How could I make a little book, when I have seen enough to make a dozen large books?
John J. Audubon
After studying his art last term and reading some marvelous stories of his birding adventures, we just had to make it to the museum to see the actual book Audobon produced. With a tape measure in his pocket to make note of the size, he marched right over and his face filled with a grin. The tape measure was promptly forgotten and an enthusiastic self-directed tour began.
I never for a day gave up listening to the songs of our birds, or watching their peculiar habits, or delineating them in the best way I could.
J. J. Audobon
In my deepest troubles, I frequently would wrench myself from the persons around me and retire to some secluded part of our noble forests.
J. J. Audubon
A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.
J. J. Audubon
“Keep a child active and happy in the rain, and he gets nothing but good from his walk.”
- Mason 1/88
Below is the image for one of our science books for this first grade school year -that we are nearly finished with, and I can hardly believe it!
As good old Aesop reminds me, "Slow and steady wins the race."
So, now that spring finally seems to have arrived, we're enjoying the chorus outside our door and the little peeks into the beautiful feathered world out there.
Burgess himself says that his book "was written as a labor of love--
love for little children and love for the birds.
If as a result of it [the book above] even a few children are led to a keener interest in
and better understanding of our feathered friends,
its purpose will have been accomplished. "
- T. W. BURGESS
Children should be brought up, too, to perceive that a miracle is not less a miracle because it occurs so constantly and regularly that we call it a law; that sap rises in a tree, that a boy is born with his uncle's eyes, that an answer that we can perceive comes to our serious prayers; these things are not the less miracles because they happen frequently or invariably, and because we have ceased to wonder about them.
- Charlotte Mason 6/148
Think you, my lord, there is no sensation in being a tree?
feeling the sap in one's boughs, the breeze in one's foliage?
Crossing our fingers and hoping this works:
April 5 @ 7pm- Five taps set (28 degrees overnight temp)
April 6 @ 10am- checked trees but no sap yet (32 degrees)
5pm- checked again; half a gallon! (42 degrees)
April 7 @ 4pm- checked again, 3 gallons! (60 degrees-ish)
and still running...
We liked the info for tapping trees found here.
And a short how-to video for the kids here.
For our sugaring update post click HERE
His mercies are new every morning.
"... the elegant structure of the world serve[s] us as a kind of mirror,
in which we may behold God, though otherwise invisible"
...Give the child delightful glimpses into the world of wonders he lives in, to reveal the sorts of things to be seen by curious eyes, and fill him with desire to make discoveries for himself.
- Mason 1/64
"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?
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.
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,
Next he does his letters (aka learning to read),
and then another reading and narration.
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.
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.
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.
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!
"...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."
"...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?"
"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.
"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
...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
"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!
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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.”