Words, words, words!

noah webster
Noah Webster
In 1806, he published the first American dictionary.

I love words! I know it may sound crazy, but I really enjoy using a dictionary! At our house we always have the dictionary out on a table ready for a quick look up of a word. I love how organized the dictionary is. Every word in alphabetical order! Putting the guide words at the top was a stroke of genius. (The guide words tell you the first and last words on the page so that you don’t have to bother looking down each page until you find the word you are looking for.) In the front of most dictionaries there are usually pronunciation guidelines that do help if you want to know how to say the word. The part of speech is there too! I think it’s fun to read all the different ways a word may be used in a sentence.

In your Oak Meadow vocabulary assignments, you are asked to write the sentences using the words in the context of your lessons. You should be able to find each of the vocabulary words in the lesson or book that you are reading. I suggest circling them when you find them in the text. That way you can easily see how they are used in a sentence. (Remember to use your own words and not copy from the book.)

Today you can get any dictionary on your computer, ipad, or whatever device you are using. I highly recommend that you get your own dictionary. It’s fun to have it within reach, write notes in, and bookmark pages. If you are looking for a good dictionary that will last you through the junior high years, find a Merriam-Webster’s Intermediate Dictionary.

St. Patrick’s Day – Crack the Code!


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Every year, on March 17th, thousands of people don their greenest garb, search for four-leaf clovers, eat corn beef and cabbage, dance the Irish jig, march in parades, and search for the leprechaun. Whether you are Irish or not, it can be a joyful occasion for the young and the old.

st-patricks-dayThere are many famous Irish sayings and blessings that come to mind. One of my favorites Irish blessings is:

“May you always walk in sunshine.

May you never want for more.

May Irish angels rest their wings right beside your door.”


As a child, my favorite part of this celebration was wearing a bit of green (so I wouldn’t get pinched). I also delighted in imagining how a leprechaun might appear.luck-o-the-irish-st-patricks-day-wallpapers-1024x768

Here’s a leprechaun’s message for you!

Use some letter and number magic to crack the code and figure out the message below.

CODE: 1 = A, 2 = B, 3 = C, etc.

__  __  __       __  __  __       __  __  __  __       __  __

13   1   25       20   8    5        12  21   3   11        2    5

__  __  __  __       __  __  __ !

23   9   20   8        25  15  21

__  __ __       __  __  __       __ __ __ __       __

13   1  25       25  15  21        6   9  14  4         1

__  __  __       __  __       __  __  __  __

16  15  20       15   6         7   15  12   4

__ __       __  __  __       __  __  __       __  __

 1  20       20   8   5          5   14   4        15   6

 __  __  __  __  __        __  __  __  __  __  __  __ !

 5  22   5   18   25         18   1    9   14   2   15  23




I’ve been watching a homeschool group work each Tuesday night on a quilt. It’s been quite a process for them and I’ve loved seeing the fun they have together and the progress they’ve made!

I once visited a public library in Maine that had a quilt on a quilting frame in the front lobby. Each person that entered could take a needle and thread and add stitches to the quilting pattern. That was pretty cool! The finished quilt was to be auctioned off and the money was going to the children’s portion of the library. Making something for others is a very rewarding adventure. “Quilts for Kids” was founded as an organization that makes quilts for children in need of soothing during stressful hospital stays. People can even request a kit for making a quilt that would be donated to the organization. What a wonderful idea!

Quilts can be very intricate or very simple in their design. It takes careful planning as you put a design idea into connected squares or random shapes. I like the idea that some quilts are made from materials that are meaningful to the person, such as one made of the fabric from the shirts a grandfather wore, or I’ve even seen a quilt made out of old socks!

Here are some good books that have a “quilt” theme:

With Needle and Thread: A Book About Quilts by Raymond Bial, Eight Hands Round by Ann Paul, Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson, The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy, and Ann Turner and Thomas B. Allen’s Sewing Quilts.

How do I describe a painting?

“If you could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint.”
~ Edward Hopper

I love this quote by Edward Hopper. It reminds me that paintings are images that are expressed, just as a poem or composition has images expressed in words. It is often so hard to describe a work of art, especially these days when everything is made so visual. When my granddaughter was born everyone asked for a photograph right away. It was as though my descriptive words were not enough for them. They wanted more of a picture. I began to really look at her and tried to describe in detail what she looked like rather than send a photograph. It was really hard to do! Before we had photography, painters had the joy of painting what they saw, felt, or experienced in their world.

In some assignments you will be asked to describe a painting or write how it makes you feel. Sometimes I get responses like, “The color is dull,” or “I feel dizzy when I look at it.” These comments crack me up! If you haven’t been exposed to how to really look at a painting or work of art, it can be difficult to find the words. It always helps to know the history of the artist and the environment in which the artist painted. I love watching Sister Wendy describe and interpret paintings. The videos are very long, but well worth the viewing. She’s funny and so interested in the paintings! Her historical summary of when, where, and how the paintings were accomplished is outstanding. Enjoy! I’ve included a sample here: Sister Wendy