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?