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Monday, April 29, 2013

Love Abounds

Today is our thirteenth anniversary and love abounds.

My Beloved Is Mine and I Am His

Even like two little bank-dividing brooks,
That wash the pebbles with their wanton stream,
And having ranged and searched a thousand nook
Meet both at length in silver-breasted Thames
Where in a greater current they conjoin
So I my Best-Beloved's am, so he is mine

Even so we met; and after long pursuit
Even so we joined; we both became entire
No need for either to renew a suit,
For I was flax and he was flames of fire
Our firm united souls did more than
So I my Best-Beloved's am, so he is mine.

If all those glittering monarchs that command
The servile quarters of this earthly ball
Should tender in exchange their shares of land,
I would not change my fortunes for them all:
Their wealth is but a counter to my coin;
The world's but theirs, but my Beloved's mine.

Nay, more: if the fair Thespian ladies all
Should heap together their diviner treasure,
That treasure should be deemed a price too small
To buy a minute's lease of half my pleasure.
'Tis not the sacred wealth of all the Nine
Can buy my heart from him, or his from being mine.

Nor time, nor place, nor chance, nor death can bow
My least desires unto the least remove;
He's firmly mine by oath, I his by vow;
He's mine by faith, and I am his by love;
He's mine by water, I am his by wine;
Thus I my Best-Beloved's am, thus he is mine.

He is my altar, I his holy place;
I am his guest, and he my living food;
I'm his by penitence, he mine by grace;
I'm his by purchase, he is mine by blood;
He's my supporting elm, and I his vine:
Thus I my Best-Beloved's am, thus he is mine.

He gives me wealth, I give him all my vows;
I give him songs, he gives me length of days;
With wreaths of grace he crowns my conquering brows;
And I his temples with a crown of praise,
Which he accepts as an everlasting sign,
That I my Best-Beloved's am; that he is mine.

Francis Quarles

Friday, April 26, 2013

Creative Learning #12

Welcome to another week of Creative Learning.  Last week we had nice variety posted, including a Sample of Free Curricula, Milk Cap Literacy (useful in a Charlotte Mason education), and a Carved Seascape Painting  - a clever artists study.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Arbor Day Activities and Resources


Tomorrow is Arbor Day and I thought I would share some of the wonderful activities and resources we are using this year, and in years to come, to commemorate the day as a family.


Arbor Day, set aside to plant trees and educate people about the importance of trees, and was began by J. Sterling Morton in 1874.

Morton, the editor of Nebraska's first newspaper, wanted settlers to come to the state. But the lack of trees on the Nebraska prairie posed a challenge. Although the prairie had the makings of rich farmland, would-be settlers could not build or heat homes without timber. In 1872, Morton suggested that the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture enlist the help of the state's residents and businesses in remedying the tree shortage. He recommended that the state establish a special day for people to plant trees and offer prizes for those who planted the most. On April 10, 1874, Morton's idea became reality, and Nebraska became home to America's first Arbor Day observance.

Today, the United States observes National Arbor Day on the fourth Friday of April. All fifty U.S. states celebrate Arbor Day, although dates vary from state to state according to local planting season. 

Learn more through the Arbor Day Foundation's Interactive History Book.

Nature Rocks
Handbook of Nature Study
Arbor Day Foundation
Woodland Trust

Bark Rubbing
Create an Indoor Tree
Make a Tree Centerpiece
Make a Leaf Matching Game
Arbor Day Lesson Plans
Find Your State's Arbor Day
Paint Leaf Print Trees
Memorize Jeremiah 17:8

More Ideas:
Plant a tree
Make a collage out of tree leaves
Copy poems about trees
Draw a family tree & explain to your children the strength in trees
Draw the shadows of trees you observe
Count the trees in your neighborhood & tally the different kinds
List or draw all of the different kinds of fruit we get from trees
Draw your state tree
Visit a local forest or arboretum
Grow a ficus tree inside your home (They look lovely at night with twinkling lights.)
Make sculptures out of fallen limbs
Read books about trees - we especially like The Giving Tree (See more suggestions below)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Earth Day

There are so many wonderful hands-on ways to teach our children how to be good stewards of our world.  Today, we are planting bean seeds in a mini- greenhouse and talk about how our food grows.  We are also going to start an American Elm and a butterfly bush and talk about how plants help our animal / insect friends.  What will you do for Earth Day?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Creative Learning #11

Welcome to our Creative Learning link up.  Last Friday, we had some great pots linked up including 15 feather crafts for children that fits right in with our bird science study, a study of illustrator/author with an excellent complimenting project , and, just in time for Earth Day, a unique way to provide birds with nesting materials.

What creative learning have you had this week?

Creative Learning on Friday

Thursday, April 18, 2013

National Park Week

As many of my long-time blog readers know, I work as a park ranger for the National Park Service.  I want to remind you all that next week is National Park Week (April 20-28) during which parks are free, and have wonderful family-friendly activities.  For many parks, this is going to be the main week of extra ranger-led programs for the season since many sites are closing, having fewer programs, and reducing hours due to the recent budget cuts.  This weekend, we will have programs geared toward children that we do not offer throughout the year and visitors will be able to interact with various divisions including maintenance &  grounds department, law enforcement rangers, museum curators, and the rangers of Interpretation & Visitor Services. 

If you bring your children to a national park this week, or any time for that matter, don't forget to ask about the Jr. Ranger Program where children get to interact with the resources and rangers in unique ways and earn a jr. ranger badge, unique to each park.  Also, your kids can learn more about the parks by playing online games as a WebRanger.

Have a great week enjoying the National Park Service's wonderful resources!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Creative Learning Link Up #10

Welcome to our tenth Creative Learning link up.  I have been pleased with so many of the submissions considering this is a new linky party.  Thank you to all of you who participate.

This week, we have been on spring break, so not a whole lot of traditional learning going on in our home, but we did go on a field trip and I will post about it in a few weeks.  Last Friday, we had some great pots linked up including rock face painting that is great for art & storytelling, fun water experiments, and a parable sensory bin for young learners.

What creative learning have you had this season?

Creative Learning on Friday

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Our Spring Break so far

A couple of months ago, I decided we needed a week-long spring break.  Aidan needs a break from studies, especially math, and I just need a break from telling him what to do all of the time. (The kid just isn't a self motivator.)  It just so happens that this is the week I chose for a break and it has been wonderful!  The weather is warm and we are all relaxed.

Yesterday we visited Fort McHenry, where we learned about "Old Glory" and Aidan began the Jr. Ranger program - more on that in another post.

Today we explored a local forest.   The boys had fun losing themselves in play.  I smiled to myself when I listened in as they pretended to be lost and later tried to sneak up on me through some brambles. After a few minutes, I heard, "Mom! Rescue us!"  (Apparently they found their way in to the brambles, but not out.  Mom to the rescue - scratched and tired but a hero to her boys after hoisting them above the thorns and on to safety. Whew!)


After a packed lunch, more exploring was to be had...

Aidan learned a little about fungus growing on the side of a fallen tree. 

And little dirty knees and new treasures for the nature table prove
to be the showing after such an adventure.

Now it is late, and the boys are sleeping soundly as a cool front moves in.  Tomorrow is a new day awaiting more grand adventures and discoveries.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Spring is Here

Spring has arrived here in central Pennsylvania.  The singing birds wake us early to tell us the sun is up, the flowers are pushing up through the soil, and our willow is full of little green leaf buds.  I am thrilled that we will spend our days outside learning from nature.
I wish you all a lovely spring day.  (Don't forget to enter to win a pack of Stockmar Modelling Beeswax.  The entries close on Tuesday.)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Creative Learning on Friday link up #9

Welcome to another week of Creative Learning.  Last week we had more great posts linked up including insightful thoughts on living books in Charlotte Mason education, a tutorial on reusable sandwich wraps - great for picnics during outdoor nature study, and using homeschooling to raise boys into men, a post I found particularly encouraging in raising my two sons.

Please share your post, new or archived, to inspire creative learning.  Also, don't forget to enter my giveaway of Stockmar Modelling Beeswax - a great medium for creative learning.

Creative Learning on Friday

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Beeswax Modelling and A Giveaway

One of the things I like most about using the Charlotte Mason method in our homeschooling, is how well it trains my sons to focus through narration.  For our narration, I read a chapter from a classic book, right now it is Treasure Island, and Aidan, who is seven, tells me back what he can remember.  When we first began narration, I would have to stop at the end of a couple of paragraphs and have him narrate because he couldn't focus long enough to tell back an entire chapter.  I find, however, that he will focus best if his hands have something to do, so we began using beeswax modelling to compliment our read-aloud time. Shortly after I read, the boys will use the colorful beeswax to model something from the book and use it to retell the story. (For Robin Hood, it was a bow and arrow, and for The Tales of Mr. Pengachoosa, it was a little hamster.)  We use it to enhance our nature study as well, shaping the beeswax into flowers, butterflies, rainbows, etc.  The children are so proud of their creations.



I learned about beeswax modelling through my research into Waldorf education, where it is often used in the lower grades to supplement main lessons. Initially, I was hesitant to spend the money on the beeswax when play-doh was so inexpensive. But after I purchased some from an area Waldorf school, we were hooked.

The beeswax is a small hard strip, but becomes pliable with the warmth of your hand and is wonderful for fine motor skills. To keep it warm you can set it in a sunny spot or in warm water. As it cools, your creation will harden, but can be remolded easily. The beeswax strips have vibrant colors, are clean to handle, and have a lovely scent - a multi-sensory medium.


Are you ready to try beeswax modelling?  A Toy Garden is generously offering one of my readers a 12-piece set of Stockmar Modelling Beeswax.

To enter, leave a comment telling what will be the inspiration for beewax creations in your home, and follow A Toy Garden via email or facebook. (I would be glad for you to follow How the Sun Rose, but it is not a requirement.)  On Tuesday evening, April 9th, we will pick a winner. 

Thank you all for participating.  Congratulations to, Patti, who has been notified and is looking forward to many creative times using the modeling beeswax. 

My next giveaway, also from A Toy Garden, is coming soon...

   A Toy garden

Shared at:

Giveaways for Kids Monday at B-Inspired Mama
Family-Friendly Giveaway Linky

Monday, April 1, 2013

Charlotte Mason Says: Copywork - Spring Poetry

One of the fundamentals of using the Charlotte Mason method for homeschooling is relying on your child's ability to absorb knowledge through observation.  This proves true especially in copywork, in which a child will observe how the letter looks as well as spelling and punctuation.  For us, copywork is essential.  The reason we pulled our son out of public schools, was to help him develop skills to cope with add (primarily inattentive) and having him meticulously copy short passages, facts or poem stanzas, has certainly helped him improve his ability to focus.  We usually do copywork three times per week.  He especially enjoys copying poems, which fits right in with our poetry / poets study.  

It is especially important to use proper printing or cursive when presenting these poems for copywork.  Like Miss Mason wrote: "Set good copies before him, and see that he imitates his model dutifully: the writing lesson being not so many lines, or 'a copy'––that is, a page of writing––but a single line which is as exactly as possible a copy of the characters set. The child may have to write several lines before he succeeds in producing this.  A certain sense of possession and delight may be added to this exercise if children are allowed to choose for transcription their favourite verse in one poem and another."

 Below, you will find some poems especially suited for spring. The Notebooking Nook offers some lovely bird notebook pages Here. Enjoy!


They’ll come again to the apple-tree -

Robin and all the rest -

When the orchard branches are fair to see,

In the snow of the blossom drest;

And the prettiest thing in' the world will be

The building of the nest.

Weaving it well, so round and trim,

Hollowing it with care,

Nothing too far away for him,

Nothing for her too fair,

Hanging it safe on the topmost limb,

Their castle in the air.

Ah ! Mother-bird, you’ll have weary days

When the eggs are under your breast,

And shadow may darken the dancing rays

When the wee ones leave the nest;

But they’ll find their wings in a glad amaze,

And God will see to the rest.

So come to the trees with all your train

When the apple blossoms blow;

Through the April shimmer of sun and rain,

Go flying to and fro;

And sing to our hearts as we watch again

Your fairy building grow.

Margaret Sangster


The Wind

I saw you toss the kites on high
And blow the birds about the sky;
And all around I heard you pass,
Like ladies' skirts across the grass--

     O wind, a-blowing all day long,
     O wind, that sings so loud a song!

I saw the different things you did,

But always you yourself you hid.

I felt you push, I heard you call,

I could not see yourself at all--

     O wind, a-blowing all day long,

     O wind, that sings so loud a song!

O you that are so strong and cold,

O blower, are you young or old?

Are you a beast of field and tree,

Or just a stronger child than me?

     O wind, a-blowing all day long,

     O wind, that sings so loud a song!

Robert Louis Stevenson


The Year’s at the Spring
The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in his Heaven
All's right with the world!

Robert Browning

Midges Dance Aboon the Burn
The midges dance aboon the burn; 
  The dews begin to fa’; 
The pairtricks down the rushy holm 
  Set up their e’ening ca’. 
Now loud and clear the blackbird’s sang        
  Rings through the briery shaw, 
While, flitting gay, the swallows play 
  Around the castle wa’. 
Beneath the golden gloamin’ sky 
  The mavis mends her lay;        
The redbreast pours his sweetest strains 
  To charm the lingering day; 
While weary yeldrins seem to wail 
  Their little nestlings torn, 
The merry wren, frae den to den,         
  Gaes jinking through the thorn. 
The roses fauld their silken leaves, 
  The foxglove shuts its bell; 
The honeysuckle and the birk 
  Spread fragrance through the dell.        
Let others crowd the giddy court 
  Of mirth and revelry, 
The simple joys that nature yields 
  Are dearer far to me.
Robert Tannahill

(This last selection may seem rather difficult for children, but we use it because Robert Tannahill is a family ancestor from Scotland 1774-1810)
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