Friday, July 27, 2012

Charlotte Mason and Classical homeschool

I alluded in a earlier post that I have been intentionally bringing more of Charlotte Mason's methods and ideas back into our studies here at home.  Perhaps you will indulge me as I recount how I arrived at my current homeschool approach so you can see what my curriculum and methods journey has been like.

Having very little understanding of what a homeschool-home should look like, I began to collect catalogs and peruse options, while we were still living in New Brunswick and Seth was not even three .  My first catalog, I think, was one I requested from Sonlight.  I liked all the literature, but did not see myself buying a whole package set.  I knew my first hurdle would be teaching him to read.  I had never actually taught a child to read before so I wasn't sure how one did it, beyond teaching letter recognition and sounds, which we were already doing as part of our play.  

In the meantime, we moved to Ontario and began looking for a church.  That involved a couple of different stints at some local churches for the first year and by the time, Kate was born, we had settled at our current church.  We also made what would become a close family friendship with Norma and her family who was already homeschooling her two boys.  She loaned me When Children Love to Learn and quite possibly For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay.  Norma also introduced me to the Classical Education realm by loaning me her copy of The Well Trained Mind.   Sometime after that, a homeschooling family from church invited us over for Sunday dinner after church and I perused her shelves and ended up borrowing, A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola, which I think is how many people become acquainted with Charlotte Mason.

For Seth's kindergarten years(Ontario has Junior K starting at age 4 and Senior K for age 5), we read Bible stories, worked on memory verses and letters sounds.  By the time, grade 1 rolled around, Kate was an immobile one year old and Laura was a newborn.  I ordered a couple of the Ambleside Online Year 1 titles:  Fifty Famous Stories Retold and An Island Story.  I also went with The Story of the World, Volume 1: Ancient Civilizations(SOTW). And I settled on Rightstart as a math program and a Phonics book.

Needless to say, I clearly had bit off more than I could chew with two infants to care for. We only stuck to  our Bible stories, memorizing Psalms and working through our Phonics book, some printing and ended up abandoning our readings from The Story of the World as it felt that the constant jumping from the different ancient civilizations(ie. India, Mesopotamia, Africa) left me confused and forgetful and I was the "teacher".  It was an exhausting school year.  I was not too pleased that I had not incorporated most of what I had read either from my Charlotte Mason sources, like narration or nature studies or the Well Trained Mind.

 I determined that summer, that grade 2 would be different, so I returned to SOTW determined to get a grip on the flow of history by writing out my own lesson plans and I hung a homemade history timeline after spending hours agonizing over how to create one.  I bought a beginner printing book from Handwriting Without Tears, First Language Lessons for grammar and picked an Apologia science Astronomy title and called it a day, more like a year.

In September, we started reading our books.  I immediately hit a brick wall with more than one of those books and we limped along in some of our lessons.  The Apologia science book was too technical for Seth's understanding.  I focused his attention on Book 1 of the Nature Readers instead.
I ditched the two Ambleside titles right away because I had no understanding of their place in history.  When Seth would ask if the story we just read in the Fifty Famous Stories was true or not, I had no answer.  Jumping into the history of England with An Island History was equally confusing. 
We stuck with the SOTW and enjoyed giving our attention to Ancient Egypt, then Ancient Greece and finally Ancient Rome with a smattering of other areas mentioned as well.  It felt good to know where we were headed finally.  

We began to spend more time outside in informal nature studies where we just looked for interesting things outside to identify and learn more about.  The girls were always along usually in their double stroller which later was switched out for a wagon. Last summer, I bought some insect study tools and we have really used them. Even the girls have their own nets and my mom and I have been discussing making them their own safari vests as they both want to wear Seth's vest. We have learned a lot just by observing and being outside.

 Things have continued along in much the same pattern this past year, making strides in our spelling and grammar lessons, plugging away at our Latin studies and working on oral to written narrations.  Seth also started cursive and has amazing handwriting skills.
So, with so many lessons going quite well, why feel the need to get back to Charlotte Mason?  I guess I feel that as Seth moves towards more independent work and I begin to look ahead to Laura and Kate's lessons, I want to make sure we are incorporating aspects that we can enjoy and study as a family, no matter the difference in the various ages and abilities.  
By making Artist and Composer studies a reality, Seth and I will be able to familiarize ourselves with this aspect of history(I'm keeping our selections relevant to our history era which is Late Renaissance to Early Modern) and begin to include the girls in this as well.  Up to the spring of this year, neither of them spent much time listening to our readings or desiring to look through books with us.  This coming fall, I think Laura will show more interest in hearing the music of Bach, Beethoven and Handel and looking at the artwork of Vermeer and Rembrandt.  I think she will enjoy coloring a page about them while we read and listen to the music.  Kate's attention and interest varies, but she usually likes to be doing what we're doing.

In the end, I guess I feel that incorporating more of these Charlotte Mason type lessons into our weekly studies, it will be more inclusive for the girls and expose them to these ideas and art forms so they grow up being familiar with them right from the beginning.  My desire is for our family to be conversant in the same ideas and interests as long as we are able to be together.  My hope is that by learning to appreciate the same things, it will give us a common bond that can bring enjoyment and intelligence to our discussions, our interactions and even perhaps to our gift giving.  
I hope this makes some sense to someone other than me.  I feel like I know what I mean, but I may not have conveyed it very well.

I will end by saying that up to this current week, we have done a few lessons each week to keep the cobwebs from crowding in and to give some structure to some mornings that needed it.  So in one sense, it has not felt like we really ended our school year this time, but instead have kept a loose atmosphere of learning while we do summery activities.  And while we will travel and be away from home in the next little while, I anticipate a ramping back up to full speed in September, digging into new material and enjoying the old and familiar topics as well.  Thinking back thus far, my time and efforts seem amply rewarded as the years pile up and I look back at what we've learned together.

If you, like me, have ever been confused or concerned by what it means to be following the Christian classical method versus the Charlotte Mason method, I encourage you to read the following post by Cindy Rollins.  Here is excerpt quoting Andrew Kern(I told you I like him!)
 Andrew Kern’ s definition of classical education: “Classical education is the cultivation of wisdom and virtue by nourishing the soul on truth, goodness, and beauty by means of the seven liberal arts and the four sciences,” can be found perfectly, practically implemented in Charlottle Mason’s own PUO schools and the homes of many families following her ideas today.
Towards a Defense of Charlotte Mason

I do plan on putting up a post highlighting our lesson plans for 2012-2013.  I will try to include links and resource photos when I do and of course, your thoughts are always welcome.

Seth's Latin translation from this morning. He's doing so well!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

doctrine cannot wait

The following paragraphs are excerpts from the book we'll begin this September by Starr Meade called Training Hearts, Teaching Minds: Family Devotions Based on the Shorter Catechism.  Having completed the children's catechism, I thought we should go and expand on those ideas and work on the more meatier version of the catechism.  Mrs. Meade's book is similar in format to the children's book, in that you work on a question for a whole week, reading a passage that relates or explains the idea presented in the question and answer each day.  That format worked very well for us so I am glad to have this next resource to use.  Here is what she writes in part, in the introduction to the book:
The Church's Failure:
Even where teaching the Bible to children is a priority, teaching Bible doctrine seldom is. Children hear the same Bible stories repeatedly, almost always as moral lessons on how to behave. Typical Sunday school lessons reduce Bible stories to moral tales much like Aesop's fables. The focus is on the human being in the story, who becomes its main character. So the teacher comes to the end and concluded, "And you must be like David and God will bless you" or "You must not act as Ahab did or you will find trouble."
When Bible stories are used in this way, God sits on the periphery of the narrative, like the genie in a fairy tale, blessing human actors for good behavior or cursing them for failures. Children seldom learn to see that God Himself is the main character of every Bible story. They do not learn to ask about each account they read, "What does this story tell me about God?" They never learn to read all the biblical narratives in the light of God's overall purpose to redeem a people for Himself. All they learn is: Be good and God blesses; be bad, and He does not. Not only is this a faulty representation of the gospel, it is not the gospel at all! What a tragedy! 
God in His grace and condescension loaded Scripture with stories, concrete illustrations of abstract truth. But we must use the Bible stories as God intended them to be used. He gave them to use for the same reason He gave us all of Scripture--that we might know what He, the only true God, is like, and that we might understand the salvation He has provided for His people through His Son. Bible stories illustrate Bible doctrines. We who work with children should be grateful for that and should use the Bible narratives to help our children understand the doctrines of our faith.
The Proposed Solution: 
Those of us who care about passing on the baton of historic Christian truth must awaken to the importance of faithfully imparting its doctrines to our children. We cannot depend on haphazard, hit-or-miss Bible stories and memory verses, hoping that somehow our children will distill from them Christianity's important teachings. Rather, we must provide careful, systematic instruction in doctrine. Children need a grid through which to sift all that they see and hear. We must provide this for our children while they are still young. Doctrine cannot wait until children are teens, because adolescents are making major life decisions. The theological framework on which to base those decisions, the biblical worldview, must already be in place.

I have written before how thankful I am that the children's story book we use by Catherine Vos makes a point to emphasize God's role and purposes in the narratives, especially in the Old Testament passages.  I highly recommend her Bible story book as it does exactly what Starr Meade is advocating needs to be done as the solution to the church's failure. It teaches doctrinal truths about God from the stories He has given us in His Word.
You can read a short bio about Starr Meade on her site and also see her other published books, of which we currently own three.

Monday, July 23, 2012

all things are yours

I have no idea how long this link will be available to stream for free, but I recently finished listening to it and I would very much recommend it to anyone.
Anyone. Not just homeschoolers. Not just parents. Everyone.
I have yet to hear Andrew Kern speak and not rejoice in my soul over how great God is and wonderful it is to be alive in His world and among His people.

Assessment that works by Andrew Kern

Related posts:
A thinking Christian

Thursday, July 19, 2012


I have been completely wrapped up in planning for our new lessons in September and have pored over book selections for artist and composer study as well as history books to accompany our spine book which is The Story of the World, Volume 3, Late Renaissance to Early Modern.
We had already read about Bach's life, but had not listened to any of his major works, which I knew was sorely lacking.  And of course, just picking one recording became an arduous task all by itself.  I'm just writing today. I will share later all the items I've selected and when I plan to use them, so forgive the lack of usual links and book cover photos.
I buy used as much as I can, which means stalking ebay and amazon for the best editions at the best prices included shipping.  It is much more work this way, but it's great to have the right books as we study through the year.  Being that we live in Ontario, many of the American history titles are not available through our library, so that makes it harder to depend on the library and besides I like to not have the pressure to read it and return it within the usual three week period.  Sometimes my good intentions with a library book, end up only being that, intentions.
My rush to get this all sorted out and ordered is the likelihood of traveling to my parents at the end of the month and being able to bring it back here before the beginning of September.  Plus, we have more travel plans in August which means I want to have it in order before we go on holiday.

Because of the recent hot weather, we took Laura's crib down to the cool basement to sleep with Kate.  It has been okay, but I don't like not being able to hear Laura, naturally, meaning without using the monitor.  So  since the days have returned to more normal summer weather, I hauled just Laura's mattress back up to her room and she's going to learn how to sleep on her mattress on the floor.  Seth was almost the same age when we made the transition and her nap today went well.  She is also working on potty-training and seems to be understanding the sensations, but not fully aware yet.  Traveling and away from home is not the best time to work on it, so I may not push it until later in August.

Our dishwasher ceased washing well a couple of months ago, so while we decided about what to do, we began hand-washing pulling out of storage, a bright red dish-drainer we used our first year in Ontario when our rented townhome did not have a dishwasher.  I've held onto these last five years because it's red and fun and you just never know when you might need it.
I have to say, I have not missed the dishwasher yet.  I didn't realize how much bending over to load and unload I had to do until, well, I didn't have to do it very much.  I also see that we don't need even half the amount of dishes and cups, since I wash everything so frequently, and we don't even own that much to begin with! I'm not saying we won't replace it eventually, but it isn't at the top of the list right now and I'm not minding it all.

The garden is producing quite nicely despite the lack of rain and high heat.  This week has brought the first of the yellow beans and we have picked almost everyday this week.  The cucumbers are coming along and I think the first one may be big enough to pick in a few more days or sooner.

And a few recent photos of the kids:

Seth and a friend looking for anything interesting.

Looking spiffy at a recent concert event attended with me.

A bit blurry, but looking very much like them!

And lastly, I highly recommend the following two pieces of writing for your enjoyment and enrichment.

At my trousseau tea (and, yes, I am telling you, there are still some Southern girls who have trousseau teas!) just days before the wedding, a sweet friend asked what I had left do to. I think she was expecting a litany of final fittings and bridesmaids’ gifts and packing for my honeymoon. But when I told her I was planning on making curtains for the bathroom, she was incredulous.“No,” she said, with as firm a look as I believe her kind brown eyes were capable. “No, Lanier. You are a bride. This week that is all you need to be. I am making your curtains.” 
She would not leave until the fabric was safely in her hands, and as I passed off all the yards of white muslin, I felt like a physical weight had been lifted off my shoulders. It was an act of pure love, and, as such, bore the fragrance of God’s love to me. She gave me the gift of hours in my bridal week, for which I was deeply grateful. There is hardly a morning I do not think of it, as I pull back those soft drapes on the eastern light of a new day.

Excerpt from: In Deed and In Truth

Always through the wonderful Scripture verses that remind us of our assurance as believers of eternal life through the death and resurrection of our Lord. As well as the security of the believer and the loving sovereignty of God. As I grew up, all the profound Biblical concepts were regular topics of discussion around the dinner table. They were the “givens” of growing up in a pastors home during the depression and then entering WW II and fighting across Europe in Patton’s 3rd Army. (Scriptures like: John 3:16; John 1: 1 - 5; Rom. 8:28 -39; Eph. 1: 3 - 14; Ps.1; Ps. 23, etc.)These truths were not just what we talked about, they were put into practice on a daily basis and then I saw them work out in little events and on the world scale as I went along in life. We won’t know the full picture until we’re with our Lord in eternity but He graciously gives us glimpses of how He is working and arranging things even in advance. The Lord brought a few of these events to mind even at the lowest points in my recovery:

 Excerpt from: Grandparents

Monday, July 16, 2012

ready and ripening

Veg status:
sun sugar tomatoes: all ripened ones are being eaten as soon as they get yellow enough, so far we're up to three
peas:  getting plumper by the minute
yellow beans:   the junior gardeners picked a small handful for dinner tonight
yellow zucchinis:  one eaten, one remains; vines are starting to ramp up production, bees appear to be busy on the scene, hand pollinating though to make doubly sure they grow
cucumbers:  hand pollinating as well(quick tutorial below) and so far so good, none picked yet

female cucumber blossom

male cucumber blossom(see, no cucumber)

 carefully strip petals off male blossom to expose pollen

apply pollen to female cucumber blossom

a very eager junior gardener

Sunday, July 15, 2012

first fruits

We've been eating lettuce and using fresh herbs for several weeks now, but this is the first of the yellow beans and the first of those delicious sugary tomatoes!  

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

documenting life

I wrote over here today.  I know it's a bit long, but I hope you enjoy it anyway.

Friday, July 06, 2012

trained to discern

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. ~Hebrews 5:12-14.
In the introduction of Charlotte Mason's A Philosophy of Education in the Original Homeschooling Series, she writes the following describing what we usually mean when we say someone is educated:
that is, they can read and write, think perversely, and follow an argument, though they are unable to detect a fallacy. (Volume 6. page 1)
As soon as I read that, a bright and luminous light bulb went on in my head.  This is exactly why I do not feel like I was truly educated because I had no training in how to detect a fallacy. Thinking through what has been put before you as a true answer or understanding of a particular issue takes discernment.  And according to the verse in Hebrews quoted above, you must train your senses or your mind to discern good and evil, including thoughts and deeds.  And the one who has practiced training their senses is said to be mature in their faith.
So it appears that as we are educating our children, nurturing them from infants into mature adults, we must be training their senses, their minds, to discern fallacious thinking and conduct. They must be able to properly discern good and evil and the very best way I can think of accomplishing this with God's grace, is to be consistently and intentionally exposing them to the very best in Christian thought and study.  Once you've had a taste of solid, well-reasoned thinking, you acquire a desire for it and become accustomed to only accepting the best as that worthy of meat for your soul.

Feast on the writings of any of these men and you will find plenty of good nourishment to teach to your children.  I only listed those I have actually read myself.  There are many others that these will lead you to and many more that I myself have yet to read. 

Matthew Henry
John Calvin
Jonathan Edwards
J.C. Ryle
Gordon Clark
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Francis Shaeffer
Greg Bahnsen
Robert Reymond
D.A. Carson
Douglas Wilson

strange, but true...maybe

I'm finding this hard to believe since I often yearn for days like this, but I think I am missing the atmosphere of learning that our "school year" provides.  Seth is busy with different playmates each day and only one day this week did I manage to find time to do our morning Bible routine.  I miss talking and reading through our lessons and literature together.  I miss watching him write well-formed cursive sentences or narrate from his nature reader.  I liked our routine and feel a bit lost without it, I think.

An afternoon at the Canal

Thursday, July 05, 2012

bursting into bloom

arguing well

I wrote this a long time ago, found it this afternoon and dusted it off.  Hope you find something helpful in it.

I've been thinking about disagreements and arguments, since I have been part of a few in my lifetime and have begun to see patterns to many disagreements, in particular those centered around Biblical passages or doctrines.

Disagreeing and arguing is not inherently wrong or sinful. Many Christians(and strangely sometimes even non-Christians) often respond with a host of Bible verses harnessed together to show how the Bible condemns arguing(or judging), especially among Christians. I believe that in most instances, they wrongly apply these type of verses to suit their specific agenda at that time. Also due to the feminization of the church, I also believe that many Christians feel that only words dripping with flattery and false humility can be used to articulate disagreement.
In other words, acceptable language is that which makes your opponent feel good about his position. Not so. The Bible records several instances where one believer stood up to another believer using very direct, perhaps even harsh words to make their point. Think David confronted by Nathan in 2 Samuel. Think Peter confronted by Paul as recorded in Galatians 2. And in dealing with the unbelieving Pharisees, Jesus without sin, never minced words. Of course, as sinful people, it is possible to argue in a sinful way, but too often they are assumed to be one and the same and yet they are not.

In order to disagree succinctly and with the shortest possible way to resolution, the point of disagreement must be apparent to both parties. This will involve pointing out the other person's error or misunderstanding. It's not wrong or unloving or unkind or ungracious to highlight the areas of disagreement so that the issue can be seen clearly.
I doubt, there can be anything less conducive to resolving a disagreement than having to deal with someone's hurt feelings, thus derailing the discussion from its original point of contention.
Of course, I do think different types of people should be treated differently in a disagreement. For example, I want to obey the fifth commandment and honor my parents even while I may disagree or argue about an issue with them. That means treating them without contempt and giving honor to their God-given role in my life. They may be wrong, but I need to honor them as I disagree with them. What that looks like may vary from person to person and culture to culture, but it should be clear if each of the parties are being honest and genuine in the discussion.
Disagreeing with children or young people needs be balanced with the understanding that they are not fully mature yet and the understanding necessary for logical thinking may not be in place yet. So you may have to shelve the disagreement until they reach a more mature place in their lives.
 If your opponent shows a genuine desire to understand your different view, then they should be treated with genuine kindness even as you point out how their beliefs differs from yours.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case, as someone may just want to duke it out with you and then the discussion may get more heated.

To help resolve an area of disagreement, both parties need to be able to articulate what the other person's position is. I think the highest compliment you can give to someone you are disagreeing with is a true representation of their position. This can be tricky because often our positions are not logically thought out to completion and when someone points out that your position actually leads to this, this and this, we may react as being falsely accused of holding to something. This is why thinking through your opponent's position well enough, to be able to accurately present it, is really a gift to them. It says that you respect them enough to get it right and who doesn't want that kind of respect from their opponents?

If you are reading this or any of my other posts and are opposed to anything I write, may I ask that you treat me as a worthy opponent and do your very best to articulate for yourself the view that I am offering without misrepresentation. In other words, in your own mind, be conscientious to fully understand what I am articulating, so that if stated by you to me, I could say, "Yes, you understand my position, even though you disagree with it".
I learned a few years back when I adopted the Reformed/Calvinistic view of the Bible that many non-Calvinists want to wrongly tell you what you believe and then tell you how it's wrong.  Not very helpful to overcoming the disagreement, to say the least.

Something my husband and I have discussed over the years is how every one wants their opinion to be validated and respected even if they have done little reading or research into an issue.  It is frustrating to be told how wrong or unbiblical your position is by someone who has made little-to-no-attempt to acquaint themselves with the nuances of the discussion.  Being humble(and wise) enough to know when someone is bringing up ideas that you have given little thought or consideration to, can bring a perhaps, difficult discussion to its end by agreeing to read and study further in order to be prepared to make progress in the discussion the next time it happens.

I'll close by adding one aspect I did not anticipate when entering into a disagreement with someone whether it be in person, on the phone or online is how much my understanding of the issue would deepen as I studied certain passages or topics with the intent to offer the correct viewpoint.    Digging further into commentaries and articles, comparing passages and versions is often the results of having a discussion or disagreement with someone.
I have never been sorry for the time I spent studying and thinking about an issue which arose from a disagreement or misunderstanding.  It has all been used to further my thinking and that should never be despised or avoided.

God's knowledge

In every instance where God has decreed an end, He has also decreed every means to that end. The One who decreed the salvation of His elect also decreed to work faith in them (2 Thess. 2:13). "My counsel shall stand and I will do all My pleasure" (Is. 46:10) : but that could not be, if His counsel depended upon a condition which not be performed. But God "worketh all things after the counsel of His own will." (Eph. 1:11)
It has been often pointed out in the past that every objection made against the eternal decrees of God applies with equal force against His eternal foreknowledge. 
"Now it is self-evident that if He knows all things beforehand, He either doth approve of them or doth not approve of them; that is, He either is willing they should be or He is not willing they should be.  But to will that they should be is to decree them." ~Jonathan Edwards
*the above paragraphs are quoted from The Attributes of God, by Arthur W. Pink

Shane and I have been discussing the source of God's knowledge and he was explaining the doctrine of the aseity of God which is the attribute that describes the eternal, self-sustaining, self-sufficiency of God.

The word aseity, meaning that he has life in himself and draws his unending energy from Himself (a se in Latin means "from himself"), was coined by theologians to express this truth, which the Bible makes clear. ~Monergism

Since God depends on no part of His creation for his existence and sustenance, then too His knowledge of all things comes from no other source than Himself. No being or event informs God.  He is the originator of all knowledge.
Isaiah asks:
Who has understood the mind* of the LORD, or instructed Him as His counselor?
Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten Him, and who taught Him the right way?
Who was it that taught Him knowledge or showed Him the path of understanding? ~Is. 40:13,14    (* or Spirit)
The obvious answer is No one.  God is the source of all knowledge. He learns nothing.  Therefore, His knowledge of all things is because He is self-sufficient, independent from His creation and the source of all things. 
Before a word is on my tongue
You know it completely, O LORD. ~Ps. 139:4 

To man belong the plans of the heart,
but from the LORD comes the reply of the tongue. ~Prov. 16:1

Who can speak and have it happen
if the LORD has not decreed it? ~Lam.3:37

To deny the Divine decrees would be to predicate a world and all its concerns regulated by undesigned chance or blind fate.  Then what peace, what assurance, what comfort would there be for our poor hearts and minds? What refuge would there be to fly to in the hour of need and trial?  None at all. There would be nothing better than the black darkness and abject horror of atheism. O my reader, how thankful should we be that everything is determined by infinite wisdom and goodness! What praise and gratitude are due unto God for His Divine decrees. It is because of them that "we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose"(Rom. 8:28). Well may we exclaim, "For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen" (Rom. 11:36). (ibid)

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

flowers and fruit

lovely bean blossoms

baby cucumber

golden zucchini

towering broccoli

Bronze Arrowhead

baby basil

Monday, July 02, 2012

his nature journal

Here are some recent inspirations on nature journaling that encouraged me to make more time to draw outside with Seth.  This is part of my intentional return to following more closely Charlotte Mason's ideas than I previously have in our lessons.  I hope to post about this in more detail, but for now, enjoy these wonderful ideas that have helped me.

Nature Journaling
Three Stages of Nature Journaling
Our Nature Journals Lately
Mom's Nature Study
Handbook of Nature Study

no words are necessary

for sharing

A small collection of posts I've been bookmarking to share with you, if you are so inclined. I have included a short excerpt from the first five posts. The Susan Branch link takes you to her main page, where you can enjoy scrolling through her recent travel posts and read as you like.  And the last couple are for adding something excellent and wholesome to your day.

The Organized HomeI don't like to houseclean. I would much rather read a book, learn something new, or be with my husband or kids. On the other hand, I love a clean, organized home that is also beautifully decorated. I suppose this is a bad combination, but over the years, these desires have driven me to find ways to have my cake and eat it, too.
He Ain't Heavy:  In fact I wanted the very best. I wanted them to have trusted friends. I wanted them to have good advice and a helping hand. I wanted them to have a sympathetic comrade, one so familiar he knew exactly what would make your day - and then set out to do just that.
Training the Will of a One Year OldThe mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days... ~Charlotte Mason
Brinton Turkle and Masterly InactivityMasterly Inactivity is an action {or non-action, as the case may be} on the part of the parents. It is a "wise letting alone." It is having the power and desire to act, but the insight and wisdom to restrain oneself. Miss Mason suggested this sort of letting alone in so many areas of life. Surely this incident with Obadiah qualifies. 
Imagination- Cultivate Your Capacities for Amazement: Those of you embarking on this journey will watch your own imagination begin to blossom and grow as you cultivate your capacities for amazement.  And you get to share it all with your children.
Susan Branch:  online home of author and illustrator, Susan Branch whose artwork I'm sure you've seen on calendars and appointment books and elsewhere.  She's been in England and the photos and commentary are wonderful, especially of her visit to Beatrix Potter home.
Psalm 5, Hear My Words: Exellent music by Nathan Clark George that I enjoy over and over.(Click the link for Psalm 5 when you get to his page.)
Meadowbrook Farm: Absolutely gorgeous flowers and home. For lingering...

Sunday, July 01, 2012

at play

I wrote last week about the play garden, an area especially designed for the girls to help keep them out of the veg patch.  My friend Gina, asked for some action shots of the girls, playing in the garden.  Here are a few from the other day.  This was early on before the dirt began to fly and was trekked all over the patio stones.  Sigh.  My idea of play is strangely not the same as theirs.