for 24 years – and for the last four or five years have been giving back the home ed community in several ways.

One way is our Adventures In Natural Learning Handbook and Seasonal Journal. Years of research, work and testing-out went into these books, and they are now enjoyed by many families. They are available for purchase on our website – which is the other way we are giving back to the home ed community – our online shop Willow Cottage NZ.

Many years ago I realised there was a need for an easy, trusted, cost-effective way for families to stock up on some of the more difficult-to-find art and craft supplies (such as carded wool, felting needles, felt, Fimo, beads, washi tape, good quality but affordable watercolours, coloured pencils and pens, black paper, postcard colouring books etc) plus other quality useful and fun things to enhance our children's and our own lives. For years, my desire to create a shop like this was unachievable, but things have now come together, and since May of this year we have a beautiful little online store, already enjoyed by hundreds of people, with more excellently-priced products being added all the time as we expand!

I have a special offer for home educators:

The Adventures In Natural Learning Handbook has over 400 games and activities for all ages, plus lists of hundreds of topics to spark learning experiences (photos and more info on the website). Use the code HEGROUP at the checkout for a 25% discount on either the Handbook alone (normal price $30 – discounted to $22.50) or the Handbook and Journal combination (normal price $45 – discounted to $33.75!). This discount is current until the 25th of October 2018. Please also tell friends about this offer!

The hardest thing is perhaps getting our business known to the wider home education community, and of course, the more people who know about and buy from our shop, the more items we can sell and continue to keep our prices very affordable, so please do share our website with any friends who might be interested in arts, crafts, gifts, Trade Aid products, Tui Balms etc.

One idea I'd like to share with you from the Adventures In Natural Learning Handbook is a seasonal project that might be right on the top of your list as we move into mid-spring.

Have a look at your garden – big or small - is it inviting for the children to go into? How could you make it more inviting? I always encourage people to “work with what you have” - so look at the layout of your garden right now, and the things you have at hand to work with. Are you able to turn a weedy corner into a safe hideout with wind chimes and dandelion seeds to collect? Can you visit a friend and take cuttings from some cottage plants to make a rambling garden full of colour, butterflies and beneficial insects? Plant a tomato plant straight into a potting bag? Or perhaps you can budget for some fruit trees, a new deck or something larger?

Look at the list, think what YOUR children would enjoy, think about whether you can provide it in some way, discuss it with the children if they are interested, or just go and start work if they're not. A child who doesn't feel under pressure to achieve an “expected outcome” will enjoy a task more, and learn/retain more along the way. And don't forget that even a small positive change to an existing environment can spark a new interest.


■ seasonal display area ■ seasonal plants ■ Hideouts

■ colour ■ herb garden ■ huts

■ worm farm ■ pathways ■ stages to act on

■ sun ■ bells ■ sand

■ bridges to cross ■ shade ■ daisies

■ waterfalls ■ long grass ■ weeds

■ wind ■ dams ■ leaves

■ tunnels ■ cycle tracks ■ treehouses

■ scented plants ■ logs ■ playhouses

■ bamboo ■ soft ground-cover ■ insects

■ balancing beams ■ mazes ■ edibles

■ orchards ■ willow huts ■ grass

■ natural mosaics ■ seats ■ hills

■ sounds ■ mud ■ tree blocks

■ climbing trees ■ birds ■ spring bulbs

■ nooks ■ cottage garden ■ puddles

■ deciduous plants ■ wild areas ■ flowers to gather

■ rock pools ■ evergreens ■ music

■ wildflowers ■ shells ■ quiet places

■ animals ■ compost ■ sand dunes

■ gathering places ■ boulders ■ sunflower huts

■ clay ■ stepping stones ■ art

If you are on Facebook and would like some encouragement in your home education journey please follow Adventures In Natural Learning

or our Facebook page relating to the shop and blog: Willow Cottage NZ

Thank you – and I wish you adventures, joy and deep experiences as you travel on the home education journey with your family.


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