Archive for November 29th, 2006

Tree in Our Trail

November 29, 2006 @ 1:18 pm | Filed under: , ,

Holling Clancy Holling’s books seem to be a staple for the homeschooling library, and ours is no exception. The girls and I have enjoyed several of Holling’s books over the years, especially Paddle to the Sea and Pagoo. (The title character of the latter book served as the namesake for not one, not two, but three hermit crabs who were cherished members of our family for a couple of years. Ah, Pagoo, Pagooess, and Pagooie, we knew ye well!)


I had tucked Tree in the Trail aside to await the right moment, and the other day I decided that moment is now. It’s the story of a cottonwood tree that takes root along what would later become the Santa Fe trail. Our recent cross-country tripapalooza took us right along sections of that very trail, and the scenery in the book is now very meaningful to my kids!

We are only four chapters in, but so far all of us are loving it. I actually got choked up when the Indian brave who saved the tree as a sapling came back to visit it on horseback later. The girls were transfixed by the idea that there was a time when "horseback" didn’t exist, a time when people didn’t know about riding horses. Sure, we’ve read other books about horseless cultures, but you don’t really think about about the absence of riding animals when you’re immersed in tales of what the characters ARE doing. It was a great light-bulb moment for the kids, especially Rose (my horse fanatic), another making-real of knowledge that had been merely dry fact before. Which is the best, the very best, thing about reading with my children: seeing those lights come on, and basking in their warm glow.

More Gift Ideas: Books on Drawing

November 29, 2006 @ 7:51 am | Filed under: ,

In the comments yesterday, Faith of Dumb Ox Academy wrote:

Thanks Lissa! This is perfect timing. We have been doing ten minutes of
drawing at our Family school (or what the kids call Breakfast school).
My kids are very intimidated by drawing and all claim they can’t, so we
decided from now until Christmas we’d draw every morning for ten
minutes. These little exercises will fit perfectly into our new routine.

My kids have all enjoyed and been quite inspired by the I Can Draw series published by Usborne Books. Here’s an excerpt from a long piece about drawing books I wrote last last year—

These are some drawing books my kids are nuts about. The Usborne
ones NEVER stay on the shelf; someone is always using one, it seems.
They’re also fond of the Draw Write Now series, but we’ve always
ignored the Write part. They just like the step-by-step instructions
for drawing things like the Statue of Liberty and buffalo. (We only
have a couple of them, but I’m assuming the others are just as good.)

I Can Draw Animals

I Can Draw People

I Can Crayon

On The Farm, Kids & Critters, Storybook Characters (Draw Write Now, Book 1)

Christopher Columbus, Autumn Harvest, The Weather (Draw Write Now, Book 2)

Native Americans, North America, The Pilgrims (Draw Write Now, Book 3)

The Polar Regions, The Arctic, The Antarctic (Draw Write Now, Book 4)

The United States, From Sea to Sea, Moving Forward (Draw Write Now, Book 5)

Animals & Habitats — On Land, Ponds & Rivers, Oceans (Draw Write Now, Book 6)

Animals of the World, Part 1: Tropical Forests, Northern Forests, Forests Down Under (Draw Write Now, Book 7)

Animals of the World, Part 2: Savannas, Grasslands, Mountains and Deserts (Draw Write Now, Book 8)

Mark Kistler’s Draw Squad

And these are two books that I’ve been using to improve my own
skills a little…I especially love the snippets of advice Claire
Walker Leslie gives for drawing trees, plants, birds, etc. She has a
knack for pointing out just the right way to approach the tricky bits
that don’t come naturally to me, like how to make a tree branch look
like it’s really curving out of a trunk.

Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You

The Usborne Complete Book of Drawing

There’s also a highly rated video program called Draw Today which I’ve got on my own Christmas wish list! Have any of you tried it out?

As for stuff with which to draw, I tackled that topic too on Bonny Glen a while back.