March 31, 2010


         ~ Watching ~

March 29, 2010


 I have always been passionate about 
Charlotte Mason and her educational philosophy.

 She VALUED children, unlike most others of her era. It was a time when the mentality was *children are to be seen but not heard*. Charlotte believed in children and thought they had immense capabilities and great worth.

  Copywork is part of the Charlotte Mason philosophy. A child keeps a notebook and copies a letter, word, quote, poem, or a line or passage from rich literature each day. Copywork is done instead of vocabulary drills, grammar exercises, random penmanship or spelling lists. Charlotte Mason felt that doing daily copywork exposed all of that to the children in a more pleasing and meaningful way.

  Keeping a journal of favorite quotes, sayings, poems or lines from great books or movies, or anything else can be enjoyable to children as well as adults! My children have journals and I have journals.
 I LOVE my journals!
  It's fun for children to have many different materials to write with (colored pens, gel pens, colored pencils, thin markers, calligraphy pens, etc). They can even make their very own journal using many different papers and page protectors in a binder.

Stay tuned for my weekly posts titled 
* WORDS* which will include sentences, quotes, poems, etc that you may want to use as copywork in your journals, or perhaps you just may want to read or talk about them. 
You can do whatever works for YOU, whatever you enJOY

  Our first experiences in homeschooling was with a Charlotte Mason philosophy. I started a yahoo group CMinMA to share support with other like-minded families.
 It wasn't too long that CM evolved into Unschooling for us. 
Every family has to find the *right fit* for them and the leap to Unschooling made us happier, and life became more peaceful and joyful. That is not to say one cannot have peace and joy with CM , it's what works for each family. We are all unique

The questions to ask are "Are we happy?" "Is my child happy?" Because if learning becomes drudgery, that is not happiness. Learning CAN be joyful ALL the time. Please know if there isn't happiness in your lives,with living and learning, you *can* make a change.

 That being said, I am still passionate about CM to this day.
Her love of children, her love of nature , art , fine literature and living books is what I love the most. She believed in short lessons, and narration instead of short answer tests. "If you can tell if back you know it", she believed.

 She believed in exposing the child to quality literature and poetry with its rich vocabulary from an early ageRead the original fairy tales and unabridged books not watered down books, "twaddle" she called them.  Adapted books and Disney books come to mind.
Charlotte valued the earth and being OUTDOORS with children every day in all kinds of weather.

She thought children were such capable beings and they will take from it what they will 
I believe that to this day. Children WILL take what they can from every experience they have and make connections over time
There are parts of the CM philosophy interwoven in our lives forever and we are so very grateful.

March 28, 2010


My Sunday Stroll took me around our pond today. The day was cool. The water was still.

                   New plant life was evident everywhere I looked

Periwinkle (Vinca)

Lilac buds

Tet a Tet Narcissus

Red Maple tree flowers

                                       Witch Hazel flowers


Wild Onion grass

 And Robin Redbreast sat upon a tree . . .

           and sang a song just for ME  !

I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found,
 was really going in. ~John Muir

March 24, 2010


It can be intimidating to look at a BLANK page and know where to begin. It doesn't matter if you plan to write or create art, that blank page can just stare you back .

But don't be afraid. Just BEGIN.
You can always tear out the page, or paint over it, or flip to another spot and come back to this one later. It's YOURS to do as you see fit.

It's great to provide children of all ages, from toddlers to teens,
(and even adults!) with their own sketch pad or journal.

To use a journal as an Art Journal, I recommend heavy paper or watercolor paper that will withstand the different media and techniques.

I like the kind that opens left to right like a book so you can do a two page spread. I encourage the children to do both pages, to look at it as one big canvas . That way there is a *flow* to the pages. Each two page spread is one idea or is complimentary to one another.

 And we couldn't survive without waxed paper! 
Place waxed paper (or even parchment paper) behind the pages you are working on so paint won't ruin the other pages. It is also used to put between pages while they are finishing drying so you can get started on something else.


Other supplies to get you started, 
all the while keeping it simple and keeping the costs down :

~Acrylic paints - if you just get the large bottles of primary colors, red, blue, yellow you can mix additional colors on your own.
~Acrylic glaze
~Paintbrushes, thick and thin
~Glue sticks
~White crayon
~Masking tape
~Lids of jars it use for paint
~Mod podge or make your own glue/water mixture.
~Permanent markers -Sharpies can work
~Colored pencils - I like Prismacolor
~Papertowels- for clean up, dabbing paint, and texture on the page
~Papers - all kinds (scrapbook, tissue, etc) and colors, words, pictures,etc from magazines, catalogs, newspapers, mail, greeting cards, tags from clothes, anything!

I also like gel medium, to use as a glue and as a protective coating. I buy Liquitex or Golden brand. It is not necessary but if you end up enjoying art journaling you might want to try it.

Of course, you can get a million and one supplies but be innovative and see what you can use in your own house. You'd be surprised!

Then just start.. CREATE with various art medium and a myriad of techniques.

Begin with Backgrounds and embellish them later. You can decide to keep each two page spread as just background ART itself
you can add layers to it and embellish it further with pictures and words.

It is totally up to YOU what you want to do...
for YOU are the artist and this is YOUR creation.

Here are some ideas:

splatter with watercolor and acrylics

acrylic over acrylic glaze

crayon resist with diluted acrylics

mandala with acrylics, sponging, collage  - in progress

graduations of color- two colors- diluted acrylics

acrylics, glaze, sponging, patterns with found items

sponging background with acrylics, collage with magazines
(note: it's often best to tear big pictures vs cutting them straight with scissors)

tissue paper earth and sky collage with mod podge

printing with found circles and acrylic paints

acrylic paint, glaze, items to make patterns

masking tape pattern and diluted acrylics

acrylics and paper towel collage


Perhaps YOU would like to start an Art Journal. Do it!
 And let me know how you like it!

"Art is the colors and textures of your imagination."
                                  ~Meghan, Los Cerros Middle School, 1999

March 23, 2010


The forecast is rain and more rain. You might have had quite enough by now. But think positive.

We all know children LOVE rain.
They love to be outdoors in ALL weather.

When was the last time YOU went out in the rain

Don those boots and raingear and go OUTSIDE!
It's only water, nothing that a warm shower or bath and cozy clothes and blankets won't fix once you come in :)

Everything looks different in the rain.
Everything sounds different. 
Everything feels different.

Go SEE for yourself! And take a child if you can!

They know what to do

And think of the rains bringing us closer and closer to the lush GREEN of Spring.

Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.

                                                                        ~Langston Hughes

March 21, 2010


We took a stroll around our land.

The GREEN is so vibrant

Someone was hungry

Knock Knock

Shagbark Hickory


There is always something to discover and DELIGHT in !

March 20, 2010


Spring is a time for new beginnings for US as well as the earth , and for me it means to try something NEW, perhaps step out of my comfort zone and take a risk.

"EXPAND OUR WORLD" has been my mantra for awhile now and is often discussed with my own unschooled children.
You don't have to love a topic to know and learn about it. It's all about taking in knowledge here and there to find out what you do LOVE. The term, glorious generalist, comes to mind.

I love to READ, and can never have enough books, but sometimes reading takes a back burner as I partake in the filled to the brim life I lead.

 I have to *make time* for things that are important to me, for new adventures to expand my world. When I make time to do what I want to do, I feel more in Harmony. And when I am in harmony, my children are in harmony.

So . . . I am taking part in TWO Book Challenges.

Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings has announced his 4th annual

Once Upon a Time  Challenge   March 21 - June 20

Carl says " What reader hasn’t recognized that “curious thrill” at one time or another? It is the opiate that we so often chase whenever we pick up the next book, that readiness to experience something, to connect on a level deeper than mere ink on the page. That chance for something “remote and strange and beautiful” is what repeatedly draws me back to fantasy, folklore, fairy tale, and mythology. Tales of this ken are built upon foundations of storytelling that date back to our most ancient ancestors. There is just “something” about this kind of story."

There are a  few options and I have chosen
Quest the Third
Read 4 books, one from each genre
~Fairy Tale
and a June reading or theatrical viewing of Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream

These genres are not ones I would normally choose. Therefore I AM expanding my world.

The second challenge is from Trish of Trish's Reading Nook

4th annual Non-Fiction Five Challenge
 May 1 - Sept 30, 2010

~ Read 5 non-fiction books during the months of May - September, 2010
~ Read at least one non-fiction book that is different from your other choices

Check out both challenges
maybe YOU can expand your world too!
"From every book invisible threads reach out to other books; and as the mind comes to use and control those threads the whole panorama of the world's life, past and present, becomes constantly more varied and interesting, while at the same time the mind's own powers of reflection and judgment are exercised and strengthened."
                      ~Helen E. Haines


It's a Jubilation . . . nature is awakening from it's winter's rest. 

There are signs of Spring everwhere !
The air smells fresh, the light is brighter, and the earth is spongy beneath our feet  It is a time for new life, new beginnings. Can you hear the new bird songs? 

Take a walk with your child today and notice EVERYTHING!
 Become deep in awareness of our marvelous natural world. Even in the smallest of spaces you will notice changes and Spring.
LOOK , LISTEN, SMELL, FEEL, and be sure to TOUCH !

What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What does it smell like? How does it feel? How does it make you feel?

Begin your kinship with Nature TODAY,
if you haven't already.

The Beautiful Spring   by  George Cooper

"I was here first," said the snowdrop: "look!"
"Not before me!" sang the silver brook.
"Why," cried the grass, "I've been here a week!"
"So have I, dear," sighed a violet meek.

"Well," piped a bluebird, "don't leave me out!
I saw the snow that lay round about."
"Yes," chirped a snowbird, "that may be true;
But I've seen it all the bleak winter through."

"I came betimes," sang the southwind, "I!"
"After me, love!" spake the deep blue sky.
"Who is it cares?" chimed the crickets gay:
"Now you are here, let us hope you'll stay."

Whispered the sun, "Lo! the winter's past:
What does it matter who's first or last?
Sky, brooks, and flowers, and birdies that sing,
All help to make up the beautiful spring."
enJOY your day and enJOY the season!