Friday, October 5, 2012

Weekly Happenings: Ponies, Planets, Books, Fish, Soup, and Purple Hair

We enjoyed some fabulous fall weather this week: cool evenings and pleasant, breezy days. To the left is a photo taken from my front door. The dark storm clouds brought us rain, and the rising sun from the east lit up the trees in the foreground.

I love this time of year. Spring has long been my favorite season -- a new awakening after the cold and grey of winter -- but autumn is a close second. I enjoy it more now than I did when I was younger. Perhaps it's because I'm no longer in the spring days of youth!

Most afternoons found us at the barn. Tiny Girl still rides Max, but she's also working hard training Tuli, her new "greenie." For the uninitiated (me, just a few years ago), a green pony is a young, little-trained pony requiring lots of work. Tiny Girl and I are learning a lot in these heretofore uncharted waters.

Here are Tiny and Tuli. Tiny Girl holds a longe (pronounced lunge) line, and they are working on Tuli's trot. Tuli tends to take a tiny step with her hind leg before she picks up a trot, a bad habit due to her being unfit (out of shape). To help her, Tiny Girl has Tuli walk several steps until her stride is nice and long; Tiny then raises her right arm and says, "Trot." Tuli trots a few steps and then Tiny has her slow back to a walk. And that's it! Only they repeat the practice for about 15 to 20 minutes.

One day, as I lounged in an Adirondack chair at the barn, I looked up and this (to the left) was my view: the sun shining through the still-green leaves of this magnificent oak tree.

On Monday afternoon, the girls both auditioned for their roles in their drama troupes' productions. Both were very glad when auditions were over!

Wednesday found us at church for the annual community fall festival. Miss Priss and her friends worked hard at the hair painting station (colored spray!); she still sports some purple in her locks. Wish I'd taken a photo....

Today, we are shopping for much-needed shoes and clothes. For some reason, my daughters continue to grow!

In our lessons this week, we are continuing to study Turkey with Explore the Holy Land. Johannes Kepler's three laws of planetary motion made their debut in our science studies, which fit perfectly with our It Couldn't Just Happen reading about the inner planets. I found simple explanations for each of Kepler's laws on the IYA2009 site. (The IYA stands for International Year of Astronomy, which was in -- wait for it -- 2009.) More detailed explanations and background -- but stll very easy to understand -- and drawings of both Kepler and Brahe can be found at NASA's Earth Observatory website.

I am especially fond of Kepler's third law: "The squares of the periods of the planets are proportional to the cubes of their semi-major axes."* Or, put another way: "The square of a planet's orbital period (the time taken to complete one orbit) is proportional to the cube of its average distance from the sun."**

Why am I fond of this particular law? To me, it illustrates both the elegance of mathematics and the orderliness of the universe. Chaos does not breed order (reference the law of entropy). Clearly (for me at least), this is the work of God's hands.

In our literature, Miss Priss is reading and loving Jack and Jill, by Louisa May Alcott, an AO free read for Year 6. I found a wonderful e-text on The Literature Network site, which is very easy to copy and paste in a word processing document. The ads do NOT copy! Miss Priss copied out a particularly lovely passage, which I thought I'd share with you:

So the fairy play woke the sleeping beauty that lies in all of us, and makes us lovely when we rouse it with a kiss of unselfish good-will, for, though the girls did not know it then, they had adorned themselves with pearls more precious than the waxen ones they decked their Princess in.

Tiny Girl is reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain, and Lyddie, by Katherine Paterson. Both girls finished The Hobbit.

If you're interested in our complete plans for this school year, I wrote all about it in this post.

Last weekend, we enjoyed a sleepover at the Tennessee Aquarium with our Girl Scout troop (and three other troops in our service unit). It was a blast. We all enjoyed all the activities, especially the behind-the-scenes peeks. Our troop slept with the jellyfish watching over us.

 I'm writing a separate post about our visit to the aquarium. It's a great field trip idea if you live in the southeastern U.S.! I've visited several aquaria (!!) over the years, and this is one of my favorites for interest and diversity.

This week, we hit the jackpot with supper one night in an unexpected way. I'd purchased one of those bagged minestrone soup kits (I think it was Bear Creek?), and, while Tiny Girl and I were still at the barn, Himself threw it together. He thought it looked a bit sparse on the veggies, so he sliced up some carrots and added them in, along with more water than called for. He also added, per my instructions, some smoked pulled pork we had. Friends, it was too delicious for words. I'm so glad that soup weather is once more upon us!

Happy weekend!

I'm linking up with:
Weekly Wrap-Up @ Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers
Collage Friday @ HomeGrown Learners
Hammock Tracks
Hip Homeschool Hop
Friday Favorite Things @ Finding Joy
Favorite Resources @ Learning All the Time

* Quoted from the Johannes Kepler website,
** Quoted from the IYA2009 website


  1. I really like this comment and it struck a chord with me.

    Why am I fond of this particular law? To me, it illustrates both the elegance of mathematics and the orderliness of the universe. Chaos does not breed order (reference the law of entropy). Clearly (for me at least), this is the work of God's hands.

    This is the kind of post I was hoping would link up with "It's A Wrap." Thanks for your inspiring words.

  2. Savannah, thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment. I'm glad you enjoyed this post!

  3. I love your photos!! I'm so thankful for the cooler weather and beautiful colors of fall!! :) I think it's just awesome that you guys spent the night at an aquarium!! That is definitely on my to do list :) Stopping by from Friday Favorite Things. Have a blessed day!

  4. All of the books sound lovely, Ellen...

    We have never been to the Tennessee Aquarium. We have the GA Aquarium about 30 minutes away from us, but I've heard that yours is better!!

    Thanks for linking!

  5. Your simple joy in the commonplace is inspiring. Thank you for noticing the way the sun shines in contrast with the rain and the way autumn looks more and more lovely as your age passes the springtime years.

    Sweet to find Him everywhere. :)

  6. lots of great stuff going on in your home. Love the pictures Thanks for linking up to the NOBH

  7. Sounds like a beautiful week! I love soup weather, too. For me, fall is my favorite season :)
    You all are reading many good books! Thanks for linking up at Favorite Resources.

  8. I enjoyed this post and specifically the comment I mentioned earlier so much that I featured you. Thanks for linking up with "Its A Wrap."


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