Tag Archives: Abecedarians

Tutor Tip: Science Detectives During Science Experiments

5 Aug

For my fellow Abecedarian tutors out there, I have been working these past 2 days on the first 6 weeks of Science Projects. (Trying to do some advanced planning and get my ducks in a row!) One fun thing that I am doing with the Science Projects this year is to dub my Abecedarians–“Science Detectives.” I will refer to them in calls as “Science Detectives” and encourage them to help solve the science mystery of the day (aka “the experiment”) using the Scientific Method. I will explain that the Scientific Method will be our “map” that we will follow to conduct our experiment, and it will lead us to SOLVE THE MYSTERY of the experiment!

Suzanne, the Science Detective

I might even dress up as a detective (or at least carry around my trusty magnifying glass) to get into character. I’m thinking that my little Abecedarians will enjoy being Science Detectives, don’t you?!?! (Their tutor probably will enjoy this as well!)

For those of you with older kiddos, you might be able to pull this off as well?!?!? I just finished a “Detective-Themed” VBS in Chicago two weeks ago, and I was the 5th grade/rising 6th grade teacher. I thought they would scoff at pretending to be “detectives,” but they whole-heartedly jumped in and loved it! So, maybe those of you with Apprentices, Journeymen and Masters might have some fellow Sherlock Holmes Science Detectives in your classroom this year, too! ūüôā

Have fun LEARNING this year! To know God and to make Him known!

[photo credit: My Cute Graphics]

Classical Conversations Parent: Year 1 vs. Year 2

19 May

Classical Conversations Parent

This is the first post in a 2 part series. Read the second post, “Classical Conversations TUTOR Reflections: Year 1 vs. Year 2” here.

Our Classical Conversations Community had a Mom’s Night Out this past week, and many of the women present have just joined CC. Their families will be starting in a Foundations class this fall. Many of the “newbies” asked questions that I asked 365 days prior. Our first year of Foundations was the first year of our community; 99% of the moms in our community were also “newbies.” I didn’t have many “seasoned” CC Moms that I could talk with and ask my litany of questions. So, I did as any homeschooling mom would do! I jumped in and navigated our first year of Foundations to the best of my ability.

For my family there were a few successes our first year; this led us to sign up for a second year of CC. However, there were many, many choices that I made, which I¬†never wanted to replicate. The consequences of those decisions my first year left me in a state of complete and utter burnout. I took the summer “off” in between year 1 and year 2 recognizing that I was burned out. I was in such a state of physical and mental exhaustion that, honestly, I was not completely “back to normal” when we started our 2nd year of CC four months later. However, God was so gracious! He sustained me, restored me physically and mentally, and led us down a drastically different path for¬†year 2 of CC.¬†Our second year finished about three weeks ago, and I can summarize it with these words: joyous, exhilarating, and FUN!

Because year 1 and year 2 ended in such different ways, I have spent the past several weeks reflecting on why.¬†I decided to put my reflections down on paper so that I can re-read them later in the summer and throughout the months of our family’s third year of Classical Conversations. I hope and pray they will be encouraging to those of you preparing to start CC for the first time.

1) “Let Your First Year of Classical Conversations Wash Over¬†You.”

“Let your first year of Classical Conversations wash over you.” One of the CC moms shared this at the Mom’s Night Out this week. She was given this nugget of wisdom by a close friend who is a CC Challenge tutor. As soon as she said it, I looked at her and said, “Wow, that is so true! I wish someone had told me this our first year of CC!”

I was not classically educated as a child, and I knew little about how to practically educate my sons according to the classical model. My classical model “learning curve” our first year was the size of Mount Everest. Instead of taking our first year to soak up CC and to learn more about the classical model, I was intent on implementing it! Can you say, “cart before the horse?!?!”

I think it’s safe to say that you can not implement what you do not know. So, if this is your first year of Classical Conversations, drink deeply from all 24 weeks. Yes, you may feel like you are drinking from a fire hydrant, but take lots of deep breaths along the way as you immerse yourself in CC. The other beautiful component of Classical Conversations is repetition.¬†Even though our first year was treacherous and exhausting, I knew that we would do CC again the following school year and most likely three years later when Cycle 1 rolled around¬†again! If you have “gaps” in your Classical Conversations learning your first year and plan to do CC in the future, know that those gaps aren’t permanent. They can be filled in during your subsequent years. Your depth of wisdom, insight, and understanding will increase with each year (and with each week of CC your¬†first¬†year, for that matter!). So, take a deep breath and repeat after me, “I will let my first year of Classical Conversations wash over me.” There! You feel better already, right?!!?

2) Seek To Understand the Classical Model.

I have a confession to make. We just finished our second year of Classical Conversations, and this is the first¬†year that I’ve made it my aim to do an¬†in-depth study¬†of the classical model. I am just finishing¬†Echo in Celebration (FREE download) and The Core both written by Classical Conversations founder Leigh Bortins. My first piece of advice for a new CC mom is “Let your first year of Classical Conversations wash over you.” My second piece of advice is to read Echo in Celebration and The Core. These books will give you a breadth of understanding regarding the classical model and why CC is created and mapped out in its particular way. On a personal note, I felt “freed up” after reading both of these books. Many of the expectations that I was placing on myself as a home school mom and my children, my students, were obliterated after reading these books.

Also, if you have already purchased your Foundations Guide¬†know that it is a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips! Make it your task this summer to read pages 8-40 in the Foundations Guide. The logic and reasoning behind the structure of Classical Conversations is presented, which may prevent many “Why does CC do it this way?” questions your first year. Another question that I am always asked regarding CC is, “What curriculum do I need to buy?” If this is your question, read, “The Classical Model at Home” article on pages 31- 37 of the Foundations Guide. Leigh Bortins. Her encouragement is: “1) a rigorous language arts program that progresses with your child’s ability, 2) a complete math program, 3) memorization to train the mind, and 4) lots of reading, writing, discussing and relating centered around the best God has to offer” (page 32-33). ¬†I also loved the simplicity of her encouragement to “remember to focus on language arts and math until your child is an excellent reader” (page 33), which is the place where I am currently with my sons. Isn’t that wonderfully liberating?!?!?

Leigh Bortins also shares how her family breaks down their school day into 4, one hour segments. The discussion begins on page 33. This 4, one hour segment approach was eye opening and invaluable to my family this past year. I plotted our 4, one hour segments over the summer in preparation for the 2013-14 school year. We followed the 4 segment approach this school year, and it was glorious! I especially loved how the 4, one hour segment approach served as a “budget” for me regarding what curriculum we did or did not use this year. If a curriculum did not fit into one of the 4 segments, I omitted it. I am notorious for having¬†too much¬†to accomplish in a day or a school year. The 4 segments aided me in trimming the “fat” from my curriculum list and focusing on the essentials that my sons needed. The curriculum that I had already purchased to use for the 2013-14 school year prior to reading the article (like Apologia Astronomy!) I was forced to shelve. I decided that we’d go through the additional pieces during our non-CC weeks or during the summer.

3) No, You DO NOT Have To Read A Book About Every New Grammar Fact Your Child Memorizes.

Just thinking back to our first year¬†wears me out. I think I’m still recovering from it! HA! The root cause of this was my effort to find a book to read about every factoid that my sons were memorizing each week in New Grammar. For the sake of all that’s good in the world, please¬†don’t make this same mistake as I did! I made this error in judgement because of my lack of understanding about the classical model. The Foundations level of Classical Conversations is based on the Grammar stage of the classical model. This is the stage where a student memorizes the “grammar” of a variety of subjects (in the case of CC, the 7 subjects of History, Timeline, English, Latin, Math, Science, and Geography). I assumed that my boys needed to completely¬†understand every factoid that they learned during the 24 weeks of Foundations. ¬†However, this level of understanding is associated with the second stage of the classical model, the Dialectic stage (see Foundations Guide page 27). My boys are ages 8, 6, and 4 and no where close to the Dialectic stage; they are purely Grammar-ites these days. Their desire and ability to understand the “why” and “how” behind the grammar that they are memorizing will come with age. (For more information on the freedom of the Grammar Stage, read this article¬†by Brandy from Half A Hundred Acre Wood. I promise you will be freed up even more¬†after reading it!)

At our Mom’s Night Out this past week, one of the mom’s asked me, “Do you just go to the library and pick out books related to what your kids learn in CC that week?” My first answer was an emphatic, “NO.”¬†Follow the lead of your child. If he/she wants more information about a piece of New Grammar, he/she will ask you. When they want to know more about a History Statement or an event on the Timeline Card, look on the back of the respective Timeline Card and read it to them. If he/she is curious about this week’s Science question, read the “Science Snippet” for that week that is accessible on CC Connected or the CC App. Or, sometimes a one word answer will do.

Son: Mommy, who was Franklin D. Roosevelt?
Me: He was one of the Presidents of the United States.
Son: Oh, okay! (He scurries off to build again with Legos.)
Me: I release a huge sigh of relief, realizing that he wasn’t asking for specifics of the New Deal. ha! ūüôā

It is okay to check out books at the library about the week’s New Grammar. Don’t get me wrong! Just know that a successful Foundations year is not based on your child’s ability to explain each piece of New Grammar ¬†in dissertation-like form.

4) A Classical Notebook is my BFF

One tool that we used in year 2 that we did not use in year 1 is a Classical Notebook. I learned about a Classical Notebook from Half A Hundred Acre Wood’s article last summer. The Classical Notebook serves as a means of built-in review for the week’s New Grammar as well as handwriting practice, and it is an independent activity that my sons can accomplish. All of these reasons had me “sold” on the idea of a Classical Notebook before ever using it! I made documents for our Classical Notebook over the summer, and off we set on this new adventure. Our CC school year is over now, and I am happy to announce that the Classical Notebooks were fabulous! After only a couple of weeks, my sons were in the routine of doing their Classical Notebook each day. Their favorite days were Wednesdays and Thursdays because they got to illustrate a Timeline card and the History statement. I enjoyed watching them flourish with independent work. Also, I loved knowing that they were reviewing New Grammar while also cultivating discipline and self-control; the Classical Notebook required them to sit for an extended period of time at our school table. (Now, my boys can always use extra practice with that!)¬†We will¬†definitely¬†use a Classical Notebook again for year 3 of our CC adventure!

5) Give yourself grace, your child is learning a vast quantity of information (probably more than you learned at this age)

When I first started homeschooling, I had idealized views of what a typical school day looked like. In those visions of grandeur, my sons were joyous about each moment of each subject, they never complained about learning, and the 3 boys and I got along splendidly during each school day. Then, my visions of grandeur melded with reality, and school days transpired very differently. ūüôā The majority of our school days involve accomplishment of what needs to be done for “school,” but it’s not always with a “happy heart” (theirs or mine ūüôā ). Most school days are pleasant, even fun, but there are those days when our sinful flesh results in broken relationships where confession and repentance are required. Then, there are some days when, honestly, life happens and little appears to be “accomplished.” In those days, the guilt and self-doubt creeps into my brain. “Am I doing enough? Are my sons learning anything?”

The beautiful addition of CC to our home school has allowed me to give myself grace in the midst of self-doubt. I can look self-doubt and guilt in the face and scream, “YES, they are learning; they are learning a lot!” After 2 years of CC, I am flabbergasted at the quantity of information that my sons have learned! (This includes my 4 year old, who has yet to be in a formal CC class but has learned as much as his brothers through our review time at home!) If I accomplish nothing in a school day except reviewing the CC New Grammar, I have done a lot! This is helping hammer the memory pegs of the New Grammar even further into their little brains. If your child only remembers the New Grammar from any given cycle, he/she will still be ahead of the curve! So, if you are having a challenging home school day, give yourself grace! Take a few moments to review the New Grammar and then, go spend the rest of the day at the park! Rest in knowing that your kiddos are learning more than you realize!

Enjoy your first year (or 2nd, 3rd, or 4th) of Classical Conversations! Enjoy learning with your children and finding God in all things!¬†Here’s another post from the archives that offers encouragement to those of you beginning Classical Conversations!

Are you a seasoned Classical Conversations parent? What advice and wisdom would you offer to a new Classical Conversations family? Please post your sage words in a comment below. We will¬†all¬†benefit greatly from what you share! Looking forward to reading it! ūüôā

CC Tutor Tidbit: The grammar of Physics

19 Jan

If you are a Tutor for Classical Conversations, you are very much aware that these next 6 weeks of science experiments focus on Physics. I took Physics in high school–circa mid-1990s–and I have only a few recollections of the class. I wanted a “refresher” course in order to review and understand the grammar of Physics particularly relating to the science experiments for Weeks 13-18. I stumbled upon these two gems from my library and wanted to pass them along.

The Science of Music (by Melvin Berger)This book was geared for middle/high school, so I don’t recommend this for class reading. ūüôā However, it was a helpful refresher on sound, sound waves, pitch, frequency, how our ears hear and detect sound (fascinating!!) for this Tutor! ūüôā This book is an excellent book in preparation for our 6 weeks of Orchestra! It goes through the Orchestra sections–percussion, woodwinds, strings, brass–and details the mechanics of how sound is produced by each type of instrument. I will most definitely reference information from the instruments section of this book for Weeks 18-24 of the Orchestra!¬†I loved the unifying of subjects in this book–science and instruments!

Rubber-Band Banjos and a Java Jive Bass (Alex Sabbeth)The subtitle to this book is aptly named, “Projects & Activities on the Science of Music & Sound.” This most definitely is geared towards elementary learners. There are wonderful, most simplistic definitions and introductions to sound, sound waves, frequency and how sound is taken in by our ears. There is also a section dedicated to instruments–strings, woodwinds, percussion–and how their sounds are made. This book is almost identical to the content covered. Both books are excellent, yet being geared for younger children this one is the simpler of the two to digest and understand (at least it was for this grown up!). It includes multiple activities to make and do with the concepts/ideas covered, and even has “instrument making” as several of the projects!

I know my Physics teacher, Mr. Wilson, would be so proud to know that I’m brushing up on my Physics. ūüôā Happy Physics learning in Weeks 13-18 of CC!

Cycle 2 Math Resources Second Semester

18 Jan

These are some various Math resources that can be used with Classical Conversations or by any family wanting to reinforce some Math concepts at home.

Liquid Equivalent Activity

Liquid Measurement Equivalencies: This activity helps with how many cups are in a pint, pints in a gallon, etc. ūüôā I always have to remind myself of these when I’m cooking! You can download the activity here:¬†Liquid Equivalents Activity¬†. Also, visit this post for a couple of different “Mr. Gallon Man” options. My sons loved making their own “Mr. Gallon” man. We have them hanging in our school room, and it is another great visual to reinforce these liquid equivalents.

Linear Equivalents.blog

Linear Measurement Equivalencies:¬†I made this to use with my Abecedarians in my CC Class. Last year, my sweet little kiddos kept saying, “2.54 = 1 INCHWORM” instead of “1 inch.” Hilarious! You can download the file here:¬†Linear Equivalents

Metric Measurements

Metric Measurement Equivalencies:¬†Don’t you remember converting the metric system when you were in school?!?! I remember that our teacher taught us “Kids Hate Doing Meters, Don’t Confuse Me” as a mnemonic¬†device for remembering the various metric prefixes. See, teachers, keep passing those mnemonic¬†onto your kiddos, they work! I learned that approximately 25 years ago! (Whew, I’m old! HA!) You can download the file here:¬†Metric Measurements

Math Laws

Math Laws:¬†Here’s a quick printable with the 4 Math Laws for Addition and Multiplication. I laminated these for my students. As we recited the laws, they traced over the letters and numbers using a dry erase marker. One of the perks of laminating documents is that they can be used again and again with a dry erase marker. (I have this laminator and love it immensely.) Download the file here:¬†Math Laws

How Tall, How Short, How Far Away? (David A. Adler)–While you’re studying measurements and equivalencies, check out this gem of a book! It is a vibrantly illustrated book that will be a fun way to see these few weeks of Math Grammar come to life. Go here to read a post I wrote about the book last year.

Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood

This post is a part of a CC Link up over at Half A Hundred Acre Wood. See more posts here.

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy here.

Demonstrative & Interrogative Pronouns–FREE printable

20 Oct

Several weeks ago, I posted my Pronoun Packet free download, which covered 6 weeks of pronouns (Weeks 3-8). I primarily made only those 6 weeks of pronouns because I wanted to visualize them in relation to the Pronoun Order.

Demonstrative Pronouns Picture.

I had a reader email today to inquire if I was planning to make worksheets for the remaining weeks of pronouns for Cycle 2. Since I’m a visual learner, I had already thought about the “?” picture for the Interrogative Pronouns. Then, one quick look at the Demonstrative Pronouns, and I immediately visualized a “T” in my mind. However, I think I’m all done with Pronouns for Cycle 2. I haven’t had a visual epiphany for what to do with all of those indefinite pronouns! Whew! ¬†If I¬†do¬†have that visual epiphany, don’t worry, you’ll be the first to find out!

Interrogative Pronoun Picture

You can download the file here: Interrogative & Demonstrative Pronouns. The file includes the worksheets for both the Interrogative and Demonstrative Pronouns (weeks 9-10). Enjoy!

Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood

This is a part of the¬†Cycle 2 Weekly Link Up at Half a Hundred Acre Wood. Go there now for other great resources. ūüôā

If you have children, I highly recommend this App…

13 Oct

For my CC readers, in case you haven’t heard, the CC Cycle 2 app for use with iPhone, iPad or iPod is available for $14.99 at the iTunes App store. My kids love it and can’t wait to review their Memory Work with it!

—>>>If you are a Suzanne Shares reader, and NOT a Classical Conversations family, PLEASE KEEP READING! The rest of this post is for YOU!<<<—

If you have preschool and/or school age children in your family, I would encourage you to purchase this app! Yes, even if you don’t participate in Classical Conversations.

Here’s why:

1) Skip counting songs–I can¬†not¬†say enough about the “Skip Counting Songs” (for use with skip counting numbers by 1s, 2s, 3s, 4s, and all the way up to the 15s!) to aid in memorizing and mastering multiplication facts. My oldest son participated in Classical Conversations for the first time last year. This was also the year that he learned his multiplication facts. I LOVE¬† Math but¬†was¬†freaked out¬†at the idea of teaching him multiplication.

That Fall, we learned all of the “Skip Counting Songs” through Classical Conversations. That Spring, his math curriculum¬†introduced multiplication. The “Skip Counting Songs” were already cemented into his brain, so that knowledge easily transferred over to multiplication facts. He learned his multiplication facts easily and painlessly. (WHEW!) No, I am not a teacher-extraordinaire–the “Skip Counting Songs” are!

If your child is struggling with multiplication facts, or you would like to ease¬†into introducing them, buy this app; it will be worth every penny! Yes, $14.99 might seem a little “pricy” for an App, but if you think of the cost of a Multiplication Songs cd, they average between $10-$15. With this App, you will get the Skip Counting Songs…and so much more!

You will find these skip counting songs  on the MATH section of the App.

2) Presidents Song–My 3 sons (including my 3 year old!) all learned the Presidents of the United States last year. How? Again, I am not a teacher-extraordinaire–the “Presidents Song” is! This catchy song is on the Classical Conversations Cycle 2 App! After listening to this a few times, your kiddos will be able to sing the United States Presidents to you–in order. It is awe-inspiriting ¬†to observe! Their 30-something-year-old Mom has finally learned all of the Presidents, too, thanks to this Presidents Song.

You will find the President’s Song on the TIMELINE section of the App (week 24).

3) Geography, History and Timeline facts–This App also has 24 weeks of Geography locations (the first week will teach your children all of the continents’ names and locations as well as the world’s oceans!), the 24 History Statements are set to music (and cover history ranging from 800-1990s), and a Timeline (covering 161 major historical events from Creation to the 2000s)

It’s no secret that children can memorize, memorize, memorize while they are young! (Seriously, my 3 year old could sing the President’s Song perfectly after hearing the song less than 10 times!) God made their little minds to soak up information like a sponge! Why not take advantage of their God-given ability and cram their little minds with facts from Math, History, Timeline, English Grammar, Latin, and Science while it’s easy for them? This will only propel them further in their future learning endeavors.

If you are looking for a way to do so, I whole-heartedly recommend the Classical Conversations Cycle 2 App.¬† If your child enjoys music, there is also a wonderful Timeline Song from Classical Conversations that can be purchased separately. It covers all of the Timeline Cards (excluding the Presidents) shown in the TIMELINE section of the App in a catchy, memorable, I-find-myself-singing-it-all-the-time song. (As a side note, the Timeline events have helped me¬†tremendously¬†in my understanding of the Bible. The historical context of the Old Testament was always “foggy” to me. As I have memorized the Timeline events thanks to the Timeline Song, my depth of understanding of the Old Testament has soared! I’m so, so thankful!)

I am excited to SHARE this wonderful resource with you! I would love to hear how your kiddos enjoy it!

Solar System Song (& my FAVORITE Geography Songs cd)

7 Oct

I’ve written extensively about my favorite geography cd–Geography Songs. I love it for so many reasons! One other fun song that is coming in handy these days is the Solar System Song. Buy it solo for $0.99 or buy the whole album for $8.99 (come on, just buy the whole album! You’ll thank me, I promise!)¬†We are knee-deep in¬†astronomy these days with Classical Conversations, so this is a helpful way for me to review the solar system order with my sons.

One note about the Solar System song–it lists 9 planets revolving around the sun. (I don’t think they got the memo about Pluto.) When I used it today in my Abecedarians class, I sang¬†Neptuuuuuuuuuuuuune very loudly¬†to cover up their singing of “Pluto.” I also sang “EIGHT PLANETS”¬†very loudly to camouflage their joyful serenading of¬†“NINE PLANETS revolve around the sun.” My little Abecedarians loved the song and didn’t seem to notice that I did a quick “re-write” off-the-cuff of the song. ha! ūüôā

Enjoy the song, and don’t mind me, I’ll be over on the couch¬†reading this book…

and¬†loudly¬†singing Neptuuuuuuuuuuuuuuune and “EIGHT PLANETS.”

I’m still a little bitter that my favorite planet as a child…is no longer a planet. Does anyone else share my sentiments?

Egg Carton Multiplication and Skip Counting Game–FREE PRINTABLE

5 Oct


If you missed¬†my post earlier in the week highlighting the Egg Carton Multiplication and Skip Counting Game that we use ’round our house, you can read more about it here.

GREAT NEWS for those of you wanting to make this for your kiddos, Brandy from Half a Hundred Acre Wood made a printable with ALL of the numbers needed for skip counting/multiplying the 1s, 2s, 3s,…all the way to the 15s AND including the squares and cubes! ūüôā One of the fun things about creating this blog a year ago is that I’ve gotten to make fun friends out in the blogosphere. I even got to meet Brandy this summer @ our CC Practicum; she was our tutor trainer (how awesome is that?!?!) She’s just as wonderful, humble, enthusiastic, and caring in person as evidenced and exuded by her blog. She graciously emailed me the file to share with all of YOU! Download the file, print it (I would probably laminate it…because I laminate everything! ha!), number your egg carton, and you’re set! SO EASY!¬†

—>>Here’s the file! Click to download:¬†skip-count-cards¬†<<—

Also, two other quick suggestions:
1) 1 and 1/2 dozen egg carton–Brandy wisely used an 18-egg carton when she made hers at home. This allows for skip counting/multiplying the 13s, 14s, and 15s. GREAT idea, Brandy! You’ll see this picture in the file download.

2) Sytrofoam vs. Cardboard Egg Cartons–salmonella can “live” in the cardboard egg cartons, so go with a styrofoam one if you can. We normally use a styrofoam one, but it got left @ CC on Monday after we skip counted the 12s with my Abecedarians. This cardboard one was improvised for the picture. ūüôā

Tin Whistles need sleeping bags (oh, yes, they do!)

4 Oct


Dear Wise, Experienced, Seasoned Tutor,

You may not have known it, wise, experienced, seasoned Tutor, but I was a first year Tutor attending Tutor Training last year. I had only signed up for Classical Conversations two weeks prior, and found myself in the role of Tutor as well. Most of my memories from year #1 Tutor Training consisted of feelings of panic, asking myself, “What am I doing?”, and resisting the urge to breathe into a brown paper sack due to hyperventilation. However, wise, experienced, seasoned Tutor, you made one suggestion that stuck in my over-stimulated, drinking-from-a-fire-hydrant-information-overloaded brain—sleeping bags¬†for Tin Whistles.

You suggested that we make these for the children in our class to help prevent random, impulsive, impromptu Tin Whistle concerts. I yielded to your wisdom and made 8 sleeping bags for my Abecedarians last year, and the words that you spoke were truth. These handmade, vintage, biodegradable, construction paper-based sleeping bags did exactly as you said. They aided my Abecedarians in resisting the urge to perform symphonic sonatas and harmonious melodic tunes until the appropriate time in class.

I do not know your name wise, experienced, seasoned Tutor. If I did I would search for you on Facebook to the ends of the earth to find you and give you my most sincerest thanks. (My ears would oblige, as well.)

With deepest gratitude,
Suzanne Shares

P.S. I don’t remember your mentioning, Wise, Seasoned, Experienced Tutor, that parents should label their children’s Tin Whistles with a Sharpie. I am sure that was an oversight on your part. I know that preventing the spread of germs, strep throat and various and sundry fall and winter illnesses would be of utmost concern for you. Again, my utmost thanks for your inspiration.


DIY Tin Whistle sleeping bag–Fold one sheet of construction paper “hot dog” style. Apply glue on the long side (opposite the fold) and on¬†one¬†of the short sides. Press together. Leave the other short side unglued in order to insert the Tin Whistle for his nap time. Add your child’s name and reuse for 6 weeks.image

What do Constellations & Curious George have in common?

4 Oct

What do constellations and Curious George have in common?!?!? The author, H.A. Rey! Did you know that H.A. Rey, creator of Curious George (aka “George Monkey” in our home), was an avid, amateur astronomer?

A friend sent me to the beach last year with his book,¬†The Stars. Our kiddos were too young to stay up and view stars (SAD!), so we will have to do that on a future trip. However, all wasn’t lost. By sending me to the beach with the book, my friend introduced me to the astronomer H.A. Rey, and I am so glad that she did!

I got Find the Constellations at the library this week and read it tonight. I am in love with it! Rey, in child-like narrative, makes searching for constellations accessible, desirous, exciting. I was ready to pull an all nighter outside under the stars to find all of these amazing constellations Rey introduced. Since I know zero, zilch, nada about astronomy and constellations, I was grateful for his simplistic yet engaging description and explanation about stars, constellations, and how to locate them. One of the my treasured sections of the book are the two-page spread pictures showing the constellations to be viewed in the Winter and the Spring. Rey even includes the date and time to view the sky as shown in the picture. He makes it so simplistic that even I, astronomer novice, can figure it out.

If you’re looking for a kid-friendly (or new-to-astronomy-adult-friendly) book to use with your child to view stars and constellations, I highly recommend these books by H.A. Rey. Your child will probably be even¬†more¬†excited to dive into this book knowing that¬†Curious George H.A. Rey wrote it.