Family Centered Learning

{Made For Learning} A Moveable Alphabet

Moveable Alphabets are one of the most important (and fun-to-use) tools in a Montessori-style schoolroom.  At least, that’s how our family feels about them.  And they are easy and fun to make at home.  Here’s how::

{Made for Learning} | Moveable Alphabet

Sort your letters - vowels from consonants. If you wish, put half of your "Y" s in each pile.

 

{Made for Learning} | Moveable Alphabet

Gesso, and two different colours of paint. I chose blue and red because they are more traditionally Montessori style (pink in place of red also works). You choose whichever colours you like.

 

{Made for Learning} | Moveable Alphabet

Paint each letter with a coat of gesso and allow to dry. The gesso comes right off of the brush with warm, soapy water.

 

{Made for Learning} | Moveable Alphabet

Paint two coats of coloured paint on each letter. Blue for vowels...

 

{Made for Learning} | Moveable Alphabet

... and red for the consonants. Next, apply two coats of varnish. You will need to wait a minimum of one hour between coats.

 

{Made for Learning} | Moveable Alphabet

A purpose-made or purchased box is best for storage, but something like this little box with a clasp will do for a time. You really do want something that will allow you to keep each letter separate... Like with like. I'll show you how to make a proper storage box in an upcoming tutorial.

 

{Made for Learning} | Moveable Alphabet

{Made for Learning} | Moveable Alphabet

 

{Made for Learning} | Moveable Alphabet

 

{Made for Learning} | Moveable Alphabet

 

{Made for Learning} | Moveable Alphabet

 

{Made for Learning} | Moveable Alphabet

 

{Made for Learning} | Moveable Alphabet

 

{Made for Learning} | Moveable Alphabet

 

{Made for Learning} | Moveable Alphabet

 

Scrabble™ Tiles also make excellent upper case moveable alphabets – and it’s a great way to recycle!  You can also purchase blank tiles from Etsy – purchase alphabet transfers in the scrapbooking supply section of your craft store.  Simple varnish over the top, or apply a couple of layers of Mod Podge.

 

{Made for Learning} | Moveable Alphabet

 

{Made for Learning} | Moveable Alphabet

Your kids will be saying this about you, too. (Thanks, Will!)

Resources:

Cut out wood letters available for just under $12 for each set of upper or lower case letters.  I suggest 1/8″ thick baltic birch letters in Arial, (Garamond and Rockwell are also available) – 2″ tall by 2″ wide. {These are my favourite ones, but more expensive}

Cut wood letters sold in packs of 36 are available at Michael’s crafts (and probably at Hobby Lobby) for about $4/pack.  I bought four packs.

Scrabble letters are available on Etsy, and eBay, and can also be found at neighbourhood yard sales, flea markets, and car boot sales.

Field Trip:: Stone Zoo

This week’s Free Fun Friday field trip was to Stone Zoo.  Despite the traffic and the parking situation, we had a wonderful time.  The trip was made even better because we enjoyed the afternoon with friends – fellow parishioners and homeschoolers.  Stone is a smaller zoo than its sister Franklin Park Zoo and is home to mostly native North American species, rather than exotic ones.  The walkways are largely shaded, which is a blessing in the summer heat.

Here is what we saw:

{Family at Large} | Field Trip | Stone Zoo | Stoneham, Massachusetts

A handsome bald eagle. He just sat and looked back at us. Such a treat.

 

{Family at Large} | Field Trip | Stone Zoo | Stoneham, Massachusetts

Black bear, black bear, what do you see?

 

{Family at Large} | Field Trip | Stone Zoo | Stoneham, Massachusetts

Capybara, a rodent of unusual size. Didn't see any evidence of fire swamp habitat...

 

{Family at Large} | Field Trip | Stone Zoo | Stoneham, Massachusetts

Peek-a-boo, Coyote!

 

{Family at Large} | Field Trip | Stone Zoo | Stoneham, Massachusetts

The cougar seemed to be enjoying the heat.

 

{Family at Large} | Field Trip | Stone Zoo | Stoneham, Massachusetts

...and so did this jaguar.

 

{Family at Large} | Field Trip | Stone Zoo | Stoneham, Massachusetts

Mama flamingo feathering her nest.

 

{Family at Large} | Field Trip | Stone Zoo | Stoneham, Massachusetts

While this Mama feeds her little one.

 

{Family at Large} | Field Trip | Stone Zoo | Stoneham, Massachusetts

River Otter clowned around for our amusement. He sure was tricky to capture - he moves so quickly.

 

{Family at Large} | Field Trip | Stone Zoo | Stoneham, Massachusetts

Baby gibbon stopping for a snack of bamboo.

 

{Family at Large} | Field Trip | Stone Zoo | Stoneham, Massachusetts

The mountain goats look a whole lot more wiry than our domestic dairy goats!

 

{Family at Large} | Field Trip | Stone Zoo | Stoneham, Massachusetts

The yak is a beautiful, gentle beast despite his intimidating size.

 

{Family at Large} | Field Trip | Stone Zoo | Stoneham, Massachusetts

By the time we reached the snow leopard, we were flagging too. Time to head home.

I am still in awe of the care that God has taken in creating each animal (and plant for that matter).  It fills my heart with wonder and gratitude.

 

Field Trip:: Heritage Museum and Gardens on Cape Cod

We took advantage of a beautiful Friday afternoon and headed out early after farm chores to the town of Sandwich, just over the canal on Cape Cod.  The museum was offering free admission as part of the Highland Street Foundation’s “Free Fun Friday” program.  It was just too good to pass up.  And we weren’t disappointed.  Heritage Museum and Gardens is a lovely botanical garden nestled into an otherwise sleep residential neighbourhood.  It is deceptively vast.  There is an automobile museum, an art museum, and a history museum.  There is a large maze and a woodland labyrinth, a secret woodland play area, and an old carousel (which we unfortunately missed).  And as you walk around, there are garden gates of various design, each one a work of art.  I would love to go back just to make a photographic study of them.

Today, I’m sharing some views of the gorgeous gardens.  I’ll post more pictures from our day, particularly from the automobile museum and the play-spaces.  I wasn’t able to take photographs inside the Norman Rockwell exhibit, but it was marvelous.  It simply made my heart swell.  What a treat.  If you get the chance, it’s still on through September 3rd.

{Family Centered Learning} | Field Trip | Heritage Museum and Gardens

A bench smothered in beautiful blue hydrangeas that are SO very Cape Cod

 

{Family Centered Learning} | Field Trip | Heritage Museum and Gardens

More lovely blue hydrangeas

 

{Family Centered Learning} | Field Trip | Heritage Museum and Gardens

And still more... So lovely.

 

{Family Centered Learning} | Field Trip | Heritage Museum and Gardens

Lilies on the pond. There is a marvelous man-made waterfall, that looks not unlike an old aquaduct, which spills into this pond. What a magnificent place to sit and rest.

 

{Family Centered Learning} | Field Trip | Heritage Museum and Gardens

Gorgeous bright pink spirea. Mine are almost as lovely.

 

{Family Centered Learning} | Field Trip | Heritage Museum and Gardens

More blue hydrangeas laid out on either side of a woodland path, leading to a white wooden arbor.

 

{Family Centered Learning} | Field Trip | Heritage Museum and Gardens

A closer view

 

{Family Centered Learning} | Field Trip | Heritage Museum and Gardens

This windmill captivated the children, especially Sophie. She was so enamored that we may have to work out how to get one built on the farm.

A Basket of Memories in the Making

An afternoon of shopping for Papa’s ordination took a brief intermission while we stopped into the bookstore to pick up a basketload of volumes for summertime reading.  There is something for everyone.

 

 

 

Here is what is in our basket::

 

For the little ones –

Minette’s Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat – Because I remember Julia Child so fondly. It was she (through her PBS series) and my Nana who first taught me to cook. This looks like a lovely living picture book for my little ones

The Twelve Dancing Princesses (Mulberry books) – Gorgeous illustrations, classic French tale.

A Walk in London – So appropriate with the Olympic Games in London next month. Lots of sweet illustrations and historical/factual tidbits sprinkled throughout.

Puff The Magic Dragon – Book and CD Package – Because the lyrics quite wonderfully tell a fantastic story, and the illustrations are adorable. This volume came with a music CD, which may please parents of a certain age… 🙂

And these for the older set, some for read aloud –

Candide – Because Voltaire’s wit delivered so subtly is precisely what I need for long sunny days in a hammock (if I had one to swing in). A sunny window will also do nicely.

The Heretic’s Daughter: A Novel – Another story from the Salem Witch Hysteria, a topic that interests our family enormously since a branch of my Nana’s tree (Towne) descends from the brother of THREE women accused, tried, and convicted in 1692. Only one, Sarah Cloyes, survived.

Walden and Civil Disobedience Publisher: Barnes & Noble Classics – Apropos of these times, I think.

Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson – I have been meaning to read this book for ages. We could all awaken more to kindness and the value of life.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals – On the recommendation of farming friends who were surprised that I hadn’t read it yet. Now that diaconate classes are done, I have some time!

To Kill a Mockingbird [Paperback] by Harper Lee – Can you believe that I didn’t own a copy? Time to get one of our own and introduce my older children. Also seems somehow appropriate to current events.

The Poisonwood Bible – Another one that friends have been encouraging me to read over the years. I have picked it up at the books store more than once in the interim. This time it landed inside the basket instead of back on the shelf.

Chasing Lincoln’s Killer – This was chosen primarily for William, by Carrie. He loves history, geography, and factual tidbits. I’m looking forward to hearing him narrate back to me what he reads.

What is it about books read in summer that make for such lasting memories?  Perhaps it is the freedom to linger long over character and plot while the days stretch on.

{Made for Learning} Getting Organised

Over the last 15+ years of home education, I have tried various curricula and approaches.  I have found something to like about each.  None fit perfectly for our family on its own.

Fountains of Grace™ Overview

After several years of designing my own curriculum, I have finally put together a curriculum that is comprehensive enough to satisfy requirements, logical enough for my inner ‘Neat Nick’, and flexible enough for me to feel spontaneously creative.  And best of all, it works perfectly for a large family spanning several ‘grades’.

Fountains of Grace™ Overview

Today, I spent my afternoon escaping from ordination preparations by decorating the file box which will hold the entire curriculum.  The whole thing. Twelve plus years worth.  In ONE pretty box.

Fountains of Grace™ Storage Box

an ordinary file box made pretty with scrapbook papers and glue

 

I’m so excited!

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