Tuesday, May 20, 2008

It Really Does Exist

My grandparents are here visiting from California along with a friend of theirs (and ours) from New Jersey. We met Carol 17 years ago when our family was on a tour of the United States. She then lived on Long Island and was our cheerful New York City tour guide.

We decided to show her a bit of local beauty. Yes, Lyns, this place really does exists. About 25 miles from my house, in fact. Sadly, I don't remember visiting this particular place before (though I practically spent my childhood in this magical spot). We will certainly be making our way back to McDowell Creek Falls more often in the future!

We started out at the lower falls (picture above) for a picnic, then walked a short distance for this view:

This pathway headed to the top of the falls pictured above. I was wishing I had spent more time working on my aerobic stamina the past few months. Superman Uncle Ben offered to pack 36 pound Leif on his back. (Russ was working.) I pretended to argue. But not for very long.
We headed up. And up. And up.
Superman Uncle Ben decided to rest for a few minutes overlooking the falls at the top.
No rest for the wicked. The trail goes on.
I think I was singing Ben's praises about now.
This gives you just a tiny idea of how crazy my little sister is. There was nothing, and I mean nothing, under the end of that log for a looooong ways. She's an off-the-trail, no-fear kind of girl. My older sister was watching her older kids climb up a large log off the trail. It was steep. Holly said she'd rather climb down it. Shannon and Ben wished they had their bikes so they could ride down it. Hmmm.

We finally made it to the base of the upper falls. Did I mention that I was soooo glad Ben was carrying Leif?

Heading up, again.
There is a large platform for observing at the top of the falls. We spent quite some time enjoying the view and the wonderful company. More people pictures tomorrow.
Some of the crew are taking a covered bridges tour today. I am so jealous! Someday I'll have to take the drive and share pictures with you.


carole said...

Despite the climb this looks like it was so much fun! ...memories in the making...

Amy Jo said...

Love the photos! They are beautiful, and make me want to hop in the car to Letchworth Park so I can get some exposure to green trees and waterfalls too!

5 Chicks and a Farmer said...

Beyond gorgeous. That is all I have to say.

Well, maybe not. These pictures are fabulous and it looks like your precious family had a blast!

I seriously can't believe you live this close to something like this. We don't have waterfalls in Texas. Ha!

Thanks for shaing!

Enriched-Mom said...

Oh Heidi- I know that place! And you brought back so many memories of our boys running on those trails. It looks like they have done some serious improvements since we were there last. We have dear friends that live just a small ways away on their land in the country.

Thanks for the stroll down memory lane.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful pictures Heidi. Looks like a wonderful way to spend a day! Oh, and a covered bridge photo collection...wouldn't that be wonderful to have, and even more fun to compose!

Precision Quality Laser said...

You have the most awesome pictures! What a glorious day..thank you for sharing.

I started reading about the Charlotte Mason method and wondered if you would be open to answering some questions I had.

How did you gear it toward your little ones? Are living books the only "curriculum" you use? How are you sure of what your children's educational developmental milestones should be? How do you decide what literature to read?

Sorry for all the questions, but I really want to see how someone else utilizes the CM method in the education of their children.

Oh, I almost forgot one last question...How does the CM method fit with the mandatory state testing we have to have in Oregon?

Thank you for your time.


Mrs. Q

Alice said...

Thanks for taking the time to post the beautiful pics. I needed to be reminded of God's perfection. Sometimes we tend to forget in our business.

Heidi said...

Mrs. Q~ I wish I was the perfect person to answer your questions. :) I've just recently started reading about CM and her philosophy, much of which I love. I probably am closer to The Well Trained Mind as far as what I implement at this time, though. As I am able, I'll be working in what I can of CM ideas.

CM does very little academics at age 6 and younger. I would find it difficult to back off what we're already doing. I love her ideas of good habits, living books, narration, and time spent in nature. One of the biggest things I've taken away so far is that a parent/teacher should lecture less and let a child make his own 'relationship' with the material.

I love using living books, but we are definitely also using curriculum. RightStart Math, Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading, First Language Lessons, Christian Kids Explore Biology... I just try to choose the best curriculum for us (not workbook stuff), keep lessons short and sweet, supplement a lot with living books and great literature, and get the boys outside as much as possible.

There are some great book lists at the Charlotte Mason sights Ambleside Online and Simply Charlotte Mason. The 1000 Good Books List is excellent, too. I try to get books that correspond with what we're learning in history (with The Story of the World which has book suggestions in the activity guide) science, etc. Other than that, I just have a lot of books on hand and pick one out when we're ready for a new one. :)

I don't know if the subjects she outlines work with the mandatory testing. We don't do the subjects she suggests necessarily. I'm not too worried about the testing as long as we are up to speed on math and reading skills.

As far as educational milestones, I think that is why it helps me to have core curriculum in math, handwriting, phonics, and grammar. As long as I've picked decent curriculum and we're working at grade level or above, that's good enough for me. :) The rest is content (rather than skill) stuff and I'm completely confident in that area!

You asked elsewhere about budget. My sister and I were discussing this the other day. I've been thinking about setting up a general homeschooling fund. :) The great thing about homeschooling is that you can do it on almost any budget. The absolute basics (in my opinion) are: computer, printer, internet access, library card, a DVD player (great science DVDs at our library), and basic curriculum (math, phonics, grammar and Latin when you get to that point). (I found Handwriting Without Tears to be indispensable, but many people wouldn't need a handwriting program. There are online sources for that also.) I highly recommend The Story of the World with activity guide for history. All the supplemental books you could get at the library. If you're just paying for the basic curriculum, you could get by on 300 a year or less. :)

Now, I have two problems when estimating what I spend. One is that I've collected so much stuff over the years (even before homeschooling) and buy stuff that we won't be using this year, that it is hard to decided on a figure for one year of schooling. The other problem is that there are so many things I would purchase whether I was homeschooling or not, that it is hard to say what I should include! I love love love to buy books and CDs. I would much rather have stuff on hand than get it at the library. That's my weakness. :) So, do I include piano lessons and Tae Kwon Do, art and craft supplies, books and CDs, internet access...? If so, we have a pretty large budget. :)

Sorry for a really long reply of non-answers! Definitely visit Simply Charlotte Mason and Ambleside Online!

Precision Quality Laser said...

Thank you so much for taking time out of your VERY BUSY day to answer my humble questions! I really appreciate it. Your answers have helped to form the necessary questions in my mind to be answered (did that make any sense at all? lol). What I mean is, now I know a little bit more of what goes into a CM education in this day and age, and how to implement it into out lives. Thanks for sharing a bit of your educational style with me.
Again, thank you for taking the time to respond.


Mrs. Q

Jennifer said...

Wow...I come to leave a comment and benefit from your comment repsonse abotu CM. Thanks - very helpful.

Lovely photos. I have never been to Oregon, but this is what I always imagined it would look like.