Art Lesson: Georgia O’Keeffe Flowers

I’m making a science of copying other’s genius and having a jolly good time doing so. I love the availability of great ideas, and getting to put them into practice as part of our homeschooling journey. We studied Georgia O’Keeffe in CC this year, and wanted to delve a little deeper at home. I pulled ideas for this lesson from The Art of Education and Teaching Stars and also printed out a color wheel to discuss warm and cool colors as the building blocks for our masterpieces. Printables (free ones!) at the conclusion of this post! You know you want them. Continue reading

Science Experiment: Newton’s First Law of Motion

An object at rest tends to remain at rest, and an object in motion tends to continue moving in a straight line at constant speed unless an outside force acts upon it. So says Newton’s First Law of Motion. The question is…can you see this in action? You bet your sweet bippy you can. You only need a few simple materials for this crazy experiment.

A pie plate
An empty cardboard toilet paper tube
A raw egg (yes, raw)
Water
A large drinking glass or flower vase

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No One Like You

In the crowding darkness of sleepy bedtime, with heavily lidded eyes drifting to dreamland, my mother’s voice beckoned slumber with this song. I’ve  continued the tradition with my own kids from their infancy. It is the most requested lullaby at in our home, beating out Mary Poppins classics “Tuppence a Bag” (feed the birds) and “Stay Awake” for top honors. My children have yet to recognize that voice is a pale wisp compared to Julie Andrews. It’s going to be a sad day when they no longer shower me with “Mommy, you sound just like Mary Poppins” compliments at the conclusion of their bedtime songs. Continue reading

Devotional: How Does God Pray for You?

“But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”

20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; — John 17:13-17, 20

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Science Observation: Bird’s Nest – Hydro Update

Around these parts, one of the most eagerly anticipated portions of the day is late afternoon, when Hydro and Gazelle come to hunt for remnant seeds beneath our feeder. Hydro is so skittish, that until today I wasn’t able to get a good photo. As a side note, you’ll often hear that Seattlites don’t have an accent. Not true. I thought “skittish” was spelled “skiddish”, because that’s how people from the Pacific Northwest pronounce double “t” in the middle of a word. “Seattle” would never be spoken like it looks around here. It comes out “See-addle”. Now you know our secret. Listen for it next time you’re conversing with a Northwesterner. Back to Hydro.

Thankfully, the weather was incredibly warm today and our sliding glass door was open to let in a breeze. Usually the noise of it is what makes Hydro and his momma scurry away. Tonight I managed to noiselessly slide open the screen and get a couple of shots in before the dash from evil me and my clicking lens. Continue reading

May Day Merriment

It’s a well known fact that I enjoy making a big deal out of the little things in life. My kids know to expect unexpected fun and anticipate special occasions even on the most blah “holidays”. For example, May Day. Leaving a basket of flowers and treats used to be a very popular tradition on May Day. The tradition dates at least as far back as Louisa May Alcott writing about May Baskets in her book “Jack and Jill” in the 1800s. Welcoming spring with a special basket/bundle of flowers, ringing the doorbell and running away is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. And that makes me sad. What kind of world is this anyway?

May Day Merriment Continue reading

Squirrels, Biomes, Clauses and Consumers

One of the most common questions I get regarding Classical Conversations is “You are just filling their head with rote memorization. They don’t  understand half of it. What good is that? All that stuff doesn’t even mean anything to them.”. While it is quite true that many of the facts we memorize mean virtually nothing to my children (what 5-year-old cares about Newton’s Laws of Motion?), there is a purpose and a path in our style of schooling that begins at the beginning. With young children who, like sponges, absorb every ounce of data around them. We all learn from infancy by rote memorization. How to speak by repeating the basic words our parents babble to us. The alphabet, the Pledge of Allegiance, The Lord’s Prayer. Kids can sing every song in their favorite movie. Recite entire books that are frequent bedtime stories. All these things are retained and recalled because of rote memorization. I’d like to share a little from Leigh Bortins book “The Core“, and then a story of my own to demonstrate these principles in action. Continue reading

SNAKE Math Game

Last week, I had the opportunity to observe an Essentials class at my CC Community. Even if the next level of classical education is a few years away for your family, I’d highly encourage anyone with a Foundations child to take a looksie at an Essentials class. It broadened my view of this whole classical journey, and renewed my excitement for the process. Seeing English and Math memory work come to life in real application was a great motivator to keep plugging along with all those songs about gerunds and verb conjugations. Bonus, I saw math games in action that I immediately stole, and have been using at home ever since. Including this fun game, called SNAKE.

Snake

You can play this as a multiplication or addition game. We learn skip counting in our Classical Conversations memory work, so my 6-year-old can rattle off multiplication as fast (maybe even faster) than his addition facts. We play both multiplication and addition to reinforce both as a good math foundation. Continue reading

How Can It Be 20 Years?

I will never forget my mother’s weeping at the images on our television. Pictures of fireman carrying children, bodies bloodied and broken. A massive gaping hole in a building and rubble everywhere. The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City will always be the defining schism between my sheltered, peaceful childhood and the harsh ugliness of “the real world”. My innocence was lost on this day.

As a teenager, I did not fully grasp the magnitude of the event, nor understand how any human could intentionally inflict such horror on others, including babies. Unfortunately, the 20 years since have introduced to my consciousness the vast and seemingly boundless capacity people possess to destroy each other. It seems unfathomable that two decades have passed since this life altering tragedy. Twenty years. Continue reading