Sunday, September 25, 2016

Field Trip

This is our sixth year visiting this historical village in Eastern Ontario in early September with other homeschooling families. We had a beautiful day to enjoy walking around this village. While waiting for the saw mill to start, we visited the broom maker's cottage and watched him finish up a tall broom. He makes the brooms out of sorghum which is grown there in the village and sews it together with linen thread, if I remember correctly.
My favorite room this year was the spinning wheel room in the dressmaker's cottage. The 'dressmaker' was outside behind the cottage, tending a fire and several large pots filled with natural dye materials soaking and yarn in various stages of being dyed. We stopped to watch her work and chat with some other visitors who were asking her questions. Then we went inside, and I was ready to move in and put on the kettle.
The lovely yellow floor was being warmed by the afternoon sun pouring in the windows and all the implements on display for yarn work were bathed in this glorious light.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

this week

We unofficially kicked off a new year of lessons on Tuesday.
Unofficial because I haven't baked the traditional chocolate cupcakes yet. Also unofficial because I am not counting it as Week 1 on the Ambleside Online schedule I follow because it is a short week for us.
We only had lessons Tuesday, Wednesday and today. Tomorrow we make our annual trek with other homeschoolers to a historical village where we hang out with the farm animals and talk to blacksmiths, dressmakers, coopers and the school teacher(all actors of course) in various buildings. It is my favorite field trip of the year.

This week found us mostly in review mode: Bible memory work, musical note-reading, penmanship, counting and abacus work, Phonics, typing and Latin to name a few.
We watched videos on field drawing basics from John Muir Laws, how to make wet and dry mount slides for our telescope, and balancing chemical equations from Kahn Academy.
We read aloud from some of the free read books we did not finish in June, 'Wind in the Willows', 'Ivanhoe' and 'The Hobbit'. I should probably feel guilty about this, but I've decided to save that guilt for things like: never exercising, eating fattening sweets and watching long British murder mysteries (nah, not much guilt there) and of course, reading way too many books at the same time.

I found a sizable caterpillar on one of my wax bean plants that I pulled up on Tuesday. So I hauled the bean branch it was clinging to inside and set up a little terrarium to watch him. I wrongly assumed he was eating the bean leaves until I finally took time to look him up and realize that he is a black swallowtail butterfly larva who actually prefers parsley.
Out to the garden to bring some of mine in along with a bit of dill and carrot tops which were also mentioned as possible diet preferences. But it was indeed the parsley he munched on that first evening. I stuck a twig in the jar to make sure he would have something to cling to if the pupa stage was just around the corner.
Twenty-four hours of clinging to that branch, not tempted by any leaves, my son noticed a single silky thread attached to the branch early this morning. By late afternoon, our brightly colored caterpillar was shrouded in a drab brown pupa.
In my further research I found that apparently some pupa can be infected with wasp eggs, so you don't get a butterfly, you get wasps. Great. So now I likely will not be able to keep this thing because it's hard to tell if the pupa is the right size and color. Anyway, we have learned a lot in the last 48 hours.