Monday, November 22, 2010


This is our leaf bunting sewing project from Hearts and Trees Fall Kit.


I think that I have decide Autumn is my favorite season. The temperature is just right and the colors are brilliant. Not to mention we don't have to worry about snakes and insect bites while we are out hiking.

This Fall we did a couple of leaf projects. The first one entailed finding your favorite leaf in the backyard and then painting it into your nature journal. This was fun because we all picked different sorts of leaves and were able to share them with one another.

We also did a Signs of Autumn Observation. We all had our observation sheets and clipboards and headed outside to sketch four different signs of Fall. After our sketches we were to list some of our observations. We found this idea at The Handbook of Nature Study blog.

Our second leaf project we also got from The Handbook of Nature Study Blog. We gathered different types of leaves from our yard and compared them to one another. We talked about the difference between a true leaf and a leaflet, compound leaves, and simple leaves. We also looked at the parts of a leaf and talked about why leaves change color and fall off the tree. After our discussion we color copied our leaves and put the copies into our nature journals. The copies were really impressive. Most all of these ideas come from The Handbook of Nature Study blog, it is filled with ideas and projects. If you haven't already you should check it out!

We have continued to find beautiful leaves throughout the season and added them to our nature shelf. We hope your family is enjoying Autumn as much as we are!

Friday, October 15, 2010

God of Hope

By Amy Carmichael

Great God of Hope, how green Thy trees,
How calm each several star.

Renew us; make us fresh as these,
Calm as those are.

For what can dim his hope who sees,
Though faintly and afar,

The power that kindles green in trees
And light in star?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Nature Journals- Autumn 2010 OHC #1

Although we haven't posted in ages, we have still been out enjoying nature. I just have had trouble finding time to take pictures and post about it. I think it probably has something to do with keeping up with our almost 2 year old.

This week my mother was here and that freed me up to take some pictures of the boys drawing in their nature journals. This challenge was supposed to be done in our backyard, but since my mom was here we decided to take it to the Japanese Gardens! I only wish my backyard looked like this!

First we walked around (well the boys actually ran and jumped, but I walked). Then we found a great place to sit and draw.

My only instructions were for them to find something beautiful to draw. While the three older boys drew, my mother and the baby fed the fish...and I took pictures!

Once the boys got going, they did multiple drawings.

It is never too soon to start a Nature Journal. We have used many different types of journals. My favorite is a medium sized journal with watercolor paper (above), but we have used all sizes and all kinds of papers. For little ones it is nice to have one with not too many pages, so they don't feel overwhelmed and they quickly have a full book.

I let the journal be truly theirs, meaning I don't try to control it. We have ones with upside down pages and sometimes something like a rocket slips into them, but mostly they are filled with wonderful pictures and great memories.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Even As A Weaned Child

By Amy Carmichael

And shall I pray Thee change Thy will, my Father,
Until it be according unto mine?
But no, Lord, no, that never shall be; rather,
I pray Thee, blend my human will with Thine.

I pray Thee, hush the hurrying, eager longing;
I pray Thee, soothe the pangs of keen desire;
See in my quiet places wishes thronging;
Forbid them, Lord; purge, though it be with fire.

And work in me to will and do Thy pleasure;
Let all within me, peaceful, reconciled,
Tarry, content my Well-beloved's leisure-
At last, at last, even as a weaned child.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Heavens Declare God's Glory

A few weeks ago we were all awed by the moon. We had been hiking around and as we were getting ready to start back to the car we happened to see the moon rising above the trees. It was so beautiful. I tried to get a picture of the boys with it in the background, but it just wouldn't show up properly. It looks really tiny in the above picture when in reality it was huge. Finally we were able to catch a better picture of it hiding behind the branches of an oak tree.

We have been amazed by God's handiwork in the skies. Recently we have been able to look at Saturn through the telescope and it is fascinating to see its rings. With the naked eye it is not very impressive. It appears as a somewhat dim star in the East at about 9:00. Yet with our telescope you can see at least one moon and the rings. It looks to me like a shining round diamond ring with a band made of light. It is beautiful.
"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork." Psalm 19:1

Friday, February 26, 2010

Catching Snowflakes

We have had 3 beautiful snowfalls this winter. During the most recent snowfall, I decided we would try and catch some flakes. We have attempted this before on black construction paper and it was never very impressive. However, this time I happened to have a piece of black fleece that came in one of Amanda's Hearts and Trees Kit. We were blown away by the results! I wish that Iwould have been able to capture some better photos, but this was all I could get.

I guess the fibers on the fleece caused the flakes to last long enough for us to see their shape. We saw dozens of different shapes and each one was amazingly beautiful. Of course we all "know" what snowflakes are supposed to look like, but it was really a wonder filled experience standing in the snow catching flake after flake. We were all very excited. I just wish that I could have gotten better pictures.

In the above picture, look at the bottom left and you will see a flower shaped snowflake!

The above photo is probably our best example.

Once we brought the fleece back inside the heat caused all the flakes to change their form...into ordinary water droplets. Later that evening we read Snowflake Bentley and then looked through a book with his snowflake photos.
"Under the microscope," he wrote in 1931, "I found that every snow crystal is a miracle of God's beauty." (taken from God's World News-Snowflake Bentley article March 2010 edition)

Monday, February 08, 2010

The Great Backyard Bird Count

This weekend is the Great Backyard Bird Count! The boys really enjoyed participating in this event last year. Click on the picture to find out more!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Winter Sky and Stars

We have been studying the sky since early Autumn. In the beginning we didn't even have binoculars. We started off only knowing the Big Dipper, but over the months we have been able to find a number of other constellations and planets.

Once we were able to purchase binoculars we were able to see 4 of Jupiter's moons. This was truly amazing! I couldn't help but think of all the school text books that talk about the very things we were looking at with our eyes! It was strange to realize all this was not just in a book, but it has been out here in the night sky all our lives.

With our binoculars we have been able to see quite a bit. The only difficulty is that ours are heavy, which leads to tired shaky hands. Christmas brought a telescope, much to the delight of the boys. I guess if I really wanted everyone to get in bed on time this was a bad idea! Nevertheless, we have been able to see amazing views of the moon and Orion's nebula.In Texas we do have some cold nights, but as you can see most nights we don't even have to bundle up! This picture is the boys looking at the Nebula on Orion's sword. Our two primary books on finding the constellations and particular stars and planets have been, The Handbook of Nature Study, and Find The Constellations, by HA Rey.

Now when I get up with the baby at 3am, I can't help looking out the window to see Orion and the Great Dog emblazoned across the Southern sky. Now that the winter stars have become so familar, we are anxious to see what Spring and Summer bring.

9 Year old's Journal entry of the Andromeda Galaxy.

7Year old's Journal entry of the Andromeda Galaxy

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Our recent Nature Study project happened quite by accident. I tossed some Red Bud seeds into a recycled pudding cup with some soil and in just a few days we had some little green shoots peeping through the soil. It quickly shot up nice and tall and I realized we have an in-house subject for Nature Study.
I rummaged around and found some other small containers and we planted seeds from a pine, oak, and an apple (we already have a baby lemon tree grown from seed.) I arranged them on our school table and then added some books about seeds. It is nice to have something living and growing right before your very eyes. We are hoping that our other seeds will sprout, but until then we have our Red Bud and Lemon to observe. Here is one of our nature journal sketches of the young Red Bud's.

UPDATE: 5-3-10 We were so surprised at how quickly this "red bud" was shooting up. As it continued to grow we realized something was amiss. Not only was it growing unusually fast, but the leaves did not look like the leaves of a red bud. So, we decided to wait and watch. Eventually it budded and bloomed....a pale yellow composite flower! So, we are not sure what happened to our red bud seeds, and where did these come from? One of our pines sprouted and then died, and we still have the lemon tree and an apple tree.

Ambleside Schools International

For those of you who are inspired by Charlotte Mason, here is an exciting organization that is making a difference in the lives of children and adults. It is Ambleside Schools International. If you have read, When Children Love To Learn, you will definitely want to check out these schools. Their website is very pleasant to look at and you can also sign up for a monthly newsletter that hopefully will be an inspiration to your home school.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Until The Stars Appear

by Amy Carmichael

Make us Thy laborers.
Let us not dream of ever looking back;
Let not our knees be feeble, hands be slack;
Oh, make us strong to labor , strong to bear,
From the rising of the morning until the stars appear.

Make us Thy warriors,
On whom Thou canst depend to stand the brunt
Of any perilous charge on any front;
Give to us the skill to handle sword and spear,
From the rising of the morning until the stars appear.

Not far from us, those stars-
Unseen as angels, and yet looking through
The quiet air, the day's transparent blue.
What shall we know, and feel, and see, and hear,
When the sunset colors kindle and evening stars appear?