Often, when we are driving together, "the back-way" to avoid Lancaster tourist traffic and road construction on the main roads, I'll quip to the Man-of-the-House, "Oh, can you pull over here? I'd like a photograph." He does. Then I lean out the window to point-'n-shoot." This time it was a covered bridge. One of our married daughters used to live down the road just through it.
In spring the Man-of-the-House drove me to my favorite nursery- Ken's on Old Philadelphia Pike.
We bought two pots of cilantro. Last year's new plantings were mysteriously eaten. I also picked out two handfuls of zinnia. The cilantro and red zinnia, marigolds were planted around the patio near the watermelon phlox. I like how these flowers stand up to the mid-day sun.
I learned something new about our wild rabbits (all 4 of them). It is apparent what their main diet is. We watch them feed on the clover flowers and plantains in our lawn, regularly. But I've surmised that they secretly find cilantro a delicacy. I blame them for nibbling my new plants as soon as they went into the ground - the second year in a row! Not a leaf is left for the cook's use. What brought on my suspicion? The usual caterpillar evidence is absent, firstly.
|Our oregano around the back patio|
And secondly, the rabbits come to the patio at breakfast time, like clockwork. From the kitchen French doors, I spied one rabbit tasting the oregano. Only a taste, mind you. Then it moved on.
"We have a new visitor," the Man-of-the-House said pointing through the French doors. A curious little bunny was, at that moment, nosing the thyme. Just a sniff. Off it hopped to forage elsewhere.
I cannot see the cilantro through the French doors, nor have I caught any rabbit in the act of eating it. However wise I consider myself to be to their herbal preference, I don't know what to do next year. I like cilantro as much as they do. Can't they leave me just a little? This is what comes of no longer having cats around the place.
I agree with a long-distance gardening friend who kindly sent me her hollyhock seed through the mail - seeds I sowed last autumn. She is a conscientious, attentive teacher and in her opinion it is perfectly fine to retreat outdoors, throw our cares (and seeds) to the wind, and be refreshed by flowers - yours or another gardener's - during off hours.
The fairest flower soonest fades. Traditional Saying
Flowers, like good fiction are a lovely momentary escape. They help relieve our minds of the gruesome and distressing national news, for instance. I need flowers. This week, on the way to the doctor's office I paused to gaze on the red roses blooming there. Their beauty helped steady my nerves. I breathed in their scent and marveled at their indescribable pink-red-orange color. This year my hollyhocks have big healthy leaves but are flowerless. They are supposed to be flowerless. I was warned that they are a biannual bloom and look forward to their flowering next year.
|Hollyhocks on the south side of the house - gaining sun for next summer's bloom.|
After a peaceful escape with flowers you might be prepared to reel in your thoughts again. I know some of you have been making big decisions for the school year. These two resources have our vote. I linked each to Amazon.
"Time Travelers" - history resource on CD
Review by Karen Andreola
It was 2012. I was walking the isles of a homeschool conference when I first laid eyes on a display of projects from Time Travelers. I stopped abruptly. I had to get a closer look. “Ooo,” I thought, “My [now adult] children would have greatly enjoyed going on these hands-on history adventures - had they been available. So would I.”
It’s on the tip of my tongue to say, “These kits are cute” - however, a more telling word is impressive. Amy Pak's Time Travelers supply 50 carefully thought-out activities to choose from. The masters, for constructing them, are expertly rendered. A photo gallery shows you all the finished pieces. Read the day’s lesson (1 of 25) then choose a project to work on over the next couple of days.
The text, with its reading and project schedule, can be used as a backbone to whatever living books you choose for narration.
Students study the people, major events, and lifestyle of the times. This includes the influence of Christians. A resource list points you to living books, music of the period, and relevant films to watch.
You are supplied time-line figures, a map or two, a board game to construct, multiple Lap Book™ projects.
Created for a range of ages, some projects require composition, others neat penmanship only. The student might write headline news onto a life-like newspaper printout. Girls can sew authentic crafts such as a yo-yo quilt or a penny rug in the Great Depression. Boys construct a model suspension bridge and a Wright Brother’s Flyer.
In Colonial Life girls can stitch an alphabet sampler, lavender sachet, or stencil a Shaker box, while boys make a punched tin lantern, candle holder – and more. Printout pages can be kept in a three-ring binder.
Time Travelers makes me want to go back and do homeschool history over again. Suitable for upper elementary to junior high but younger siblings can take part.
And high school ages will appreciate the activities in “America in WW II.” It would lend itself to fabulous co-op projects.
It is the experienced homeschool or private school teacher who is likely to come up with this innovative material for supporting the love of learning. It is she who has the creative freedom to do so. Government school are tragically constrained by standardization. They must stay inside the “core.” It is with a thankful heart that a home teacher exercises her choice.
Time Travelers on my chair rail. The silhouette is of my grandson.
Review by homeschool dad Dean Andreola
"Chemistry 101" on 4 DVDs
It was the 1970s. My high school chemistry teacher was giving his first lecture of the school year. While his chalk scribbled symbols on the blackboard, he mumbled. As soon as he turned to face the class I raised my hand. He nodded. I approached his desk and politely handed in my textbook. I left the classroom, walked down the long empty hall and into the guidance office. There , with a click of my ballpoint pen, I calmly signed up for 4 English electives. “You can’t do this,” the counselor cried.
I stood my ground. I had long hair, a draft card for the Vietnam War in my wallet and said, “Sure I can. It's either English or I drop out. Anything but chemistry.” English it was. If Wes Olson had been my chemistry teacher, the outcome of my life might have been entirely different. Hmm . . . Doctor Andreola . . . has a nice ring to it.
With the vitality Mr. Olson packs into this DVD course you won’t believe its chemistry! Even my wife sat watching what she called “the next episode.” He makes some bold claims right from the start:
1. You can learn a great deal about chemistry without knowing the complicated math.
2. You can become good friends with the periodic table; understand what it means, how to read it, and how to explain it to somebody else.
How does he pull this off? Wes Olson obviously has a love of knowledge – in particularly, chemistry. And he takes care that your students find it interesting too. He begins with compelling dramas of the men behind the science. Students may be surprised to discover that some of the fathers of modern chemistry were also men wit faith in God. Who were they? What did they discover? Why was it important? The Christian faith of these men is mentioned matter-of-fact, without any preaching.
These narratives are seasoned with story, light humor, colorful visuals, different locations, and recreations of original experiments. Students are drawn into a private world that once only yielded up its secrets to a privileged few. What follows are clear and approachable introductions to the Periodic Table, quantum mechanics, neutrons, compounds and molecules, balancing equations, the elements and more. It concludes with a glimpse into the future of chemistry.
Homeschool dad Mr. Olson respects his viewer’s intelligence. He concentrates on the quality of the material, without resorting to gooney slapstick or monotonous repetition. He moves along holding viewers’ attention, sometimes with experiments to drive the message home. Students can view the 4 DVD’s as a supplementary or introductory elective, or opt for the full Course Accreditation Program for an entire year’s worth of science credits. Simply print out the program outline and the 34 page illustrated student Guidebook, and follow the assignments.
Around the time my adult son Nigel and I were viewing this course, a church friend sat at our dinner table. He was in the middle of taking a college level chemistry course given by the local hospital as necessary credit for becoming a respiratory technician. We asked him about his course and mentioned the inside scoop of what we were learning. But we had nothing in common to talk about. He said, “I'm learning none of those things.” His course amounted to dry memorization, nothing more. Since he is smart and good at the tricks of memorizing he would ace the course but he admitted that there was really nothing at all interesting about it. Too bad. By strong contrast Chemistry 101 - An Overview of God's Chemical World is a blast.
Until next time,