Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Harvest Moon

Wow! Can I just tell you about our day today? What an amazing day for Nature Study for this family!
By Helen Allingham (1848 - 1926)
(The Bridgeman Art Library, Object 283763)
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

First, I woke up this morning and checked the weather only to discover that there was going to be a Harvest Moon tonight! Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox. One reason that it is so special is because the full moonrise that time of year, happens about 30 minutes earlier than normal. This was especially helpful back in the days before electric lights and farmers relied on the extra moonlight to help bring in their harvests. Here is a very interesting read on the Harvest Moon.

Then, as we were gathered around the breakfast table reading our Bible reading for the day, my husband just happened to notice an interesting creature crawling around in a dish. No, it wasn't in his cereal bowl. :)  Last week, the kids and I had gathered some quite magnificent looking acorns. Now, I had heard that "things" can "hatch" out of acorns, so instead of letting the children play with them around the house, they were displayed in my favorite leaf shaped dish on the table along with some other nature finds. I hoped this dish would help contain any unexpected visitors and to my delight, it did! (They didn't hatch with wings and couldn't crawl up the sides.) What are they??? I finished the Bible reading and discussion...then quickly ran to the computer to look up "white grub with brown face in an acorn" and lo and behold: It is an Acorn Weevil! Amazing! It gets even can actually see what we saw!! Check out this video:

(By the way, all the acorns and baby weevils are contained in a ziploc bag for now as my oldest daughter was too creeped by letting them roam freely around in the dish. And, for those interested, 8 larvae have crawled out so far!...I also just learned from a friend that they make good bait for fishing.)

Finally, this afternoon, I took the kids to visit my Dad at his work at a local resort. We were treated to a golf cart ride around the property. Everyone always enjoys this, but at the end of the ride, Dad and I both had bugs flying at us. The next thing I knew, I had an ant crawling in my shirt! Yikes! Minutes later, we began noticing masses of flying ants around different ant holes. They were everywhere friends! Then, we looked up and the masses of flying ants were taking to the skies! It was unbelievable! Everywhere we looked, there were huge masses of flying ants. What was going on?

The first chance I had when I got home (because I don't own a smart phone :)  I again searched the Internet for "masses of flying ants.  I'm very thankful that my Internet worked today. :)  Well, it turns out that we were witnessing the "Nuptial Flight" of the ants. Need I say more? You can quickly figure out what the Nuptial Flight is by reading the linked article from Wikipedia.

OK. Are you not in awe of how amazing our Creator is?!  Wow!
Thank you Nature Study! Now to make a date with my Nature Journal...

Thursday, August 29, 2013


I've been thinking about this poem all day:

Refugee in America
There are words like Freedom
Sweet and wonderful to say.
On my heart-strings freedom sings
All day every day.

There are words like Liberty
That almost make me cry.
If you had known what I knew
You would know why.

--Langston Hughes

Various thoughts flooded my mind as I read this.

Sad thoughts that the Freedom and Liberty he found in America often seem to be in jeopardy.

Indescribable thoughts of how this relates to my life as a follower of Christ. Even though my freedoms seem threatened at times, the freedom and liberty that are mine in Christ can never be taken away. I have a hope and a future.

Finally, as we are about to begin another year of homeschool, I can't help but relate these thoughts of freedom and liberty to the beauty found in Charlotte Mason's Methods (to learn more specifics, click here, here, or here).

I went to public school. For me, this was not such a bad experience as some have; yet, there are still things I will never forget and wish for my children to learn in a different way. Still, even in the home setting, a family could make "school" still too much like "school" with rigid structure and cold atmosphere and mind numbing books. I recently got to see in real life some of those homeschool curriculums of which I've heard stories. It made me feel stressed just looking at these huge stacks of textbooks.  I've also been making a big effort to once again purge our home of "twaddle" (Mason's word to describe books with oversimplified language which has the end result of shutting down the mind's creative thinking process).

Mason's methods and principles have brought so much life into our home. Our minds are nourished and challenged with ideas. My whole family ends up being fed a feast from which each fills his plate with the nourishment needed. It truly is a living education, and more than that, it is a way to live.  Charlotte's method may have seemed "new" in her day and often seem "new" compared to many of today's methods of education, however, the Solomon tells us that there is nothing new under the sun (Eccles. 1:9-10). And the more I think of it, many of her methods of teaching reflect the way that Jesus taught his disciples and interacted with those He met.
          He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
          He came that we could enjoy abundant life (John 10:10).
          For freedom, Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)

I'm so thankful that the Lord has led our family to this beautiful method of learning and living. Maybe you are interested in Mason's method; if so, I encourage you to dive in and research it. However, maybe you rejoice in the curriculum your family has found, if so, then I rejoice with you. I think because I've felt burdened by the yoke of slavery under the curriculums and methods that other families hold in high esteem, I understand and am extremely grateful for the fact that the Lord leads each family to what is right for them. I am so thankful for the freedom we have to choose differently! For me and my family, this method brings abundant life and joy and freedom. Why wouldn't I use it? :)  And again, Langston's words ring in my mind, "If you had known what I knew, you would know why."