Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Words and Wool

Today I finally put the finishing touches on two knitted animals I have been working on for a long time!!!! I'm so happy with the results. The first is Wee Black Faced Sheep:

And then Ronnie the Fox!

I also started such a good book last night:

Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes by Shauna Neiquist. I LOVE this book!!!! I wish I could take library books out of town with me because I'd be ordering all her other books right now. This book is all about my favorite subject: people and sitting around the table. It's sort of memoir organized around the theme of table and also includes recipes. A few times I had to stop and re-read something and remind myself that I wasn't reading a book written by me but someone else actually felt the very same way I do!

Echoes of Eden: Reflections on Christianity, Literature, and the Arts by Jerram Barrs is the book on Christianity and the arts that I have been waiting for years to find!!! This book is excellent! Particularly the first part of the book which lays down how we ought to view art and the creative process. It was so encouraging as someone who loves to dabble on the edges of the art world to think that we were made to be creative and how important it is that we be engaged in the arts. Even if you aren't an artist, or don't love classical literature, I think you will get a lot out of this book.

And that's it for this week! You can find more inspiration at Ginny's Yarn Along.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Beatrix Potter Summer School

Last week we had Beatrix Potter Summer School! We spent five days studying the life and works of Beatrix and doing all sorts of fun activities. We did this with one other family, a first for me, and I have to say that everything worked out so well! It was the highlight of my summer and the epitome of what homeschooling is in my mind. Too bad every week of homeschooling can't be this fun!!! (Good thing it isn't or this mother wouldn't be alive!) I think it is something I would like to do again -- maybe once a year on a different subject. It would even be fun to do this as a first week of January term too!

We began each day with a PowerPoint lecture on the life of Beatrix Potter. Living out my dream of being a British History professor, I created notes for the kids to fill in and got Andrew to show me how easy it is to make PowerPoints. :) 

And we all drank tea while we listened. John and Christina were able to join us for three days.
Then we moved downstairs where my friend gave us the background of each of Beatrix's stories and read aloud to the kids. We all enjoyed this so much!

The first few days we then sent the kids to the table to do some drawing and painting of their own. Later we figured out that it was best for them to draw while they listened to the stories.

Each day we had an activity planned for after lunch. How fun that the Royal Prince George was born during Beatrix Potter week!!!! We couldn't let that pass by without celebrating so we combined a welcome home lunch for Grandma with a welcome Prince George celebration!

Blue and white teacups were called for!

And, since Grandma had just spent three weeks on a sheep farm in Maine, it was timely to hear all about life like Beatrix Potter would have lived!

 Oh yes! Meringues and tea are good!

Friday lunch was themed around British and Victorian food. The main course was steak and onion pie with green peas. Oh was it good!

I felt like we were eating in England!

Front and center for dessert was the Roly Poly Pudding with custard. After reading Samuel Whiskers we all thought eating this pudding would be just the thing!

We also enjoyed shortbread and Dundee cake, most certainly things Beatrix would have eaten.

Here we are enjoying our Victorian tea.

 On Monday we took our lunch to a local park,

and went around their nature center, enjoying all the animals and displays.

 Tuesday we took our lunch down to our secret beach for some true enjoyment of nature.

Including paddling around in the boat!

 Wednesday we took our lunch to the Art Museum gardens to have a  birthday for David as well as remember Beatrix's birthday which was a few days later.

We came up with a few Victorian party games like an egg hunt and croquet.

No one can resist an egg hunt! Neither can she resist stealing all her brothers' candies.

We even had a beautiful moth fly down and let us inspect him.

And there were presents.....

And a Victoria Sandwich Cake!

Afterward we toured Oldfields and pretended it was a house Beatrix's parents had rented for their summer holidays.

 And here is the roly poly pudding all ready for cooking. It looked quite like the illustrations in the book!

Rachel spent a lot of time on one of her drawings:

We ended the week by watching Miss Potter.

Some of the books I found helpful and enjoyable for this study were:

Beatrix Potter: The Story of the Creator of Peter Rabbit (World of Beatrix Potter) by Elizabeth Buchan was a very short biography with photos that was easy to read and gave enough information. It would be suitable if you had only a short amount of time for reading or wanted to give this to an upper elementary student.

Beatrix Potter: Artist, Storyteller, and Countrywoman by Judy Taylor was my favorite biography this time around. It had enough information to give details without getting boring and it was full of pictures. Definitely recommend this!

Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature by Linda Lear is a full-length biography I read several years ago and enjoyed very much. If you want all the information, read this book.

At Home with Beatrix Potter: The Creator of Peter Rabbit by Susan Denyer is a beautiful book that talks about Beatrix's homes and shows lots of photos of what the rooms in her homes look like and the furniture she collected.

Beatrix Potter's Art: A Selection of Paintings and Drawings by Anne Stevenson Hobbs was a lovely book to flip through and admire Beatrix's artwork from all stages of her life.

Ultimate Peter Rabbit by DK Publishing is such an amazing book! This is one I want for myself! In typical DK style you will find all kinds of information on the stories as well as photo after photo of the props Beatrix used, things from Beatrix's life, and Peter Rabbit paraphernalia that was created.

Walking with Beatrix Potter: Fifteen Walks in Beatrix Potter Country by Norman and June Buckley is a beautiful book detailing 15 walks in the Lake District all themed around Beatrix's books. If you are going to the Lake District, it is a must!

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