"The present trend in the teaching of natural science is toward school experiences that are of immediate interest to the pupils and that will fit them for the everyday problems of later life. ...probably the greatest benefit comes from the development of desirable pupil attitudes toward, and appreciation of, beauty in all plant life."
- from the book Natural Science Through the Seasons by James A Partridge
- The guy at the garden center said they'd take about 6 weeks to flower... :)
- Bulbs are a wonderful thing to do with little kids, especially these. They went from nothing to something SO FAST! And grew inches overnight!!
And you can't go wrong at $.50/bulb! You really only need 1 per child.
- This is a great book describing bulbs for young kids. We love many by this author.
- I'm hoping to paint the bloom in my nature journal this week!
"...give up your strength the seed to nourish,
that in course the flower may flourish"
- People Look East by E. Farjeon
a great line of poetry to think of in terms of mothering too
'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.'
II Cor. 12:9
I'm taking a break from the blog for Christmas. I really do love blogging, but a break makes me very excited! I might put up a photo or two here and there, but if not, I look forward to being back in the 2013.
Merry Christmas to each of you. Thanks for sharing this space with me this past year.
And, please say a prayer for those hurting families if you think of it, will you?
“A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a
good children's story in the slightest.”
- C.S. Lewis
I recently had the chance to hear some helpful tips on building a home library and selecting quality books for our home from the lovely ladies in charge of Living Books Library. Their own home/lending library is quite impressive. I'm thankful for what I've learned on this journey, so far, about books. It makes Christmas shopping a little easier too!
In my experience, there seems to be a big push today to get kids to read better and be interested in books. I hear statistics, read articles, and listen to people lamenting the fact that so many students can't read and that our educational system is lacking. Yet, I rarely hear an emphasis being put on what kids read. Just get them to read, whatever might interest them, no matter the quality.
I have always considered myself a conscientious mother. I used to be of the mindset that if a book reinforced an educational concept (ABC's, math), if it had any Biblical themes (Noah's Ark or kindness), or if it had bright colorful new-looking illustrations to catch kids' eyes (the more the better), and if it didn't have evil characters (witches, trolls or magic spells) in it then it was worthwhile to read to my little ones. Even before my firstborn was age 2, I started to realize what an overwhelming amount of books fit into that criteria. The library seemed filled to the brim with choices, department stores had shelves of them and on and on. I felt bombarded, and still not very sure how to pick the best/right ones out of all these choices. I also never really felt satisfied with what we already owned. There were a few favorites, but the rest all seemed the same, just ok.
I have come far since those early days of mothering. I have learned (through lots of reading) what really gives a book lasting value and makes us want to read it over and over again and pass it on- what makes a book feel like an old friend when we run across it somewhere.
I am well on my way to distinguishing between "twaddle" books (like junk-food for the brain) and those that are rich and alive with ideas, the essential ingredient to learning. My criteria has changed, and my options have narrowed to a much more manageable amount. It is quite refreshing! Knowing this and getting rid of the 'twaddle' in our home has greatly changed its atmosphere. I love seeing my child's imagination soaring to new heights.
A few of the things I look for are:
- firsthand sources, unabridged classics, books that display imagination, originality, and tales that are well told and contain inspiring ideas and pictures of life. The ideas of the book are sparks of living truth passed from a great thinker to another mind. The vocabulary might stretch me/us but that is how we grow! And I love hearing my 5 year old use big words in daily life and knowing which book he got that one out of. (quotations from Ambleside Online)
- most often these books are in story/narrative form as that is how our brains best retain information- no dry fact blurbs all around the page.
- copyright before the 1970's, which I learned from the Living Books Library ladies, is when a bill was passed to give more $ to education. This increased the number of books being published per year, meaning that publishers no longer have to search out and publish only the very best. I found that interesting. On the other hand not all old books are living, and not all newer books are twaddle.
- if the book can be narrated well (told back), then it is most likely living.
Reading through booklists such as Ambleside Online, and getting these titles from the library has helped me begin learning what is good quality, and makes these books easier to recognize at book sales etc. I aim to have a large variety of books in our home, art books with few words and large colored pictures, historical biographies, atlas, field guides, poetry, well-written classic picture books and many more.
I also really enjoy seasonal/holiday books. Some particular favorites during Christmas time, are ones that tell the stories behind the Christmas songs that we sing. Here and here are a two we enjoy.
Foreign language "should be acquired as English is, not as a grammar, but as a
living speech..." Charlotte Mason
We've really been enjoying our study of the beautiful Spanish language so far this year. To be honest, I don't think I would have pulled it together enough to be part of our daily routine without Miss Mason's encouragement that I read this past summer on the importance of getting started on foreign language right away with little ones. I have heard all the research about how it's best, but I thought it was going to be a ton of work since I'm far from fluent.
But, since we have taken her simple and straight forward approach, it's been more of a delight than I anticipated. So, I wanted to share a few resources we are using. But first, here's a little of what Mason shares about how to begin:
"...our difficulties are twofold––the want of a vocabulary, and a certain
awkwardness in producing unfamiliar sounds. It is evident that both these
hindrances should be removed in early childhood."
"...the child's vocabulary should increase steadily, say, at the rate of half a
dozen words a day."
"...as he learns new words, they are put into sentences and kept in use
from day to day. A note-book in which she enters the child's new words and
sentences will easily enable the teacher to do this. The young child has no
foolish shame about saying French [or Spanish] words––he pronounces them as simply
as if they were English."
It's the "put into sentences and kept in use from day to day" part that challenges me most. But the fun songs on the Teach Me Spanish cd we use, are easy to sing any time. We love Babar, and just learned about this book. Another new favorite is Senor Baby Elephant the Pirate. Such a sweet little story written in what I would call 'Spanglish' which makes it easier to understand.
We have a little notebook with the collection of words he knows already. That is a big help to me in remembering which ones to keep in use as we go about our days.
Ideally we will move to something more intensive where we listen to/speak with native speakers to increase fluency, but I am not sure what that will look like for us just yet.
I'd love to hear of any other resources you have used and love when it comes to Spanish and little ones.
Clouds have been of great interest at our house lately. The first thing my oldest son usually does upon awakening is run to the window and give me a scout report (weather, cloud types, precipitation, and wind etc., in his own 5 year old way.)
Our kitchen table is directly in front of the double patio doors, and we have a perfect view of the sunset at supper time each evening. LOVE LOVE LOVE. Each one is unique, and lately they have been stunning. We once in a while we shut off all the lights and watch it like a large movie screen, a little magic at the end of the day. We talk about how the sun is going to bed in the west, and how the Bible says the sky shouts praises to God. Although, my son tells me it gets all the pretty colors in it because it is getting tired. :)
We notice the layers and contrails, and colors and shapes of clouds. We watch clouds blow across the sky on a windy day. He told me just yesterday somewhat suprised, "When I was walking and walking the clouds moved; when I stopped, they stopped!" We read the book The Man Who Named the Clouds. So far we can recognize Cumulus: the puffy-shaped ones, Nimbus: meaning rain, and the new favorite Stratus: fog!
Then the other day, when everyone was awake earlier than usual due to daylight savings, my son looked out the window and announced that it was fog-Y! I stood next to him and asked if he wanted to walk inside a cloud? He looked at me with big round eyes and said incredulously, "YEAH!"
It's pretty fun being the mom of a 5 year old boy. We pulled our coats and rubber boots over our pjs and headed down the road. (It's so nice to live in the country sometimes.)
Whenever we walk this direction we have to go all the way up to the top of the hill. Usually we can see quite a ways off into the pasture and towards town. But this morning, hmmmm... we couldn't! I quietly let him just wonder at it all, as I stood and wondered back at him. After I took this one, he did a little happy dance and we walked back home. We collected pretty golden-yellow rocks in our pockets on the way. When we got back inside we wrote in our Book of First Things (and memories), "first time walking inside a cloud."
This past summer (where has the time gone!?) at the Living Education Retreat our speaker, Jen, mentioned a book titled The Cloudspotter's Guide:The Science, History and Culture of Clouds by G. Pretor-Piney. I have been thoroughly enjoying bits of it lately and learning many things.
Did you know that there have been architect/artists that have designed buildings out of clouds!? (Read pg. 80-81 It's cool! )
Did you know fog was a stratus cloud? The author says, "Stratus is the only cloud that bothers to come and join us at ground level." I love the conversational yet knowledgable tone of his writing.
The author also started The Cloud Appreciation Society, and if you like them on Facebook you will get to see some photos of gorgeous clouds around the world.
I love the society's manifesto, especially these parts,
"...clouds are expressions of the atmosphere's moods, and can be read like those of a person's countenance." (He might agree with my son and his speculations on the sky feeling tired and getting colorful.)
"...clouds are nature's poetry." "..life would be immeasurably poorer without them."
"...clouds are for dreamers and their contemplation benefits the soul."
"Look up, marvel at the ephemeral beauty, and live with your head in the clouds."
The weather has turned. Yesterday was sunny and gorgeous . Today the wind is strong and the air is brisk. I'm glad we did this (above) before the cold came. Bedtime stories are much more fun in a tent, don't you think? We're reading Vol. 1 in a vintage Child Craft set. Lovely old books!
“Meals out of Doors- People who live in the country know the value of fresh air very well, and their children live out of doors, with intervals within for sleeping and eating. As to the latter, even country people do not make full use of their opportunities. On fine days when it is warm enough to sit out with wraps, why should not tea and breakfast, everything but a hot dinner, be served out of doors?”
“Besides the gain of an hour or two in the open air, there is this to consider, meals taken
al fresco are usually joyous…”
“All the time too, children are storing up memories of a happy childhood. Fifty years hence they will see the shadows of the boughs making patterns on the white tablecloth; and sunshine; children’s laughter, hum of bees, and scent of flowers are being bottled up for after refreshment.” -Charlotte Mason
I've always loved eating outdoors, even before I read this, or anything CM for that matter.
This past weekend, as we enjoyed our cups of warm soup, we watched a female goldfinch search among the low understory of our woods for seeds. Also a chick-a-dee serenaded from a branch just above us. And a little later on we watched a Downy Woodpecker make his way around a tree trunk.
Meals outdoors are lovely, don't you think?
"I am recording this so that future generations will also praise the Lord for all He has done." -Psalm 102:18
I am a mama to 2 sweet brothers who aspires to a "thinking love" toward my children.
Take a peek into our journey towards a living education inspired by the writings of Charlotte Mason.
Be sure to leave me a comment if you're inspired!
I prefer to keep my text and images right here. Please don't copy without permission. Thanks!
My new posts delivered straight to your inbox!
Instead of T.V.
Librivox free audio books
Seeds of Family Worship
Bible verses put to song
Storynory free audio stories for kids
Storyline Online- famous faces read books to kids
Mister Rogers- episodes online
"In this field small efforts are honoured with great rewards, and we perceive that the education we are giving exceeds all that we intended or imagined.”
“It may be that the souls of all children are waiting for the call of knowledge to awaken them to delightful living.”