Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Peek Into Nature Study

First off I would like to say that Charlotte Masons emphasis on Nature and the studying of it with children is one of my favorite aspects of her teachings.  I think Accomplishing a true "Charlotte Mason Nature Study" is an admirable goal. However, for the one hour time slot that falls at the end of our Mae Day we usually have a back (or front) yard, short version of nature study.

These are the words that loop through my thoughts as I try to plan and execute our Mae Day nature study:

The children "must be let alone, left to themselves a great deal, to take in what they can of the beauty of the earth and heavens; for of the evils of modern education few are worse than this - that the perpetual cackle of his elders   leaves the poor child not a moment of time, nor an inch of space, wherein to wonder- and grow. At the same time, 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" ~ Charlotte Mason

Fynneus waits for help opening his colored pencils

 The task I asked of the children on this particular day was to find a natural object that they could hold in one hand and make a journal entry. Below Gabe takes time to trace the leaf he chose.
 Rollin shows a nut he plans to draw.
 Tucker and Chloe 

Samuel working on a sprig of holly with berries
 Sophie getting the color just right on her single berry drawing.

The children seem to be more and more comfortable and confident with making their journal entries. This task is never mandatory. I usually say something like "I would like you to" or  "it would be nice to" or "then you can make a journal entry" and I don't think there has been a single refusal. Of course some days they are more invested in their work than others.  They are certainly learning to look at their surroundings and the natural world in new ways and for that I call it a success!

"Mothers work wonders once they are convinced that wonders are demanded of them." CM


Handicraft Productions

These are words from Charlotte Mason on the wonderful teaching of handicraft.

"The points to be borne in mind in children's handicrafts are: (a) that they should not be employed in making futilities such as pea and stick work, paper mats, and the like; (b) that they should be taught slowly and carefully what they are to do; (c) that slipshod work should not be allowed; (d) and that, therefore, the children's work should be kept well within their compass.

Again we know that the human hand is a wonderful and exquisite instrument to be used in a hundred movements exacting delicacy, direction and force; every such movement is a cause of joy as it leads to the pleasure of execution and the triumph of success. We begin to understand this and make some efforts to train the young in the deft handling of tools and the practice of handicrafts. Some day perhaps, we shall see apprenticeship to trades revived and good and beautiful work enforced. In so far, we are laying ourselves out to secure that each shall "live his life"; and that, not at his neighbor's expense; because, so wonderful is the economy of the world that when a man really lives his life he benefits his neighbor as well as himself; we all thrive in the well being of each."

Above is the example I made of our Soap Carving project.  The children were able to carve either a diamond or a heart.  We also made our own carving tools out of Popsicle sticks.  I was teaching from an excellent book that can be found here. (I may need to purchase another copy as ours got completely shredded in the treadmill, my kids happen to have no recollection of how the book got inside the treadmill belt!). 

The above by my children are still a work in progress.

Leaf Collages. I cannot take credit for this handicraft.  Liz took on handicraft this day and combined it with Nature Study.  We identified (or tried to identify) all the leaves and put them on labels along with name and date and pasted them on the back.  The glass on the frame easily pops out and the leaves can be replaced as the colors fade. 

We also made friendship bracelets.  This picture was taken today and the kids have never taken theirs off.  We drew names in a hat to determine who would make a bracelet for who.  My girls then, on their own time, made bracelets for their Daddy for his birthday.  He too, has never taken his off.

We are currently working on sewing projects and I will be sure to share our productions when the children have finished them.


The following are more handicraft photos featuring Liz's children.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Picture Study with Monet

We have done picture talks with all of our Monet selections for this term so now I've asked the children what their favorite piece is and to tell me one thing about it.  Most children had more than one favorite, but I only collected one sentence for one of their favored works. Above is the collage that I put together in about two minutes in order to have all of them on hand and labeled.  Eventually I would like to frame them and display them on our wall.  (FYI, I found these selections from the Ambleside Online website for Picture Study. I saved them to my computer and sent the files to the online Walmart Photo Center and purchased them all for just over five dollars.  I would have liked larger prints, but these were the size that was recommended for the best resolution.) 

"I liked that he could use just a few colors and he could make it look so real and so nice." Tucker, 8yrs

Tulip Fields in Holland is a second favorite for Samuel and Rollin, but a first and only for Tucker. Also Ms Kim noted how she likes how Monet painted the clouds in this one and another. 

"It looks like you could walk right into it." Lucy, 7yrs

Terrace at St. Adresse is favored by Lucy.

"It looks like the horse is real and the metal looks like real metal." Fynn, 4yrs

"I like how he drew it and I think the kid looks cute."  Chloe, 7yrs

Jean Monet on His Hobby Horse is a favorite for Fynn and Chloe and coming in second with Sophia.

"It's really pretty and it's neat how he made it look like you're looking up." Gabe, 8yrs

"A lazy afternoon that has turned into early evening."  Liz, 23yrs(hee,hee)

Woman with a Parasol: Madame Monet and Her Son is favored by Gabe, Ms Liz and I.  This is the other piece in which Ms Kim liked the clouds. (Hey Kim, maybe it's time to get your head out of the clouds!)  :)

"I like how he mostly chose green."  Samuel, 9yrs

"I like how he made the flower part look like little fingerprints." Sophia, 5yrs

The Waterlily Pond is a favorite with Samuel, Sophia and I.

Women in the Garden was not a favorite with anyone.  When first studying it, I heard comments about the brightness of the women's dresses and how the man's face is covered by the flowers.

"I like how he just dotted the whole face."  Rollin, 6yrs

Monet's Self-Portrait is a favorite with Rollin and I. 

Not sure what the next 3 weeks of picture study will entail, but you may hear about it. 

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mae Day in the works

Here are some pictures of our children at my house doing what we do on Mae Day.

I tried to caption the pictures, but for some reason it keeps messing up the post.

The first four photos are Drill with Ms. Liz.  The activity on this day was Red Light, Green Light.

The next six are Art with Ms Kim and Mrs. Vannucci.  This day called for Art out outside.

The last five are Handicraft with me.  We did soap carving. 

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Nina and The Pinta

Below are some photos of the Pinta and Nina we toured in mid-October. I cut and pasted some info from a local website in order to save time because I was suppose to have done this weeks ago.  Just wanted to give some general information.   
"The Pinta and Nina are replicas of two of the three ships sailed by Christopher Columbus to the West Indies in 1682.

Nina was built by hand and without the use of power tools and considered to be the most historically correct Columbus replica ever built.

The Pinta was recently built in Brazil and is a larger version of the archetypal caravel."

(Citations can be found here.)


There were so many interesting and fun things about this trip, but the only tidbit that I will add is about where the kids are standing in the above picture.  They are on the "poop deck."  It was news to me that the poop deck is where the sailors had mass or church.  The priest would perform mass three times a day on the poop deck.  They called it this because "poop" comes from a Latin term meaning doll. They would have dolls of all the saints they prayed to lined up on the upper deck making it known as the poop deck.  Hmm.