I am reposting some entries from a previous blog. Enjoy another handcraft idea via our Truth Beauty Goodness homeschool community. In light of the upcoming Christmas holiday, and to get us in the mood for all things Christmas-y we read a little excerpt from this book. One of my favorites. Then we began making our ornaments! Having done a bit of hand sewing in a previous lesson, I decided to have the group try a little bit more advanced project that used a blanket stitch to edge their ornaments. We made two kinds of ornaments, stars and ice skates. The stars shown on the cover of this book. It has a detailed how-to and can be used with just a regular running straight stitch too.
You can find an ice skate ornament pattern here.
The tutorial we used is found here.
Another ice skate ornament here.
And here are a few post Thanksgiving photos from our lovely walk around the lake. It was a chilly but lovely holiday.
Black walnut piles. Some shelled, some not. Three in a row under the canopy. Someone's stock piling for winter!
This prayer was a gift to us.
We now speak these strong beautiful words in our home,
regarding its atmosphere and our perspective.
I'd like to share it here with you during this season of giving thanks for life's blessings.
In the name of Jesus Christ,
I bless you with the promises of God that are YES and AMEN.
May the Holy Spirit make you healthy and strong in
body, mind and spirit to move in faith and expectancy.
May God's angels be with you to protect and keep you.
Be blessed with supernatural strength to turn your eyes from
foolish, worthless and evil things.
Instead, may you behold the beauty of the things that
God has planned for you as you obey His Word.
I bless your ears to hear the uplifting and encouraging,
and to shut out the demeaning and negative.
I bless your feet to walk in holiness,
and your steps to be ordered by the Lord.
I bless your hands to be helping hands to those in need.
I bless your heart to be humble and receptive to others.
I bless your mind to be strong, disciplined, balanced and faith filled.
May God's grace be upon your home
so that it may be a sanctuary of rest and renewal,
a haven of peace where sounds of joy and laughter grace its walls,
where love and unconditional acceptance of one another is consistent.
God give you success and prosperity in your business
and places of labor as you obey God's Word.
God give you spiritual strength to overcome the evil one and avoid temptation.
God's grace be upon you to fulfill your dreams and visions.
May goodness and mercy follow you all the days of your long and fulfilling life.
The Lord bless you and make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.
I bless you in Jesus' name!
"To push ourselves to work daily at education, to live, act, think and speak in front of children so that they'll be better every hour because of our example, is a lot harder than making a single enormous sacrifice."
It's November, and we're settling into a gentle rhythm for fitting school into our days here at home. It takes a little bit to get supplies organized and the posted routine turned into an actuality. It also takes some thought and preparation to take a child who at age four has free exploratory play taking up the majority of his day, to then, by age six, be able to sit down for a structured period of time and apply his mind to learning as well as telling back what he knows. I have found a slow, gentle introduction to one new subject at a time to be the most attainable in our home setting and much preferable to a throw-them-in-at-the-deep-end approach.
School is pretty high on the ‘fun’ list around here, for teacher and student. I mean that too! Really, who wouldn’t appreciate a guilt-free opportunity to ignore housework and laundry and go read a few really good books for a while each day. I hope and pray that the day I begin to find it turning to drudgery for either party, I would pause for a long hard look and make the necessary changes. How well can learning happen when the mind is overwhelmed or in a state of resistance?
From broken basement discard, to refurbished school-cupboard. A dream come true!
In an ideal world, where obedience reigns, nothing falls apart and fairies do the dirty dishes, this is what the school portion of our daily rhythm looks like.
I've heard it called gathering time and morning meeting and other lovely names; we begin our time after breakfast with the same concept. We've found which subjects work well while the little one is dashing between our feet and save the others for nap time. I'm still crossing lots of fingers praying he doesn't grow out of nap time for a long while. It's been an adjustment for me to give up my mid-afternoon time to get some work done around the house. I'm not a fan of change in general, but in this case, the rewards far outweigh any negatives.
During a morning we try to do the following subjects:
Recite our memory Verse
Listen to our composer
Sing our Hymn/Folksong
Read our daily poem
Chores and outdoor play fit into our morning, as well. Other times we run errands or have play-dates with mom friends and their little ones before lunch. I might remember to grab the cds and then we listen/sing/recite any of the above subjects in the car. We also love books on cd in the car!
Using Ambleside Online Year 1 as our guide, our total time spent in focused learning during a given day is about an one and a half to two hours. I take my planning time (usually about 15 minutes) on Friday when school's over. Then my thoughts from the week we've just completed and where we're headed are still fresh in my mind. I find that it takes me much longer and is harder to get back into the mindset if I wait until Sunday night.
As soon as baby's down for the afternoon and the table is cleared, big brother and I pop onto the couch and begin with a book and narration, which one depends on the day and our reading schedule.
Viking Tales drawing narration
Short and varied lessons are the keys to keeping attention and interest. We do 5-20 minute lessons depending on the subject. When he asks, I let him choose which order the afternoon falls into, but, as I can sense that a certain predictability is a comfort to him, we generally follow his favorite order of things. Number comes next,
Making 8 with pennies and beans. "Which ones look alike?"
"Can I please write a letter to Auntie for copywork?"
Next he does his letters (aka learning to read),
"...She gives me cream with all HER might, to eat with apple-tart."
and then another reading and narration.
Where did Shaka Zulu live?
"Mom, this is how Shaka did it."
Handcrafting, nature notebooks- a.k.a. science, drawing, outdoor geography, timeline, common placing, citizenship etc. fit in here depending on the day. We attempt to do each at least once a week.
Garter snakes have no ears, we discovered.
our time line
And Shakespeare comes last. Often baby wakes up and does Shakespeare with us. And that's it for school! We used to head out and pick eggs after this. I 'm already looking forward to resuming that part of our daily rhythm with new birds next year and listening to contented chicken noises and giggling at their antics once again.
Playing at The Globe Theatre. "I want to be Banquo."
Numbers in real life
The majority of the time the teacher role falls to me. Dad likes to be involved in school, more than just, "We did this or that today," but among his many bread-winner responsibilities he doesn't have much chance to dive too far in. It makes sense for me to help offer opportunities for him to connect to what we're doing.
Reading Peter Pan and dressing the parts
One evening I set out an 'assignment' for suppertime, a Picture Study narration that had already been assigned to us for our TBG community. It was very fun to sit back and listen to it happen. They looked quietly at a beautiful print from Vermeer. Afterwards, these are a few of the comments I heard.
"There was a box on the table."
"It was brown."
"No, Dad, it was blackish brown."
"She had a letter in her hand."
"Ya, it might have been a letter from her husband."
"There was some cloth."
"No, that's the table. It was blue."
"Like her dress!"
"Let's look at it again. Oh, I see what you were talking about that was a hook on her face. It's her hair, a curl."
"It's hard to see."
Another recommendation I've heard for dads is to keep a read aloud book going at all times, one they can pick up and read to the kids whenever it works. We're using the free reads on our list for some of our 'dad books.' It's an opportunity not to be missed!
And baby gets his share of stories too...
"...let us consider where and what the little being is who is entrusted to the care of human parents. A tablet to be written upon? a twig to be bent? Wax to be moulded? Very likely, but he is much more-- a being belonging to an altogether higher estate than ours; as it were, a prince committed to the fostering care of peasants."
Our favorite Poor Richard's Almanac quote: "Men and melons are hard to know." After we read this D'aulaire on Ben Franklin, DH and I watched the HBO miniseries John Adams bringing the famous revolutionary to life for me!!
"...mothers owe a thinking love to their children...
how shall this heart, this head, these hands, be employed?
to whose service shall they be dedicated?"
Oh, the stories we get to read!!!
Wishing we could step into this nature collection
... woke up one morning to snow!! It's mostly gone now, but it was a glorious frosty surprise in which we were out playing before 7 am.
... participated in an online nature exchange and received a fun package of beachy items all the way from sunny CA! The sand dollar and piece of lobster shell were the favorites.
...said goodbye to our chickens. It was a cold but successful butchering day. Despite the gross factor, I have to recommend the experience to everyone at least once. There's something natural and wholesome to get up close and personal with the circle of life of which we are so often far removed. Oh, and I learned what the eggs look like when they're not out yet... strangely fascinating. I kept recalling childhood memories from butchering day at Grandpa Joe's farm w/ my large herd of relatives. We are hoping to raise a new flock again next spring.
...stuck the baby in a giant pumpkin... he didn't like it too much. I thought it was very cute.
...took an evening walk down our country lane.
...read a favorite story and had a birthday party. The big 2!
...harvested the last of the garden. Carrots. Yum! Harvesting in snow reminded me of when we planted last April. See?
...did some geography and some sloyd with friends.
(more to come on sloyd) stay tuned,,,
"We must make it our business, as much as in us lies, to bring beauty to places where it is not."
from out here on the prairie!
Finishing up our cordage and bead making project at TBG
Packaging up our items for a nature exchange we're participating in
Picture study at TBG
in the thick of it
the night of the goat milking which preceeded the morning of the goat cheese making
hands-on history lessons
Chapter 6 - Paddle Meets a Saw Mill (Narration)
"Mom, that way is North and over by those reeds is South," was a comment that blessed my heart this past weekend on a lovely autumn day.
Outdoor geography ties in with our math lessons in such a lovely way.
"...firm hand on the tiller he cranked up the make and break on the Tidley Idley..."
Burt Dow Deep Water Man
Pockets were filled with shells and pretty leaves (and sand for good measure.)
And we tried not to disturb the fish while we were at it.
I am reposting this entry from an old blog. We did this fun fall handcraft in our homeschool community a few autumns ago.
We had just been reading words like these in co-op, the perfect introduction to our next handicraft.
October is the treasurer of the year,
And all the months pay bounty to her store:
The fields and orchards still their tribute bear,
And fill her brimming coffers more and more.
But she, with youthful lavishness,
Spends all her wealth in gaudy dress,
And decks herself in garments bold
Of scarlet, purple, red, and gold.
...She lives her life out joyously,
Nor cares when Frost stalks o'er her way
And turns her auburn locks to gray.
Paul Laurence Dunbar I began by reading the group The Iroqouis Legend of the Corn Husk Doll which is a really neat little story.Then we set to work! There's a really simple how-to in this book. They're fairly easy to make, and they take very little materials, as well as cost effective (as long as you have a fields of dried corn right out your back door like I do. Though I will warn you, be prepared to get muddy!)I'll be adding my little gathering lady to our fall nature table at home :) Have you ever made them?
"We must be able to see those things which are invisible, or how can we lift up our eyes to God? Imagination is, like faith, the evidence of things not seen; indeed, is not faith the supreme effort of imagination wherein she stretches her wings, compels her powers to produce mental pictures, or ideas, of the things eternal?" - C. Mason
Made of mud bricks baked in the hot July sun
A colorful feast collected in our woods one fall
A September village for cornhusk dolls to frolic and squirrels and ladybugs to visit.
The soldier who keeps watch over the village at night.
...making time to play outside with my little ones
...imaginations filled with characters and heroic, fanciful events from the stories we read as well as the magic of make-believe
...living with an awareness of and delight in the majestic created world around us
just some thoughts about the important things...
and a book we liked on this subject
Seven years ago when I stood on the soil of Granada, Spain, or more specifically in the halls of the Alhambra castle, I had no idea it was the very place Columbus had long ago asked King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to fund his voyage in which he discovered the New World.
I look forward to Columbus Day in a fresh way after having read some wonderful living books about the life of this impressive hero who earned the title Admiral of the Ocean Sea.
Chistopher Columbus at the Royal Court of Spain, by Václav Brožik c.1884
As the story goes, Columbus waited until the Spaniards conquered the Moors taking control of Granada and the Alhambra. The king and queen then had the means to fund his journey to the Orient.
See the castle in the background? I wonder, did the D'Aulaire's visit Alhambra too?
In true tour guide fashion, here we are in The Hall of the Ambassadors (Gran Salón de Embajadores,) the room where it is claimed that Columbus was received by the King and Queen. A visitor here would have stepped from the glaring Court of Myrtles into this dim, cool, incense-filled world, to meet the silhouetted sultan. Imagine the alcoves functioning busily as work stations, and the light at sunrise or sunset, rich and warm, filling the room.
Note the finely carved Arabic script. Muslims avoided making images of living creatures — that was God's work. But they could carve decorative religious messages. One phrase — "only Allah is victorious" — is repeated 9,000 times throughout the palace. Find the character for "Allah" — it looks like a cursive W with a nose on its left side. The swoopy toboggan blades underneath are a kind of artistic punctuation setting off one phrase.
In 1492, two historic events likely took place in this room. Culminating a 700-year-long battle, the Reconquista was completed here as the last Moorish king, Boabdil, signed the terms of his surrender before eventually leaving for Africa.
And it was here that Columbus made his pitch to Isabel and Ferdinand to finance a sea voyage to the Orient. Imagine the scene: The king, the queen, and the greatest minds from the University of Salamanca gathered here while Columbus produced maps and pie charts to make his case that he could sail west to reach the East. Ferdinand and the professors laughed and called Columbus mad — not because they thought the world was flat (most educated people knew otherwise), but because they thought Columbus had underestimated the size of the globe, and thus the length and cost of the journey.
But Isabel said "Sí, señor." Columbus fell to his knees (promising to pack light, wear a money belt, and use the most current guidebook available). quote here.
In that relational way, those newly learned facts and ideas hung themselves on the pegs of previous experiences in my brain.
My imagination is weaving all sorts of interlocking webs as I learn more from here and there.
All these tidbits are fitting in to create that sweeping panorama of history in my mind.
I remember this stunning castle and the way it filled my senses, the tinkling fountains the smell of orange blossoms and jasmine, the cool halls and intricate carved archways. I bought the book Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving in the bookshop at the end of our 5 hour tour. He wrote these little tales of Spanish history during his stay at this beautiful palace when it was no longer the main housing for royalty but used by a lower-ranking military official. Reading it is like taking a little stroll with him through the Spanish countryside.
Not too long ago I picked up a kids' pop-up book with words from Columbus' own journal which my son has enjoyed. I also found this sweet storybook of Spanish folktales gorgeously illustrated by Emma Brock. Spain, and Columbus... it all weaves together in a fascinating way, doesn't it? For a more detailed tour of Alhambra, look here and here.
Photos in this post are from around the web as well as out of my own camera :)
Spinning linen from flax: Ox-cart Man
I love learning a new handcraft, especially one that is reminiscent of ages past such as the time when all cloth was made from fibers extracted by hand from animal or plant.
Most people are more familiar with yarn made from wool or animal hair. Less know about the fascinating process of spinning, or in this case, twining, with plant fibers.
This dry brown Swamp Milkweed plant was harvested in a ditch near a lake last October.
The plant has narrow pointed leaves and when blooming, it flowers only at the top of the stalk...
...compared with the commonly known Milkweed plant that has thicker more rounded leaves and flowers all the way up the stem.
As you can see the next close-up, the blossoms look deceivingly similar.
On to our first handcraft of the year! All it takes are 2 smooth stones, a stalk or 3 of dried milkweed, and a careful hand with which to harvest the hair-like fibers that reside just below the thin bark or outer covering of the stalk. Here's the how-to we used, and a video demonstration. Videos 3 & 4 show the process using Dogbane plant.
The cordage is used for making fishing nets, woven food storage bags, clothing, bow strings, etc. We're getting a taste of the process by making simple bracelets.
It was slow work, but I think it's safe to say everyone in the group got into this handcraft!
A few more interesting things:2 videos on Flax: Extracting and Spinning like in Ox-cart Man
A recommended living book here. I'd love a link back if you happen to try this out. Let me know what handcrafts you've been up to lately.and...My handcrafting page (my gift to you all) is up and running now!Check out the tab at the top of this page when you are in need of new crafting ideas. I plan to keep adding links for current handcrafts so stop back again. Enjoy!