Posted in Family & Parenting

Raising or Spoiling

I am in the throes of HG once again and am unable to post regularly on any of my blogs.  I wanted to share this quote I came across the other day though since it is very good advice:

“If you raise your kids, then you can spoil your grandkids. But if you spoil your kids, then you’ll have to raise your grandkids.”

Source: Comment by Chef Ainsley on this YouTube video:

Posted in Subjects

Nature Study: Siberian Squill (Scilla siberica)

Siberian squill

Patch of Blue (8607806085)Back in late April, when spring was just beginning to really start in our area, Mr. Chivalry brought me some little purple flowers he had found growing on a nearby lawn. The flowers were really pretty and smelled better than any other flower I had ever smelled – and I am not a person who generally likes the smell of flowers.

We did some looking around and found out that the flowers are called “Siberian Squill.” Apparently, they can be planted across one’s lawn because they bloom in very early spring before the lawn needs to be cut and can be mown with the lawn after that. I am seriously considering planting some in my lawn since we have trouble growing grass in our soil anyway.

Here is a timelapse video of Siberial Squill coming up in the spring:

Here is information on this interesting plant and how to plant and care for it:

And here’s a Siberian Squill necklace one can actually buy.  If you visit this link, you can see the flower parts close up:

Posted in Subjects

The Gospel and Snow White

I am well aware that some homeschoolers believe that fairy tales are evil and should be avoided (See, for example, here). Yet, while recently reading some fairy tales to my children, I was struck by how deeply Christian the story of Snow White actually is. The story seemed almost as if it was a mixed-up cultural retelling of the fall and redemption (an innocent dies by the bite of a poisoned apple and needs to be brought alive again by a Prince, the son of a King, etc.).  I was going to write a post trying to explain what I saw, but then I came across an article that does it so much better than I ever could.  Here is the article for your consideration:

What are your thoughts? Do you believe fairy tales have a place in Christian education? Give your reasons in a comment below.

Posted in Subjects

They Cannot Think

Albert Anker Schreibender Knabe

“If people cannot write well, they cannot think well, and if they cannot think well, others will do their thinking for them.”

George Orwell


Posted in Subjects

Nature Study: Spotted Leopard Slug/Tiger Slug (Limax maximus)


We found several of these giant slugs in our backyard last year while doing yardwork. They can grow up to 20 cm or 8 inches in length. The ones we found were quite big like in the picture above. Check out the face on this one.

Apparently, these slugs are not native to North America. Here is a map of their distribution showing they only very slightly inhabit Canada.

Giant Leopard slugs are considered to be somewhat of a pest:

This gastropod eats fresh and rotting plants, more specifically tubers, fruits, leaves, roots, bulb flowers, ornamental plants, and perennial herbs (Kozlowski 2012).

Kozłowski, J. 2012. The Significance of Alien and Invasive Slug Species for Plant Communities in Agrocenoses. Journal of Plant Protection Research 52:67–77. (Source)

The slug also feeds at night, so determining if it is eating your garden plants may be a challenge.

Scientists seem to be quite interested in their mating habits, which are described and pictured here. I’m considering going outside at night this year to see if I can see anything like this.

Here is an interesting study that was done on leopard/tiger slugs. The information from this helped save troops ‘ lives in World War I.

Here are some informative YouTube videos about these slugs:

Posted in Subjects

Don’t Stop Reading!

Some good reasons not to stop reading literature:

William Stephen Coleman - An Interesting Story“Gregory Currie, a professor of philosophy at the University of Nottingham, recently argued in the New York Times that we ought not to claim that literature improves us as people, because there is no “compelling evidence that suggests that people are morally or socially better for reading Tolstoy” or other great books.

Actually, there is such evidence. Raymond Mar, a psychologist at York University in Canada, and Keith Oatley, a professor emeritus of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto, reported in studies published in 2006 and 2009 that individuals who often read fiction appear to be better able to understand other people, empathize with them and view the world from their perspective… A 2010 study by Mar found a similar result in young children: the more stories they had read to them, the keener their “theory of mind,” or mental model of other people’s intentions.”

Read more:

“The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) [Dr Morteza Dehghani, et al. at the Brain and Creativity Institute at USC], is a first for neuroscience…

The study suggests that exposure to narrative storytelling can have a widespread effect on triggering better self-awareness and empathy for others, regardless of the language of origin of the person exposed to it.”

Read more:

But this study has a caveat:

“While children’s book are often brightly coloured and stuffed with pictures, new research has found they could actually be making it harder for children to learn to read.

University of Sussex psychologists have shown that having more than one illustration per page results in poorer word learning among pre-schoolers.”

Read more:

So keep on reading to yourself and your children, but try to find books that don’t overdo it on the picture side!

Posted in Curriculum & Reviews

Exploring Canada with our Senses (A Review)

Background: A friend of the author gave our family a copy of this book and we loved it. The book can be purchased at Amazon.

Grade: A+

Verdict: This is the perfect book for introducing K-1 students to Canadian Geography. It is a definite addition to our family’s homeschool curriculum.

What I Like:

  • The book contains a simple and beautifully illustrated 2-page spread for each Canadian province and territory
  • Each spread has simple text for each Canadian province and territory identifying 5 things according to the 5 senses: taste, touch, sight, hearing, and smell. This makes the book suitable for introductory Science as well as Geography.
  • Each spread gives a good sense of the distinctiveness of each province and territory.  My kids had fun trying to decide which one was their favorite.  I had a chuckle when one of them declared that Ontario looked the best and begged to go there – especially since we live there!
  • The text is not overwhelming for young children. Nor does it simply throw facts at the reader. It links facts about each province and territory to the ideas of what can be seen, heard, touched, tasted, or smelled there.
  • The artwork is gorgeous and makes the reader want to visit each place illustrated.
  • The book is so simple yet comprehensive that it is perfect for young children who have a hard time sitting still or who have short attention spans. At the same time, it is visually interesting enough to captivate older children as well (I’d say up to age 8 or so depending on the child’s reading level).

What I Don’t Like:

  • There is nothing I don’t like about this book.

Final Thoughts:

I would definitely recommend this book for Canadian homeschoolers looking to introduce their little ones to the beauty of our great nation. Pairing the book with the Road to 150 videos from Must Do Canada for each province and territory makes for a great visual introduction to the vastness that is Canada. This one is a keeper for our homeschool library.