Friday 31 July 2015

A Peek at a Week - Year 4 Ambleside Online

These are some selections from a week of Ambleside Online Year 4, tweaked & poked to suit an Australian setting. Our remodelled version which we've been using is here and we're in Term 3.

I must admit that when I looked at some of the books on the Year 4 list I doubted that Moozle would understand some of them, let alone enjoy them, but I was willing to try them out and make the decision whether to continue with a couple of the books after that.

...there is no education but self-education, and as soon as a young child begins his education he does so as a student. Our business is to give him mind-stuff, and both quality and quantity are essential. Naturally, each of us possesses this mind-stuff only in limited measure, but we know where to procure it; for the best thought the world possesses is stored in books; we must open books to children, the best books; our own concern is abundant provision and orderly serving.

Philosophy of Education, pg 26 

The two books that I thought would go down like lead balloons were Age of Fable and Rip van Winkle. Before we started Age of Fable, I gave Moozle the D'Aulaire's version of the Greek Myths, which is a lovely book, to read for herself. I thought it might make Age of Fable make more sense but it actually created a problem at first. One book uses the Greek names for the gods and goddesses and the other the Roman names and she'd interrupt me and say things like, "That should be Hera, not Juno!"
Once she got used to who was who, it was fine. The hardest part of Age of Fable is the Preface! It also wasn't included in the online version I was reading so I found it on Librivox and we listened to that together and since then I've been reading the book aloud to her and she is enjoying it. This is a narration she wrote on the last chapter we read:


Now Rip van Winkle, despite my doomsday prophecy, is a book she took to right away. How true of Charlotte Mason's observation,

No one can tell what particular morsel a child will select for his sustenance...

Philosophy of Education, pg 59

 I know that going from Year 3 to Year 4 in the Ambleside Online curriculum is considered quite a jump. Year 4 adds the original Shakespeare plays and Plutarch (some other things as well, but those two seem to be the major hurdles for many people). Moozle has been listening in to Shakespeare & Plutarch for four years along with her older siblings, and understanding quite a bit, so that wasn't a hurdle but some other things were. She's been doing AO all along, and each year after an initial "I don't understand that," with one or two of the scheduled readings, she has grown into the books each time. I just have to remember that's normal.

Hymn Study

We do this together a few times a week and add a new hymn every month or two. Sometimes we stay longer on a hymn we enjoy and sometimes we listen to previous hymns we've learnt.

These are narrations from one of our Australian History books, The History of Australia, which is a well-written and nicely illustrated narrative, first published in 1988. There have been a few editions of this book & the illustrations differ in some. This is the 1995 edition we have:

Our folksong for the month:

We've been listening to the music of Dvorak. We have a set of CD's on various composers I bought a few years ago after listening to one we'd borrowed from the library. We've used the Classical Kids Collection in the past but they don't cover many composers and are more suited to younger children. Introduction to the Classics is suitable for all ages - they are a little old fashioned as they've been around a long time but that doesn't bother us.

Each CD contains a narration of the composer's life interspersed with their music and we've been listening to this as well as focussing on a piece of his music each week. Humoresque is our latest piece. Moozle watches this one below because it features a cello, the instrument she plays, but Benj prefers another version...we usually spend some time comparing different instruments and conductors when we do composer study. It's fascinating to hear the variety of interpretation that a piece of music lends itself to.

Free reading

The Bushboys by James Tierney - a series of books; rereads
Biggles Defies the Swastika by Captain W.E Johns - reread
Pocohontas & Son of Pocohontas by Mari Hanes
Prudence & the Millers by Mildred A. Martin - a reread. Covers health, safety & courtesy from a Biblical perspective.


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Sunday 26 July 2015

Living Science Books for the 20th Century: Uncle Tungsten by Oliver Sacks

Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood by Oliver Sacks

Oliver Sacks is a neurologist and an award winning author who has written a number of books based on the case studies of some of his patients. Uncle Tungsten takes a different tack in that it is a memoir of Sacks's boyhood in England: his eccentric, scientific family and Jewish upbringing, experiences of World War II, and his boyhood infatuation with chemistry.

The book is not only a memoir of a life but it interweaves the history of chemistry and pertinent anecdotes in such a seamless narrative that even those with a limited knowledge of chemistry (like me) can follow. Some of the content went above my head in places but I still managed to enjoy and appreciate his writing. In fact about a month ago we had a trip to Questacon, our National Science and Technology Centre in Canberra, and I spent most of the time in the chemistry section. It all had a context for me after reading Uncle Tungsten.

Some of the best features of this book:

* The author filled his story with a boyish enthusiasm. He obviously possessed a mania for chemistry for a period of time when he was younger, but I got the impression it never really left him even though his life took a different direction later on.

*  The number of books the author quoted or mentioned he'd read when he was growing up is fascinating, as is the abundance of footnotes scattered throughout. Literature, science fantasy, biography and history books are referred to. I love it when authors do this. It gives me more of a glimpse into the author's personality and supplies me with ideas for my own reading.
One book he read as a ten year old was Eve Curie's biography of her mother, Madame Curie. I was reading this at the same time as I was reading Uncle Tungsten and thoroughly enjoyed all the connections.

* The historical context. At the outbreak of WWII, when Oliver was six years old, he was evacuated from his home in London to a boarding schooling in the Midlands where he remained for four years. He wrote that it was dehumanising, with beatings, starving and torment and that he was psychologically scarred. He returned to London in 1943 when his parents realised he was 'close to the edge.' How many children during those times suffered in similar ways?

* Uncle Tungsten was the nickname of Sack's Uncle Dave on his mother's side (his factory produced light bulbs using tungsten filament). His whole extended family had scientific inclinations but Uncle Dave was a great encouragement to his nephew in all things regarding metals and provided him with practical opportunities for satisfying his curiosity. My husband had a similar experience with his own uncle who loves gadgets and is always coming up with nifty little inventions. It was his enthusiasm for electronics that inspired my husband to go into electrical engineering.

I'm adding this book to our 20th Century plans for Ambleside Online Year 11. Just so you are a aware, there are a couple of places in the book that contain fairly overt references to adolescent awareness of physical change and maturation (Chapter 22, for instance). Also his family members were interesting and sometimes bordered on the bizarre:

My mother's practice had moved, sometime in the 1930's from general surgery to gynaecology and obstetrics...she would occasionally being back malformed foetuses to the house...
...Some of these had been stillborn, others she and the matron had quietly drowned at birth ("like a kitten," she once said), feeling that if they lived, no conscious or mental life would ever be possible for them. Eager that I should learn about anatomy and medicine, she dissected several of these for me, and then insisted, though I was only eleven, that I dissect them myself. She never perceived, I think, how distressed I became...

Personally, I'd save the book for an older student unless I was reading it aloud. It is a wonderful narrative and fits in well with the time period of AO Year 11 and I'm happy to include it there and discuss these areas as they come up. I bought my hardback copy quite cheaply at Abebooks.

Tuesday 21 July 2015

Living Science Books for the 20th Century: Madame Curie by Eve Curie

This biography of Marie Curie (1867-1934) published in 1937, was written by her daughter, Eve.
I started reading it about two years ago and found it a little slow going at first, but about a third of the way through the book, Marie (Manya) Sklodovski met Pierre Curie, her future husband, and I really began to enjoy it.

In 1867, Manya Sklodovski was born into a Polish family, in what was then Russian Poland. The Polish people had rebelled against their oppressors in the past and had been severely punished. Now the battleground had changed and it was the intellectuals, the artists and the teachers who carried on the resistance.
Manya spent her early school years in clandestine Polish history lessons, interrupted at times by the despised Russian school inspectors. She was to retain her nationalist fervour all her life.
By the time Manya was 10 years of age, she had lost a sister to typhus and her mother, a devout Catholic, to tuberculosis. Although Manya had been a Christian by upbringing, her mother's death had shaken her faith, and by the time she was seventeen years old it had evaporated completely.

From the devoutness of her childhood there remained only vague aspirations, the unconscious wish to adore something very high and great.

Marie's dream was to study science at the Sorbonne in France but she had to spend six years as a governess before she was financially able to achieve her dream in 1891.

The part of the book I enjoyed most was the account of the dedication shown by the Curies in their search to discover Radium. Throughout years of hardship, four of them spent working in a dilapidated shed, they continued to be fascinated by a material which resisted their efforts to divulge its secrets, until finally they were able to announce the existence of Radium.

What does it matter to Science if her passionate servants are rich or poor, happy or unhappy, healthy or ill? She knows that they have been created to seek and to discover, and that they will seek and find until their strength dries up at its source.

Fame came upon the couple and they were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics along with Henri Becquerel, but the attention they received after this 'dispossessed them of the only treasures they wished to preserve: meditation and silence.'
Fame leaps upon the great, hangs its full weight upon them, attempts to arrest their development.

Pierre Curie was killed in a tragic accident in 1906 leaving his devastated wife to continue alone. By this stage they had two young daughters, Irene (later a famous scientist herself) and Eve, the writer of this biography.
In 1911 Marie was awarded her second Nobel Prize, this time in Chemistry (she was the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize and the only person to receive it twice). Around this time she was involved in a personal scandal which the French press capitalised on, calling her "the foreign woman."
In her book, Marie Curie and the Science of Radioactivity, Naomi Pasachoff writes that Marie received a letter from a committee member of the Academy of Sciences advising her to:

...decline the prize until it had been proven that the accusations...were false. In a dignified response she indicated why she would not accept his advice: it was for her science, not her personal conduct, that had been deemed worthy of honor. The value of her discovery should in no way be diminished by rumours about her private life. Therefore she would accept the prize.

In 1914, at the outbreak of WWI, Marie used her scientific knowledge to put the first 'radiological car,' into action. These mobile X-ray stations were later nicknamed 'little Curies.'
As well as the twenty cars she equipped for this purpose, she also installed two hundred radiological rooms which were said to have treated over a million wounded men!

Some thoughts:

* The book was originally written in French and translated into English by Vincent Sheean. In some places it seems to have suffered a little in the translation but otherwise it is beautifully written.

* Eve Curie wrote a very loving and moving account of her mother's life but it did tend to depict her as almost saint-like. She had witnessed the vilification of her mother by French journalists and her rejection by the scientific authorities on the basis of race and gender, and I think it understandable that Eve Curie had no desire to revisit those times.
She summed up her view in these words:

Great men have always been subjected to the attacks of those who long to discover imperfect human creatures beneath the armour of genius. Without the terrible magnet of renown which had drawn sympathies and hatred upon her, Marie Curie would never have been criticised or calumniated. She now had another reason for hating fame.

* The Curies refused to patent their discoveries, which would have benefitted them financially and made their work much easier. They wanted others to be free to use the knowledge they had obtained.

* Both scientists were indifferent to the dangers of radioactivity. Pierre once exposed his arm to the effects of radium in order to describe and report on its actions. Marie died of aplastic anaemia when she was sixty-seven years old.

... the radiation of radium was "contagious" - contagious like a persistent scent or a disease.

This contagion, which interfered with the results of precise experiments, was a daily enemy to Pierre and Marie Curie.

A hundred years later, the Curie's notebooks are still radioactive.

 ...the radio elements formed strange and cruel families in which each member was created by the spontaneous transformation of the mother substance: radium was a "descendant" of uranium, polonium a descendant of radium.

I'll be including this book in our Year 11 Ambleside Online plans but it would be suitable for younger students, around 14 years of age and up (but read Annie Kate's comment below).
(Caveat: Chapter XVII mentions a period when the Curies took a 'strange path' and explored 'this dangerous region.' This referred to their involvement in spiritism which Marie abandoned after a few years but it doesn't go into much detail)
The book has been reprinted but is also available free online.

For younger readers:

The Story of Madame Curie by Alice Thorne is a Signature Biography which has made use of some of the dialogue from Eve Curie's book. It would fit well chronologically in Term 3 of Ambleside Online Year 5.


Wednesday 15 July 2015

Science & Natural History with a 15 Year old Boy

In my last post I shared some thoughts on coming to Ambleside Online late, and the adjustments I made with my older children. This post follows on from some of what I wrote there as it concerns Benj who started AO when he was 12 years of age.

He is nearing the end of AO Year 8 and as many of you would know, this particular year has been updated recently to add in living books for science. Apart from Phineas Gage, one of the new additions which he'd already read a couple of years ago, we've just continued with the book selections before the new plans were added. I added in books to bring him more into line with his actual grade level of Year 10.

What he's done this year:

Natural History - we continue to use Insect Life in Australasia by William Gillies for our special studies. There's a good article here which explains how to implement these studies. We've been doing this once a week as well as continuing with nature walks. In the past two weeks we had a day at the beach and an afternoon/early evening walk at the riverside.

Understanding Physics by Isaac Asimov - he's enjoying this book and earlier in the year used Apologia Physical Science for experiment ideas which worked quite well. I found some interesting  videos recently I knew would appeal to him - posted here - and the notebook page above was based on one of them.

Apologia Biology - I picked out a few modules for him to work through; mostly the sections on the cell & DNA. It's a fairly dense book and he's more interested in other areas of science but I'd like him to do some biology and will probably include a biography or other narrative science book on this subject when I find one I like.

From the Year 8 selections:

The Microbe Hunters
William Harvey and the Discovery of the Circulation of the Blood 
Johann Kepler bio

Pelicans checking out the local fisherman

Special Study - Insects

From Benj's Biology readings:

The sun descending in the west,   
  The evening star does shine;   
The birds are silent in their nest.   
  And I must seek for mine.

William Blake

Friday 10 July 2015

Coming Late to Ambleside Online - some thoughts on the high school years

One ship sails East,
And another West,
By the self-same winds that blow,
'Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales,
That tells the way we go.

Like the winds of the sea
Are the waves of time,
As we journey along through life,
'Tis the set of the soul,
That determines the goal,
And not the calm or the strife.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I wanted to write about our experience in navigating the high school years for those who are late to start Ambleside Online (AO) and who find themselves having to combine or skip years.
By the time we'd made the move to the AO curriculum, we had already graduated three students who have since completed their respective degrees. I was confident enough just looking at the AO curriculum that it would work for us even though we were late starters. I've seen enough plans and curriculum to know that whatever you do, something will get missed. We can't cover everything but if our intent is to have children who know how to educate themselves, ultimately they will fill in any gaps they think they need to. Isn't that what we all do as adults?

Some background:

When we started using AO as our curriculum four years ago, I placed two boys (15 & 17 years) in Year 8 and my 7 year old daughter in Year 1.
For Benj, who was 12 years of age at the time, I did something a little different - a mix of some AO Year 5 books and selections from previous years that he hadn't read but I wanted him to. (eg. Age of Fable, Madame How & Lady Why - he followed the old one year schedule for this.)
This allowed him to carry on independently so I could focus on my main concern at the time, my soon to be 17 year old (I wrote about him here).
When Benj was 13 years old, I started him in Year 6 because I thought he'd enjoy the books, especially some of the science selections (eg. The Sea Around Us) and because he wanted to do some Modern History. I beefed things up a bit in places, added in some extra Modern History at his request, and his Maths kept pace with his age/grade level.
After completing that year, I did think about jumping him ahead to his actual 'school year' which would have been Year 9, but Ambleside's Years 7 & 8 are two of my favourite places in the AO curriculum. I just think they are exceptional and worthy of inclusion whether a student is 12, 14 or 17 and I didn't want him to miss either of those years.

So, here we are coming to the end of AO Year 8 (his 'official' grade 10) with two years of home education to go. We've been thinking and praying about what to do now, looking at our son's inclinations and talking with him about different options.
He definitely wants to go to university and is interested in an engineering or maths related field, which is not surprising as Dad is an electrical engineer.
He is also very people oriented, musical and creative, and I keep thinking that these affinities may lead to a different scenario - what that could be I don't know, but I don't want to close any doors prematurely.
Four of our five children who have graduated so far made their final decision on a vocational pathway close to the end of their last year of home education and one of them completely surprised us with the direction she took.

We teach our children at home all the way through to a Year 12 equivalent. This means we don't go through the normal channels for school leavers entering tertiary study in Australia, which is via the Higher School Certificate. (See here if you're interested in how we've navigated this previously). So we have to factor this into the plans for our children's final years of home education.

The minimal requirements for most of the universities we'd be looking at would be:

SAT 1 plus 2 Open University units
4 Open University units (the equivalent of 1 Semester)

We'll start off with one unit, which will probably be related to Physics or Maths, and see what the workload is like before adding any more - while at the same time continuing with AO.
Benj would like to study the time period of the two World Wars in his final years of home education and this coincides with AO Year 11.
Some of the ladies on the AO Forum have mentioned how full that year is and how much they couldn't fit in and had to let go. My thoughts at this stage are to spread Year 11 out because it is such a huge area to cover and there are so many good books and other resources available. I also think this is a good time to study Australian politics in more depth.
Year 12 books focuses more on the thoughts and ideas which have influenced history and made Today what it is. It's an important area to consider before entering the university environment and I'd like to add selected books from that year.

University preparation (ie units via Open University) would be spaced out over two years and would be used for credit towards a degree. SAT preparation is mostly timed essays, wide reading and continuing with Maths.

Our school year starts in January and Benj will be finished Year 8 in August of this year and I'm thinking that the rest of the year will be a continuation of the areas of work unrelated to specific AO years eg. Science, Maths, Shakespeare, Picture Study, Plutarch etc with perhaps a biography or two from Years 9 & 10. Benj really likes Churchill's History of the English Speaking People series and would like to finish 'The Age of Revolution' and 'The Great Democracies' before we start Year 11 next year, which would require him to read about two chapters per week.

Additional thoughts:

I've heard many comments over the years about the American content of AO being a stumbling block to Aussie users, more so in the high school years but the only major challenges for us have been Years 4, 9 and 10 where American History (and Government in the high school years) are a focal point.

The AO Forum receives many questions regarding placement for late comers to the curriculum. While it's an important question, and it is helpful to get advice, I don't think there is a right or wrong answer, unless you totally underestimate or overestimate your child's abilities.
Coming in late can trigger panic and a cramming mentality if we're not careful. This video by Andrew Kern helps address this temptation (it's also very encouraging generally & I highly recommend watching it!)

Starting at a lower year than 'grade level' isn't a second-rate choice you should only consider if your child is struggling. It isn't second-rate to treat a child as a unique individual.

I think the bottom line is that a child is challenged but not overwhelmed. For children in the high school years, my concern is that they keep their love of learning and become self-learners, self-motivated and responsible.
Placing Benj in a year that was 'lower' than his official grade level hasn't mattered in the long run. It had enough challenge with a few additions in place and also the added benefit of allowing him to gain more independence because I knew he could handle the content of his books. He was able to go ahead and order his day around what we did as a group, taking responsibility for managing himself.

I knew he could handle his actual grade level but there were other factors that influenced the decision to start where we did with all four children (one being that I would have had to almost re-write Year 9, which I did later on, and Year 10. I didn't have the time or opportunity to do this properly back then.
Subjects such as Maths, were separate from their AO years, and continued on without being affected.
I have no qualms about skipping years 9 & 10 and giving Benj the opportunity of getting stuck into a time period he's really interested in. He has enjoyed the AO years he has done and while I think I could have chosen a couple of different scenarios which would have worked just as well, the choice was prayerfully done and in the bigger scheme of things it hasn't mattered.

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps”
Prov. 16:9

I've been reviewing books on History, Literature and Science related to the 20th Century and will post about them and our two year schedule at a later date.

Saturday 4 July 2015

Madame How & Lady Why: Chapter 5 - The Ice-Plough

I must tell you that there are sometimes—not often, but sometimes—pages in Madam How's book in which one single letter tells you as much as a whole chapter; in which if you find one little fact, and know what it really means, it makes you certain that a thousand other great facts have happened... You feel like Robinson Crusoe when, walking along the shore of his desert island, he saw for the first time the print of a man's foot in the sand. How it could have got there without a miracle he could not dream. But there it was. One footprint was as good as the footprints of a whole army would have been. A man had been there; and more men might come. And in fear of the savages...he went home trembling and loaded his muskets, and barricaded his cave, and passed sleepless nights watching for the savages who might come, and who came after all. 
And so there are certain footprints in geology which there is no mistaking; and the prints of the ice-plough are among them. 

Charles Kingsley 

The photo above is of the glaciated Nant Ffrancon valley in North Snowdonia, Wales.
I used some of the resources below just for my own interest & education in this area. The videos would be enjoyed by most children even though they may not understand some of the content. Glaciers, Madame How's ice-ploughs really are a fascinating study.
I've put some other resources on my Ambleside Online Pinterest board.
Also see Ambleside Online's study guide by Katie Barr for this book.

What is a glacier?

A mass of ice which moves down a valley from above the Snowline towards the sea under the force of gravity.

How do glaciers affect land?

According to my Penguin Dictionary of Geography, more lakes are due to glacial erosion than any other cause. Glaciation is the covering of an area, or the action on an area, by an ice-sheet or glaciers. The video below is a clear and thorough explanation of glacial erosion - 'plucking,' cirques, glacial horns, the formation of roche moutonnées and other landforms - about 7 minutes in length.

Nant Ffrancon is a deeply glaciated and visually dramatic valley in north Snowdonia
- See more at:
Nant Ffrancon is a deeply glaciated and visually dramatic valley in north Snowdonia
- See more at:
Nant Ffrancon is a deeply glaciated and visually dramatic valley in north Snowdonia
- See more at:

Glaciers with chocolate: Did you know that glaciers hold nearly 2% of Earth's water?

Not the greatest picture - I took this photo of my husband standing in front of the Fox Glacier in the South Island of New Zealand on our honeymoon. It was a very eerie, surreal atmosphere & an awe-inspiring sight.

This one below is the Tasman Glacier at Mount Cook. We took our four eldest children aged 2 to 8 years at the time up the Ball Hut Road when we spent some time living in New Zealand and looked down on this from a different angle. Spectacular, but I was glad to get off the side of Mount Cook. I was waiting for an avalanche to take us all out.

What is an iceberg? 

A mass of land ice which has broken off or "calved" from the end of a glacier or from an ice shelf, and is afloat in the sea.

Pg 88:
Snowdonia - good photos of glacial activity and its effect on the land. Old earth perspective. Some fantastic photos of the area here and here

Pg 89 - the power of ice & snow. Some news photos of effects of a winter storm in New England, January, 2015. 

Pg 91 - Kingsley mentions the Esquimaux (Eskimo) in relation to living in a permanent winter environment. There are many videos related to life in the Arctic but here are two from 1959 and 1950 that I have actually watched & thought were quite good:

What is a Moraine?

Material, mostly rock and soil, left behind by a moving glacier.
Pg 92 & 93

 Mueller Glacier, NZ with moraine in the foreground (Wikiwand)

Pg 94 to 96 - An academic article on glacial geology which I thought tied in well with Kingsley's observations.

'Many of the surficial geologic deposits which are the foundation for the fertile farmland soils and deposits we extract from sand and gravel pits were laid down during glaciation.

Pg 99 - rochers moutonnes: the glacial erosion video above explains these plus other terms very well.

Page 100 - Serpentine rock

Pg 100
Glen Muick

'Spittal' is an old Scots word meaning 'a refuge on a remote hill pass' and is said to come from a time when there were wolves on the hills. Loch Muick lies a short distance away. Lochnagar is on the skyline to the right.

 © Copyright Nigel Corby and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

I mentioned this in a previous post on MHLW but it relates to this chapter so here it is again - a PDF for children on glacial erosion and the shaping of the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps. One mention of millions of years.

Posts for previous chapters of Madame How & Lady Why:

I. The Glen
II. Earthquakes
III. Volcanoes
IV. The Transformations of a Grain of Soil
V. The Ice Plough

Friday 3 July 2015

Stretching out a Week...

We don't usually follow the official school holidays except over Christmas and New Year but some of our regular activities such as dance lessons are suspended over the holidays between school terms which leaves us with some free time. Road traffic reduces dramatically during school holidays and with the combination of that and a reduced schedule we usually do some things we don't always get the time or inclination to do at other times.
We had a week's holiday a couple of weeks ago & I didn't want to have a complete break so soon after that, so I'm doing something that works well for us - ie. stretching our weekly schedule out over two weeks.
I printed each child's schedule at the beginning of the week. This is Benj's:


If there are certain things I want each of them to get done, those are given priority. Looking at the schedule above, I know that dictation and Jensen's probably won't get done but I'm fine with that.
I usually plan a few outings or catch up with family and friends during our 'extended week' and we
also make a time to meet my husband near his work and have lunch together. This was a priority so I made sure we did it earlier in the week.

Benj is reading through the poetry of George Herbert and he came across the following poem which intrigued him:


I bless thee, Lord, because I GROW
Among thy trees, which in a ROW
To thee both fruit and order OW.

What open force, or hidden CHARM
Can blast my fruit, or bring  me HARM
While the inclosure is thine  ARM:

Inclose me still for fear I START.
Be to me rather sharp and TART,
Than let me want thy hand and ART.

When thou dost greater judgements SPARE,
And with thy knife but prune and PARE,
Even fruitful trees more fruitful ARE:

Such sharpness shows the sweetest FREND,
Such  cuttings  rather heal than REND,
And such beginning touch their END.

(The old spelling is retained in order to preserve Herbert's ingenious construction: furnishing new rhymes by the dropping of a single letter at a time - Albatross Book of Verse, edited by Louis Untermeyer)

I suggested he try writing a poem of his own using a similar construction. He managed the construction but had a hard time coming up with a serious poem! 

 Another priority was a bush walk. We've been doing regular nature study but hadn't had a good observing time outdoors. We went to a park a little way out of our area today that we hadn't visited in ages and found some interesting fish to draw and a bird we hadn't seen before.

Very well camouflaged...identification anyone?

A trip up to our local lookout...

Some climbing on the rocks & trees...

And then I read aloud in the warm afternoon sun, which we haven't experienced much of in recent times. 

When we got home, I had a look at the flowers I pressed a couple of weeks ago. They were nicely dried so I put them into my nature notebook.

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