Random Nature Study Moments

I find often the best nature study moments are the unplanned, spontaneous times that we are truly engaged and interested in the subject – because it’s neat and it’s not “school”. =) Here are some of the fun, random moments from this summer.¬† Continue reading

On Self-Pity and Murmuring…

A dear friend of mine called the other day. She was having a really hard day and needed to vent. I had some pent up emotions and energy (read stress) from my latest doctor’s appointment. So, naturally, we let go with all the frustrations. I felt a bit bad when I thought about the conversation. I don’t think that I was very encouraging for her and that is what I would rather be. Later that week, she sent me a screen shot of a quote that really helped me to think of ways I could improve, and I thought I would share it with you all:

“Murmuring can also be noisy enough that it drowns out the various spiritual signals to us, signals which tell us in some cases to quit soaking ourselves indulgently in the hot tubs of self-pity. Murmuring over the weight of our crosses not only takes energy otherwise needed to carry them but might cause another to put down his cross altogether. Besides, brothers and sisters, if we were not carrying so much else, our crosses would be much lighter. The heaviest load we feel is often from the weight of our unkept promises and our unresolved sins, which press down relentlessly upon us. In any genuine surrendering to God, one says, “I will give away all my sins to know Thee.” (Alma 22:18) To whom should we give our sins? Only Jesus is both willing and able to take them!”

~ Elder Neal A. Maxwell

It’s Been A Long Year…


It has been a long year…I haven’t posted since February when I started having some health concerns diagnosed after many years of often excruciating pain when those took over my “spare” time. (hahaha!!) I have had one surgery, am scheduled for another one, and possibly need another one and feel that I see my doctors way too often, but I am so thankful for modern medicine and the abilities we have to not suffer needlessly – when we take care of it. What a blessing that is for us! And there have been many tender mercies of the Lord along the way. I am grateful for the ability to recognize those mercies. I am also grateful for a loving family who have put up with taking care of my share of the responsibilities as I recover.

Maybe soon I can be more like I was…I hope. ūüôā I say that because the younger girls have been obsessed with looking at the pictures on my computer and I realized that we used to do a lot more things. I suppose that those started tapering off about the time I started having these issues 8 years ago, which means my younger kids haven’t had nearly as many cool adventures as I would like. So my goal next year (after recovering from all my surgeries) is to make time for that again…a day at the lake, a day hiking a new trail, exploring a new place on a day trip, going to the zoo and spending time enjoying it, visiting the art museum, history museums, and all the historical places within a couple of hours from here. I think it would be fun to just go pain free for once. ūüėČ

So, all this to say that I actually have a few pictures from things we’ve done this year as well as more book reviews for my classic book challenge, so look for those in the next few weeks as I try to get back on top of things.

The Once and Future King

The Once and Future King by T.H. White is a book listed to be read on the Ambleside Online Year 7 curriculum list. Since I had never read it and wanted to learn more about King Arthur, I decided to read the book for our family’s Back to the Classics Challenge.

The Once and Future King cover

photo via Amazon

It contains 4 stories – The Sword in the Stone (Disney’s movie is based on this one), The Queen of Air and Darkness (about the Orkney Clan – Sirs Gawaine, Gaheris, Agravaine, Gareth, and Mordred) , The Ill-Made Knight (about Lancelot), and The Candle in the Wind. ¬†The stories each deal with an important part of Arthur’s life from beginning to the end.

At first, I really enjoyed it – the scenes with the Wart were fun for the most part, although I was glad when his education was over. I did not enjoy the second book nearly as much, so it took me much longer to read it. It was a relief to start Lancelot’s story. I still struggled to get to the end, but I persevered for two reasons: 1 – I said I’d read it for the challenge and I didn’t want to wimp out on my second book, and 2 – I really was determined to understand more about the different people that have been mentioned in other books that I didn’t really know about. Sir Gawaine and Sir Garath for example. ¬†And it didn’t fully satisfy my curiosity, so I am going to read Sir Gawaine and the Green Knight now. And then the end. What can I say? I cried. Several times. Even though I was sitting in the hospital with my mom while my dad had a procedure done. Embarrassing.

So obviously, the book is set in England – we are even introduced to Robin Hood. The struggle of the people is obvious, and it is with relief that we catch Arthur’s vision for reforming the evils done to people simply because they could. Then, we watch him grapple with what to do with knights who are bored once they accomplished the goal to rid the land of the evil land owners who abused so many people. As he learns and evolves in his understanding of the human condition, he decides that fighting might with might is not always the right way, either. So he sends his Knights of the Round Table on a Quest for the Holy Grail. ¬†That didn’t go exactly like he had hoped either, but he decided that law was the answer. All men could be equal and accountable before written law. As he works to get the laws figured out, nasty intrigue and bitter pettiness start to engulf his Court. I could feel the pathos of the situation for so many of the characters. And, at the end, I cried.

As I thought about this book, I was reminded of the scripture in Esther 4:14 where Esther has the saving of her people on her shoulders and she is asked “…and who knoweth whether thou¬†art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”¬†Many people have done hard things when faced with that question – and fictional or historical, Arthur was presented with his own version of saving his people.

Still not sure if I would read it again, but I am glad that I finished. How’s that for a recommendation?

Charlotte Mason Original Series Free Study Guides

Have you ever read Charlotte Mason’s Original Series and wanted to take your comprehension levels of her philosophy and methods, have time to ponder ideas, and take action on the things you are learning? Then I have some things to help you! Read on!

CM Study Guide Collage

I have been participating in a virtual CM reading group for about 10 months now. We meet once a week via WebEx and discuss our reading assignment, which averages about 10 pages each time. ¬†Slowly and surely {and thoroughly} we have completed volume 1 and are in the middle of volume 3. As we have studied, we’ve tried to use the questions in the back, but they are so inconveniently located for good discussion. I decided to do something about it (actually, I’ve wanted to do it for a long time) with the end result that I can now share with you: ¬†Study Guides for every single one of the six Original Homeschooling volumes.

Each guide contains a schedule of weekly readings of 10-15 pages and provides the questions¬†for those pages in easy to use format.¬†The questions can be used to help guide your study and/or discussions by taking you deeper into the topic. After the questions, I included¬†spaces to jot down your “Things to Ponder” and “Actions to Take”. ¬†This allows you to always have the thoughts and ideas you felt were important at your fingertips – providing yourself with both accountability and recordable progress. ¬†By using the guides, you take your study into the more effective range and begin to improve your relationships and homeschool.

Simply download, print, use your choice of binding (staples, paperclip, 3-hole punch – I prefer to spiral bind mine) and start your journey. Miss Mason’s ideas are too valuable to miss!


Download Volume 1 РHome Education here.

Download Volume 2 РParents and Children here.

Download Volume 3 РSchool Education here.

Download Volume 4 РOurselves, Book I here. (This is the first half of the book.)

Download Volume 4 РOurselves, Book II here. (This is the second half of the book.)

Download Volume 5 Formation of Character here.

Download Volume 6 РA Philosophy of Education here.

These guides are free for you to use as individuals and as study groups. Please link to my blog if you are re-posting, though.

The Burgess Animal Book Study Guide

Burgess Animal BookI’m excited to offer a new FREE study guide for the Burgess Animal Book! We’ve been using it for the last year or so and really enjoying it, so I decided to clean it up and share it with you!

This new guide features lessons that have a variety of options to pick and choose (or use them all) to take the topics deeper and to incorporate more learning styles. Each lesson includes:

  • single¬†chapter readings (either you read or listen to it on audio)
  • introduces the¬†new animal(s)
  • has both the original illustration and/or an updated color photo of the animal
  • additional readings from the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock (optional)
  • suggested Nature Study Journal entries
  • optional coloring pages (available in separate download or links)
  • and contains additional book suggestions for¬†further enjoyment

The large color pictures and nature journaling have made a big difference in our enjoyment this year. Recording what we remember about each reading has been a fun way to track the differences in families like the rabbits and squirrels. Here are a couple of our journals of the same readings on squirrels:

BAB Journal Pages

Click here to download the free guide: Burgess Animal Book Study Guide

Click here to download the coloring pages: Burgess Animal Book Coloring Pages

Click here to get my free Burgess Bird Book guide/resources: Burgess BIrd Book Study Guide