February is typically a month to focus on love, friendship, romance, candy, and sweets. A romantic at heart, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t like Valentine’s Day, but for the sake of this months morning time bundle I decided to dig just a little bit deeper beyond what is seen on the surface. Love is so much more than a heart shaped candy box, a fancy plate full of spaghetti and meatballs, or even a well thought out card; it is the expression of what our hearts truly feel.
Perhaps you have read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman and know that “Words of Affirmation” is listed as one of the primary languages some people speak and respond to in their relationships with others. I tend to believe that all of us speak this language and that not a single one of us can lock out other peoples words and the weight they carry. We have all experienced, at one point or another, the life giving power of them and, sadly, moments where our spirits are crushed with them. Words have incredible power.
As home educators we deal with words every day. We have spent incredible amounts of time teaching our children how to read them, even assigning them a particular part of speech and placing them on diagrams that look like algebraic equations. During read aloud time we enjoy the ways they are pieced together to tell stories of days-gone-by or formed to create exciting tales of adventure. When our children were young we used words, in the form of songs, to soothe them when they were sad or didn’t feel well As they grow we use them to learn more about the state of their hearts as well as their fears and dreams. Words are the foundation of the relationships we are building.
The aim of this month’s bundle is to explore this word study a little bit further, I hope you will join us.
So, this month I’m going to outline the blog post a little differently than I normally do, beginning with the portion on Scripture.
Our verses this month are Psalm 119:9-11 which say:
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
What sweeter love is there than a love that is pure? And how does a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. There is no better place to begin this word study than with God’s word. His Word give us direction and guidance, with it we learn how to love others and how to express it in ways that are edifying.
The Bible has a lot to say about words, too. Here are just scriptures to add to your discussion this month:
- Proverbs 11:9 – “Evil words destroy ones friends; wise discernment rescues the godly.”
- Ephesians 4:29 – “Let no corrupt talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
- Hebrews 4:12 – “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, or joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
- Matthew 15:18 – “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.”
- Proverbs 11:12 – “It is foolish to belittle a neighbor; a person with good sense remains silent.”
- Proverbs 11:17 – “Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel.”
- Proverbs 15:1 – “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger.”
- Proverbs 15:4 – “Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”
- Colossians 4:6 – “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
- Proverbs 18:4 – “A person’s words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook.”
The composition we will be studying this month is “Surprise” Symphony by Joseph Haydn. Haydn was one of the most important figures in the development of the classical style of music during the 18th Century. He was an extremely prolific composer and his compositions are often characterized as light, witty, and elegant.
The composition this month, though we don’t know for certain the true story behind it, is a play of his wit and character. As the story goes, Haydn was becoming increasingly frustrated with people falling asleep, even snoring, during concerts so he devised a plan to make them think twice about taking a nap during his music. This symphony is calm and peaceful most of the time and then abruptly interrupted with loud, piercing moments. My children and I laughed at the interruptions, knowing the story behind them.
Besides the surprise in this music, the four movement symphony followed the structure that became a standard during the Classical Era of classical music.
For further study on Haydn you may want to check out these resources:
- Franz Joseph Haydn on Biography.com
- MakingMusicFun.net composer documentary on Franz Joseph Haydn
- Classics for Kids: Haydn
Our poems this month is The Arrow and the Song by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, one of my favorite poets of all time. Actually, one of my favorite poems of his, The Village Blacksmith, was used in the 2nd Morning Time bundle I created for September 2018. His words always flow smoothly and easily, yet the meaning of his poems are deep and meaningful. This months poem is no different.
I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly if flew, the sight
Could not follow in its flight.
I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?
Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow still unbroken;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.
Some believe that symbolically this poem can be interpreted the following way.The arrow may represent unkind or harsh words that dart quickly from our mouths. The arrow was shot so quickly that the narrator couldn’t even be sure what repercussions took place. The song possibly represents words of kindness and joy. Though he knew they were released he could not follow their path. Both the arrow and the song went away from the speaker once released, and both stayed in the world around him unbroken.
When I found this beautiful piece of art by Walther Firle I knew immediately that this is the one that should be used this month. The view of these 3 girls in their pretty red dresses reading a book together was too good to pass up. The light streaming in through the window makes this picture feel warm and inviting, just as a day of reading should be.
Firle was a 19th century German painter. He enjoyed painting dark painted scenes with unique sources of light. Often times this included figures poised next to windows. This piece is a beautiful display of his talent. As you study the art this month be sure to browse through some of his other works here or here. I also enjoyed viewing this slide show though some of the pieces were duplicated throughout it.
Last February we studied sheep and wool. Signs of new life were welcome during that season. This year we will study probably the most studied creature in February: the woodchuck or groundhog.
We have a family of groundhogs that burrow near our shed in the backyard. They are a constant companion during the warmer months. On any given day, mid-morning or early evening, I can look outside and see one or two of them feasting on our clover. I love to see them pop up every now and then to check for danger, but to be completely honest it is the way they run when they sense danger that brings a smile to my face. To me, in their haste, they look like a large flying squirrel trying to use his parachute to skim across the ground. They are incredibly cute when they run, causing me to cheer them on to safety.
Groundhogs are fascinating creatures and the study of them, as outlined in The Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock, is intriguing. Mrs. Comstock does a great job informing us about the habits, habitats, hibernation patterns, and physique of these animals. Included in The Handbook of Nature Study is an except from Thoreau about an encounter he once had with a groundhog. Be sure to read it!
While we are giving so much attention to the study of words and the role they play in forming and maintaining relationships, whether in real life or in the pages of a book, I thought it would be fun to bind our own journals. We each made one to use as we desire, and the possibilities are endless. You can use them as a commonplace book, a book of firsts, a nature journal, of a place to write a story all your own.
This craft is incredibly simple, though the more you practice the art of book binding the more intricate your creations can become. A quick pinterest search will show you that there is definitely more than 1 way to bind a book, but for the sake of Morning Time I wanted to keep it easy. I don’t want to burden you, my children, or myself down with a craft that in its simplest form is easy and inexpensive by making it complicated. You can buy some very intricate book binding kits like this one online and maybe we will if we decide to pursue this further, but for now we used what we had on hand and improvised where needed.
The instructions for this project are included in this months bundle.
We have made our way through the original founding fathers and are now on our 6th President. John Quincy Adams was the first President to be the son of a previous President. As we learn about him we will find that John Quincy Adams’ Presidency was largely uneventful. He is remembered mostly for his accomplishments as a diplomat and congressman. Adams had a place in his heart for true freedom for all. He was a huge advocate against slavery.
Some resources that will be great additions to your study of John Quincy Adams are:
- John Quincy Adams Biography at Britannica.com
- The Big Book of Presidents: From George Washington to Barack Obama by Nancy Hajeski
- The Ultimate Guide to the Presidents video series. We will watch only the portion for John Quincy Adams this month.
This month’s recipe is simple and delicious; they take no time at all to prepare and can be adapted to your personal tastes.
The recipe is included in this month’s bundle. I hope you enjoy!
SOME BOOKS FOR YOUR MORNING BASKET
SPECIAL NOTES AND RESOURCES
Poetry: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow – Public Domain Poetry – The Arrow and The Song by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Art: Walther Firle Spannende Lekture – Walter Firle [Public Domain]
Thank you so much for your continued support of these Morning Time Bundles. I hope you enjoy this month’s selections and that they draw you continuously closer to the heart of our Savior. May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, our strength and our redeemer. Psalm 19:14
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