A stream of consciousness from a few Charlotte Mason homeschoolers in California.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Adventures with a Microscope - House Fly

New for us this year (AmblesideOnline YR7) is Adventures with a Microscope.

Today, our daughter chose the chapter on how the fly walks on the ceiling. Instructions are to catch a house fly in a jar and use chloroform to kill it. We didn't have any chloroform so she caught one and we covered the jar in plastic wrap, secured it with a rubber band, and popped it in the freezer.  

She asked me to help her remove an eye with a scalpel - um. okay. Oh the situations we homeschooling moms find ourselves in! It got rather bloody, but we managed. 

Here are its claws and the sticky pads which allow it to walk on walls.

And here is its wing structure. 

One good thing about the microscope is that the dust from our container that stuck to the fly is unidentifiable as such ;-p

YR7 students choose 3 of these adventures per term. Additional adventure possibilities exist in what we find locally, like our beaches. Even though it won't be in the book, it potentially means more when it's something we live among and see in our pattern of life. 

She could look up the anatomy of bryozoa or a sand crab and craft a similar adventure. YR8 will bring even more adventures.  

What benefits her in these adventures, I think, is that she has a level of choice, and it is her learning and discovery. She craftily caught the fly right here in our home. And I am here to help as she needs - like hacking a fly's eye off - otherwise, she manages what she is capable of. 

I showed her all the functions of the microscope and how to switch the lens to the camera to take pictures for future reference. When I told her the slide container had a labeling system, she also decided to keep a slide of each to begin a collection to share with friends. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Fat Cat and other Poems

Some fun and interesting poems found scribbled in a child's notebook...

The Fat Cat

There was a fat cat
who found a hat right in
the middle of the street.
He picked it up with
a good enough pluck to pick
up an overweight horse!

That horse neighed until
he was bade to dance
with an Irish jade

And that fat cat sat
atop his hat watching the horse neigh and bray
'til he was done with
his jig and jade.

Naughty Cat

Kitty cat, kitty cat sleeping
on my head
Why can't you sleep on that
side of the bed?


Spring has come, and all flowers
are bloomed
Winter has gone and all
his storms are doomed.
Summer will come still on
the run, of course without

Day and Night

When the sun rises,
the birds too must rise.
When the moon rises,
the birds must say their

For a Younger Brother

Tap a tap-tap, goes the
rain on my hat.
With a rap a rap-rap-er-doo.
So I'll take a hap with
the rain on my hat, in the
middle of winter blue.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Consider This: Charlotte Mason and The Classical Tradition

Have you ever wondered how CM compares to a Classical Education? We hear so much about Classical Ed in Southern California with Classical Conversations, and the church we attend is actually a classical school during the week where some of my friends work and many of the children my kids know attend.

So where does CM fit in to it all?

We read the classics; unabridged.
We study Latin.
We read Shakespeare, Plutarch.
It seems classical enough... but always more obscure in the educational realm and somehow not quite legitimately academic enough to be considered "classical."

Truth be told, my general understanding of the difference lay somewhere between today's classical educators' application of the trivium - i.e., the three stages of a child's learning - memorizing declensions, and the fact that CMers do outdoor nature study while classical students seem to study nature in their classrooms.

All that is changing now, thanks to Karen Glass' soon-to-be released book, Consider This: Charlotte Mason and the Classical Tradition.

In this simple, straightforward, well-researched book Karen maps out the foundations as well as some of the fallacies of classical education, resetting our course towards intrinsic truths in education and inspiring us to pick up this vital torch for the children's sake. Brimming with quotes for our commonplace books, Consider This widens our view of the Charlotte Mason education we know, aligning her philosophy with some of the greatest thinkers of all time. And whether Charlotte Mason's pedagogy ever comes to be called "classical" or not, as a CM educator, you will be inspired knowing that the education you bring to your children has its foundation in "understanding that grows bright gazing on many truths." Consider This will be right next to For The Children's Sake in my recommended reading for people new to her methods.

Currently, the release date is set to October 25, 2014. To be notified of any updates you can subscribe on Karen's website at www.karenglass.net. We will also be reading through Karen's book at our local CM meeting beginning in November (if the book is released as scheduled).

Friday, May 30, 2014

Our 3yo and The Children's Art

While CM may not quite call this a 'fit incantation', it still does seem to confirm Arthur Burrell's point, as quoted in CM's Vol. 1, p. 222 - 223:

"There is hardly any 'subject' so educative and so elevating as that which Mr Burrell has happily described as 'The Children's Art.' All children have it in them to recite; it is an imprisoned gift waiting to be delivered, like Ariel from the pine."

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival - May 20, 2014

Welcome to the May 20th, 2014 Edition of the 
Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival!

This is the carnival's second month on the theme "A Master Thought". You can find the first at Dewey's Treehouse here

In this section, we find Charlotte Mason making a distinction between teaching good habits, both intellectual and moral, and the extreme of that idea; that doing such-and-such will produce a top-notch quality child.  
The third conceivable view, 'Education is a discipline,' has always had its votaries, and has them still. That the discipline of the habits of the good life, both intellectual and moral, forms a good third of education, we all believe. The excess occurs when we imagine that certain qualities of character and conduct run out, a prepared product like carded wool, from this or that educational machine, mathematics or classics, science or athletics; that is, when the notion of the development of the so-called faculties takes the place of the more physiologically true notion of the formation of intellectual habits.
The difference does not seem to be great; but two streams that rise within a foot of one another may water different countries and fall into different seas, and a broad divergence in practice often arises from what appears to be a small difference in conception, in matters educational. The father of Plutarch had him learn his Horner that he might get heroic ideas of life. Had the boy been put through his Homer as a classical grind, as a machine for the development of faculty, a pedant would have come out, and not a man of the world in touch with life at many points, capable of bringing men and affairs to the touchstone of a sane and generous mind. It seems to me that this notion of the discipline which should develop 'faculty' has tended to produce rather one-sided men, with the limitations which belong to abnormal development. ~Vol. 3 pg 151

"...in touch with life at many points..." 

In case you missed it last month, here is a description by "H.E. Wix" from the L'Umile Pianta on just what that looked like in Charlotte Mason's Elementary Schools: They Live Closer to Life

From Harvest Community School, Toebiters and the Three Faces of Education!
"Some believe atmosphere depends upon classroom decorations, appealing graphics in textbooks, modern technology, and kid-friendly books that entertain while educating. However, we think bringing the world down to a "child's level" dulls the mind."

From journey-and-destination we have Notebooks for Nature Study, Science, Bible, Poetry & Hymn Study "I thought I'd share some of what we've done with various notebooks over the past 15 years." 

From Dewey's Treehouse, If you've read Ivanhoe and want to laugh. A book review of Knight's Castle, by Edward Eager. 

From All Things Bright and Beautiful we have Jacob von Rueysdale - A Cottage and a Hayrick by a River, Georg Philipp Telemann - Musique de Table, A.A.Milne - Vespers "Oh! Thank you, God, for a lovely day. And what was the other I had to say?"

From rarefied, Sloyd Pinwheels. "I am now convinced that kids today need handwork more than ever."

From Joyous Lessons, Second Grade in Our Home :: Fine Arts "I'm already planning how to fit art into our days for next year. I'll have an infant again, which always makes things a bit challenging, but I'm hopeful!"

From Letters from NebbyCharlotte Mason’s Original Homeschooling Series: Wrapping Up "Charlotte gives a very broad definition of knowledge. It is this knowledge which she believes has become so lacking in her day and, if anything, is even more so in our own"

From Simply.... Writing and Sharing........In Which I Ponder the Impact of a CM Education "How information is received can have a direct bearing on how much the student may care about that knowledge. In order for information to have a personal context that engages the student, there has to be a sense of ownership."

From fisher.academy.international., The Need for Balance. A Craving for Unity. "This is the way things are. As persons fashioned after an infinite God, we are complex beings. We must consider ALL our intricately interwoven parts when we think about educating persons."