Aboard the W. G. Mather

Looking forward, toward the bow of the W. G. Mather

Sailing into History

“You would make a ship sail against the winds and currents by lighting a bonfire under her deck…I have no time for such nonsense.”
~ Napoleon

At the mention of steam power, we often envision roaring freight trains winding through the countryside. In the early twentieth-century, the power of steam was also moving massive freighters across the Great Lakes.

Continue reading “Aboard the W. G. Mather”

Photo Walk

More Than We Can Ever Learn From Books

Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books. ~ John Lubbock

Turning outdoor experiences into learning experiences is always a priority. One way we accomplish this is by starting each adventure with a plan to carefully look for examples of specific organisms or earth processes. On today’s hike, we focused our attention on wood decay fungi.

Continue reading “Photo Walk”

Jack-o-Lantern Mosaic Project

Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials.

Art from Nature

Jack-o-lantern Mosaic
Jack-o-lantern Mosaic

It’s a slow moving rainy Saturday at the schoolhouse.  Last night we filled a bag with freshly fallen maple leaves, and picked up a large brown cotton wood leaf for today’s Jack-o-lantern Mosaic project. It was the perfect night for a walk. The air was crisp and the leaves were dry.  Kicking our feet through the fallen leaves is a game that never gets old.

Early this morning, before the boys awoke, we made our cups of tea and coffee and got to work.  We cut the colorful maple leaves into small square pieces. Then, we created two pumpkin shaped forms from last night’s pizza box. Our final piece of prep work was cutting some jack-o-lantern face pieces from the cottonwood leaf.

Continue reading “Jack-o-Lantern Mosaic Project”

Growing For Learning

One Week of Growth

Cost effective, educational, and memorable

This year we set out to include homesteading activities in the lives of our boys.  It began with a simple garden of tomatoes, peppers, egg plants and cucumbers.  Before long we decided to added a second garden closer to the house with watermelon, beans, and ground cherries.

The daily task of watering, weeding, and monitoring the garden became an important part of our family schedule.  The garden provided endless opportunities to encourage our boys to learn. From the needs of plants to weather conditions it was easy to include math and science activities in our gardening time.

Continue reading “Growing For Learning”

Autumn is Here

Autumn on the Pond

A Season of Learning

Peak color is in full swing here at the schoolhouse.  Our maple trees are displaying their brilliant red and orange leaves, while the Willow, Catalpa and Osage Orange trees have turned their dismal yellow.  Even the evergreens are shedding needles. Shaking their branches to make the needles rain down has become a favorite part of our morning walks.

With Autumn’s arrival we’ve been observing and talking about change. The falling leaves, birds flying south, outside temperatures and the adjustments to our wardrobe have all made for great learning.

Yesterday we observed swarms of bald-faced hornets,

Continue reading “Autumn is Here”