"Thought breeds thought; children familiar with great thoughts take as naturally to thinking for themselves as the well-nourished body takes to growing; and we must bear in mind that growth, physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, is the sole end of education." ~ Charlotte Mason

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Poetry Tea Time

The Land of Nod

From breakfast on through all the day
At home among my friends I stay,
But every night I go abroad
Afar into the land of Nod.

All by myself I have to go,
With none to tell me what to do -
All alone beside the streams
And up the mountain-sides of dreams.

The Strangest things are there for me,
Both things to eat and things to see,
And many frightening sights abroad
Till morning in the land of Nod.

Try as I like to find the way,
I never can get back by day,
Nor can remember plain and clear
The curious music that I hear.

~ Robert Louis Stevenson

The Table
I wasn't going to do Poetry Tea Time again this week, as I had figured we would do it every other week.   But Heather approached me about it yesterday and asked me if she could do it today as a surprise for everyone.  I really could not refuse this request.  :)  Today ended up being a great day to do it because everyone has been struggling with being down in the dumps.  It's very overcast, cold and generally a yucky day.  I think we all have some cabin fever from the dark days!  We ended our day with geography and then Heather set about to create the table for us.  She got everything herself, placed it all on the table and made little place cards for everyone.  I made some banana cake and cut up some strawberries for it. We used different tea cups then last time.  I will cycle through them all as the weeks go on.  They are all so unique and deserve to have some use.  

We read aloud the poem: The Land of Nod from Favorite Poems of Childhood.  This is a wonderful book with lots of beautiful poetry in it. I read it through a number of times. After they had time to think about it, they began to talk about what the poem meant.  I got quite a kick listening to them discuss their thoughts, which lead to them all chatting about their dreams!  :)  It was a great time.

The books

Be Thou My Vision

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,
Naught be all else to me sage that Thou art.
Thou my best thought by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

I also read aloud another hymn and the history of the hymn from the book Then Sings My Soul.  This one was the hymn Be Though My Vision (words found above there).  There was some interesting history surrounding that hymn that the kids enjoyed hearing about.  They are very keen on learning history in this way.

It was a very good way to end the day, when all of us were struggling with being grumpy!  As I write this they are all reading some books, two cuddled up together and one humming to herself while she reads.  It really was a good way to change the tone in the house this afternoon.  So thankful for these moments.

Enjoying some cake while they chat.

Nutritious & scrumptious Lentil Soup

In our home we are Gluten Free so I am always on the look out for good recipes that are healthy, taste good and are GF.  I also try to use up our left overs in unique ways so nothing goes to waste.  This lentil recipe is one of my favorites to use left overs, and to eat!  

Last night I cooked a small chicken.  When I cleaned up I threw all the left over chicken bones and the giblets in the crock pot, turned it on low and simmered it all night long.  In the morning, I strained the broth, scooped up the fat on top and used it to make this lentil soup.  The recipe is from the all recipes site - see here.  It is written as a stove top recipe so what I did instead was throw all the ingredients in the crock pot and put it on high, I turn it on low as the day progresses.  When it it finished I either eat as is, or throw it in a blender (or food processor) and blend it until is is chunky.  I add a touch of vinegar and the wilted spinach.  This soup, not only tastes fantastic but it is packed with nutritional value!  The home made chicken stock combined with the lentils (lots of protein) and veggies is a great meal for healthy living! :)

SOOOOO good!

Political Map of Canada

I just put up our political map of Canada (a map that outlines the provinces and territories)!  I put it under some super heavy weight 16 gauge plastic on our table top.  My friend had told me they sold it at Walmart, so I picked it up last night. I have done this before in our study of world history with a world map.  We also put missionary cards on one side of the map, marked out where the missionaries were serving and made sure to pray for them daily.  It was a visual cue to remind us to hold them in prayer.  This time with the Canadian map I think what I will do is list the Countries leaders/parties and we can hold them in prayer this year.

 As we have been getting thicker into Canadian History and Geography, I wanted the map to refer to as we talk about where the history is taking place.  I'll try to make up some games to play with this map, to help them learn the regions better. :)  I have also found that a map like this on the table top to be stimulating conversation even during meal time.  The kids are naturally drawn to it, chatting about it while we eat.  I have also observed company do the same. :)  It's fantastic.  There were a couple of times I went to put a table cloth over it for a meal with company but they didn't want me to! lol

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Monday, January 28, 2013

Book Club Sharing Monday - Jason's Gold

January's Book Club selection was the historical fiction: Jason's Gold.  This book is set in the era of the gold rush to the Klondike.  A young boy (15) decides to embark to Alaska for the promise of gold found in the river near Dawson City.  He plans to go home and ask for his brothers to help sponsor him for this grand adventure but upon returning home finds that both his brothers have already set out for the Klondike and with his part of the inheritance!  Through a letter they left for him, they assure him they will share their gold with him but Jason is disheartened as he wanted to participate in this adventure himself.  All his time and energy go in to catching up with his brothers and getting himself to 'The Golden City' (Dawson City) to earn his share of the riches.  The book details the people, obstacles and challenges he must face along the way for the promise of gold in the river.  He meets all sorts of people from robbers to shady fellows, to adventures, to those who help him, to mysterious figures and to his loyal, loving friend King (a husky).  Some of the characters he meets are people who actually lived through the gold rush to the Klondike, including famous author Jack London and Royal Mounty Col. Sam Steele.  

This book started out slowly and didn't capture my children's attention right away.  They complained a bit at first as the other books we had previously read had them from the first chapter.  I encouraged them to persevere through a couple more chapters before making a judgement.  Sure enough, they were begging for me to read more and more each day.  What I appreciate about this book is that it did not hold back on the reality of how difficult it was for those who participated in the Klondike gold run.  It was a hard, pain staking journey that was often frought with danger.  The Chilkoot pass was not an easy pass to climb and many gave up because of how difficult it was to climb.  The gold rushers needed to make their own canoes, risk starvation, injury, scurvy, harsh winter conditions and whatnot to get to their destination.  All of this only to find that the gold was gone by the time they got there.  I felt like Jason's Gold gave the kids a true picture of the dangers and excitement of the Gold Rush to the Klondike.

Book Club

I run the junior division of a children's book club, the ages range from 7-11, and there are 16 kids in my group.  It has honestly been one of the highlights of the school year for both me and my children!  Wonderful time to encourage the kids to develop narration skills in a group setting while reading good literature!

The kids at book club all enjoyed the book!  They were eager to answer the questions and chat about the book.  I asked them questions like:  Who was your favorite character, least favorite character and why?  What parts of the book did you enjoy most, what parts did you enjoy least?  How do you think it will feel to be Jason?  What would it be like to live in that time?  We talked about how much food the gold rushers had to carry, what it would be like to climb the pass, build a canoe, brave the rapids of rivers and portage canoes and supplies across land.  We also did some map work, talked about what characters were not fiction and which ones were.  We delved a bit into the Mounties, I read a loud from The Mounties Canada Discovery Series Book to give them a taste for how the Mounties came to be and what their responsibilities were.

The hands on activity for book club was to make a canoe!  The Gold Rushers had to make their own canoes so I thought this activity would be good for the kids to do.  I got the idea from The National Park Services list of activities for the Klondike area.  That was a good site with lots of good ideas ranging from drawing a character, journal writing, creating a gimmick for the Klondike era and many other activities.  

The canoes were made from card board boxes, glue, tape, popsicle sticks, and dowel.  The kids had a great time cutting out their canoes and making them.  Some of them tried them out in the water when they got home. :)  It was a great way to end off the book club.

Building their canoes!
Working on the details!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up: Poetry Tea Time & Geography

I haven't posted a Weekly Wrap Up since before Christmas!  It's been hard getting back into the swing of things since the second week of January.  I've added things back in slowly as I find that helps after a longer break; particularly with the seat work.  My son, in particular, has a harder time because he finds seat work challenging.  So we took it extra slow for him.  He also has a tendency to complain which presents a challenge; he needed lots of cues not to indulge in complaints. ;) We have been doing seat work and a lot of free reads, including Jason's Gold for the book club I run.  They enjoyed the book and looked forward to the club on the 14th.  On Monday I will share a review on it as well as the book club activities we did.

We started in on our geography unit for Canadian Geography.  We're using Donna Ward's Province to Province Guide.  We got in a couple of Geography lessons this week.  For Canadian History (using our Courage and Conquest Guide) we delved into some study about the explorer John Cabot.  It was a lighter lesson then the previous Viking section we went through, as I don't have any historical fiction to read a loud.  The kids enjoyed tracing his route and using the globe as a tool.  We read lots about John Cabot from two different books:  The Kids Book of Canadian Exploration and The Kids Book of Canadian History.  

Our Canadian History study! 
Poetry Tea Time
I had been wanting to do some poetry and hymnal reading with them for a while now and was inspired to do so by a friend's blog post: Life on a Canadian Island: Poetry Tea Time.   I set up our table with a lovely table cloth and beautiful china.  We had some drinks and apple crisp while I read aloud from some poetry books and an hymnal book I found on line called Then Sings My Soul.  The kids loved this time and we will aim to do it once every other week.  For more detail and pictures of our Poetry Tea Time, see my blog post: Poetry and Hymnal Tea Time.  
The Table all dulled up for our poetry and hymnal reading

We started a new read a loud for our Book Club this month:  The Bronze Bow.  This book is FANTASTIC.  We have all been enjoying it so much and look forward to it each day. :)  I can't wait to do the discussion and activities for the junior division of our book club next month.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Poetry & Hymnal Tea Time

It is very cold out today - minus 16 C to be exact!  For the past few weeks I have been sending the kids out to the backyard in the afternoon for some outdoor play but today it is just way too cold to have them do that.  So I decided to do utilize an idea a friend of mine had posted on her blog:  Poetry Tea.  I decided it would be a complete surprise for my kids.  I made some apple crisp and put it into bake during our afternoon read a louds.  I sent them to the rooms for some quiet time while I got busy creating 'the environment' for the tea. :)  I had so much fun setting it all up!  I covered the table with a pink linen I got from our wedding and overlaid it with a gorgeous crocheted table cloth which belonged to my husband's Grandma.  I used our good china and sliver spoons.  I picked out some tea cups that I thought reflected what my kids would like.  I made sure that my eldest daughter had her treasured tea cup she received from a prayer partner at a church tea.  The rest of the tea cups were from my Great Grandma's collection of tea cups, passed on to me. I am sure I was grinning the entire time I set it up! hehe

I picked out a few poetry books including:  The Real Mother Goose, Poems & Prayers for the Very Young. I also got this book Then Sings My Soul  which is a book about the history behind some of the most well known Hymns, how they came to be, etc. 

All the effort to pull this together was worth it to see the looks on their faces!!!  Each of them were so excited to see the table and use all the china.  I explained where all the items came from and they were fascinated to learn about the family history there. They listened eagerly to the poems and had a great time giggling while I read to them and they ate.  We had hot chocolate in the tea cups, none of them like tea.  :)  And of course the apple crisp was a huge hit.  

The last reading was about the hymn: The Lord Bless You and Keep You (from the Bible, Numbers 6:24-26). My kids are used to the Praise and Worship Music of our church so I chatted with them about how we sung hymns at our church and that I have fond memories standing beside my Grandpa while he sang the hymns in his deep voice. 

There was some really neat information on the hymn The Lord Bless You and Keep You, as it was found in tiny amulets dating back to the Hebrew monarchy seven centuries before the birth of Christ. It was put to music in the late 20's by Peter Christian Lutkin, known as BENEDICTION.  We listened to the hymn on You Tube at the end of our tea time.

It truly was an amazing afternoon and it turned out so well, I know we'll do it again.  It set the mood for the rest of a lovely afternoon. 
Esther - very excited to be using the china!
The Table - all dulled up! :)
Our books!  I don't have the hymnal one in there though.  It was on my Kindle.
Graham enjoyed the tea as well.  He thought it was great! 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Book Sharing Monday: Geography!!!

This is our line up for the geography unit study we will be doing.  We started in on it last week with Donna Ward's Province to Province.  It's a great book and I am so pleased to have it as a guide to our geography study.   I did a book review on two of these books in my book sharing Monday post over the last few weeks.  The posts can be viewed here: Paddles to the Sea and here: WOW Canada.  I also added in the Symbols of Canada, (this one was free from the government of Canada providing you have a Canadian address), The Scholastic Canadian World Atlas and A Canadian Social Studies book I picked up from a homeschooling mom.   There is a puzzle map there of Canada as well. I believe I got that one at the dollar store.  I have a map of Canada I need to put under some heavy see through plastic for our table top.  I find the kids love it when we have a map on the table and will often refer to it throughout the day.  

What I love about these books is how colourful and engaging they are.  The Symbols of Canada is gorgeous, as is the WOW Canada book.  Lots of goodies there, looking forward to posting about them in our geography unit study over the next several weeks!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013