Friday, January 27, 2012

CM 101 - a new series

Did you know? The moderators over at the AmblesidOnline Yahoo groups are starting a new series, CM 101, where they will be posting a series of messages that cover the basics of CM. Many of the list members will be available to answer questions as well as link to their helpful blog posts so head on over! It's a great opportunity to learn something new about CM.

Here is the first post:

If you aren't already a member, you will have to register for the group first.

Nature Finds 1.27.12

My images from our nature outings frequently pile up so rather than waiting for a blog topic to post them, I think I'll just start posting them as Nature Finds with the date to simplify things.

Speaking of nature, if you haven't seen this article on sand over at Circe, it's fascinating; you won't want to miss it. They quoted Author N.D. Wilson's quote in reference to the sand pieces:

"Slice the world as fine as you like it, an Artist has been there first.”

That's one for the Commonplace Book!

So here are some of our finds from our trips to the Arroyo over the past couple of weeks, in it's too late to organize them order.

Giant Beehive

Giant Water Bug

Woodrat nest

Gorgeous Sycamore Leaves

Mayfly nymphs

Caught mayfly nymphs



Raindrops on fresh lupine leaves (only the babies are covered in hair like that)

earthstar - Arica, my fungi fiending frend, discovered these. They puff spores when you tap them.

lovely leeches

now this is amazing - a wolf spider carrying it's egg sac!

twilight through bare sycamores

California buckwheat in the afternoon light

another beautiful sunset

Stay posted for more nature finds!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Ambleside Online's Composer for the 2011/12 school year's second term is Felix Mendelssohn.

Portrait of Mendelssohn by James Warren Childe

From AO's composer schedule, here are the selections, including his Octet, which, according to Wikipedia, was composed when he was only sixteen years old:

2011-2012 TERM 2 (This term's artist is Albert Bierstadt, landscape) Felix Mendelssohn (1840) (Romantic)
Listening selections for this term:
Songs without words (there are 8 volumes, 8 different opus numbers. notes)
Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64
Symphony no. 4 in A major, Op. 90 ("Italian") (4 weeks)
Octet in E-flat major, Op. 20
Fingal's Cave ("Hebrides") Overture, Op. 26

Here is a Grooveshark playlist of the above selections in the same order you can play off of your computer.

View of Lucerne - Watercolor by Mendelssohn, 1847

I also found a download on Project Gutenberg titled "The Great German Composers" by George T. Ferris, which contains a biography of Mendelssohn as well as others. I also found it available at no charge for the Kindle on Amazon.

It seems to have short enough biographies for me to read and tell something about the composer to the kids, but I haven't read it through to be able to comment on it otherwise. If you know about this book, please add a comment to this post and share your thoughts.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

An Invitation to Wonder

How do we teach our children about the world around us?

In our efforts to ensure that they gain knowledge, do we hasten to sit our children in front of what they must learn, have them draw and label all the parts of it, and then explain at length how such and such part enables it to work, followed by a lengthy reading on the subject before dinner to cement their knowledge?

Children do learn this way, but what of their interest? their curiosity? their desire to know and understand? How much of their learning is truly theirs?

A seed is indeed a vessel produced by a plant to propagate, equipped with various parts for disbursement. But why so clinical, so factual in our approach? How interesting, how living, is that, really?

Children are born persons, and as persons, they are spiritual in nature.

Step into the world of your child - and invite them to wonder, to look closer.

"Look! What is that flying there? They look like dancing fairies! How is it they fly so gracefully, and what is it they are carrying? How far will they go?"

Why jump to fact and explanation so fast? They grow dull when there is no curiosity of their own. In this world of cut and dry with every ounce of knowledge at our technical fingertips, it will all become apparent soon enough. Why not linger for now, just a little while longer, in glorious childhood wonder?

Here we have the right order. That which was born of the spirit, the idea, came first and demanded to confirm and illustrate. ~CM, Vol. 6