Joining up with the Virtual Book Club for Kids. This month’s author is Tomie dePaola. We read the book The Song of Francis.

The Song of Francis, book cover

The Song of Francis is a story of Saint Francis of Assisi; it beautifully captures his character through simple text and vibrant illustrations.

Lily found a kindred spirit in Saint Francis; she loved that he loved the birds and nature.


I was interested to learn that dePaolo considered being a Benedictine Monk for a time.  After living in a monastery for a few months he rejoined secular life but he continues to draw on religious inspiration.[1] He has created murals, such as that in the Dominican Retreat Chapel in Niskayuna, NY.

Religious influence can also be seen in his artistic work as an author and illustrator; dePaola has written many stories based on religious stories and characters besides The Song of Francis, including The Miracles of Jesus, The Parables of Jesus, Mary: The Mother of Jesus, Francis: The Poor Man of Assisi, Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland, and The Holy Twins: Benedict and Scholastica.

We explored the life of Saint Francis by looking at his song, the Canticle of the Sun (here is a modern interpretation that we listened to performed by Jacob JohnsSon) and images of him in manuscripts, icons, and folk art (favorite works of Saint Francis include those by Sadao Watanabe, Jose Fransico Borges, Elayne LaPorta, M.C. Escher, and Gertrud Mueller Nelson). I also read to Lily excerpts from, The Little Flowers of Saint Francis of Assisi and  God’s Troubadour, The Story of St. Francis Assisi by Sophie Jewett, a children’s story about the life of Saint Francis.

Because she is fascinated with The Secret of Kells, I decided to expand our reading by having Lily make a manuscript-style artwork of Saint Francis. Lily made her artwork by first drawing out the images and text in pencil. She then went over the lines with permanent marker and filled in the color with watercolor paints. She drew a picture of Saint Francis with a bird and her text (she had me spell everything out for her) reads, “Saint Francis preached to the birds. He loved nature.” 


Lily's manuscript-style drawing of Saint Francis


This is a blog hop but I can’t post the linky (no javascript allowed on free WordPress blogs). Here is a list of the other bloggers that are participating in the Virtual Book Club:

Toddler ApprovedRainy Day MumAdventures in Reading with Kids3 DinosaursRoyal BalooThe Educators’ Spin On ItInspiration LaboratoriesPleasantest Thing Edventures with Kids Two Big Two Little Playing With Words 365Kitchen Counter ChroniclesOutlaw MomMommy and Me Book ClubCrafty Moms ShareNo Twiddle TwaddleThe Good Long Road Ready. Set. Read 2 MeReading Confetti Mama SmilesJuggling with KidsMom to 2 Posh Lil DivasCreekside LearningCreative Family FunThe Usual MayhemTeach PreschoolPlayDrMomCraftoArtHere Come the GirlsBeing a Conscious ParentSmiling like SunshineCrayon FrecklesTrain Up a ChildSmile Play Learn



[1]“Tomie dePaola.” Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2012. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 23 Nov. 2012. 




my new love

September 17, 2011

I noticed that I  mostly post about nature study and social studies so I thought I would spice things up by sharing a resource I found recently–

                        Follow Me on Pinterest

At first I thought it was just good for keeping up with cool books, toys, clothes, etc. but I eventually caught on that I can use it for our home school, too. Not only can I have a visual space for all the hs related bookmarks I’ve collected, but I can contiue to collect relevant articles, etc. by browsing through the boards of other Pinterest users.

I have to admit that I have spent much of my leisure time lately pinning and repinning, but today I made it worthwhile by actually doing one of the projects I pinned.

When we started school back in August Bug was so excited about learning to read, but now I am noticing a lack of enthusiasm when it comes time for reading lessons. We are using Engelmann’s Teach Your Child to Read, which I thought would work well for both of us, but every time we sit down to do it, she groans and I tell her if we just push through it we can move onto something else. This is not the attitude I want either of us to have.

Thankfully she has not lost that gleam in her eye when she picks up a book and she loves writing lessons. To make the reading lessons better I thought we could go beyond the Engelmann book with some hands-on activities. Thanks to Pinterest I found just that. Here is a link to the original post from the Filth Wizard blog. And here is a pic of her very own little set of Lego spellers that I made today (complete with the letters to build her favorite word–rat).

three r’s

July 19, 2011


I have always just let her play and read books to her, but I think it is time to get to work now. 

I know that she is very interested in learning to read and write  (she makes up her own runes, has loved reading since she was a tiny thing, and is always writing “essays”) and it is time for kindergarten anyhow.

The foundation for L’s kindergarten year has come together thanks to friends, friends of friends, and various hs and educational communities that I found on-line. Taking into account what others said about them and my goals for her education, these are the materials I settled on for the core subjects, you know, those three R’s.

For reading and writing:

(starting with) Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Engelmann

(after about lesson 75 when the standard alphabet is introduced)  Letters and Numbers for Me by Jan Olsen

(after Englelmann and Olsen) First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind by Jessie Wise

and for math:

RightStart Mathematics Level A Lessons For Home Educators by Joanne Cotter

(and if we move through that without problems we will move on to level B)

Of course I decided on all this without any hs experience or formal educational training so ask me at the end of the year how they worked out for us.

review: starfall

November 6, 2010

Internet resource review of Starfall‘s ABC practice for kindergarten–

This page provides pre-reading and computer practice for younger children.

 It is a great introduction to using the computer’s mouse–L has an easy time navigating within the page without moving to others since the lay-out brings the kids’ attention to the big bright bold letter buttons (and no distracting advertisements).

Within each letter page, the kids navigate by clicking on the featured letter (it sparkles if they haven’t done so within a few seconds) and arrows to move on to the next screen for the letter. At the end of each letter page, there is a simple game where the kids click once on a letter and drag and drop it into the correct place. All along the way the activities reward successful navigation with simple animations, which also help enforce letter symbol and sound recognition.

Along the bottom row, there are also short video’s with songs and a mix of animation and live-action that reinforce phonemic awareness.

Both the activities and  songs make this page a useful supplement when working on pre-reading skills.