Wednesday, 7 October 2015

A Delectable Education

Do you still have many questions about how to implement a Charlotte Mason education? Or are you looking for some fresh inspiration?

Three fabulous ladies have just begun a wonderful podcast:

A Delectable Education

"Not what we have learned, but what we are waiting to know is the delectable part of knowledge"

 ~ School Education, p. 224

For the most part, you will not find "the delectable part of knowledge" in public school classrooms (fill-in-the-blanks, dry textbooks, too many oral lessons are, after all, pretty uninspiring). The Charlotte Mason philosophy is so different from what public schools are doing that it certainly is a leap of faith to trust her philosophy of education. Luckily, her methods have been proven very successful over the last 125 years! So much so that there are still very fine CM private schools around!

A Charlotte Mason School

Yet, every such school often brings it own approach into the mix. Even Ambleside Online often seems to be too methodological (and its implementation of dry science textbooks for lack of better living books knowledge or the unavailability therof ) to me has been a turn-off. Yet I know this site is very popular with homeschoolers.

Therefore, I'm so excited to blog about the fabulous podcast above. Coming from Emily Kiser and Liz Cottrill, this is simply bound to be good! Under their guidance you will be able to dig deep into the very heart of a Charlotte Mason education!

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Membership Registration for 2015/2016 is now closed.

All available spots have been filled.

If you would like to be placed on our waiting list, please contact me at

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Short Book Review: Organs Telling Their Story!

Just shelved: This is a truly fascinating collection of articles from the viewpoint of various organs! A really great supplement to the study of anatomy!

I am Joe's Body, by J.D. Ratcliff

It covers so many organs, that it is hard to choose one for review. I would just like to give you a glimpse into the account of the ear here:

"Joe is impressed by the computer his company bought not long ago. It will perform seeming miracles, but to me it is as crude as a concrete mixer. Perhaps I am prejudiced, for I am a triumph of miniaturization. Nowhere in his body is so much crammed into so small a space as in me. I have enough electrical circuits to provide phone service for a good-sized city. I am also a kind of automatic pilot, keeping Joe from toppling over.
I am Joe's right ear, and I do all this in a space not much larger than a hazelnut! Joe considers his eyes his most important sensory organs. Yet, without my partner and me, he would be doomed to solitary sonic confinement - far more emotionally disabling than blindness."

Compiled in 1975 by Reader's Digest; 205 pages. Much more interesting (and a living book) on the inside!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Loving books (this summer)!

Anyone who has a book collection and a garden wants for nothing. ~ Cicero


"I should have thought," said Gilbert, "that life in a bookshop would be delightfully tranquil."

"Far from it.  Living in a bookshop is like living in a warehouse of explosives.  Those shelves are ranked with the most furious combustibles in the world - the brains of men. (...) 
Printers ink has been running a race against gun powder these many, many years. Ink is handicapped, in a way, because you can blow up a man with gun powder in half a second while it may take twenty years to blow him up with a book. But the gunpowder destroys itself along with its victim, while a book can keep on exploding for centuries.

                            The Haunted Bookshop
                                Christopher Morley

Sunday, 14 June 2015

On now! Living History Table: Cowboys and the Wild West

There is history, but there is also just plain fun summer time reading! 

We have collected oodles of all-time-favourites, both boys and girls can enjoy these! Here are just a few for you to sample : )

All cowboy gear had a very practical purpose ... .
"Why the Cowboy dressed that way."

So funny!

Two  older gems by Sanford Tousey!

Cowboys in Texas!

"Josiah Eagle used to live on a homestead near Willow Creek, Wyoming. For a while he stayed at the Boys Home, but now he's hiding out in the hills. (...) Most of the folk in Willow Creek think he's an outlaw like his Pa - that he helped with the robberies. There's plenty of talk about lynching him. Bart Gibson, the rancher, doesn't think much about anything except his own secret reason for wanting to get his hands on the boy. What's going to happen to Josiah Eagle?"
Exciting Christian fiction for ages 10 - 15.

A classic Western horse story. 

This gives a detailed look!

Funny! We love this one by Glen Rounds!

Book #1 in the Canadian West series, especially enjoyed by girls!

An artist to explore would be Frederick Remington, his various western scenes are marvellous and he was an eyewitness!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Introducing: Living History Tables ~ History in Chronological Order!

Over some time now, our history lessons have focused on living books gathered around a historical topic. Out of this have evolved our Living History Tables, a visual buffet of delightful options from which we choose and pick, according to our interests. One thing then usually leads to another, and as our knowledge grows, so does our thirst for and enjoyment of it! We've come to call our display of topical books Living History Tables. Living, because it always feels like we are travelling back in time! 

These tables will now become a part of our library days as well. We are moving through history in chronological order and our current table is about Prairie Pioneers. Cowboys will follow soon (after all, the homesteaders were not the only ones trying to tame the wild West!), followed by The Railroads and Plains Indians

After that we will slowly be moving ahead into modern times.
And eventually we will start again at the very beginning!

Not only history alone can be found here, but science, technology, art and artists, music and composers, literature, poetry, crafts and geography are all included as well as they pertain to our topics. 

To us, this has been learning at its best. We are not merely scratching the surface by following a history book that shows us only snippets of events. Instead, this kind of learning is leading us into a deeper, long-lasting understanding, pointing us back to a Creator, and is giving us a true appreciation of the world around us.

I will introduce each new selection here on our blog, as we move along. You might just want to jump onto the wagon and hold on to your hat!

More Prairie Pioneers

More great books about Prairie Pioneers!

~ Wagon Wheels, by Barbara Brenner
Based on a true story, this is a suspenseful tale for younger readers. Especially the encounter with the Indians is - oh my ... well, I won't tell!

~ Dakota Dugout, by Ann Turner
"Talking brings it near again, the sweet taste of new bread in a Dakota dugout, how the grass whispered like an old friend, how the earth kept us warm."

~ Dandelions, by Eve Bunting
Gently depicts the lonesomeness of prairie life. Sad and touching.

~ Train to Somewhere, by Eve Bunting
From the mid-1850s on, the orphan train went westward, many farm families in the Midwest took in children who sometimes fared well there, sometimes not so much.

~ New Hope, by Henri Sorensen
Exquisitely illustrated! If, on the way west, the axles on your wagon break, well, why not start a new town right there? About immigrants from Denmark.

~ Value of Sharing: Story of the Mayo Brothers, by Spencer Johnson
Will and Charlie Mayo grew up on the prairies where their father worked as a frontier doctor. They eventually became doctors themselves. Their famous clinic is still based in Rochester, Minnesota. Some more interesting (and inspiring) books about these two famous brothers are Will and Charlie: Boy Doctors, by Marie Hammontree and Frontier Surgeons, by Emily Crofford

                                                 Our backyard soddie

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Top Ten Picks ~ Prairie Pioneers

Here are our top picks on pioneers, especially the prairie pioneers!

What You Know First, by Patricia MacLachlan
Beautiful, poignant book about the love of a little girl for the prairies. Not actually set in pioneer times, but it lets us take a glimpse into prairie life. The wide prairies are a special place of their own; when we moved from the prairies in Manitoba to Ontario, we, unfortunately, didn't think of taking some prairie dirt along : ).

All the Places to Love, by Patricia MacLachlan
Depicts poetically a family's love for the land surrounding them - "Where else," Papa says, "is soil so sweet?".

(Today, hearing the birds singing outside in the warm, balmy sunshine and the bells chiming from a nearby church, this small southern Ontario town is the place I love best.)

~Sod Houses on the Great Plains, by Glen Rounds
Very fun and educational! The author himself was even born in one!

~ Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. And, of course, the entire series!

~The Little House Cookbook, by Barbara Walker
Well-researched and so engaging that it is hard to put down. Scrumptious recipes, too.

~ Caddie Woodlawn, by Carol Ryrie Brink, and its sequel Magical Melons.
Carol Ryrie Brink is one of my favourite children's authors! Caddie Woodlawn was her grandmother.
If you are ever in Wisconsin, you may want to visit the house where Caddie and Tom and Warren once lived.

~ Prairie Primer, by Caroline Stutson
Not just for younger kids - the large illustrations render such a wonderful impression of pioneer life.

~ Old Yeller, by Fred Gipson
On the frontier in Texas, in a wild and beautiful land! A beloved, classic children's story about the stray dog that was called Old Yeller. Especially wonderful for boys.

~ Frontier Home, by Raymond Bial
Interesting photos and text show various aspects of pioneer life.

~ Story of the Homestead Act, by Conrad Stein
The run was on - for as little as an application fee!

COMING UP:  Runner-ups (more great books!) and the crafts they inspired us to create!

Monday, 20 April 2015

Living Math Ideas

Emily of Living Books Library recently wrote an excellent post about their top picks in living math - if you would like some fresh, inspiring ideas - here you will find riches!

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Mary O'Hara's Flicka!

" The darkness was fading and farms and sheds and mountains and the shapes of animals on the plains were coming into vision as if they were just being created and had not been there at all in the darkness. This she had never seen before, and gave her a feeling of wonder. If you were always on the edge of light, moving out of the darkness, then you could see world after world being created."

                                          - Green Grass of Wyoming, by Mary O'Hara

The third book in the Flicka trilogy, a wonderful series about horses, human relationships, and pure wonder!


Sunday, 1 February 2015

Reptiles With No Legs

As nature is slowly preparing for spring, a process still hidden away from us under a blanket of snow, reptiles will soon wake up from their long hibernating slumber, slowly warming their bodies to life again.

Isn't this an amazing feat?

So, why not anticipate spring with a set of some of the best children's books on snakes?

A Snake's Body, by Joanna Cole (of Magic School Bus fame) was a great one to read! I have never learned so much about snakes! Very engaging, hard to put down and filled with many interesting close-up photographs, this book will surely stay with kids for a long time. Highly recommended!

A Snake-Lover's Diary, by Barbara Brenner, is equally captivating. As children accompany a young boy in his snake-collecting endeavor over one spring and summer, they will learn many, many interesting things along the way.

"This vivid story is full of adventure: imagine finding fang marks on your boot where a Timber Rattlesnake has struck. Or losing your Kingsnake in a dishwasher. Wouldn't you be startled to see two constrictors, feeding in the same tank, try to swallow each other instead of their dinner? What do you do when a Water Snake lets loose his secret weapon?''

For a delightfully readable look at rattlesnakes, try Buzztail, by Robert McClung. Children will easily absorb many facts about rattlers that are embedded in this exciting narrative.

More fun facts about snakes can be found in Reptiles Do the Strangest Things, by Leonora and Arthur Hornblow! The hog-nose snake has a repertoire of fascinating tricks to scare an enemy away, which are almost ... downright cute! (By the way, this is one of the snakes collected by the boy in A Snake-Lover's Diary!)

The True Book of Reptiles, by Lois Ballard, is another good introduction, especially for younger kids.

All these books will be available at our next library day but can now also be reserved by members in advance at:

CTL: Children's Treasury Library

Friday, 30 January 2015

The Lentil Box is Done!

Another tote is ready to be used with the wonderful Five In a Row (FIAR) curriculum!

Included is, of course, the core book ~ Lentil, by Robert McCloskey ~ and many more exquisite gems that all correlate with the topics that are drawn out of Lentil in the FIAR unit!

So, here we have two books by James Stevenson: Higher on the Door and When I Was Nine, for talking about self-image and the wonders of childhood; Bread and Jam for Frances, by Russell Hoban, which illustrates the importance of variety; Taste, by Mandy Suhr, a simple explanation of our taste buds; Our Canadian Flag, by Maxine Trottier, for talking about patriotism; Fraction Action, by Loreen Leedy; Under Every Roof, by Patricia Brown Glenn, for looking at art, especially architecture; Town & Country, by Alice and Martin Provensen;  and many more!

You might also be interested in The Story About Ping