"'Education is the Science of Relations'; that is, that a child has natural relations with a vast number of things and thoughts: so we train him upon physical exercises, nature lore, handicrafts, science and art, and upon many living books, for we know that our business is not to teach him all about anything, but to help him to make valid as many as may be of––
'Those first-born affinities,
That fit our new existence to existing things.'"

Charlotte Mason, A Philosophy of Education
with a quote from The Prelude by William Wordsworth

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Day Trips Galore

Last week Dh was on vacation so we went on a series of day trips. He could not have picked a better week--definitely the best of the summer so far!

One day we hiked on the grounds of Quabbin Reservoir. Several towns were completely evacuated in order to flood them to create this water management area for Boston.

The next day we visited Old Sturbridge Villiage. All the exhibits were open and active with interpreters except the saw mill, which was expected to be repaired soon. Here the boys are under the carting mill watching the water-powered gears.

Another half day we hiked through Purgatory Chasm. You can hike through the chasm (as we did), hike on the wooded trails at the top of the chasm (we did on the return) or you can scale the sides of the chasms in parts. (If you remember the old Emergency 911 series with William Shatner, one episode was about a teen male that fell while climbing the sides. I have worked with both of the paramedics that featured in that episode.)

We ended the week at the Boston Museum of Science, a perennial favorite of my kids. They are next to one of the new dinosaur skeletons the museum now has on display. We also visited the temporary exhibits on Creature Cams and Black Holes, both of which were excellent.

This week the boys are at nature camp. Our summer thus far may not have involved any textbooks but it has certainly enriched their education!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Book Sale Manager web site

Because the Charlotte Mason philosophy relies on living books, and because most of us do not have an endless budget for books, we rely on library book sales for cheap, great books, especially durable hardcovers. The trouble is finding out when they are happening.

Because I have blogged about these sales before, I received an email from the folks at Book Sale Manager lettimg me know they offer a free web site that I might like. I was impressed!

I have used Book Sale Finder for a few years, but that site cannot be tailored in any way, and lists only library and "sponsored" sales on a site that shouts with advertisements. Book Sale Manager first has fewer, more subtle ads--that alone makes it easier to navigate. Next it lists all manner of books sales, including those by church and other organizations. Third, it has a great calendar feature to which I can add sales and from which are generated reminder emails. Fourth, I can search for sales by distance from my zip code rather than by state only, which is great for someone like me who is close to so many states here in New England.

It is certainly an improvement over that other site. Thank you Book Sale Manager for letting me know you are out there!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sail Boston 2009

The Tall Ships are in Boston and we enjoyed one of the first sunny days in a very long time going to view them! We took the ferry from Long Warf to Charlestown Navy Yard to look at the smaller ships in the event. The larger ships could only be boarded after 6pm.

We only got onto one ship because the lines were so long, but we also went through the Constitution Museum, which we will certainly plan to visit again. The kids got anchor "tattoos" there that they are showing off (and have since been scrubbed off.)

We took the ferry back to Boston and the T back to the car--another highlight for the kids especially since we had to change lines.

Anchors away!

DC Trip.

We took a major summer trip to Virginia right at the beginning of the season to see my niece graduate. Of course we also did a lot of sight-seeing during our 12 day stay.

We visited the Museum of American History on a Sunday afternoon and only got through half the museum.

We spent a couple of days at Colonial Williamsburg. The kids really enjoyed Revolutionary City where you watch reenactors play out the drama of the times right on the streets of the city. We especially loved hearing about those violent Trouble Makers in Boston throwing tea overboard while disguising their identities. Shameless!

We spent an afternoon at the National Gallery. There's so much here, too, and we only saw a part of it. The kids did a great job finding some of the paintings we had studied over the last year. This picture shows them by the waterfall at the walkway between the two galleries.

We went back to visit the National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center during the Become a Pilot weekend. The kids are standing next to the Space Shuttle Enterprise. This is not a replica--the center is a place that collects actual aircraft, like the Concorde, the Enola Gay, a Blackbird, and so many more.

We also did a lot of swimming and spending time with family. What a great time!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Internet Lesson Planning Resources

We just recently had our huge area used curriculum sale--people come from all over New England for it--and it has gotten me lesson planning for the upcoming year. Being a Charlotte Mason homeschooler, that means a little research.

Besides looking at Mater Amabilis and For the Love of Literature for book lists, I have a few Internet sources that I find particularly useful.

MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching) is a peer-reviewed web site with outstanding recommendations. Use the advanced search to get links by grade.

(Gateway to Educational Material) is a search portal for teachers with thousands of available resources.

(Federal Resources for Educational Excellence) offers primary source materials, videos, animations, lessons plans and more by subject, though not sorted by grade.

Teacher's Domain, from PBS, started out with just math and science but now has offerings for Art, English, and Social Studies as well. They have web clips, lesson plans, and interactives.

Science NetLinks is a great place for science lesson planning, as well as Science Online, which is available for free through our library.

We purchased a subscription to NetTrekker through Homeschool Buyers Co-op. Not only do I find a lot of helpful site, I let my kids use it as their search engine. Everything is reviewed, and you can set the search to elementary, middle, or high school. It has a whole lot of other features as well so we find it a good investment for us.

Please comment if you have an Internet resource that you find very helpful!