Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkin Moonshine Weekend

There is something simple and charming about Pumpkin Moonshine by Tasha Tudor that just makes my kids smile and at times laugh so hard.  I think that if we allowed it; the kids would roll pumpkins down our hill. This little book, I'll admit, has added to the atmosphere of the annual tradition my children have come to enjoy.  Every year, with Grandma and Great Aunt, they love going to collect pumpkins, coming home to carve them and roasting the seeds. 

I just have to giggle at our trip this year.  Our usual spot has become such a hot spot that we thought we'd save on the admission price and check out a seasonal spot by the mall.  Well, the kids had fun....But did not want to buy  their pumpkins there.  After lunch we headed over to the usual farm and just shopped for pumpkins at their store.  A simple sugar pumpkin will not suffice.  My kids are really becoming pumpkin snobs ; )  They each wanted either the biggest, orangest, least orange, smallest, weirdest or most unusual shape.  I think they accomplished picking just the right ones.

We enjoyed several other books from the library this past week about pumpkins and Halloween.  There was one in particular the kids really enjoyed.  I have a feeling Mouse's First Halloween by Lauren Thompson will become a must around this time of the year.   In case your wondering; I am usually the last one at the table carving out their designs while they go off excitedly waiting to put the candles in them.  As for all those other pumpkins, well, they become part of next months tradition ; )

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

So Humbling - An Award

It can all at once be overwhelming and frightening to enter into the journey of home education.  However, it is much more rewarding to discover there is a way of doing this that is all together wholesome and a delightful way of living your educational journey.  Charlotte Mason has clearly been that for us.  Along the way I have had the opportunity to learn from some wonderful people who have been there and have paved the way.  One of those most precious and important mentors for me has been Jen from Wildflowers and Marbles.  I know I'm not alone in praising her experience and knowledge; not to mention her very nurturing and organizational way of presenting material.  I woke up Saturday morning and checked my dashboard.  I excitedly went over to Jen's to read about her award.  By the time I was done reading, I was thrilled to know someone had acknowledged her wonderful blog and at the same time extremely humbled that she had thought of me.  I have linked to her often here and at my CM support group blog.  I know if you read my blog you have stopped by her wonderful place by now, but if you haven't please do.  She has an amazing way of making you feel that you can live out your education the Charlotte Mason way with confidence.  Thanks Jen for thinking of me!

Here are the rules of receiving the Liebster Blog:
The Liebster Blog Award started in Germany and was intended to drive traffic to hidden gems (blogs with approx 300 followers or less). The rules that come along with the award are simple:
1) Show your thanks to the blogger that gave you the award by linking back to them.
2) Reveal your top pick by leaving a comment on their blog.
3) Post the award on your blog.
4) Enjoy the love of some of the most supportive people on the Internet
There are some wonderful awards and tags out there,  but I particularly thought this one was sweet.  As I found out the word Liebster in German means 'dear' and it is an award given to small blogs with less than 300 followers.  I really wanted to take the opportunity to share this new blog with you .  I'm awarding a very sweet person.

Bobby Jo is the mother of a young son and very soon delivering her second child.  I've enjoyed her posts because she shares a passion for Charlotte Mason and she is at the beginning of her journey.  She is all together very creative and warm.  I hope you will give her a visit at Where the Black Top Ends!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lonely Bright Bloom

Our nature study for the last couple of weeks has really just been of some of our front and back yard flowers.  Yes, we know it's fall; but around here we have had weather in the 90's and even 100's the last week or so.  Needless to say some of the color in our flowers has been pretty bright.  One of the things I've enjoyed about focusing on the flowers color is that my kids have decided to use dry water color brushing in their journals rather than their usual color pencils.  They really look great:

Hibiscus Moscheutos
Strelitzia Reginae
This last one gave us a bit of trouble.  Yesterday the kids went out to the front yard to look for their weeks specimen.  In  just a few minutes they began running back and forth getting the watercolors and asking me to help set up a place for them to take turns drawing this one lonely bright deep bluish flower on the ground.  At first we thought it was some sort of Forget-Me-Not maybe the Creeping Forget-Me-Not but not quiet the same.  The fact that it was on the ground should have been our biggest clue.  We eventually figured out that this lone bloom on a vine like stem is actually a Periwinkle most likely a Big Leaf Periwinkle which around here is mostly used as ground cover.

Vinca Major
Notice my daughter still has to correct that on her nature journal ; )  I love when our nature study turns into a lets find out session.  We might as well keep enjoying these bright colors around here ... for just a little longer anyway. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Discovering an Ancient Queen

half dug up ruin in Yahxa, Guatemala April 2011
My oldest is enjoying her ancient Egypt readings.  I gave her a list of books to choose from for free reading and just for enjoyment.  She will occasionally write a narration as part of her two required weekly narrations or will just share with me what she is reading from the list.  She had picked Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw about a month ago.  This was a wonderful book; she enjoyed it very much.  However, the book is about Mara and by the end of the book, she really wanted to know more about the queen mentioned in the story.  Who and what kind of person was she ... really?  I gave her a second book to read: His Majesty, Queen Hatshesput by Dorothy Sharp Carter.  She just finished the book this morning (literally with wet eyes) and asked if I would write about it on the blog.  Thrilled at her eagerness I asked her to write a comparison and I would type it here for her.  This is her assessment of two very good and well written books:
When I read the book " Mara, Daughter of the Nile" I really liked it.  It was about a slave girl named Mara and she was living in the time of Queen Hatshepsut.  Mara became a double spy for Hatshesput's kingdom and rebels who wanted Thutmose III (Hatshepsut's stepson) to be the rightful Pharaoh.  In the book Hatshepsut is a tyrant or villain of the story.  I actually thought of her as a tyrant, a villain.  But that was before I read "His Majesty, Queen Hatshepsut".  By the end of this book I began to see that Hatshepsut wasn't evil. She had the courage to stand up and proclaim herself Pharaoh of Egypt.  In her last years of being Pharaoh, things became hard.  Thutmose the III and the priests of Amon (Egypt's head God) were her enemies.  She faced a lot of sorrow, for many sad things  happened.  Her daughter Nefrure, was bit by a snake and died; Senmut, her closest friend and love also died.  She fought bravely against her stepson until finally she was poisoned by someone she trusted.  I almost cried at the end of the book: Hatshesput was a great Pharaoh and, indeed, I saw her from a different view.  I think I discovered what and who she really must have been.
I get so excited when my children can create such relationships to history and other subjects.  Her curiosity led her to want to know more.  Along the way she has read some online articles about the Queen, she also picked up a few books that were meant for her sister like Hatshesput, His Majesty, Herself by Catherine Andronik and a couple of others that we borrowed from the library.

ruin Yahxa, Guatemala April 2011 trip
My daughter is young and I know that this is pursuing knowledge at a very basic level  by reflecting and creating her own opinion on books given to her.  The idea that on her own, she chooses to pursue interests and form her own opinion on matter is truly, to me, the essence of knowledge.  I wasn't planning on submitting a post to the CM blog carnival this week but when she came to me this morning a little bulb went on.  As much as I think that I am in charge of my children's education, I was humbly reminded by my daughter that:
"He is furnished with the desire for Knowledge, i.e., Curiosity; with the power to apprehend Knowledge, that is, attention; with powers of mind to deal with Knowledge without aid from without––such as imagination, reflection, judgment; with innate interest in all Knowledge that he needs as a human being; with power to retain and communicate such Knowledge; and to assimilate all that is necessary to him.
He requires that in most cases Knowledge be communicated to him in literary form; and reproduces such Knowledge touched by his own personality; thus his reproduction becomes original."  Charlotte Mason, Towards a Philosophy of Education Vol. 6, pg 18-19
Ms. Mason was one smart lady ; )

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Health & Fitness Expo 2011

I've been meaning to write about our experience with the Kids Fitness and Health Expo.  A year ago, we all happened upon this while driving by one of our local parks & recs community centers.  So we stopped and the kids had a wonderful time.  A group of volunteers will put together some fun activities and some wonderful health filled informational ones too.  This year, my oldest made it a point to remind us of the fair and we again spent the morning perusing the various booths, games, jumpers and the rock climbing wall.  Several of my children must have done the obstacle course to the right of the picture a dozen times.  Why?  They were trying to better their times.  The top picture was taken towards the end of the event.  As for the reason behind them all sitting and not running around in six different directions: they each are enjoying a naturally flavored lemonade snow cone while watching some entertainment.

The activities were varied.  There was a table set up to learn how to brush your teeth for exactly two minutes using a set of large size teeth, tooth brush and a sand timer.  I'm convinced I need to find a sand timer to put it in their bathrooms.  Other activities were more arts & craft style regarding foods and health.  There were some demonstration style tables like wear extra fat belt.  My oldest daughter and husband were shocked to have to wear a belt with a rubber like substance that signified how much X amount of extra fat your body could have without the proper diet and exercise.   There was a wonderful go market shopping set up in the gym.  The kids got their recyclable bags and filled them with groceries.  At the check out someone showed them whether they picked an item with a green or red sticker.  If it was red, they would talk about it.  Neat! Then there was their favorite: the farmer's market set up outside.  The kids got to go around tasting fruits and vegetables then placed a green or red sticker for like or not like.  I have to admit we saw some children that were not to happy about what was going in their mouth.  Mine, well, let's just say they enjoy everything and would have done a second round if we had let them.  There were some interesting choices this year:

Golden Yellow Watermelon

Emerald Plums
Patty Pan Squash
This was one of those events that, for us as a homeschooling family, we enjoy because it really is part of living our education.  The kids had lots of fun while reinforcing many things that we already know and enjoy.  It opens the door to some further research when we're home too.  For example, we had to learn more about those yellow watermelons later that week.  The event was just overall wholesome and fun. Now, that I know that this is done annually, I'm considering finding some way of incorporating it into our schooling next year.  Maybe picking some books to coincide with certain food and health themes. wheels are turning.