Tuesday, May 31, 2011

P.O.P. Nature Study: Darling Buds of May


Carol and Michael sit on an old wooden bench by huge lilac bushes. (I like lilac bushes almost as much as I love Louisiana wisteria trees.) They talk about moving to Blackberry Inn in the country. Carol worries that Michael may be having false ideas about country/farm living. She remembers the strain and life-draining exhaustion it took on her parents' lives.

Michael combats her worries with the reality they would be less than an hour's drive from town, they would not need the money necessary to live in the "better" section of town anymore, and a garden would help their the food budget.

Who of us are driving less and growing gardens to supplement our grocery bill?

He gives her positive reasons for moving to the country like living near her brother, the quaint country church, and a big house with no mortgage to pay. He also wants more time spent with his family instead of tied down to a desk job in the city.

Carol finally consents in her surrender to God's will for their family and the wishes of her husband.

Who of us have moved to the country? What are the pros? The cons? The reasons?


Michael and Carol linger to enjoy a singing bluebird, a fragrant blossoming apple tree, and the annoying black flies of summer.

That night they have a celebration feast of fresh fried trout, cornbread, pickles, asparagus with cheese sauce, and custard.


* * * * *

Apple tree---Malus sylvestris

Black flies---Simulium

Brook trout---Salvelinus fontinalis
Eastern bluebird---Sialia sialis

Lilac---Syringa vulgaris


* * * * *


Questions:


Do lilacs grow where you live?

Where there are flowers there are insects. Which insects fascinate you, and which ones do you call bugs because they get on your nerves?

How many different kinds of insects can you find in just one hour during a backyard insect hunt? You might be surprised at the variety.
 Personal observations and question:


I always know it's May when the first horsefly comes buzzing around the swimming pool. The kids duck under water, screaming. As far as bugs, my four-year-old dd is terrified of insects. If you hear her outside screaming as though she's been seriously injuired, chances are she only saw a bug. :-)


Has anyone read Under the Lilacs by Louisa May Alcott?


My mother-in-law said it was her favorite book growing up. So I bought it for Kayleigh but she hasn't read it yet. I need to dig it out of the book closet and read with girls this summer, me thinks. :-) Alcott's life and books are always a wonderful bet for summer leisure reading.

On a personal note, I am currently reading Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women by Harriet Reisen Alcott's life (especially her childhood) intrigues me on a personal level. So far I'm very pleased with this book.

I see there is also a new Alcott biography by Susan Cheever entitled Louisa May Alcott: A Personal Biography. Reading over the reviews I am not overly anxious to read it but, if anyone has read it and has found anything redeeming in it, please let me know. Alcott is a favorite author of mine.

Monday, May 30, 2011

P.O.P. Nature Study: Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend {page 153}


An unpleasant drizzle and early pregnancy queasiness makes it a rather bleak day for Carol. They drive to Uncle Bob's for the weekend. The neighbor Emma Cook wants Carol to come and visit her after lunch. The weather is a little better as Michael and the kids look around some flowery gravestones. Carol visits her parents' graves.


Ironically, we also went to visit family this past Sunday at the annual family reunion and, on our way out of Nebo, Louisiana, we paused at the old family cemetery which houses approximately 4-5 families, all who have married one generation or another and sent children out into the world. Family stones are easy to find and there is a mixture of relations.


(Personal note: I assume there is a story behind what Karen Andreola writes is the cause of the deaths of Carol's parents but I found it ironically that her father died of lockjaw and her mother died soon afterwards from a kick in the chest by a hurt horse. I guess in the old days, these two incidents would have happened commonly on a farm. A resident of the 21st-century, I had to read it a second time to make sure there wasn't a jokey punchline in this paragraph.)


Apple trees, maples and white pine grow on the north side of the cemetery. A pile of stones block three sides. Lily-of-the-valley plants grow on the other side of the stones. Carols imagines that someone threw a bunch of lilies that had served as grave decoration over the wall and they took over. A chipmunk greets them.
They go in to see Emma Cook who proposes to them that her house is too much of a "white elephant" for her to maintain. Emma offers the family Blackberry Inn to make it their home. Michael is excited but Carol hates the thought of leaving the city with the electricity, library, movies, shopping,etc. She doesn't know how she could go live at the place where her parents died. Carol knows she must trust in God in this decision. She also knows that:

"God knows (our) disappointments...(We) musn't allow (our)selves to be drenched in self-pity. He doesn't despise sorrow, but He does hate self-pity."

More about this decision and journey comes out in the following book by Karen Andreola Lessons at Blackberry Inn



* * * * *


Eastern chipmunk---Tamias striatus


Lily-of-the-valley---Convallaria majalis


Phlox---Phlox


* * * * *
Questions:
Have you ever caught the scent of the lily-of-the-valley?


Creeping phlox makes a dazzling ground cover.


Have you ever heard the calls that a chipmunk can make? Not only do they squeak but they also do a fast roll of chattering.


* * * * *


Personal question:


How did everyone spend their Memorial Day and what did you do to signify the meaning of Memorial Day with your own children?

Monday, May 23, 2011

P.O.P. Nature Study: Tulips


Carol has been discussing ancient civilizations with the children. She notes that the main text follows the Charlotte Mason method of focusing on the story and the "people" aspect of history. The children have used library books for pictures and other information to trace onto their timeline.

Which reminds me. My online colleague Ana Braga-Henebry reviews the best Picture Books of the Week. I keep abreast of her new discoveries on Google Reader. Go to your library and look for books such as these when teaching history to your children. I used this reading platform with my junior high level co-op history class this year and it worked wonderfully. Validated, yet again, what I wrote about whole-heartedly in A Picture Perfect Childhood. The children in my classroom were actively engaged by the books presented.

Speaking of Carol's ancient civilization discussion...Our library had this week's selection and it is now located in our living room to read this week:

The Secret Cave by Emily Arnold McCully


Carol has spent some time reading about the history of tulips from Comstock's Nature Handbook (see more below about tulips).

The neighbor frees the injured mother robin of her splint and she joins her mate and babies.

The children plant their growing sunflowers outside.

* * * * *
Johnny jump-up (heart's-ease)---Viola tricolor
Tulips----Tulipa

* * * * *

Question:

Pansies are fun to draw because they have flat colorful faces.

 Tulips are easy to draw by silhouette.


Violets have heart-shaped leaves.

Which aspects of plants and flowers make them either easy or difficult to draw?

Friday, May 20, 2011

P.O.P. Nature Study: Watching and Waiting


Watching and Waiting {page 146}



Baby robins are now in their nest. The father robin feeds everyone.
Michael has had no success with job hunting.
Carol and the children are busy with hsing. Carol finds it takes her mind off the worry of her husband finding a job.


* * * * *


The good weather has brought the scouting ants out of Carol's kitchen into the yard. The children watch as they dig their nest, reposition grains of dirt, plow an entrance to the nest, and gather an earthworm for food. Carol finds wild strawberries (the flowers anyway) growing in the grass. Carol tries explaining pollination to Emily and decides to find a book at the library on pollination for her.


The family's sunflower seeds have sprouted.



* * * * *
Little black ant---Monomorium minumum

Strawberries---Fragaria

* * * * *

Questions:
Ants can live in the cracks of the pavement as well as on a bare patch in your lawn. Take ample time to watch them wherever you find them.
Can you recognize the wild strawberry?

Nature Observations:
  • We've finished with "school" for the year. We're "unschooling" over the summer.
  • Tomorrow take the kids outside to hunt and observe ants. Great pasttime!
  • Maybe place a piece of leftover watermelon, a cucumber and a tomato, and a splash of juice on the patio and see which one the ants go to first (oftener).
  • Find any plants that have shot-up in your yard. Have children draw/color them in nature notebooks.
  • Our strawberries have already come and gone but the kids are now finding blackberries in the woods. As have Alice's children. Must watch out for snakes though...which explains why Texans don't pick bluebonnets. Yikes!!!


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Zombies in the Bible?

You know how when your mother buys a new Chevy Equinox you see those cars everywhere? Or when your daughter gets a feather in her hair you start seeing girls with feathers in their hair everywhere? Or when those silly bantz came out they were everywhere! As are, from what I've heard, short-shorts chapped with cowboy boots this summer in Texas? Everywhere! Hope it doesn't breed over into Louisiana!

Back to a safer subject...my blog title: Zombies in the Bible?

For the past six months I've been seeing Zombies everywhere! Even in the Bible.

I'm not kidding...

It started with this silly well-known classic: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

I'm sorry but I think those well-known classics featuring zombies, vampires, and sea monsters are just silly. Like my friend Karen says...just plain silly. I prefer my "classic" stand-bys.

Then...again...I haven't read any of them...the zombie ones, I mean...so you might want to purge my brain with what I'm missing...if, in fact, I'm missing anything. Prove me wrong. I love when people do that and, honestly, it isn't that hard. ;-)

The other day I spoke to a young teenager who loves the stories and gets the classics because he enjoys these books. How do you argue with enthusiasm? In today's technological world, I guess there are as many ways to get a classic as there are to read them. Technology is mind-boggling and I'm sure the zombies get that. Indeed they have.

Speaking of zombies...

Last November Gary Goldstein, a New York editor, spoke at the Bayou Writer's 2010 Conference. He told everyone that, despite what we assume, vampires are not the rage which is haunting book publishing houses. Zombies have tackled them and eaten their poor hearts out.


So it came as no small surprise to me when I saw that a government agency is cautioning us to get Ready for a Zombie Apocalypse?


The brains, if you please, behind this consists of this:

"He and his communications team (Khan, one of the nation's top-ranking public health professionals) recently noticed, what they'd want you to do if the world really did suddenly go "Night of the Living Dead" is pretty much the same thing they'd want you to do in case of a hurricane or a major pandemic."

Cute marketing ploy. Very cute.

See what I'm saying! Zombies are everywhere! Even, yes, in the Bible.

Last month during Lent several church members were reading the Gospel according to Matthew at our Lenten Come, Lord Jesus! Bible StudyIt was the reading for Palm Sunday and, something I had never grasped before, took hold of me:

"The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised. And coming forth from their tombs after his resurrection, they entered the holy city and appeared to many." (Matthew 27:51-53)

See! See what I mean! Strange things have happened upon this earth of ours. Even zombies!

But, in the here and now, my family isn't sitting around, anxiously awaiting zombies or vampires or the predicted Apocalypse on May 21, 2011. We have a college graduation to go to and some of my kids have jobs they must go to.

As Christians we will live our lives on Saturday the same as we live them everyday. The same as we are living them today...tonight.

Zombies and vampires do not have the life of Christ within them.

We do.

Zombies and vampires are not real.

Christ is!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

P.O.P. Nature Study: Carols Starts Something New


We're going to look at Chapter 1 (page 1) this week: "Carol Starts Something New"

*****
Carol begins their homeschooling adventure with her two children: Don (4th grade) and Emily (2nd grade).
Carol plans to use Charlotte Mason's "Home Education" for her guidebook. She presents them with two black and white composition notebooks . For science they will study God's creation using their composition notebooks to draw and record nature observations. Emily is enthusiastic but Don is hesitant after having kids make fun of his drawnings the year before in school.
Don finds a large spider web in his secret hide-out. Finally enthusiastic, he mentions that maybe he can draw it in his nature notebook.

Carol gives them their math books then practicies addition with the children using a set of dominoes.

Together they read the first chapter of Bambi.
********
Nature Notebook Notation:
Don's garden spider---Zygiella artrica

********

Would you and your children welcome the idea of starting a Nature Notebook?


*********

Spider Web Activity:

On a large sheet of wax paper, let your children make a spider web using a tube of Elmer's glue. Before it dries, sprinkle silver glitter on the wet glue. Glue a large black plastic spider on the web. When it dries (allow all day and all night), peel the web off of the wax paper and stick it on the window.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Child-Friendly Art Easels for Little Artists

First I wish to welcome new readers who are here to join us in the P.O.P. Nature Study featuring this book by Karen Andreola: Pocketful of Pinecones

We've just begun so you haven't missed a thing. Welcome! Welcome! Welcome!

* * * * *
The next thing I wanted to focus your attention on are these art easels. Ever since my first picture post of them {A Day in the Garden}, several of you have asked me where I got these darling art easels.

I bought them as Christmas gifts at Hobby Lobby, I believe, but it could have been Michael's Crafts. Not sure.

I truly thought they were Doug and Melissa fare because we have several Doug and Melissa minted products and love their products. Alas, the art tray has no brand name, no sticker, no identity other than {cute and child-friendly} tagged onto it.

I remember they were extremely well-priced. Under $20.00. Being Christmas gifts this made them quite the reindeer's neigh. :-) Without a brand name, that's probably why they were so cheap affordable.

The whole search-thing has turned into a mystery of sorts.

It has turned into total embarrassment on my part, believe it or not.

One would think I have been snubbing you  ignoring all of you, but I'm not.

I am truly baffled!

I have kept my eyes open and searched but, as gracious as Google is, I have not been able to find these exact easels. I'm at a loss.

At a loss, I finally ran screaming for the hills. Once in the hills, I forgot about it.

Then, when I did think about them, I did what all artists and writers do. I procrastinated.

Forgive me?
When I unthinkingly reposted the photos, the heartwarming requests would start all over again. People have asked me on Facebook where did I find those darling art boxes? That's when I remembered my tardiness, my deliquency and I began searching anew, committing myself to finding a link to share with everyone.

Only to end-up running for the swamp, screaming in frustration. :-)

I remember buying them as Christmas gifts for my girls. That's the only thing I'm sure of.

I'm also quite sure that, yes, they are very darling, very portable, child-friendly, and well-loved. The girls have used their fearlessly. Today's paint and pastel stained cases are proof enough.

Mary M. helped find this one at Art Advantage: Box Art Easels {while this is the closest I've seen to ours, it still is not the exact same}

Our art boxes came with a paint tray along with the paints and brushes. It was a complete set-up. Everything but the paper. It was more than the reindeer's neigh. It was the feed and trough too. :-)

Mary says her children have something like this one, also bought at Hobby Lobby: Box Easel Beechwood

I found the old pictures I took of our easels when they were brand new. Evidently I had planned to do a post that never evolved. I found these photos adrift in my photoshop, filed properly under the file labeled: School. ;-)







Here is an updated picture of Chelsea's well-used, well-loved art easel. It has been well-worth the dimes Santa paid for it. I just wish I could have given you the go-to link.

Forgive me?


I was also asked what art program we were doing.

Does Wal-Mart curriculum count?

They have affordable paint palettes at Wal-Mart, painting boards, and Chelsea (in the above photos) chose a slice of tree to paint on. That dear painting now hangs in Oma and Opa's camp at Toledo Bend.

We have used many art curriculums throughout our homeschooling years and have also been blessed with art classes at our local weekly co-op. But, when we're left on our own to Mother Nature and our backyard and the Botanical Art Shows in and around Louisiana, we turn to our heart's desire, whatever supplies are at our disposal, and the nature notebooks as suggested by our dear friend Charlotte Mason.


Monday, May 9, 2011

P.O.P. Nature Study: Knowledge's Sake

Knowledge for Knowledge's Sake


(begins on page 144 of Pocketful of Pinecones)
 


The chapter begins in the month of May with a thought that many parents have this time of year: "As springtime unfolds, my mind is on evaluation".

*******

I'm sure many homeschooling moms have this on our mind right now? How did we do this year? How much did our children learn this year? Did we cover the right math?  Did we do enough science?

I think it is a good time for parents and educators to step back and ask our children for their evaluations. And hope and pray that their mind is on evaluation and what they have learned this year.

*******
Through Carol, Karen writes that she doesn't give her children frequent tests because she knows how they are doing and how well they comprehend what is read to them by their narrations.

"...good grades in school is the motivation used in a system of education where children are constantly quizzed and tested." ---*my note: often the info is forgotten*---"...we (home educators) are not participating in a system." ---*wise for us to remember that*
*******

So Carol does not give grades to her children. Instead of grades, she gives a "Well done!" and feels that when the project is finished, the completion is its own reward. This will prove more successful to our child's state of mind and sense of well-being far more than the brow-beating stress of tests which subtly tell the child he/she is a failure before their 18th birthday when, in fact, the rest of their life is just beginning!

In Home Education, Charlotte Mason writes that systems of grading "will distract the attention of children from their proper work, which (should be) in itself interesting enough to secure good behavior as well as attention."

I don't want to rewrite this chapter verbatim so I suggest the ones who have a copy read it now. It explains the Charlotte Mason's method of education. That we are "learning for the sake of knowledge and not for grades or prizes".

She lists three areas of knowledge that Miss Mason suggests:

(1) knowledge of God (Bible)

(2) Knowledge of man (history/humanities)

(3) knowledge of the universe (science/math)
Questions:

How much learning did your child undertake for knowledge's sake alone this past year?
Personal observation:

This chapter gave me alot to think about. I've been enthusiastic about journaling/notebooking lately and reading this was the first time I said "So that's what is to be gained from gathering and collecting bulging notebooks around the house." The notebooks I merely hand my children to do math problems in are thrown away at the year's end. The ones for poems and art and nature study and narrations are lovingly set away in the supply closet and every now and then we take them out and the kids adore looking through them at their art work and rereading their stories and recollecting. It's like opening up a family photo album. For this reason alone, the children try doing their very best work on this single task.

P.O.P. Lesson Plans


P.O.P. Nature Study
Nature Notebooks for P.O.P. Nature Study


Written in 2002 (my children were 14, 12, 9, 4 years and a 4 month old):
"I have found myself cuddled on my outside swing with this book spread on my lap. It fits the season...the blooming azaleas to my back, newly up-turned dirt and fresh stones encircling the two tress on either side of me, and a freshly mown lawn before me..."

Subject: Pocketful of Pinecones Lesson Plans by Denise (used w/ permission 2002)
FALL

Chapter 1-1st day! Nature notebook and clipboard

Chapter 2-Books written by a Naturalist · Dune Boy-The Early Years of a Naturalist by Edwin Way Teale ( good for older boys)
· John Muir Exhibit http://www.sierraclub.org/john_muir_exhibit/

Chapter 4-The Handbook of Nature Study

Chapter 5-Weedy wayside

Chapter 6-Bake an apple pie! Go to the park.

Chapter 7-leaf rubbings (for stationery?)

Chapter 8-make a bird feeder? Make and fill seed packets

Chapter9-bug jar (cheesecloth, twine, jar), manners

Chapter 10-Emily Dickinson poems, still life of fruit & veggies (in art book?)

Chapter 12-Thorton Burgess

· Old Mother West Wind

· Mother West Wind's Children

· The Burgess Bird Book for Children

Chapter 13-squirrels

Chapter 14-Nature Center?
WINTER

Chapter 17-stars, constellations

Chapter 18-narrating

Chapter 19-feed the birds

Chapter 21-animal tracks: need guides

Chapter 23-talk about County Fair

Chapter 24-Sunday Icebox Cake (dessert?)

Chapter 25-Tree Climbing (best: White Pine)

Chapter 26-Watercolor paints and brushes

· Beatrice Potter

· Redoute-The Man Who Painted Flowers by Carolyn Croll

· Birds of America by John J. Audubon

· http://www.wetcanvas.com/ArtSchool/Watercolors/RodWebb/

Chapter 28-Snow Crystals, by Wilson Bently

Chapter 29-Matthew 6:28-34
SPRING

Chapter 30-earthworm virtual dissection

Chapter 31-seed catalog, start/plant flowers

Chapter 32-put strings of yarn on tops of bushes for nest building

Chapter 33-bird songs site (http://www.naturesongs.com/birds.html)

Chapter 39-The Handbook of Nature Study: ants & ant hill, wild strawberry

Chapter 40-Timeline, (plant Purple Tulips & Johnny Jump-Ups)

Chapter 41-plant creeping phlox, smell Lily of the Valley

Chapter 42-1 hour backyard insect hunt (menu idea: fried fish, corn bread, pickles, asparagus with cheese sauce, custard for dessert)

Chapter 44-begin Heidi?
- Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney

Chapter 45-Sense & Sensibility, wildflower field guide

SUMMER

Chapter 47-prisms, cloud study

Chapter 48-plant strawberries

Chapter 49-picture study ('Art Gallery Stories'), go strawberry picking

Chapter 53-brook snooping

Chapter 54-clover chain

Chapter 55-list of herbs, (or Herbs and Herb Lore of Colonial America)

Chapter 57-identify mushrooms, local geography

Chapter 58-French (other second language?)
Suggested reading:

James Herriot (veterinarian) writes true animal stories

Christian Liberty's Nature Readers Books 3 & 4

(Art) Redoute-The Man Who Painted Flowers, by Carolyn Croll

(Art) The Story of John J. Audubon, by Joan Howard

Lives of the Hunted by Ernest Thompson Seton

Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holder (also on video)

Sunflower Houses-Garden Discoveries for Children of All Ages, by Sharon Lovejoy

Dune Boy-The Early Years of a Naturalist, by Edwin Way Teale (good for older boys)

A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter (film also)

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss

The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley

Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Keeping a Nature Journal by Clare Walker Leslie and Charles E. Roth

Jacques-Yves Cousteau

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Nature Notebooks for P.O.P. Nature Study

* * * * *

For anyone wanting to gather supplies for a nature notebook, here's the description for nature notebook supplied in Karen Andreola's book Pocketful of Pinecones:

Andreola writes: "Although the story is fiction, the experiences are based on my own."

So we can figure quite certainly that the format of the nature notebooks described in P.O.P. is the same format Andreola used with her own children.

POP book (pg.3)

"When I explained that they could keep a record of whatever bit of nature they found, drawing and writing a little something about what they observed, Emily was particularly keen on the idea. The set of colored pencils I gave her added to her anticipation."

POP book (pg. 8)

"Before we went outside, I had the children place some drawing paper on the clipboards. I had decided that they should leave the Notebooks safely indoors. Next I explained that their drawings would be cut out and pasted into the Notebooks, and that I'd help them write their observations under the drawing on the lines of their books. In this way they would be making a sort of nature journal."

POP book (pg. 12)

"Today was the day Don and Emily were to paste their first drawings into their Nature Notebooks...(pg. 13) Emily cut around her picture of the chicory flower in a nice neat circle. I cautioned her not to use too much paste when I saw how much was on her brush. She was an inch from pasting her flower onto a left-hand page of her book when I stopped her with a hasty "wait!..."...told her that it would be best to place entries only on each right-hand page in her book, so that there would be pictures pasted only on one side of the pages...the pages would turn more easily this way...Both children wrote the name of their flower at the left and the date on the right...The observations were to go underneath the drawing. Emily dictated to me a few words about her chicory. Then she copied them into her book from what I had written out for her."

HTH!

* * * * *
In P.O.P. the mother, Carol, does take Anna Comstock's Handbook of Nature Study book to the park on their nature outings. It's a hefty book so you would need to have a backpack for it and the notebooks.

You'll want to find what works for you and your children as you go. Personally, we use very nice sketchbooks for our nature notebooks and we leave them at home. They are only taken outside to sketch in the backyard or on the patio. We also bring a magnifying glass or two but the less we have to carry, the better. I hate to hike with any type of hinderance; especially after our recent excursion in north Louisiana where we plowed up and down hills, ducking under tree limbs and slipping on rocks with a 5 month old hanging from a carrier on me (written back in 2002). Annie clutched the straps fiercely and her little bare toes gripped into my sides. She was alittle puzzled and I was overly careful of not slipping with her strapped to me. I certainly didn't need any extra luggage. And if I had allowed the kids to tote something, well...you know what happens. Moms carry the largest purse cause they end up holding everything. :-) 

So we hike very simply.

Of course, if you do nature study in your own backyard, so much the simpler.
If the kids find a flower they want to draw, they pick it and take it home with them to draw. Bugs, worms, etc. We carry sandwich bags and set the insect free once home and drawn. (Don't forget the tweezers! though, with two boys we don't have much need for those). Come to think of it, the boys usually just pick the insect up on a leaf and shake it into the baggie.

P.O.P. Nature Study

My youngest was 4 months old when the P.O.P. book discussion was started at the Catholic Charlotte Mason eloop back in Spring 2002.

As I wrote then:

"We are so much in the midst of springtime and nature, I think it'd be good to follow along with months through the book. The book (Pocketful of Pinecones by Karen Andreola) begins with the school month of September. But we are starting the study at the end of school and I don't want to be posting September nature questions when our backyards are producing April nature. It looks like it'll be a year long study (due to following the months)."

In this timely manner, we will start with the month of May. I welcome anyone who wants to join us. Especially those who are drawing their school days to a close and want to hold close those last calming days of spring. Perhaps it will refresh weary pioneering souls, tempt those ready to throw in the towel after their first full year of homeschooling, or just serve as a reminder of youth and what we once envisioned our homeschools to be.

Pluck those pinecone books off your top shelf and come back tomorrow for the first chapter of the rest of your spring!

* * * * *



Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Live by the Currents, Play by the Tides, Follow the Sun

Picnicing on the wharf w/ a friend.
Building and constructing.
"In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth." ~ Rachel Carson 
"At the beach, life is different. Time doesn't move hour to hour but mood to moment. We live by the currents, plan by the tides and follow the sun."- Unknown
Homemade fishing pole: stick (check), piece of sandy string (check), cheeto ball for bait (check)

A leech! Yes, indeed! Every beach outing needs an icky, gross subject to make it memorable. Yes, indeed.
And another UunidentiFiable Object...

Mud bathes because that's what girls do.
Walks in the park!
 Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains; another, a moonlit beach; a third, a family dinner of pot roast and sweet potatoes during a myrtle-mad August in a Midwestern town. Smells detonate softly in our memory like poignant land mines hidden under the weedy mass of years. Hit a tripwire of smell and memories explode all at once. A complex vision leaps out of the undergrowth. ~Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses


Sandy Shoes!
Another icky, gross object: fish bones!
"Why does the ocean rock the moon to sleep every night? So the sun will wake and kiss the beach."- J. Henson
Picnic on the sand!
Strawberries, lemon cookies, chicken wraps and little girls.
Blankets, baskets, and book bags
And brothers who give you a boat ride!
We proclaim this "Best Friend's Beach"!
And even if you were in some prison, the walls of which let none of the sounds of the world come to your senses - would you not then still have your childhood, that precious, kingly possession, that treasure-house of memories? ~Rainer Maria Rilke 
Memory is a child walking along a seashore. You never can tell what small pebble it will pick up and store away among its treasured things. ~Pierce Harris, Atlanta Journal

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