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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A week and a half of Fantastic!

If it had been up to Mya our 6yo, we would be calling our new little Ellia, 'Fantastic'...
Because, obviously, she IS.

A couple of weeks ago during our family think tank putting all possible baby names on the table, her's was BY FAR the best suggestion.
Her other suggestion, Snowflake as a close second... :)

Fantastic. It's the perfect name really.

Imagine getting to introduce yourself, "Hello, I'm Fantastic!" That would be seriously awesome.
I do almost wish we could have done it.

Either way, we've had almost two full weeks now of regular stuff with a whole lot of fantastic on the side! :)

1) In the clinic. Yikes. I do NOT take much pleasure in having taken and now posting these pictures in the So Very Soon After Birth look I'm sporting, but hey... my kids all look REAL good. :) 

2) We have this really cool tradition of celebrating each child's birth day before leaving the birth center with a birthday party complete with cake. Micah brought *Black Jungle Cake*, an appropriately named and typically yummy Peruvian chocolate cake. He had it inscribed with, Feliz Dia de Nacimiento Fantastica! {Happy Birthday Fantastic!} The doctors and nurses were amused. We did LOTS of things that were new to them... fun.

3) Outside the clinic. Gotta love the security bars on the outside AND the dirt roads... :)

4) No carseats required. Though we would have gotten one if we could have bought one. No carseats even for sale in our city!! A friend from Trujillo is sending one soon! ;)

LOVED the moments spent relishing in the first couple of days...

Daddy's pretty proud.

Sisters are thrilled!

Littlest Brother is happy!

All the brothers are pleased!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Nature Study Q&A: Newbies {NSM!} April LinkUp

We are new to CM. How do you go about doing a nature study without mommy having to research so much. Between the internet and books there is so much info out there! Is there a self contained book that we could get?

Way back when I started doing nature study, this was my secret (though I didn't realize the genius of it back then) AND actually, it's what I still do...

1) Get Out. 
2) Look at Stuff. 
3) Love it.
It's that simple... and get this... it's contagious.

At first glance this answer may seem to sidestep the question. You might say, the question was about research.... Yet, regardless, I still hold it's the best response. Further down, I'll tell you why. After that, I'll tell you about which book I recommend. But wait, no skipping ahead. ;)

'Kay. I'm about to share some really great news you can relax about... Are you ready? Set. Go.

Nature study is not just about finding names for things. It's not all about making lists or drawing pictures of those things either (though those things are great extensions!). To do nature study, we actually don't need to have very much book knowledge or other materials to get started OR even to keep at it.

You see, nature study is not really an *academic* pursuit. 
It's more than that. WAY more.

Nature study is about seeing. It is building acquaintances over time with the things we see. It's about getting to know something good. Through regular nature walks we build intimacies with divinely crafted wonders, great and small. By doing this we are actually doing so. much. more. for our kids, for ourselves, than we can even imagine.

Many amazing artists, brilliant scientists and regular joes (like me and those smarter than me) have touted the influence that spending time outdoors as a child has had on the inspiration for their field of work. Somehow, I doubt that many would be referring to time spent as a child researching nature study. I suspect, that the majority are referring to time spent being in nature and having loved it for its own sake.

There have been many studies on the life-giving effects of time spent outdoors both for children and adults, which I will leave you to research for yourself if you are interested. My point here being, the benefits of nature study are going to be gained not ONLY by looking stuff up in books or on the internet, doing drawings or making lists. These benefits will be experienced with time. Because of this, I think it is highly important that we try to relax on the research, especially at first, and really just revel.

Now. Obviously, part of what makes nature study feel rewarding (instead of humiliating) is knowing the names for things. Many of us feel ripped off having grown up with no. nature. knowledge. whatsoever. But don't stress and don't rush. Believe me, over time, if you make those 3 easy steps above a priority, you will come to know about things, if you stick with it. What is more, you'll learn a whole lot of things you never expected! You see, books can't tell you how you'll feel about the first hopefully tenacious shoot of the daffodil in the spring or how even though it was your first love of spring, when it shrivels, it's okay because over there are the tulips, and across the way are the bushes and trees with their sweet tiny green buds and the sun and the dew and everything is starting to wake up and there's new life everywhere... The book knowledge, yes, eventually, because it's nice to be able to talk about our new found friends with mutual acquaintances. But first, the intimacies, these are what we really want to nurture. :)

In summary, when just beginning one should spend lots of time (months?!) simply getting outside, with the priority of opening eyes and hearts to nature. After some time (err on the side of too much rather than too little), you and your kids will begin to recognize some birds and plants and whatever other by sight. Next, you'll probably notice those same things in other areas (roadside, friends' houses, etc), and THEN is the time you might look for the names of those new acquaintances in a book or by asking Someone Who Knows.

Of course, there may be no harm done in using books sooner if you really understand the purpose of them! But, I really think it's THAT important to instill a love of nature in you and your kids BEFORE instituting any activity that might give off scent of *schoolwork*.


Still, the question remains. Once one has all their priorities straight as regards nature study, where should one begin when using books and other resources? Is there one go-to resource?

I continue to suggest Handbook of Nature Study by Ann Comstock as the best all-in-one resource. Yes, it's huge. Yes, it's intimidating. Still, it is by far the most comprehensive and helpful resource for parents and teachers that I've seen yet. There are a lot of resources that may be newer and flashier (and smaller), but I will venture to say this is the absolute best go-to reference for beginning to teach (and continuing to teach) nature study. Use it as a teacher reference. Read the Intro and you'll see what I mean. It's rich!

Other sources for nature study inspiration may be found reading biographies of naturalists, people who have LOVED studying nature, such as Rachel Carson or John Audubon. There are many others but these are pretty widely accessible.

Also, I highly suggest that everyone visit their local nature centers and talk to real-live nature enthusiasts. They'll most likely be by far the best resource for identifying birds, plants, animals, geology, geography and more for specific regions. They'll also be able to steer one toward the field guides that will serve best in one's specific area.

And yes, as you go along pick up a few field guides relevant to your area. By the time you've done all the above, I doubt you'll have to ask anyone which books are the best ones!

You can do it!!  ;)

Snag a button if you wanna! :)
Come back and share your nature studies with us this month!

The {Nature Study Monday} link up is for ANY nature study-ish blog post written at any time during the current month. Which means, when you submit your link, it will show up in every. single. {NSM} post. during the whole month! Oh, and be not confused, feel free to link up on any day, be it Monday or not! 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

April CM Blog Carnival Announcement and Invitation!

This coming Monday, the next edition of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival will be posted! Hopefully, you have already sent in a blog post to be featured in the carnival next week, but if not, you have two days left!

Please join us by submitting a post, or just reading along. Posts are due by 4/7 before 5pm EST. Send the link to your post in an e‐mail to: charlottemasonblogs (at) gmail (dot) com. *Remember, you are welcome to share an older post (written by you or someone else) that goes along with this month's topic, we'd love to read it again!

As always, we gladly receive all Charlotte Mason inspired blog posts! Bloggers vary widely in their gifts and experiences, which means, we can all learn from each other. We hope you'll share with us!

Below, you will find an optional topic, a thought provoking quote and several ideas for those who need a little writing prompt or who would like some direction for further study. :)

I completely failed to send out the e-mail announcement for the last CM Blog Carnival!
I did have an-ever-so-slightly-busy week... but still. ;) If you missed the last edition because of my negligence, please don't hesitate another moment, go read it now! :)

If you'd like, please feel free to grab the logo for your 
blog's sidebar or to include in your post.

The optional topic for discussion during the month of April is:
Some Unconsidered Aspects of Religious Training - Chapter 13

Several thought (and blog post) provoking quotes & ideas (read the entire chapter online here):

"It is a very sad fact that many children get their first ideas of God in the nursery, and that these are of a Being on the watch for their transgressions and always ready to chastise." v3,p145

"The importance of reverent attitudes isa little apt to be overlooked in these days. We are, before all things, sincere, and are afraid to insist upon 'mere forms,' feeling it best to leave the child to the natural expression of his own emotions." v3,p141

  • Authority in Religious Education & How it Works.
  • The Habits of the Religious Life: of Reading the Bible, of Praise, of Sunday-keeping.
  • Habit of the Thought of God.
  • Reverent Attitudes & Regularity in Devotions
  • Inspiring Ideas of the Religious Life.
  • The Fatherhood of God, the Kingship of Christ, our Saviour, the Indwelling of the Holy Ghost.

To read more and in its proper context, read ch.13 of School Education in its entirety here.

Please see the CM Blog Carnival Schedule page for a list of dates and topics for the whole year (in progress).

By subscribing to the Carnival Announcement/Reminder list you can stay up-to-date and never miss another carnival. Plus, you'll receive handy dandy monthly ideas & links pertaining to the current topic... for free! ;) oh wait, it's all free! heheh.

Also, please encourage your bloggy AND non‐bloggy friends, who love Charlotte Mason and/or those who are newly interested, to visit the CMBCarnival, the more the merrier!! :)

Friday, April 4, 2014

before and after.

We've been having SO much fun around here...
I'm sure you can imagine. :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

ready or not... here she comes!

in my last post i thought i might write more about moral training today.

but, now i'm thinking i'll go have a baby instead. :)

i hope you don't mind.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Some thoughts on Moral Training.

"The subject of moral progress does not belong solely to the religious world. It is not altogether a matter of
religion ; it is a matter of that good sense, that idea of public utility which' considers the welfare of the immediate present, and looks with a benevolent eye to an improved manhood in the future. For morality is almost as beautiful when viewed as a guiding element to man in this world's transactions as it is when viewed as an essential to happiness in the world to come."
Moral and Literary Training in PUBLIC SCHOOLS by JOHN B. PEASLEE, p13

All moral progress depends on the consistency with which the great religious idea is made to permeate every suggestion: and yet all intellectual progress is possible only through the constant development of such qualities as perseverance, observation and attention, which are themselves but a continuation of moral growth; even in the case of physical training the motto of one and indivisible is still continued, and Bousseau's saying: "The weaker the body is, the more it commands; the stronger it is, the more it obeys," will perhaps serve to remind you of what I am thinking, and how the disregard of even this lowest point in the educationalist's programme is sufficient to bring to ruin a work that aims at the building up the stature of a perfect man.
Education, Part 1 by the Rev. M.R. Lutener

These are just some of the words I've had clunking around in the back of my head over the last couple of days. I haven't gotten any thoughts written down yet, but I plan to update this post today or tomorrow. We've had lice, visitors, serious stomach illness and a 16th birthday that kept me from sitting and plunking out a post.

I'm submitting it to the CM Blog Carnival as-is, please check back tomorrow if you're interested in further thoughts...


This post is based on thoughts on Chapter 12 in Volume 3, School Education by Charlotte Mason. The topic, Some Unconsidered Aspects of Moral Training, is one option for a topic advocated by the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival 2014 Schedule. If you'd like to read other posts on the subject, be sure to read all the March editions.
If you'd like to share your post with the upcoming carnival, find out how here.
Find links to past CMBCarnivals here.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Butterfly :: {NSM!}

A four legged butterfly.
How intensely interesting is that?! Read on if you are mystified... or even if you're not. You might learn something.
I did!! :)

Well, I promised a post, and I can't say that it'll be super interesting to everyone, but we certainly enjoyed ourselves! ;) Hopefully, you are getting outside (daily?) already and enjoying yourselves just as much this March in your own corner of the world! I know that at least several of you are doing just that and were mighty quick on the draw with your posts. Three of you beat me to the linky! Shoot. I can get the nature studies done, but the posts... Well, all I can say is, I claim tired-exammed-out-prego brain.

{Please do share your nature study posts for the month! See the linky below... 
AND there's a group of my fellow AOer's attempting to get outside everyday this month. Wanna join them?}

There's the evidence. Look closely, it seems to have only four legs. How is that possible? Don't all insects have six? We'll get to that. Meanwhile, have you ever noticed the names of butterflies...? How 'bout a Grecian Shoemaker, Red Admiral, Isabella, Julia, Esmeralda, Mosaic, Wizard, Common Map... Wow. Cool names! Well, some of them anyway. A few of them are rather common... poor guy.

I'm pretty sure we've narrowed down the possible identity of ours to a Tiger Butterfly, a Large Tiger or a mimicry of one or the other. It's not exactly like the pictures in the book, but it does say they vary. The antennae of ours isn't orange like the typical Tiger Butterfly, rather more similar to those of the Large Tiger. Its markings are not as like the latter's as to those of the former. So, you see, I don't know. However, both are part of the Nymphalidae family, which means it is a relative of "some of the world's most beautiful and spectacular butterflies," according to my book. And what's really cool is I recognize a good number from this family.

Either way, it was fun looking it up. :)

I mentioned that we read it might be a mimicry of something else, and so we were surprised by joy when we just happened upon this interesting tidbit:
"Poisonous butterflies of the same species often fly together so that their warning colors are more easily recognized. A number of poisonous species even share a similar warning pattern. In this way, birds have only to learn that one species is poisonous to avoid all the rest. Some nonpoisonous species mimi poisonous species, so that they too are left alone. In the past, these mimicry associations have confused entomologists, who have only recognized one species where several in fact existed."
So, there you have it. We may have discovered a new species. You just never know. If so, I want everyone to note the date of this post. Just in case. :)

As to the question of legs:
My kids are the ones who pointed out to me that the butterfly only had four legs. I said, "All insects have six", and then I looked very, very closely and can I just say it's third pair seemed very non-existent? I told the kids they must be there... somewhere. I even showed them where they could be completely and perfectly hidden... practically invisible even. But, as motherly as possible, I kept my doubts to myself.

I admit, I looked it up tonight for backup. In the book it says reassuringly, "The most important characteristic separating this large group from other species of butterfly is the front pair of legs, which are usually undeveloped so they no longer have a walking function." So there. Apparently, in many butterflies (not just this mutant family), the first pair of legs are short or kept folded up. Such is the case with our butterfly. Phew. I'm glad I was right. :) I can't wait to tell the kids.

Oh, and, we are not the only ones to have doubted. Just do a google search. It's funny. Apparently, it's a common question. :)

Want a really great butterfly book?
Here's the one I use the most:
 (and you can get it super cheap!)
(and at the same time throw us a tip since it's an affiliate link and all)

The {Nature Study Monday} link up is for ANY nature study-ish blog post written at any time during the current month. Which means, when you submit your link, it will show up in every. single. {NSM} post. during the whole month! Oh, and be not confused, feel free to link up on any day, be it Monday or not! 

Snag a button if you wanna! :)
Come back and share your nature studies with us any time this month!
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