Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival

Here is the link to the newest edition of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival. Leila has done a fantastic job of pulling it all together in an easy to read format and it is pretty to look at too. I know you will all want to stop by and read the entries this week.

Monday, April 28, 2008

American History, Civics, & Economics

"USA Weekend magazine had an article on how American colleges are failing students in knowing American history, civics, economics.

Here's the link for the test

. . . see how you and your children do compared to many colleges/universities."

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Recent Blooms and Blossoms ....

One of the two Rose bushes we planted last year is beginning to bloom, and is covered in buds.

A close up of our FIRST ROSE of the season ---- the scent is WONDERFUL !!

Little lavendar flowers --

We are not sure what they are yet, even though we found them on our last Nature Walk over to the lake.

We found these teeny-tiny violet or pansy type flowers (very pale pastel yellow and cream colored) growing along the path to the lake on our last Nature Walk.

We have not had a chance to look them up yet.

On the path to the lake, we pass this field of these Bachelor's Buttons !!

A Poppy -- and we are not sure from where it came.
Isn't it lovely ??

Our lilac has only this one bloom left .... until next year.

One of our Lavendar plants from last year is blooming and smells lovely.

Our plants for the planters this year are red and lavendar Verbena combined

with yellow Lantana.

A flower bed the girls planted at the base of 2 huge Holly trees.

Duck Update

We checked on the ducklings all week, and they were swimming happily all over the pond. But on Wednesday, there were only 4 .... the other 2 were no where to be found. No evidence .... just vanished. (Here are the 4 remaining ducks resting next to the pond.)

Thursday, April 24, 2008


If you are studying birds or hummingbirds (or just enjoy watching them), this is a pretty rare and amazing closeup look at a mother nesting and rearing the babies for the first 21 days or so.

This is truly amazing.

Be sure to click on NEXT PAGE at thebottom of each page; there are 5 pages in all.

A lady found a hummingbird nest and got pictures all the way from the eggs to leaving the nest, which took 24 days from birth to flight. Because you'll probably never in your lifetime see this again, enjoy; and please share. The photography is wonderful.

Hummingbird Nest

Confused ?

If you look VERY closely at this first photo, you will see a GROUNDHOG hanging on the side of the trunk ....

And he stayed there quite some time (30+ minutes), before climbing up to the "crook" ....
Where he sat to rest, probably to watch the humans milling about (for at least another 30 minutes) ....

So, we wonder .... is it s GROUNDHOG ... or a TREE DOG ?? Or is it just confused ?? Hummmm ......

Of course it is a groundhog, but I cannot say that I have ever seen one IN a tree. So perhaps he was, in fact, confused ... I know I am. HA !


She believes she is a small dog, like a Chihuahua .... because she is a lapdog at heart.

Green Hour Challenge

A lovely blog, called The Heart of Harmony , began a series of exercises some weeks ago called GREEN HOUR CHALLENGES. This activity would be lovely for a weekend activity for Nature Study or perhaps a great summertime activity for all children -- homeschoolers and traditional-school students.

**Thank you Barb for your help - it worked !!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Space Of Her Own

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
-- Eleanor Roosevelt

It is the sweet, simple things of life, which are the real ones after all.

-- Laura Ingalls Wilder

Cherub 2 began today clearing the area that will be her VERY OWN flower garden. She worked all day clearing the sod, and with her mind's eyes placed every plant and seed.

It shall one day (soon) be the garden of her dreams ...

Duckie Exodus

Our ducks moved to the pond today. They are VERY pleased with their new digs.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Garden School

Opportunity is missed by most people
because it is dressed in overalls
and looks like work.

- Thomas A. Edison

Step 1: Break the ground and then break it a few more times for good measure.

He who works his land will have abundant food.
- Proverbs 12:11

Step 2: Rake and rake and rake some more -- removal of sod, rocks, and debris.

You cannot plough a field
by turning it over in your mind.
- Anonymous

Cherub 4 asked: "Hey Mom, do you think this farm ever was a Rock Quarry ?"

"No son, why do you ask ?"

"Because there are certainly a lot of ROCKS here - maybe we should open a Quarry instead of planting a garden ?." (Cherub 4)

What this world needs is dirtier finernails and cleaner minds. -- Will Rogers

Mom said cheerfully "Many hands makes light work."

Cherub 1 replied "No - many hands means more jobs on the list to be done."

Cherub 6 replied "No - more people to aim for when you toss the rocks from the garden."

Hummmmm ........

Nature Study

“There is no kind of knowledge to be had in these early years so valuable to children as that which they get for themselves, of the world they live in. Let them at once get into touch with nature, and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight through life.” (Charlotte Mason)

"We are all meant to be naturalists, each in his own degree, and it is inexcusable to live in a world so full of the marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things." (Charlotte Mason)

“There is no part of a child's education more important than that he should lay - by his own observation - a wide basis of facts towards scientific knowledge in the future." (Charlotte Mason)

"Let them once get in touch with nature and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight and habit through life." (Charlotte Mason)

"Ideas are held in that thought-environment which surrounds the child as an atmosphere, which he breathes as his breath of life...." (Charlotte Mason)

“Nature study should be approached with reverence. For the natural world is the expression of God’s personality in a form that is within reach of all of us to comprehend some measure.” (Charlotte Mason)

We are blessed with a seemingly unlimited source of Nature Study topics here at home. Our house sits on 3 acres of "yard" and is surrounded by many more acres of "hayfields" which grow wild for much of the year, and there are plenty of "tree lines" all around. Add to these a pond and a large spring at the front of our yard. Quite simply, there is far more "Nature" than we have been able to identify over the course of a year, but not for lack of trying.

During the past year, we kept hearing from the Farm Owner and Farm Manager that there is a large lake (60 acres ?) across the road that we "had" to see, located on a part of the farm we had never seen -- so we decided at long last to go and find it.

And we invited our friends from Shadybrook Acres over to join us for this first Nature Hike to the lake.

As we followed the farm roads through fields of newly planted wheat and corn, we saw so many lovely wildflowers here and there along the way --- and some interesting creatures. We walked for quite some time, and at the end of our walk we were not disappointed ! The tractor road rounded a curve as it climbed a rise, and then, just as the road leveled on top of the hill -- there it was !! A truly spectacular lake. A few of the boys tried fishing, and the children tossed rocks into the water, splashed along the edges, rolled down a high grassy hill, and romped along the borders of the lake. We spied a few fish leaping out of the water, and heard birds singing from the tree lines. It was nearly too much to "take in" on this first visit --- we will definately have to plan some return visits soon !!

After our hike, we took turns looking up some our varied "finds" in our Nature Guides --- the potato bug, the Bachelor's Buttons, Wood Sorrel, Vinca, Vetch, Buttercups, Dandelions, Honeysuckle (full of buds) --- just to name a few. The children (and MamaLion) did some sketching in their Nature Journals - Cattails were the most popular item of study, but the potato bug and the flowers were fairly represented as well.

It was absolutely a wonderful Afternoon Adventure.

Thanks Shadybrook Crew for coming over and sharing this Nature Walk .... we had a wonderful time and will have to do it again soon.