Saturday, September 29, 2007

Our fun field trip last week was a day spent at the Roaring Brook Nature Center. After all the WONDERFUL post during the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival (see previous post), we just felt like being outside! They had a nice little 2 room exhibit to walk through, it is so interesting seeing all the different animals that I didn't grow up seeing or that the boys have been around ether. We also got to go on a great walk/hike on their trails. We ended up near the brook, and had two boys thoroughly enjoying tiring not to get wet, they were quite unsuccessful! :) We also scored some great photos of plants, bugs, and animals to put up on our new nature blog, Never be within doors...
We just finished our third week of "school", Riley is doing ok, he loves his math and is very good at it, he is now writing addition equations. He does not enjoy writing, and has some interesting excuses. He is enjoying quite a bit of our readings, especially Paddle to the Sea.
Jake is ahead of schedule because he is always wanting MORE! :) Plus he is quite observant, so as we are working on recognizing the alphabet, I am finding out that he basically knows all of them. We were at a ball field today and with a stick in the dirt he was writing T's and telling us that it is a T, we have not even covered T's and I have not had him writing at all! It is just weird to change gears, I never imagined there could be so much difference in 3 (almost4) year old knowledge.
And Fern well, she is enjoying getting up on the table and sitting or laying on whatever it is that we are working on, I think she is related to my recently late cat Angel! :)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Jacci over at The Educational Life has risen to the task of starting a Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival. So as this is the first, with the topic of "The Great Outdoors", I thought I would try my hand and hope that maybe someone could glean from me a bit of help, as I have gleaned from other Mama's who have so generously shared their knowledge and experiences. So here we go!

One of our families favorite ways to make a normal day a bit more exciting is to eat meals outside. Before our move from Southern California last year it was a year around activity. Now we have had to curb it during part of the year. :) Of all the "investments" we have made none have been so thoroughly enjoyable as our picnic table. We have enjoyed our family, friends, good food, and great memories there.

In Vol. 1 of the Charlotte Mason Home Educating series it says, " Never be within doors when you can rightly be without." I think I may hang this over our door! She continues, " Besides the gain of an hour or two in the open air, there is this to be considered: meals taken al fresco are usually joyous..." I know ours are, it is just hard to be grumpy when enjoying a simple meal in the open air!

Being outdoors throughout the day leads to deeper reflection, Charlotte continues, "... here is the mother's opportunity to train the seeing eye, the hearing ear, and to drop seeds of truth into the open soul of the child, which shall germinate, blossom, and bear fruit... there is much to be got by perching in a tree or nesting in heather..." I know that in all the "education" I received there was none so sweet and so imprinted on my mind as the solitary hours spent throughout our yard, but especially in my tree.

But why? Why should we enjoy the open air? Why did our Creator create it for us? "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." Genesis 1:31 KJV. For us to enjoy, learn, and see His hand in it all.

I am not saying this is the easiest thing for me, even with my love of the outdoors, but it is wonderful to hear from another that a day spent entirely out of doors is no more wasted than a day spent deep in a great library!

As my children are still mostly in the wonderful "quiet growing time" we are just now dabbling in the enjoyment of Nature Studies, my Riley (6) and I have started nature journals during the last month. In vol. 1 we read, " As soon as he is able to keep it himself, a nature-diary is a source of delight to a child." I started one to help set the example, I could not have guessed how much enjoyment I myself would reap. Riley still struggles with putting much effort into it, but he is happy with his journal so what more can I ask (for now) ! :)

A page of mine on the left, Riley's on the right.

As we dive further into the wonderful out of doors I hope Riley, and eventually Jake and Fern will learn as much about themselves as they learn about the world around them.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

So this week we started Blueberries For Sal, Jake has enjoyed this book. It really became cool when he got to go "blueberry picking" the other day. It was raining all day so we did it indoors. Since I had planned out books out I knew this one would come just after blueberries were gone, so a few weeks ago we bought some at the farmers market and froze them!Here is our blueberry bush waiting to be found! Jake was so excited to "pick" the blueberries! I had to hold Fern and shoo Riley away! But Jake did share a few. What a nice boy!
Jake was so proud of his blueberries and he LOVED the little bucket! :)
Today we worked on a bit of botany, but Jake didn't know it! I photo copied a page out of the book (they are great illustrations!) that had both blueberry bushes and a few pine trees in it. So we went outside and looked at our blueberry bush and the pine tree that hangs into our yard from the neighbors. We talked about them and then pasted a blueberry leaf and a sprig of pine onto the picture. Jake really enjoyed the glue!
I enjoyed BFIAR with Riley and again it is a tone of fun with Jake. Jake enjoys it even more than Riley did I think, plus I enjoy the time I get to spend with Jake. I would recommend this program to anyone!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

We had a great American History field trip yesterday!!
The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island were amazing! And all the better to get to share it with our kids!

Friday, September 07, 2007

We made it through our first week of school!! And we are all still smiling and looking forward to next week, I consider that a great miracle! We have been truly blessed!!
As wonders never cease, Riley is truly Grandpa M.'s grandson! When given the option of reading a story or doing a math lesson first he consistently chose the math! American History was his toughest this week, it was a long reading, but it ended well after a few animal crackers! Geography also went over well, it is a fun story that grabs Riley's adventurer side! Fables, and scripture stories did well also. It took Riley a bit to warm up to scripture memory, but today he read it with me. All in all it was good.
We have found that life in general and school in particular is harder when Riley has been playing with neighborhood friends. I think I have com to the conclusion that Riley is too young, and that our friends need to be chosen more wisely, But it is hard when they are playing outside to avoid the problems. I have been praying fervently over this and hope for some good vibes on the matter.
Jake has had a great time with Jesse Bear this week, I think he will be sad at first next week to move on to another book, but it is a good one, Blueberries for Sal. One of my favorites! I think Jake's favorite this week was the Jesse Bear paper doll I made. Every day since I pulled it out he has talked about it to Dad when he calls! Today he and I made two new outfits, a snow suit and a rain outfit. Jake loved dressing Jesse Bear in his new outfits! Our letters for the week were A & J, he loved the big A out of green paper that he then got to put apple stickers all over, and the jet plane coloring page went over well!
Jake asked most mornings if it was time for his school yet! Too cute! I am glad he is growing and learning, but I do miss my little cuddle bunny. But tonight I am just wishing he would go to bed, I am tired!! :)
I hope you enjoyed our first week review!!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

YEA! The First Day of School!!Here are the boys on the door step after we had put the flag out and said the Pledge of Allegiance. They were a little bummed to go back inside after. :)
Fern needed to be apart too!
School went well, we kept it light for the first day. Riley and I did his world history lesson, introduced our first picture for our artist study, it is John Waterhouse's The Orange Gatherers, Then we put our calender up, did our weather log, and worked on our first scripture to memorize.
With Jake we read our book for the week, Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? and then Jake colored an alligator picture. Our letters for the week are A & J.
We were lucky today, Dad was around to keep Fern occupied a bit, but he has left tonight, so we will see how the rest of our week goes, we may have to move school time to Fern's nap time, we will see! :)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Here we are the Saturday before the first day of school!! Our first official day of preschool & first grade is Tuesday the 4th! Yesterday I went to the library and checked out a book I needed for Riley and found out the one I wanted for Jake is out of print and our library system does not have it. :( There are a couple things I am still missing, but for the most part we are set to go! I hope Riley jumps in, that he does not get the attitude he is prone to get. I guess on;y time will tell, but I have been saying my fair share of prayers each day that it will be good. That and I have quite a bit of faith in the new school year blessings Dan will give Monday night at FHE. So until an update on our first days of school I bit you adue!