Friday, 19 May 2017

The Day When GOD MADE CHURCH: A Child's First Book About Pentecost by Rebekah McLeod Hutto; Illustrated by Stephanie Haig

I've never seen a book about the Day of Pentecost for children so I was thrilled to see that Paraclete Press has published this one:
The Day When GOD MADE CHURCH: A Child's First Book About Pentecost by Rebekah McLeod Hutto; Illustrated by Stephanie Haig is a picture book for young children based on the second chapter of Acts in the New Testament.
The author of this book, Rebekah McLeod Hutto, is a gifted Christian educator and communicator, and Associate Pastor for Christian Education and Discipleship at Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City. She has written a simple but descriptive, joy-filled narrative that captures the significance of the Day of Pentecost and the effect it had on the followers of Jesus: men, women and children, who were waiting in Jerusalem for the promise He had given them to be fulfilled.
The vivid illustrations by Stephanie Haig are fitting and beautiful - a perfect match for the story.
I'd recommend this book for children around the ages of 3 to 8 years, for reading at home and/or children's ministry.
32 colourful and engaging pages.

The Day of Pentecost falls on Sunday the 4th of June this year, 50 days after Easter Sunday, and celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus' disciples after His ascension. It also marks the birth of the Christian Church. 

Pentecost, the Church's birthday, is an often-overlooked holiday. This book celebrates the miraculous events that occurred on Pentecost and the ways in which the Holy Spirit shaped and continues to shape who we are as God's Church. Children will learn the story of Pentecost: the sights, the sounds, and the people that began the community of the Church. They will discover who the Holy Spirit is and how God calls each of us to follow Jesus. 

The book includes a note to parents, educators and pastors, offering ideas for observing and celebrating God's gift of the Holy Spirit and the birthday of the Church. The Paraclete Press website has a sample preview of the book you may view.

This is the second book from Paraclete Press on church traditions for young children that I've had the pleasure of reviewing this year and I hope the publication of books such as these will be a continuing trend. (See my review on Make Room: A Child's Guide to Lent and Easter)

Paraclete Press provided me with a complimentary copy of this book and they have generously offered some free copies to my readers. If you would like to win a copy of this book, please leave a comment here or on my Facebook page and let me know. Winners will be announced on the 25th of May.

Update 26/05/2017

Many thanks to Paraclete Press for the giveaway. The winners are Sharron & Lisa.


Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Mum Heart Conference - Final Giveaways!

Patricia St. John has been called 'a poet of forgiveness,' and her books have been beloved by generations of children all over the world. These books make wonderful family read alouds and every one of the author's books focus on the Gospel message in a clear, non-preachy and realistic way. I first read her books as an adult and cried through quite a few of them. Nothing Else Matters is written to an older audience than the other two & I wrote about that book here.
The books below are the older non-revised editions - I don't understand why her books have been revised -maybe it's just code for dumbed down. Anyhow the older editions are getting hard to find but I have doubles of these titles for anyone who's going to the Mum Heart Conference at Newcastle next month. Let me know if you'd like any of these titles & leave a comment here or on my Facebook page. I'll be announcing winners of the books I've posted this month the week before the Conference and give them to the winners while I'm there.

The Wizard of Jenolan by Nuri Mass

Originally published in 1946, this book was forgotten for many years. In 1991, a young girl went on a school excursion to the Jenolan Caves and on her return home she told her father (advertising Creative Director, Harold Hughes) all about her wonderful adventures and he remembered the book he'd read when he was a child. He began to tell his daughter about Thel and her adventures but couldn't remember the whole story and was surprised that the book had been allowed to disappear. So he contacted the State Library, found the author Nuri Mass and she agreed to rewrite the story of Thel. This book was the result and was published in 1993.
A good book to read before visiting the Jenolan Caves. Nuri Mass has an old earth perspective & that's reflected in this book. Suitable as a read aloud for about ages 8 and up.

Bushland Stories by Amy Eleanor Mack

Published in 1925, this book, although old and discoloured on the outside, is very readable inside. There are 18 chapters, each containing an individual story. 248 pages all up. I used some of the stories in Year 3 for Natural History with my nine year old.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Keeping & a Serendipitous Moment

We had a family picnic at this park, one of our favourite spots, about a month ago and today Moozle & I went back to do some nature notebooking. We sat by the pond and she made a comment about not ever having seen the water lilies in flower. I suddenly remembered that I'd drawn one (or tried to) when they were in flower before she was born. Sure enough, I looked back in my nature notebook and there on the very first page, dated March, 2002, was recorded my first entry in my nature notebook. Em...I still use the same notebook, but I was reminded of how long my nature notebook Keeping has been in progress, even if it has been a slow process and that fifteen years ago I took the first step.


Lately Moozle has become more interested in using watercolour, keeping it separate from her notebook just in case it seeps through the pages. I posted an instructional video series she's enjoyed working through here along with some of her paintings of flowers. This one below is one of her favourites.

'No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face...'
John Donne

'Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves, and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn, that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness, that season which had drawn from every poet, worthy of being read, some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.'

Persuasion by Jane Austen, Ch 10 

Linking up with Celeste at Keeping Company

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Artistic Pursuits Giveaway

This is the first book in the Artistic Pursuits series and is recommended for students in K-3. I think you could easily stretch it to Year 4, especially if you're just starting to teach art, as it's not just art instruction but art appreciation. It's non-consumable and a list of easy to obtain materials is given at the beginning of the book (soft pastels, watercolour crayons, construction paper & self-hardening clay, for example). I found the key to using the Artistic Pursuit books is to have all your materials available before you start. I leant that the hard way - so frustrating to find you've run out of tin foil or you find the last person to use the paintbrushes didn't rinse them and they're now as hard as pig iron. 

I'd really like to give this book to a family who will get good use out of it, so if you have a couple or more children in the younger grades and would like this copy, please leave me a comment here and/or on my facebook page telling me why you'd like to win it or how you would use it.

You can see my original post about my May Giveaways here. I know not everyone is on Facebook but feel free to enter anyhow if you will be at the Mum Heart Conference in June.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Giveaway! Grammarland & Click Go the Shears

Grammarland by M.L. Nesbitt is an allegorical & pictorial introduction to the parts of speech. Best for ages 10 and up.

Click go the Shears is a traditional Australian bush ballad that had been passed down by word of mouth and so has a number of variations. This blog gives some history of the song.
The book below is illustrated by Robert Ingpen, who just has a way of capturing the heart of whatever he has painted. I love his artwork.

Attendees of the Mum Heart Conference at Newcastle in June are eligible to enter to win either book. Leave a comment here and/or on Journey & Destination's Facebook page.

Monday, 8 May 2017

A Miscellany

Miscellany: A group or collection of different items; a mixture

Here is a mixture of some things that have been going on at our place, mostly to do with art and appreciating what is good, beautiful and true...

We've found some very helpful watercolour videos on YouTube and I've posted some of what Moozle's done below after she watched them. There are oodles of them by the same artist & I've made a playlist of the videos we used. There are various levels but a good one to start with would be this one:

The Fifth Day Sea Creatures by Christopher E. Wade is a welcome addition to the area of children's picture books that 'explores some of the diverse ocean life that God created in the Biblical account of the 5th day of creation.' What is unique about this book is the author's beautiful and painstaking  illustrations. He uses a pointillism technique along with watercolours which he demonstrates on his blog here.
A review of the book is here and there is another book on winged creatures coming...

The American artist Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) isn't a well known artist here in Australia and I possibly would have passed her by if Moozle hadn't shown such an interest in painting flowers. We're using some of her paintings, including those below, for picture study for a few weeks in order for Moozle to take some time 'to see.'

'Nobody sees a flower - really - it is so small it takes time - we haven't time - and to see takes time, like having a friend takes time.' 

 Petunias, 1924

'When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.'  

Autumn Leaves, Lake George, 1924

'I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty.'

The only book I could find on the artist was the children's book below by Mike Venezia, which was written for younger children but it has a good selection of her paintings and Venezia's books are always fun to read.


I feel like I've been doing this forever - 1 inch hexagons using the English paper piecing method.

Larger hexagons - one and a half inch - i.e. each edge is 1 inch long - using up scraps. I'll wait until I have a good hundred basted before I attempt to put them together. I'll use tones, light, medium, dark to work out how the pieces will fit together. Moozle is helping me with this.

I use these pre-cut templates

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

May Giveaway: A Little Bush Maid & Mates at Billabong by Mary Grant Bruce

If you don't already know, Mary Grant Bruce (1875-1958) was one of the best known authors of Australian literature for children. Her Billabong series of fifteen books is probably foremost of all her works but there are other stand alone novels (e.g. Golden Fiddles) that are excellent also.
The 454 page hardback book pictured below published in 1981 by John Ferguson, Sydney, contains the first two books in the Billabong series that were first published in 1910 and 1911: A little Bush Maid and Mates at Billabong.

I wrote about A Little Bush Maid here.
Here is a short taste by 12 year old Moozle on the second book:

In Mates at Billabong, the Linton's city cousin, Cecil, comes to Billabong for a holiday. Obnoxious, spoilt and thoughtless, he looks down his nose at the life the Lintons lead. Cecil gets off to a bad start by falling off his horse into a clump of thorns, thus tearing his coat which is in the newest of fashions. He then sends a letter to his mother complaining about all the oddities of life at Billabong. He thinks he is the best at horse riding, and gets very upset when he is not allowed to ride Norah's pony, Bobs...

Both books make for great family read alouds and would appeal to confident readers from about age 9 years and up. As the series progress, they cover Norah's adventures during World War I and are more suitable for older readers - a lovely series to grow with your child. 
Be warned. Once you have a child interested in life at Billabong you will be badgered to find more in the series...just saying.

If you would like this book, see my original post Giveaways in the Merry Month of May about how you can enter to win.


Monday, 1 May 2017

Fearfully & Wonderfully Made

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made is told from the perspective of the pioneering researcher, world-reknowned hand surgeon and leprosy specialist, Dr. Paul Brand and is co-authored by Philip Yancey.
I wrote about how we used this book in a couple of different posts but this one will give you an idea of the unusual nature of this book.
The book is scheduled as a health option anywhere between Year 7 and 11 in the Ambleside Online curriculum. I've read it aloud to my 14 year old son while his 9 year old sister listened in and I did some editing on the run as it does have some mature themes. It's probably best as a read aloud for that reason, but also because it presents some wonderful opportunities for discussion.
It's a unique book in many respects as it explores the design and intricacies of the human body, its patterns and unity, and what happens when parts of the body malfunction, then and provides insights into the Body of Christ, the Church.

I have a spare copy of this book to give away to someone who will be at the Mum Heart Conference in Newcastle in June. For a chance to win this excellent book, check out my original Giveaways in the Merry Month of May post and leave a comment here and/or on my Facebook page.

Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering. 
Saint Augustine

Friday, 28 April 2017

Devil's Hill by Nan Chauncy (1900-1970)

Devil's Hill by Nan Chauncy was published in 1958 by Oxford University Press and is a sequel to Tiger in the Bush but may be read as a stand alone book.
Eleven year old Badge Lorenny lives with his family in a secluded valley close to the Gordon River in Tasmania. The dreaded day comes when he has to leave his home to go to live at his Uncle's farm and attend school for the very first time. He doesn't like his cousin Sam who made him feel like a fool when they'd met a couple of times previously, and he doesn't want to leave the home he knows and loves.
Badge and his Dad head off through the dense Tasmanian forest and reach the banks of the Gordon to find it a raging torrent after recent storms. 'The Wire' his Dad built was still intact - a spider web of a structure dangling above the torrent below. They crossed over, sliding with their feet side ways on the lower wire while holding on to the upper wire with their hands.


On the other side, Badge's Uncle Link was there to meet them with the news that school was closed due to an outbreak of whooping cough. Arrangements were made for Sam to come to stay with Badge and his family at the next full moon, but when the time came there were a couple of unexpected extras - Sam's two younger sisters Bron and Sheppie, had to tag along with him, much to his disgust, as their mother had been admitted to hospital and the girls couldn't be left at home on their own.
It seemed like Sam's visit was going to be a disappointing failure until the tracks of a missing calf were found and Dad decided to take everyone on an expedition to go in search of it.
Unexplored bushland, encounters with snakes, and finding a hidden cavern are part of their adventures but the expedition also proved to be an opportunity for Bron's starved soul to be filled and for the development of true friendship between Badge and Sam.

The nights were fine and clear, filled with still beauty and the occasional weird cry of owls wailing for 'More-pork! More-pork!' - and once the snarling cough of a Tasmanian devil hunting far away in the hills.
Each night after the evening meal Badge slipped outside to study the moon, for the Lorennys had no calendar with dates he could cross out with a pencil. The old moon lost shape like ice thawing in the bottom of of a bucket, and soon bedtime came before it rose at all.

Chauncy has written an engaging and lively story for children around the ages of eight or nine years and up. Badge took after his mother' 'Liddle-ma' in temperament and I liked the way Chauncy pictured their relationship. Ma understood her son's quiet and shy nature and loved him deeply without coddling him, whereas Sam's mother was overindulgent and was said to fuss over her son too much with the result was that he was sulky and spoilt when things didn't go his way.

All Nan Chauncy's children's books are set in Tasmania and reflect the love she had of the outdoor life, her knowledge of nature, and her own childhood spent in the bush. Her writing was innovative for the time and introduced a new realism - 'the adventure of everyday living and ordinary lives' -  into children's literature when many other authors were more idealistic and superficial. In Books in the Life of a Child, Maurice Saxby said that while other authors were describing 'travel-brochure' pictures of Australia, Nan Chauncy, 'began to write of the Tasmania that she knew intimately and about which she felt passionately.'
She wrote, 'not of the wide open spaces, or of cities, but of what she had experienced...and to this she gave imaginative life.'

'Nan Chauncy was one of the first of a wave of writers who were to give Australian children's literature a worldwide reputation for quality.'

Devil's Hill won the Children's Book of the Year Award in 1959.

More information on the author:

Chauncy Vale in Tasmania

An Edwardian Adventure & Success Story

Mercury Newspaper article

A short biography

Except for this title published by Text Publishing, Nan Chauncy's books are, unfortunately, out of print.

 Linking up with the 2017 Classic Children’s Literature Event at Simpler Pastimes

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Giveaways in the Merry Month of May!

Are you going to the Mum Heart Conference in June? Well, if you are, I'm having a month of giveaways during May for any attendees who would like to win some books. Throughout May I'll be posting details about the books. The winners will be announced at the end of the month and will receive their books at the Conference. To be eligible for the prizes you will need to be be following my blog, like my Facebook page, and of course, be at the Conference!

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Potpourri: Reading, Commonplacing & Leisure

 The view at the end of an impromtu bush walk

Over the Easter period I've been soaking up all the loveliness I've found in this complilation of literature: 'Between Midnight and Dawn.' I love poetry and there are some poignant pieces in this book, old and new, and although I'm not usually drawn to contemporary poems but there were some that hit me hard. And this one - Oh my! This made me catch my breath! 'Preparing for Joy: Waiting to be Filled'

I've come to the end of The Count of Monte Christo by Alexandre Dumas, which I'll write about in more detail later. What an epic this is! All the way through I kept thinking of the biblical admonition, 'Vengeance is Mine!' says the Lord.

"Oh!" he exclaimed, as though a redhot iron were piercing his heart. During the last hour his own crime had alone been presented to his mind; now another object, not less terrible, suddenly presented itself. His wife! He had just acted the inexorable judge with her, he had condemned her to death, and she, crushed by remorse, struck with terror, covered with the shame inspired by the eloquence of his irreproachable virtue, -- she, a poor, weak woman, without help or the power of defending herself against his absolute and supreme will...
"Ah," he exclaimed, "that woman became criminal only from associating with me! I carried the infection of crime with me, and she has caught it as she would the typhus fever, the cholera, the plague! 

Wildflowers in bloom

I'm about half way through The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis, which is a compilation of essays on diverse topics. The quotations below are from the essay, 'Why I am not a Pacifist.'

How do we decide what is good or evil? The usual answer is that we decide by autonomous faculty like a sense cannot be argued with; you cannot argue a man into seeing green if he sees blue. But the conscience can be altered by argument...Conscience, then, means the whole man engaged in a particular subject matter.

Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.

The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean

I was looking forward to reading this book as part of my ongoing science education but I've been a little disappointed so far. I'd describe the author's writing as 'breezy' which annoys me, as well as his gossipy style and the inclusion of slang in places. Oliver Sacks and even James Watson were more literary in their style of writing, whilst still being humorous and entertaining. Kean's attempts at both feels forced  - but I should reserve my judgement until I've read more of the book, I suppose.
He does have some helpful suggestions such as looking at a blank periodic table without all the clutter before introducing it to students, and his comparison of the structure or 'geography' of the periodic table to a castle made of bricks - each brick being an element, which if taken out of its position would result in the castle tumbling down, was a helpful one.

Norms & Nobility by David Hicks

Continuing my SLOW read of this book. This book is expensive but you could spend years chewing on the ideas expressed by the author. I gave up trying to keep up with the AmblesideOnline Forum discussion on this book which started at the beginning of this year, but am progressing at a snail's pace on my own regardless. One idea that seems to be popping up in various places for me is that of utilitarianism. One of our boys is in the first year of a Liberal Arts degree and he is constantly asked, "What does that qualify you for?"

Dr. Johnson recognized the temptation to make education a preparation for the practical life either by concentrating exclusively on science or by turning all studies into sciences. Predictably, as science took a technological turn and as education began preparing students for work rather than for leisure, for the factory rather than for the parlor, the school itself came to resemble the factory, losing its idiosyncratic, intimate, and moral character...
In its utilitarian haste, the state often peddles preparation for the practical life to our young as the glittering door to the life of pleasure; but by encouraging this selfish approach to learning, the state sows a bitter fruit against that day when the community depends on its younger members to perform charitable acts and to consider arguments above selfish interests. 
(Emphasis mine)

A Game of Risk

Linking up with Celeste at Keeping Company & Wednesday with Words

Thursday, 6 April 2017

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie (1926)

Something I don't often do these days is stay up late to finish a book, but the truth was, I couldn't put this one down. I fully intended to read just one more chapter, but I was hooked and had to finish it.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is a Hercules Poirot novel. I wasn't all that enamoured with the two previous Poirot stories I read and so I've leaned towards Christie's Tommy & Tuppence series and others that don't include either Poirot (or Miss Marple for that matter.) However, this book changed my mind on Poirot. I loved it and was not surprised to read that Christie's career took a decided turn for the better after it was published.


Dr James Sheppard, a middle-aged bachelor lives with his older sister Caroline in a small English village and is the narrator of this story. He is a self-deprecating, logical sort of fellow, while Caroline is a self-appointed amateur sleuth and an inveterate gossip:

The motto of the mongoose family, so Mr Kipling tells us, is: 'Go and find out.' If Caroline ever adopts a crest, I should certainly suggest a mongoose rampant. One might omit the first part of the motto. Caroline can do any amount of finding out by sitting placidly at home. I don't know how she manages it, but there it is. I suspect that the servants and the tradesmen constitute her Intelligence Corps. When she goes out, it is not to gather information, but to spread it. At that, too, she is amazingly expert.

Their interactions were some of my favourite parts of the book:

Caroline pushed her spectacles up and looked at me.
'You seem very grumpy, James. It must be your liver. A blue pill, I think, tonight.'
To see me in my own home, you would never imagine that I was a doctor of medicine. Caroline does the home prescribing both for herself and me.
Hercule Poirot, a private detective, had moved into the village about a year before, ostensibly to retire from active work. He is the Sheppard's neighbour, but they believed he was a hairdresser because of his two immense moustaches. His identity only became known to them when Flora Ackroyd, the dead man's niece, asks Poirot's assistance in solving her uncle's murder. Suspicion is upon everyone and Dr Sheppard finds himself closely involved in the investigation as Poirot's unofficial assistant: 'I played Watson to his Sherlock.'

 'Mark my words, James, you'll see that I'm right...Roger Ackroyd might easily have been poisoned in his food that night.'
I laughed out loud.
'Nonsense,' I cried. 'He was stabbed in the neck. You know that as well as I do.'
'After death, James,' said Caroline, 'to make a false clue.'
'My good woman,' I said, 'I examined the body, and I know what I'm talking about...'
Caroline merely continued to look omniscient, which so annoyed me that I went on:
'Perhaps you will tell me, if I have a medical degree or if I have not?'
'You have the medical degree, I dare say, James - at least, I mean I know you have. But you've no imagination whatever.'
'Having endowed you with a treble portion, there was none left over for me,' I said drily.

In an obtuse sort of way, this book reminded me of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. It's bears no resemblance really, but rather it was the narrative device that both Christie and du Maurier used that made me think of them having a similarity.

Warning! Don't read the link below until you've finished the book!

This article explains the source of the idea which Agatha Christie based this book upon.

'The truth, however ugly in itself, is always curious and beautiful to the seeker after it...'

Hercule Poirot

Linking up with Back to the Classics 2017: A Classic by a Woman Author and The Classics Club

Monday, 3 April 2017

Classic Children's Literature Event 2017: My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara (1941)

My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara has sat unread on our bookshelf for nearly twelve years since I first found it in a secondhand book store and recognised the title as being a Children's Classic, but not knowing much else about it. I decided to read it for the Children's Classic Literature Event this year as my 12 year old daughter loves horses and I thought I'd see if it was suitable for her.
I wasn't a horse fanatic when I was a child, but there's enough to enjoy in this book regardless of whether you like horses or not. The main thread of the narrative is the love a boy has for a filly (Flicka) and how that love is returned, but it's also a tender portrayal of family relationships - a stern ex-army father, a sensitive mother, and their two sons, Howard and Ken - and this added theme broadens its appeal even more.
Ken is a dreamy, scatterbrained, and irresponsible ten year old and his father just doesn't understand him at all. Ken always manages to get on the wrong side of his father while his older brother, Howard, is more like his Dad and has an easier time relating to him.

Ken felt as if he had been put out of the ranch, out of all the concerns that Howard was in on. And out of his father's heart - that was the worst. What he was always hoping for was to be friends with his father, and now this...His despair made him feel weak.

Ken desperately wants his father's approval and friendship but everything he does seems to drive them further apart. When Ken fails to be promoted to the next grade by his teacher his father is furious, but the only thing that will motivate Ken is having a colt of his own. And this his mother understands.
The story takes place in Wyoming in the USA and the author's vivid writing creates such a tangible sense of the countryside that it's easy for someone like myself, in a completely different part of the world, to imagine the setting. She also succeeds in depicting the various characters in a convincing manner - the four members of the McLaughlin family, the ranch workers, the horses and their individual characteristics, the itinerant family trying to eek out an existence - each are realistic and are heart-renderingly fleshed out by her descriptive powers.
I'm surprised that this book doesn't seem to be that well-known (well, in Australia at least) except for those who read it as a child themselves. It was made into a movie but a female character was substituted in Ken's place and from what I've read it didn't do the book justice. It certainly deserves its place amongst children's classics for its beautifully crafted writing and for the way the author portrays conflict in family life.
I think this book would be best suited for an independent reader of about 13 or 14 years and up, even though the main protagonist is 10 years old. Rob McLaughlin is a just man but has a quick temper, a rough tongue, and a harsh manner. "Damn it !" and sometimes "God damn it!" are part of his regular vocabulary and there is some tension between himself and his wife, Nell, that would better suit an older child. However, I think it would work well as a read aloud with a younger child with a little editing in places as there are some great themes worth exploring.

Some favourite bits:

"The most affectionate animal in the world," said Rob. "You don't see the young ones leaving their mothers if they can help it. They stay in the family group. You'll often see a mare on the plains with a four-year-old colt, and a three-year-old, and a two, and a one, and a foal. All together. They don't break up unless something happens to make them. And they never forget."

"They learn from their mothers. They copy. They do everything their mothers do. That's why it's practically impossible to raise a good-tempered colt from a bad-tempered mate. That's why I never have any luck with the colts of the wild mares I get. The colts are corrupted from birth - just as wild as their mothers. You can't train it out of them."

McLaughlin never allowed anyone to show, or even to feel, any grief about the death of the animals. It was an unwritten law to take death as the animals take it, all in the day's work, something natural and not too important; forget it. Close as they were to the animals, making such friends of them, if they let themselves mourn them, there would be too much mourning. Death was all around them - they did not shed tears.

"...I maintain that it's not insane for a freedom-loving individual man or beast, to refuse to be subdued."

"My experience has been that the high-strung individual, the nervous, keyed-up type - is apt to be a fine performer. It's the solitary, or the queer fellow, that I'm afraid of. Show me a man who plays a lone hand - no natural gregariousness, you know - the lone wolf type - and I'll show you the one who's apt to be screwy." 

"Flicka has been frightened. Only one thing will ever thoroughly overcome that, and that is, if she comes to trust you. Even so, some bad reactions of the fear may remain. This does not mean that you must not master her. You must. She will have many impulses that must be denied because you forbid the actions that rise from them..."

Mary O'Hara continues her animal saga in the following two books:

Green Grass of Wyoming 

Some information on the author is here.

Linking to Simpler Pastimes for this month's Classic Children's Literature Event. Check it out for some wonderful literature!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Education - an Act of Faith

'Education, like faith, is the evidence of things not seen...' so Charlotte Mason said.
Educating my own children has been an act of faith in many ways. Sometimes you just have to be patient and wait for the fruit of what you're doing to show itself. Education requires discipline, time, energy and perseverance. It's not an overnight venture. Sometimes I need to remind myself to:

 '...stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.'

1 Corinthians 15:58

With the above in mind, here are some of the areas I've been seeing fruit in and where education is something my daughter is pursuing of her own accord: 

The Discipline of Regular Drawing Practice

Nature notebook - this is now a regular & self-initiated habit after many years of having it as part of our weekly schedule:

Our current read-aloud (some editing required) - Natural History from the point of view of a ten year old boy living on the island of Corfu just prior to the second world war and a peek into a living education - we're enjoying this so much!

'With the summer came Peter to tutor me, a tall, handsome young man fresh from Oxford, with decided ideas on education which I found rather trying to begin with. But gradually the atmosphere of the island worked its way insidiously under his skin, and he relaxed and became quite human. At first the lessons were painful to an extreme: interminable wrestling with fractions and percentages, geological strata and warm currents, nouns, verbs, and adverbs. But, as the sunshine worked its magic on Peter, the fractions and percentages no longer seemed to him an overwhelmingly important part of life and they were gradually pushed more and more into the background; he discovered that the intricacies of geological strata and the effects of warm currents could be explained much more easily while swimming along the coast, while the simplest way of teaching me English was to allow me to write something each day that he would correct...'

Gerald Durrell

Last week we had exams for Year 6, Term 2. I asked Moozle to write a poetic narration about 
Antony & Cleopatra:

On a roll with her drawing of roses

 Weather report, with some artistic license

Handiwork - scrapbooking has been all the rage. This is something all my girls have enjoyed but I prefer working with fabric and haven't shared their activities in this area. Fortunately, they have an Aunty who enjoys scrapbooking and when Moozle started showing a interest in scrapbooking as her older sisters had done, Her Aunty started paying her in scrapbooking paper to wash her car.
This week Moozle had her first 'consignment.' A lady at church asked her to make up an assortment of gift cards, which she paid for and then said that she would act as her 'agent' and drum up some business. Moozle is excited because now she can go out and buy more supplies!

A couple of tags she whipped up this afternoon

"I'd like to add some beauty to life," said Anne dreamily. "I don't exactly want to make people know more...though I know that is the noblest ambition...but I'd love to make them have a pleasanter time because of have some little joy or happy thought that would never had existed if I hadn't been born."

Lucy Maud Montgomery

Listening to this when we're driving

Moozle's free reading

 The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie - this is the first book in the Tommy and Tuppence series, which I let my children read when they are about 12 years of age. (Free online here) I leave Christie's other books for a later stage but this series is fun and a good introduction to the crime novel. Partners in Crime is another in the series she's been reading.

*  Children learn from real things in the real world

*  We train a child to have good habits and self-control

*  The mind needs ideas of all kinds, so the child's curriculum should be varied and generous with    
    many subjects included.