"....Your children shall be like olive plants all around your table." Psalm 128:3

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Our Polyphemus Moth

Last fall, we found a large cocoon in one of our flower beds. We decided to put it in a container and, even though we had been unsuccessful in over-wintering cocoons in recent years, wait to see what - if any - type of moth came out of it. 

The cocoon was wrapped in leaves and looked like this.

So we waited. The container ended up inside, outside, and on one particularly blustery day,  we saw it getting blown down the driveway. We were heading out to run errands that day, so we grabbed it and put it under one of the seats in the van. And we forgot about it.

A couple of months later, as one of the children was getting out of the van, it fell out..and onto the garage floor. We picked it up and looked closely at it. No change. We decided that this cocoon was a dud just like all the others. The container got put on a shelf in the laundry room. And we forgot about it.

One morning last week right before school, Mimi came upstairs with the container in her hand and asked, "Mom, what are we going to do with this cocoon?"

I said, "Since it's apparently a dud, I will just throw it away." She put the container on the kitchen counter. And we forgot about it. Until...about 2 hours later, in the midst of school lessons, we heard a rustling-of-paper type noise in the kitchen. We looked around. There was no paper in the kitchen. And the windows weren't open, so we knew it wasn't the wind. We couldn't figure it out, and we went back to our lessons. A few minutes later, more rustling.  Again, we investigated and saw nothing out of the ordinary.

We heard the rustling once more before finally realizing that it could be the cocoon getting ready to open. We examined it, but it looked the same as always. Then a few minutes later, Asher was walking by the counter where the container was and announced, "A moth is coming out of the cocoon!" Asher opened the container.

We all rushed over to look and this is what we found.
At first, we had no idea what type of moth it was since the wings were still folded up. We watched and waited. As his (or her?) wings began to unfold, we put him outside on a the leg of one of our deck chairs to soak up some sun and dry his wings.
Gradually, his wings began to unfold..and get bigger...
And bigger yet..

Until we could finally identify him... a beautiful Polyphemus moth! All the children took turns holding him..

Then we took him outside to release him. He stayed on the deck for awhile, sunning himself.
A few minutes later, he was gone.
But we couldn't pass up the opportunity to sketch what we had witnessed.

Natalie's version:



And Aaron's:

Naomi hasn't finished hers yet. She was a bit side-tracked with the baby goats that day.  ;) 

Sharing with Celeste.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Better Late Than Never - a Lilla Rose Sale

Hi everyone,

There's a 20% off sale going on now at Lilla Rose, and it ends Saturday, April 25th at midnight (PST). And they are having an early release and 10% off sale of the May Flexi of the Month: Grace. How lovely!

Also, the Lilla Rose hairbands have a new design and new features and they are 10% off! Love that!

Thanks for your support! :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

My Children's Nature Journals

This month's (optional) prompt at Celeste's Keeping Company link-up is children's Nature journals.  As we have gotten back into the habit of Keeping, we have begun doing Nature journal entries again, and I would like to share what my children have been doing in theirs.

I want to explain, however, that we don't follow the AO schedule for Nature study; we do our own Nature activities, led by what my children happen to be interested in. Sometimes we study mammals, sometimes birds, sometimes plants, sometimes insects, sometimes weather, etc.  There are no hard and fast "rules" for what we do in our journals;  I want my children to want to do it and I want them to enjoy it. So rules are a no-no.  :)

Now for the when, how, and where..

The when - whenever we see something we want to sketch and remember, or if we are studying something in particular that we want to remember, we sketch that, too.  For example, last fall, we studied edible weeds in our area, and their medicinal properties. We studied one weed per week and found out all we could about it. We learned its medicinal properties, located the plant on our farm, brought a sample inside, then sketched it.  (See Naomi's Goldenrod sketch below.) We studied as many as we could before winter set it.  We learned so much! (Who knew that Goldenrod is  a wonderful treatment for laryngitis?!)

The how -  we use folders that I purchased from Wal-Mart, then using a hole punch, added sketch paper to the folders. We sketch with pencils, label it, then shade it, color it, or use watercolors. We write down the date, too. And we also add the scientific name for what we draw. And we are also just beginning to add a Scripture reference for the drawing, or a line of poetry that has a connection to the sketch.

The where - I confess that we don't do Nature journals the "traditional" CM way  by taking Nature walks every week and sketching while we are outside. We don't take a walk every week, and we don't sketch outside. That didn't work for us. We don't need to take a walk. You see, my children are outside (weather permitting) every day, for most of the day - after lessons are finished. In other words from 12:30 pm til dark, usually 8:00 pm. I am outside with them most of that time. We work in the garden, flower beds, play in the woods, run all over the farm, care for our chickens and goats, play with the goats, climb trees, play in the wet-weather stream by the driveway, etc.  In all of our outdoor activities, we are always on the look-out for what's going on around us, as far as Nature is concerned. So the observation part takes place outside; the sketching part takes place inside. Sketching inside around the dining room table is just more convenient for us. We always discuss what we see while we are outside, and the children usually make the decision about what they want to record in the journal.  Once in a while I ask, "Is that something you would like to put in your journal?" But that is rare. Most of the time, the entries are of their own volition.

There were so many pictures in each journal; too many to transfer to my computer. ;) So I will only post a few from each.

I will begin with Ian, my resident ornithologist, entomologist, and herpetologist. He can identify all types of insects, every bird in our area, and knows all the snake species, too. And, thankfully, he is not afraid to re-locate the snakes that like to hide in our hay bales. He saves this Mama lots of gray hair!  :)
 However, as much as he loves reptiles (he has a pet black rat snake named Samson), he rarely sketches them. He prefers to draw birds and insects instead.

Aaron loves birds, too, and has really improved in his drawing skills over the past year. And his observation skills are so keen. He notices things I would never notice.  :)

Asher is my extra artsy child. (He takes after my dh.) When we first started keeping Nature journals 3 years ago, I asked the children to decorate a cover page. Here is Asher's. I. Love. It.  :)
He sketches anything - plants, birds..whatever he happens to zero in on that week. And as you can see, he likes to embellish his entries.  :)

At first, Natalie was not enthusiastic about keeping a Nature journal. But thankfully, she has come to love it as much as the rest of the children do. She likes to draw birds and flowers.

Naomi loves to draw, so I don't have to coax her to sketch; she is always ready!  :)

That's a peek into our Nature journals, and they are filled to the brim with entries, so we will be needing new ones for next school year. Can't wait to fill those up, too.  :)

"He must live hours daily in the open air, and as far as possible, in the country; he must look, and touch, and listen; and must be quick to note, consciously, every peculiarity of habit or structure, in beast, bird, or insect; the manner and  fructification of every plant.."  ~ Charlotte Mason Series, Volume 1, p. 264

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Learning by Hand - A Flexi Clip Tree

Hi friends,

My last handicraft post showed the Flexi Rack that my hubby and sons made for me. ( Did I mention that I love that rack!)

I also included several quotes from Charlotte Mason about handicrafts. And there was one in particular that was one of my favorites: that the children "not be employed in making futilities such as pea and stick work, and the like." In other words, handicrafts should be all about making something useful. I love that!

So, after seeing the rack, my girls wanted a rack or some such thingie on which to hang to hang their Lilla Rose hair accessories.

Once again, hubby and boys set to work. (In reality, the boys did 99% of the work; hubby supervised.) It took all of 2 hours to make what he called a Flexi Tree for the girls - a quick and easy handicraft....and a very useful one, at that.

And, once again, I have no instructions since hubby does all the figuring in his head, being the master carpenter that he is. ;) But it was simple project...a wooden heart base, a few dowel rods, some glue and a little paint.

Here is a photo of the Flexi Tree, complete with some of the girls' hair accessories hanging on it.

He also made sure the top dowel rod was long enough for them to stack their rings on it. He thinks of everything.  :)

Linking up with Learning By Hand.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Wednesdays With Words - Miss Mason Saves the Day!

It Wednesdays with Words time once again, friends,
albeit a day late.   :)

I have almost completed Volume 1 of the 6-volume Charlotte Mason series. I have been finding so many wonderful things in this volume, and I have been taking plenty of notes along the way.

A few months ago, when Mimi began cursive writing lessons, she was writing one Scripture passage or one stanza of poetry per day and she stressed about getting every little detail about the letters perfect. She is a perfectionist, but it was making her handwriting practice far too stressful. It was also making for a very long lesson.

Interestingly enough,  about that same time, I came across this quote from Miss Mason regarding handwriting lessons:

"...let the children accomplish  something perfectly in every lesson -  a stroke, a pothook, a letter. Let the writing lesson be short; it should not last more than five or ten minutes." ~ Volume 1 pg. 233

Aha! I immediately knew that I had found the answer to the problem.
So I took Miss Mason's advice: I shortened Mimi's lessons by requiring only one Scripture verse (or one line of poetry) per day, and we worked on improving smaller portions of her writing instead of large passages. Things immediately changed - for the good. She began enjoying her lessons and her handwriting improved by leaps and bounds.

Once again, Miss Mason saves the day.  :)

Sharing, as always, with Dawn.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The April Flexi of the Month

Hi friends, 
The April Flexi of the Month is on sale now and it is so beautiful!

Also, there is a 24-hour sale going on right now at Lilla Rose. All hairbands are 60% off!

Thanks for your support!