Wednesday, February 16, 2011

::Fig Balls & Twig Pens::

My sister asked me why I take the time to photograph and document everything I teach. I had nothing to see but, "because I love it!" I know how much simpler it would all be if we just did the work for the work's sake, but memories are being made! I want to capture them.

A snippet of Cae's Compare and Contrast Piece:

Me and Leah are friends. We're alike and different in ways. I'm a girl just like her. We both have four siblings. She lives in Quebec, I live in Ontario. I have dark hair and she has almost white hair. . .

We left the Ramona path for a meander into fantasy. We began Elizabeth Goudge's "The Little White Horse" at the beginning of the year, and enjoyed cuddling up together in the evenings and getting lost in it. Goudge has a way with description.

Much like Tolkien, she wraps words around a place so well that you feel like you are walking around in her mind's eye. Nothing is more delightful than her description of Maria's room.

" . . . No pen could possibly do justice to the exquisite charm and beauty of Maria's room. It was at the top of the tower, and the tower was a round one, so Maria's room was circular, neither too large or too small, just the right size for a girl of thirteen. It had three windows, two narrow lancet windows and one large one with a window-seat in the thickness of the wall. The curtains had not been drawn across the windows, and through them she could see the stars. In each of the windows stood beautiful silver branched candlesticks with three lighted candles burning in each of them. . ."

Time got the best of us, and we put the book aside for awhile. But then the movie version called, "The Secret of Moonacre,"arrived at the library for us. Though it took great liberties with the plot-line, it was so stunning and vivid, we launched right back into the book. We may have to add Goudge to our Feature Author list.

This week, for our Nature Study, we went into the backyard and took in a panoramic view. We took note of a few things: the height of the trees at the edge of the forest, the leafless branches etc. In a few months we will take another snapshot and compare.

{I need a wider lens. Badly!}

We also chose a tree. This tree will be our Season Tree. As we watch in all four seasons, we will learn about the growth process.

Magellan was the very first explorer to circumnavigate the world.

We hoped to watch BBC's "Voyages of Discovery," but the library doesn't carry them. The first of our parts is available on youtube.

We finished of our look at the fur trade by trying our hand at beadwork. However, we used straws instead. Unlike beautiful beaded moccasins, these would not have been of any value to those who were trading for furs.

The Pastoral
"A Child's Introduction to Poetry"
". . . Alas, when people think of long-winded writers going on and on about the beauty of the sun shining on cows munching hay in a quiet pasture. . . those folks probably read one too many pastoral poems. . . a romanticized, idealistic image of how great things are in the country, or woods, or on a farm."

All the pretty flowers of the forest
Fill the air with a summer's chorus.
Beautiful butterflies come and go
Dancing on petals to and fro.

Mighty trees loom tall
Rustling leaves turn gold in Fall.
Squirrels gather nuts to hide
In tree hollows, deep inside.
::Cae's Cheesy Pastoral Poem::

Found a fun, interactive book on Egypt at the library:

Egyptian food & drink this week. We made Fig Balls using dates instead.

They were a hit! Especially with the tiniest.

Local Wonders
::Local Wonders at BuildingBig::

We decided to take a peek at a local structure that interested us and see what we could find out about how it was made.

We happen to live right by the Diefenbunker. I pass it's gates every time we visit our library. What's even more convenient; the library lends out a free pass. So, Cae & Isaiah and I went to take a tour. The guide was so good to us. He spoke at Caelah's level, and steered away from things that would make her uncomfortable, {affects of radiation and flashburns etc.} It was certainly driven home that steel-reinforced concrete makes for strong buildings.

::More Great Architecture Books::

While reading our weekly portion of "Shakespeare for Kids: His Life and Times" we came across a quill-making activity.
We had no feathers to craft into a quill, so we used a twig instead.

I whittled the twig down into a paint, then pulled out my old inks from my calligraphy days. It all worked!

Charlotte Mason gives a big nod to the hands-on. So do I! I want the kids to learn how to do practical things for themselves--gain some life skills. One of those things, I figure, is the art of building a good wood fire. {Not without parental supervision, of course.} Maybe Aidan can teach them how to change a flat tire next. I'll be a student in that class too.