A peaceful day

Phillipians 4:4-8

For with Thee is the fountain of life; in Thy light shall we see light. Psalm 36:9

My beautiful reading room

Posted by Jeanne

I realised yesterday that I have never blogged about our reading room. I posted about our plans to create one back in 2011, but I've never shown you the dream come to fruition. And that's naughty, isn't it, because if you're anything like me, you love looking at libraries, yes?  I thought so!

The reading room rose from the metaphorical ashes of our guest room. The furniture in this room was all lost in the 2011 floods, and we suddenly realised that the room would get much more use as a library than as a guest room. A lovely comfy green sofa bed still allows us to sleep guests in comfort, so if you're ever in the area, there's still a bed for you, but now the space does double duty as a home for a significant part of our substantial collection of books.

I also realised yesterday that the room is hard to photograph. The lighting is low, to protect the book spines from the bleaching affects of the sun, so the photos are not the best, but I still thought you might like to see what is definitely my favourite of the rooms in our peaceful home.

So. Want a guided tour?

This is the entrance. School maps are stored in the bin on the floor. A pile of ever-changing favourite books is displayed on the pedestal.

Closest to us is maths, science and nature. Picture books at the bottom. Christmas books and travel guides and outgrown but precious board books are stored in the covered boxes on the bottom shelf..

Another view of the entrance, while we're here!

Humanities - history, geography, art, music science. The overflow of literature is kept here as well.  We love to display a few interesting bits and pieces amongst the rows of books.  Some of my favourite things are on these shelves, including the tapestry flower that Jemimah made in AO1.

The sitting area. I'm sorry the blanket is crooked. I didn't notice when I took the photo, because the squares don't show up so well in reality as they do with the flash, but it is really annoying my OCD nature, so I apologise if it is rubbing you up the wrong way as well. The chest holds bedding.

Here's a close-up of the room's usual occupants. I love Raggedy Ann and Andy - do you?  You'll find the books on the shelf to their right...your left.

On the other side of the room, you'll find Australian children's literature closest to us in this next pic, old collections in the display section in the centre, and hardback world kids' literature. Cut off at the left end is our poetry section.

This is the other end of the room.  On the wall hangs part of my Asian textile collection, in this case a  phaa sin, a women's tube skirt from Tai Daeng village in San Nuea in Northern Laos.  Other textiles hang around as well.  It pleases me to have so many of my favourite things in this room.  This is my view from my seat on the sofa.

The wine box on the floor holds books in readiness for AO8.  They're arriving in bits and pieces each day, now.  It's like Christmas, opening the mail each day.  On the floor, a pair of Hmong wedding slippers.  At least, I think they're Hmong.  I'll have to check that!

The literature wall, front on.

And finally, some close ups, because even though it is nice to see books shelves, it is much more fun if you can read the titles, right? These are some Australian treasures.

Miss Mason's favourite Waverleys.

And it mightn't be the prettiest shelf, but these are my favourite books of all. My Mason collection.

The books on the pedestal.

And a much loved verse scroll made by a tiny tot Jemimah to welcome you in.

And that's it. My beloved reading room. I hope you've enjoyed having a look around it with me.

The room is not quite finished. Next year we hope to relay the carpet - this piece of carpet is just sitting on the floor, even though it does the job pretty well. I'm not looking forward to packing up this room, but I am looking forward to having it completed. I'll be sure to post more pics when it is done.

Anything you'd like to see close-ups of?


Christmas in Australia

Posted by Jeanne

I love this etching. Entitled Christmas in Australia, it was painted in 1865, and shows a family enjoying their Christmas picnicking in a cool fern gully. It looks like the Dangenongs, don't you think? Or Ferntree Gully, perhaps.

I especially like this bit of people reading. No surprise there, I guess. Heh.

Despite being painted almost 150 years ago, the work depicts a Christmas pretty similar to that enjoyed by many Australians today. Although you are more likely to find my family tucking into traditional English Turkey and plum pud, our local parks are filled on Christmas Day with families barbequeing and picnicking, and making a grand use of our beautiful summer weather.

At a time of year when we are more likely to be gazing on wintery Christmas scenes like Brueghel's Hunters in the Snow, or Turner's Frosty Morning, it is great to look instead at this painting of our own country, and appreciate how blessed we are to be living right here, right now.

Although I'd love to have this etching hanging on my wall, you'll actually find it in The State Library of Victoria. Oh well.



Dads in the Homeschool

Posted by Jeanne

All our great educational reformers have been men. The reforms of women have taken the direction rather of practical application than of original thought. This is worth thinking of in connection with the theory that the home-training of the children is the mother's concern. Happily, it does not fall to each of us to conceive, for the first time, the principles which underlie our work. But when we take the conceptions of other minds into ours so that we are able to work them out - to handle them as the skilled artisan handles his tools, to produce by their means - why, then, do we originate. Such exercise of original thought on the subject of the bringing up of their children falls to both father and mother. "Oh that all children were born orphans!" cries an irate schoolmaster. They are not so born, and neither are they born fatherless; and that the father should be, as a bird, ever on the wing homewards with a worm in his bill, is not, however praiseworthy, the sole duty that attaches to human paternity. This is not a protest against the practice of fathers. The annals of fatherhood, no doubt, furnish as fine reading as those of motherhood. But it is a protest against the notion that early education is the concern of the mother alone.

Charlotte Mason, Home Education, Fragments, The Appendices, Third Edition, p369


Just for fun

Posted by Jeanne

These are some of the interesting culinary implements from our kitchen drawers. I thought it would be fun to see who could identify them all. There are no prizes - other than the satisfaction of knowing how clevah you are, of course, mainly because there is one item in there that we're not quite certain of ourselves. Anyhow, give it a bash!


Lessons from the Armitt II

Posted by Jeanne

The study of natural history and botany with bird lists and plant lists continues throughout school life, while other branches of science are taken term by term.Charlotte Mason, Towards a Philosophy of Education, p 220

Until I read Laurie Bestvater's book, The Living Page, I didn't know much about Charlotte Mason's Bird and Flower lists. Okay, actually I knew nothing about them at all. The quote above, is, I think, the only mention of them in her writings, and I guess I'd just skipped that sentence, without giving it much thought.

When I visited the Armitt Museum and actually looked at the Nature Notebooks stored there, though, I was struck by these lists. In particular, I was impressed by how little they changed from 1900 to 1950. In all the samples, the lists were there, and they were pretty much the same. I was also impressed with how easy these lists were.

Sample number: Name: Latin Name: Order: Date seen.

That's about it.

Let's have a look at some pictures, shall we, so you can see what I mean. Firstly, the flowers:

Then we have the bird lists:

And it's as easy as that. Page after page of lists, all very similar to the one before.
The next series pf photos shows you inside two lists that appear to have been kept by the entire school. The first list is just like the individual one; the second book contains the flowers in more-or-less alphabetical list. Simple, aren't they?

Keeping these bird and flow lists is fun, and quickly becomes pretty addictive. To give you an idea, here's a couple I've kept on my recent trips.

The next four photos are lists that Eve Anderson kept later in life, including during a trip to Zimbabwe in 1985. It seems list keeping is a lifelong joy!

Remember how I keep saying we make Charlotte Mason too hard? These pages remind me of this, because bird and flower lists are so easy. Even the youngest child can start keeping lists with mum writing them down. Do you have a list of birds that visit your bird feeder or your backyard? Make one. What flowers grow in your garden? Your local park? Your wildlife reserve? Take along a field guide and identify them. Write them in a list.

Lots of us procrastinate over lots of things in CM, but these lists are things you can start today. Take a look out of your window right now. What can you see? Even sparrows belong on a list. So do the weeds growing through the cracks in your driveway. They do have a use!!

Every notebook we looked at at the Armitt contained a bird and flower list, no matter how complete they were otherwise. Aren't you inspired now to keep one too?

More Lessons from the Armitt coming soon!

Find the start of the series for more lessons here.

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