Thursday, January 31, 2008

Winter Nature Study Books

Winter is a great time to get started with nature study, because there are less things to distract you. Here are some winter nature study books that I found online on

If you have any other favorite winter nature study books feel free to mention them in the comments.

Hearts and Trees Sewing School Mini Kit

I am putting together a series of mini kits, focusing on learning specific sewing skills. Each kit will include the materials and instructions for one or two easy sewing projects as well as a color Hearts and Trees Sewing School handout meant to be kept as a sewing reference.

About Mini Kit #1:
Specific Skills Developed: Two ways to make a blanket stitch- both on an edge and for an applique. Sewing on a felt applique. Sewing on a four holed button.

~blanket stitch on an edge~

This Mini Kit's Projects: A 4 1/2" x 5" pouch with button and buttonhole. A notebook cover for a 3" x 5" notebook with an applique on the front.

Materials: Felt for both projects, needle, embroidery thread, button, pins and a 3" x 5" ruled notebook. Instructions for both projects and a color Hearts and Trees Sewing School Two Ways to Sew a Blanket Stitch handout.

Your Options: I have two variations of this kit available: a yellow and orange kit with sun applique and a red and pink kit with heart applique. Please let me know which you prefer.

The pink and red kit includes a heart applique.

The yellow and orange kit includes a sun applique.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

An Snow Day Science/Nature Study Idea Video

So, we have been having an unusual amount of snow this year. It is snowing again today.

I can't remember where, but I had read awhile ago about catching and looking at snowflakes with a magnifying glass and have been wanting to try it ever since. So today I did.
My mom helped me to put together a video showing what I did. Here's hoping it will snow wherever you are so you can try it!

Feel free to leave me a comment. I'd love to hear about your experiences catching and studying snowflakes.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Carnival of Homeschooling Button Contest

Here are my entries for the Carnival of Homeschooling Button Contest. The first two are my entries into the "Whatever" category. They are 240 pixels x 192 pixels. I tried to highlight different aspects of homeschooling.

These two are my entries into the "Medium" category. They are 100 pixels x 80 pixels. (Yes, they are small but that is the specified size.)

After the 28th of January everyone will get to vote for their favorite. Be sure to check out all the other submissions. Feel free to leave me feedback in my comments. Thanks!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Bagel Bird Feeder Idea

Photo from
Winter is a great time to observe the birds. If you put out some seed to feed them, they usually come in large numbers. We love looking out our schoolroom window at our "feeding station" and watching all the different birds at the different feeders. Here is a project I remember doing when I was younger: making a bagel bird feeder.

For Two Bagel Bird Feeders You Will Need:
A day old bagel (cut in half)
Lard, peanut butter or honey
String or ribbon

To Make the Bagel Birdfeeder:
1. Spread the lard, peanut butter or honey on the bagel half.
2. Roll the bagel in the birdseed. (Or put both the covered bagel and the birdseed in a large ziplock bag and shake.)
3. Tie the string ribbon through the hole of the bagel.
4. Hang your bagel from a tree somewhere near a window and observe the birds that come to eat.
Feel free to email me photos of your completed bagel birdfeeder to share on this blog. We'd love to see birds eating your bagel birdfeeder too. And if you have any more easy birdfeeder ideas, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Weather Lapbooking Pages PDF For Sale Now

I am offering the weather lapbook pages that were included in my winter themed art, nature and handicraft kit for sale as a PDF at this time. There are 10 pages in this set. The lapbook includes: a winter nature journal, kinds of clouds, moon log, weather words, wind scale, weather record, weather forecasting, and space for your own weather poem. Instructions for putting together your lapbook are also included along with the lapbook cover featured in the photo below.

This lapbook was designed with 6-12 year olds in mind. Most of the components can be done by students of any age, but younger students may need a little extra help with the copy work and cutting. We designed it to encourage a lot of observing, so some parents with younger students are having their students do the observations (ie clouds, weather conditions, and phases of the moon) and the parent is helping with the recording.
If you would like to purchase the Weather Lapbooking Pages PDF, I am offering it for $2.95. To purchase a set you can use the Pay Now PayPal button on my blog sidebar. This is not automated, so I will have to email the lapbooking pages to you once I receive your PayPal payment. The PDF will be emailed to you within 72 hours after I receive payment. (I do not currently have Internet access at my house.) The PDF will be emailed to the email account associated with the PayPal payment I receive.

If you have any questions about the Weather Lapbooking Pages PDF feel free to email me at

*Please note if you purchase these pages they are for your own personal use and are not to be distributed or sold.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Nature Walks in Bad Weather & Charlotte Mason

"But how to get fresh air and exercise in wet or cold weather is more important since most people don't need any encouragement to be outside when the weather is nice."
(Volume 1 Page 85)

It is really true that when it is nice outside we don't need much encouragement to get outdoors to enjoy the sun and warm weather. The first few weeks of spring-like weather often move us all to take a walk, sit outside, or plan a picnic in the park. Is it any less important to get outside when it is wintery? While I admit I don't really like to be wet, there is something about being outside when it is raining or snowing. Especially when it is snowing everything seems so peaceful. The birds seem louder. Everything feels fresh and new. There can be a certain smell in the air when it rains.
"There is enough to see outside in winter to satisfy any poet. In fact, winter may be even better because there aren't so many things going on in nature that they crowd each other out. It's easier to notice what's there."
(Volume 1 Page 86)

This is a good point too. In the fall when we go outside we are easily distracted by the brightly colored leaves flashing in the wind. In spring we may focus all our attention on the new plant growth and miss out on other things around us. In the winter deciduous trees are stripped bare of their leaves and we can better see the bark and branches of the trees. We can better see the birds in the trees. If everything around us is gray anything colored will stand out to us.

"Lots of exercise in the open air is so healthy that rain shouldn't stop children from going outside unless they're sick. A wet walk tramping through rain is fun. Even the rain beating down feels good. Jogging and running in the rain is excellent as long children don't overtire themselves... Although being out in the rain is fine, children shouldn't sit around in wet clothes."
(Volume 1 Page 88)

Charlotte Mason encourages 2 to 3 hours outdoors regardless of the weather. Fresh air is good for our body, mind and heart. It is not unhealthy to be outdoors in the rainy or cold weather as long as we are wearing the proper gear and and sure to change out of any wet clothes once we come indoors.
I hope I inspired you to take your children outdoors today regardless of the type of weather you are having. And be sure to check out my winter walk scavenger hunt free download.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Official Hearts and Trees Launch Day

Officially Announcing our Winter Themed Art Kit!
Fall Art, Handicraft, and Nature Study
01-21-07 I am now SOLD OUT of winter kits. Check back to see about my spring kit March 2008.

Each kit includes the instructions and materials to complete easy and fun handicraft, art and nature study projects with a minimum of effort. (Please note that you will need to provide common art supplies such as glue, tape, watercolors, crayons, hole punch, etc.)

These kits were gathered with children ages 6-12 in mind. The parent will need to be involved in some of the more complex projects such as the hand-sewing activity and for the baking of the Sculpey.

Contents of this kit:

1. Art Print: Paul Signac’s Boulevard de Clichy, Paris
2. Paul Signac notebooking page
3. Cool Colors worksheet- to explore and discuss cool colors in art.
4. Watercolor paper & black cardstock for Cool Colors Winter Tree Crayon Resist Project
5. Materials to make Sculpey Bug Thumbtacks (colors will vary)
6. Materials to make the Easy Fleece Hat (your choice of fleece color!)
7. Instructions for the Easy Fleece Hat & the Sculpey Bug Thumbtacks
8. Instructions for the Cool Colors Crayon Resist
9. Weather Lapbook (which includes: Winter Nature Journal, Kinds of Clouds, Moon Log, Weather Words, Wind Scale, Weather Record, Weather Forecasting, and space for your own weather poem)
10. Colored file folder for Weather Lapbook (colors will vary)

We are offering this Winter Art, Handicraft, and Nature Study Kit for the low price of $9.95 plus $4.60 Priority rate postage. (If shipping outside of US or Canada, email us for shipping costs.)
Each kit is enough for one student but we will be offering additional student kits for $8.00.
If you are ordering two or three kits, please note your shipping cost will be $7.00 Priority.
I am sold out of kits, check my blog often for updates about upcoming kits.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Winter Poems for Your Nature Journals

Here are some winter poems I found online that you might want to include in your nature journals. I will try to find some winter poems that might apply to areas that don't normally have snow to post within the next few days.
Falling Snowflakes

See the pretty snowflakes
Falling from the sky;
On the wall and housetops
Soft and think they lie.

On the window ledges,
On the branches bare;
Now how fast they gather,
Filling all the air.

Look into the garden,
Where the grass was green;
Covered by the snowflakes,
Not a blade is seen.

Now the bare black bushes
All look soft and white,
Every twig is laden,
What a pretty sight!

Linda A. Copp

Snowflakes spill from heaven's hand
Lovely and chaste like smooth white sand.
A veil of wonder laced in light
Falling Gently on a winters night.
Graceful beauty raining down
Giving magic to the lifeless ground.
Each snowflake like a falling star
Smiling beauty that's spun afar.
Till earth is dressed in a robe of white
Unspoken poem the hush of night.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent and soft and slow
Descends the snow.


The snow fell softly all the night.
It made a blanket soft and white.
It covered houses, flowers and ground,
But it didn't make a single sound.
Winter Birds

I can't go visit a snowbird
-I don't know where he stays.
I can't go visit a chickadee
-He has such flitty ways.
I can't go visit a blue jay
Atop a snowy tree,
And so I scatter seeds around
And have them visit ME.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Winter Art Show

"For most of us, art education should consist of awakening the ability to appreciate, rather than the skill to create."
Volume 5 Page 233
Hello and welcome to my winter art show. I would love to share some wintry art with you today. I recommend that you print out your favorite print and hang it up somewhere in your schoolroom, or maybe on your refrigerator. Just put it somewhere you can enjoy it and take a few minutes to look at it every day. I also like to make the piece of art I am studying my desktop background, that way every time I turn on my computer I can take a few seconds to enjoy it. When you look at the art with your children you might want to ask them some of the Looking at Art Questions. Hope you enjoy. Feel free to leave links in the comments to your favorite wintry artwork.

Lawren Harris- First Snow, North Shore of Lake Superior

Childe Hassam- Winter in Union Square

Franz Marc- Dog Lying in the Snow

Claude Monet- The Red Kerchief: Portrait of Camille Monet

Katsushika Hokusai- Thunderstorm at the Foot of the Mountain

Gustave Caillebotte- View of Rooftops (Snow)

Caspar David Friedrich-Cloister Cemetery in the Snow

Caspar David Friedrich- The Sea of Ice

Grandma Moses- The Maple Bush

Grandma Moses- Sugaring Off

Alfred Sisley- Snow at Louveciennes

George Bellows- A Morning Snow- Hudson River

Paul Signac- Snow, Boulevard de Clichy, Paris

Pieter Bruegel- The Hunters in the Snow

Pieter Bruegel- Winter Landscape with a Bird Trap

All the prints, except for the Grandma Moses ones are from artchive. com. That is a great resource for looking at fine art.

And if you haven't seen my winter themed art, handicraft and nature study kit, which includes an art print of Signac's Snow, Boulevard de Clichy, Paris you can check it out here.