Friday, March 24, 2006

The Great Sister Test

You know if your sister is GREAT when you can do the following...
Call her at 7:30 in the morning and when she doesn't answer, send your daughter over to wake her up and tell her to get ready because you are leaving to drop your daughter off at dance in 30 minutes and then go shopping all morning and you want to take her with you. When she jumps out of bed and gets herself and her baby ready (even if the baby's socks don't match) in less than 1/2 an hour, you know you have a keeper.
Share her baby with her, especially if it is the first time you have not had babies within a year of each other. Grab the baby anytime you want and cuddle, coo, kiss and tickle. When you can look at her baby and realize you love her pretty nigh as much as you love your own children (and you know that feeling because you've had 7 of your own already), you know you have a great sister.
Share some distressing news with your sister and she gets more distressed about it than you do even if it has almost nothing to do with her.
She loves the used book store as much as you do and after many, many years of being the best example you can be, she is finally the one who buys the most books.
Starve yourselves all day in order to be able to stop at your favorite Mexican restaurant late in the afternoon and then make absolute pigs of yourselves and laugh your heads off while doing it while your daughter looks on, giggles and thinks you are crazy.
Spend all day with her and still look forward to possibly spending the evening together, even if it means huddling in the van, drinking hot chocolate and trying to stay warm while watching your son and nephew play baseball in windy, cold weather.
Know that you are loved without hearing it spoken or gestured.
Love her unconditionally without any effort at all.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Nature Journals

Here are some of the kids' nature study journals. If you click on the pictures, they should enlarge so you can see the details more clearly. As mentioned previously here and here, our main focus has been birds this semester. This first page is by our nine year old.
This page on Blue Birds is by our eleven year old. Being our resident perfectionist, he barely gave me permission to include it on the blog. He was worried about coloring his page because he was afraid of ruining it. Working with color is something we are going to tackle in our art curriculum this spring/summer so he will have the confidence he needs.
This page is by our budding illustrator , who is thirteen. She spends most of her free time drawing and painting.

And last but not least is the journal page belonging to our most enthusiastic birder. At fifteen, she has been obsessed with birds for most of her life. She claims birds are the only thing she can draw well, but I think it's because it's the only thing she does draw.

As the season progresses, we hope to have more pages to post.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Another Reason to Love Tennessee

Read this story of a brave man from Tennessee. It is sad that praying in public requires bravery these days. May God bless all those willing to stand up to the tyrants of our times.
Thanks to my friend who sent me the link to this story!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Birding Fun

If you find you have some extra money in your nature study budget (everyone has one of these, right?), we have some suggestions for you this Spring.
Since we are studying flying creatures in our zoology book this year, we have been having all sorts of bird-fun. I only wish we had this book when Tom was younger because she was a bird freak! I coaxed her into her first writing assignment by having her make a bird poster of all the birds that visited our feeders. The only writing involved (and that was plenty at the time) was writing the name of the bird under each picture that she had copied and colored from our Peterson Field Guide Coloring book. At 15, she is still crazy about birds and plans to finish her high school science credits with a course on bird biology.
The greatest field guide we have for quickly identifiying birds is this one. There are several different but similar species grouped on one page so you can easily find the kind you are looking for. Have you ever tried to distinguish the different kinds of sparrows? It's not easy, let me tell you. But today, we identified the white-throated sparrow using this helpful book. This is the one we pack in the backpack on our birding excursions. It's light and small. You can get it here at amazon.

Here is another one we bought at amazon. This one is the opposite of the one above but just as helpful. This is the hefty volume you want to keep at home and refer to when you want to learn heaps of information about a particular species. Each page is dedicated to one kind of bird. My son went to bed with this book last night! It has information on nesting, flight patterns, songs and other bird behavior. This is the one you grab to add research notes to your nature journals.

A fun "toy" to learn bird songs is this Bird Song Identifier. I bought mine at Nature's Workshop Plus. Pushing the button on the sides plays the song of the bird. It comes with earphones, so the kids can practice without you constantly thinking a bird got loose in the house. Two children can quiz each other by having one play the song and the other try to guess which bird it is. You can buy many different kinds of bird cards to use with this nifty gadget. They even have one for frogs. I like this much better than those tapes or CD's of bird songs because you can see a picture and hear the song at the same time and it's portable.
And another suggestion to add some beauty to those nature notebooks (everyone has one of those too, right?) is this great site that contains lots of bird poems.
Once we get some bird pages finished in our nature notebooks, we'll post pictures here. If anyone else has pictures of your journals on your blog, post a link in our comments section and we'll be sure to visit.
Happy Birding!!

For Missey's Family

This morning while continuing through our readings of William Blake's poetry, I came across this and could not help but think of Missey Gray's family.
On Another's Sorrow
Can I see another's woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another's grief,
And not seek for kind relief?
Can I see a falling tear,
And not feel my sorrow's share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow filled?
Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan, and infant fear?
No, no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!
And can He who smiles on all
Hear the wren with sorrows small,
Hear the small bird's grief and care,
Hear the woes that infants bear -
And not sit beside the nest,
Pouring pity in their breast,
And not sit the cradle near,
Weeping tear on infant's tear?
And not sit both night and day,
Wiping all our tears away?
O no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!
He doth give His joy to all:
He becomes and infant small,
He becomes a man of woe,
He doth feel the sorrow too.
Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
And thy Maker is not by:
Think not thou canst weep a tear,
And thy Maker is not near.
O He gives to us His joy,
That our grief He may destroy:
Till our grief is fled and gone
He doth sit by us and moan.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Spring Fever

I'm so excited that spring and summer are almost upon us. I can't wait to walk by the creek and put my feet in it, lay in our hammock and read without having to freeze , and walk to the top of our hill barefoot just enjoying the fresh air! I liked this poem because it encouraged my mood.
Where am I going? I don't quite know.
Down to the stream where the king-cups grow-
Up on the hill where the pine trees blow-
Anywhere, anywhere. I don't know.
Where am I going? The clouds sail by,
Little ones, baby ones, over the sky.
Where am I going? The shadows pass,
Little ones, baby ones, over the grass.
If you were a cloud, and sailed up there,
You'd sail on the water as blue as air,
And you'd see me here in fields and say:
"Doesn't the sky look green today?"
Where am I going? The high rocks call:
"It's awful fun to be born at all."
Where am I going? The ring-doves coo:
"We do have beautiful things to do."
If you were a bird, and lived on high,
You'd lean on the wind when the wind came by,
You'd say to the wind when it took you away:
"That's where I wanted to go today!"
Where am I going? I don't quite know.
What does it matter where people go?
Down to the wood where the bluebells grow--
Anywhere, anywhere, I don't know.
A.A. Milne

Saturday, March 04, 2006

The Homeschooling Community Mourns

A homeschooling mom from the Ambleside Online email list died last week during a c-section for her fifith child. This has been shocking and sad news to the homeschooling community. Please pray for her family and friends as they deal with her loss. And if you would like to contribute to the family there is information about doing so and more details here in this post .
The internet has created a new strain of friendship. Many of us have never met each other but through our emails and blogs we truly feel as if we know each other to some extent. We help each other immensely with encouragement, helps, and ideas for educating and raising our children. Missey was no exception. Even on the day of her death, she was giving of herself. Missey's blog is here and many people are pouring in their prayers and love through the comments on her last post.
Here is another really great post by Pattycake that reminds us the Grace of God will be with us in times like these.
***Update - Check the links at Pattycake's site for posts which include accounts of the funeral and also Missey's obituary.