My Blog Has Gone to the Birds (Homeschooling and Living Books)



Birdsong greeted morning

and sun-kissed flowers bloomed

 as creatures gathered straw and sticks

to build their nesting rooms


Raindrops christened noonday

and a robin bid retreat

within the branches of the trees

his partner soon to meet


Sunset blessed the evening

and the jays all disappeared

within the woods to their own nests

 well hidden and yet near.


Wendy ❀ 2015




Nesting season is in full swing in our garden and in the woods.

One of the delights of home schooling that I’ve appreciated over the years

was the excuse to read about nature

 aloud to my children.

One spring we set up a bird feeder near our dining room window

and identified and recorded the various visitors.

My mother had sent me

The Birder’s Field Notebook,

and we had fun adding the name of each feathered friend we met.

My most recent entry is the red-winged blackbird pictured below.




One of our favorite books was an older hardcover about the Crow family.

I consider it a living book.

A living book is written by someone who is passionate about a subject

as opposed to a dry textbook full of regurgitated facts

that were gathered by academics for the sole purpose

of facilitating learning outcomes.

Yawn. Zz





In the living book we learned that the crow family is

secretive during nesting season.

In over 50 yrs of living on this planet

I’ve only witnessed a member of this family gathering

nesting material once,

and it was this month, while giving my son a driving lesson

(you may remember that I tend to get distracted

 and stare off into my surroundings

instead of being an attentive teacher/ re: Driving Mrs. Crazy),




I spotted two ravens sitting on a gate that blocked an empty lot,

and one of them was holding a beak full of straw.


I suppose it could have said the same thing back to me

 for my inattentiveness to my son’s driving.




My most favorite Living Book of all

 is the one inspired by the God

who is passionate about each one of us.




All Scripture is God-breathed

and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting

and training in righteousness,

so that the man of God may be

thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16


Living Word Blessings ~ Wendy ❀




Do you have a favorite nature and/or inspirational author

that has passed on their passion to you?


PS: In homeschooling we used a simple little booklet to do drawing lessons from.

It was written by a passionate artist who believed anyone could learn to draw.

Here’s a recent drawing my middle child, Galen, did for me

on a special occasion.

I always suggest to my kids to draw me something rather than buy a card for me.

(Have you read my post about middle children?)


Galen's bird drawing

64 thoughts on “My Blog Has Gone to the Birds (Homeschooling and Living Books)

  1. Lovely images. So fun watching for birds! We spotted a red cardinal in the backyard-first of the season.
    As to books-of course, the Bible comes first. It’s what brings me life.:) Other than that, I love a good biography or memoir- In the Presence of My Enemies by fellow Kansan Gracia Burnham left me with such awe for how God sustains even in harrowing situations. Highly recommend it.:)

    1. Marisa, I’ve never spotted a cardinal. But I have an antique plaster wall-hanging of one that was my grandmother’s. I imagine it’s too far north here for them.

      I’m hooked on memoirs now. I’ve downloaded a sample chapter of: In the Presence of My Enemies–thanks for the suggestion. ❀

  2. Beautiful poem. Lovely pictures. You mentioned two books, but failed to tell us their titles. Would it be possible to tell us about the crow book and the art book? One of my favorite books I read to my home schooled children was “Walk When the Moon is Full” by Frances Hamerstrom. Once each month they took a night time walk when the moon was full and described what they saw. Very charming. Now I am teaching my granddaughter at home and it is time I dug that book out again. Thank you for the post. It is nice to see things shifting to Spring.

    1. Karen, how awesome that you are teaching your granddaughter at home. Last night my almost 15 yr. old daughter thanked me for homeschooling her (she likes being an independent thinker). She’s mostly doing on-line classes now.

      The Crow Family book was a vintage hardback I bought secondhand. We thinned out our library before moving five years ago (I checked for it in my basement)and I suspect it’s now in someone else’s home. It had watercolor illustrations (feeling regret now). But I still have and use the Drawing Textbook booklet by Bruce McIntyre. He was an artist with the Walt Disney Studios from 1937 until 1949 and he also taught children and adults to draw. ❀ I notice that his book is still available on Amazon and has several reviews about it there too.

      P.S. Here is a blogpost you may be interested in regarding nature study.

      1. Thank you for the title and the blogpost. I have put it in my Amazon shopping cart. I have a special weakness for art books. My shelf is full of them. It was something I was going to do in earnest once my kids had grown. Now that my granddaughter lives with us it is put on the back burner again, but she is more precious to me than making art. When she is a little older we can explore some of this together. Thank you again. – Karen

  3. This is delightful wendy! you know I love the birds and your pictures are so wonderful! especially the 3 birds on what looks like a viewing deck. “A living book”. I love it! Did you make that up? If so, I agree, I cannot get through something unless it’s a living book. Wonderful hopeful blog, full of spring, and the wonder of creation.

    1. Thank you, Linda. The term living books is one I learned from Charlotte Mason who was an educator that has influenced many homeschoolers (including myself). Her writings are well worth researching. There’s an entire teaching method that follows her examples. ❀

  4. Another beautiful post Wendy and what a lovely drawing by one of your children! It’s fabulous! I love the idea of a living book. There are far too many stiff and starchy books out there. They simply put me off! All our text nooks when I was at school were like that, It’s no wonder I got bored and didn’t pay attention! 😊 x

    1. Thank you, Christine. <3 I was amazed at how much of a difference an enthusiastic teacher can make to a subject; my chemistry teacher in college managed to hold my attention. And believe me that's not easy to do when I'd rather be in a fine arts class. ❀

      1. I know exactly what you mean; I was ‘useless’ at maths until I was 14 and was given a teacher who explained everything in a very understandable and interesting way. I will never be a mathematical genius but I finally grasped basic concepts! 😊

  5. Wendy enjoyed my walk through your blog today, the bird captures are glorious and your son has a gift. I too would rather a home made card any day, this is so beautiful. Thanks for sharing a slice of life and nature with us today.

    1. 🙂 My kids will warn you that I read every single one of Tolkien’s songs aloud when I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy. And sometimes I add in a line of my own here or there in a book, for laughs (I was the only one who laughed). But my daughter thinks it’s funny now. ❀

  6. I loved your description of living books and what a blessing to get to keep learning about His creation! Loved the bird photos and the very special drawing! Thank you and God bless you and yours!

  7. My mind was flooded with so many thoughts as I read this touching post! I love to watch birds. I remember those homeschooling years. We sometimes did our seatwork out on the patio in our backyard. One spring we watched as some robins built a nest on the top of an electrical meter on the side of our house just a few feet away from us. We then watched the baby robins grow and finally leave the nest.

    I was what you might call an eclectic relaxed homeschooler. During that time, I read about many different approaches and styles of homeschooling, and gleaned from them. Charlotte Mason was one who influenced me, and convinced me to use living books.

    Thank you for sharing this post. It brought back many happy memories for me.

    1. Theresa, your lovely comment brought back more good memories for me of when my kids were younger.

      I remember setting aside my dream of taking a writing course, and choosing to homeschool instead because of all the benefits I read about it. A former public school teacher lived beside me at the time, and she ended up becoming a homeschooler too and works part-time for the private school my daughter is now doing on-line schooling with.

      It’s not for everyone. And I’d recommend someone research it first and see if a flame of interest is kindled. Once I started learning about it—I was hooked. ❀

    1. Thank you, Jennifer. I’m always amazed at where the robins build their nests. They like to set up shop right beside our courtyard, and then they scold us every time we want to sit down there; however, it has given me great photo opportunities. 😉

  8. So sweet. I love all the birds you see. We have been seeing lots of skunks! And smelling them. It’s mating season. 🙂 We have one living under or near our deck. And we smell it every day. 🙂

    1. Shelli, we don’t have any skunks around our garden, but we have an abundance of raccoons that raid our cherry trees each summer. And we have wild bunnies that nibble on my plants. They remind me of Miss Potter and Peter Rabbit (I love that movie <3). At least they don't stink–my heart goes out to you. Our local farm fields occasionally send a skunky breeze our way—and I have to rush outside and take the laundry off the line. ❀

      1. The laundry off the line … I miss a clothes line! My grandmother always hung her clothes out. I did when we lived in Wichita Falls … we haven’t put up a clothes line here yet. My dryer is out in the garage … so I guess that’s fairly close!! 🙂

  9. Here’s my apple to add to your bowl, Wendy. Your poem is beautiful. As are the photos and your child’s artwork. And the only way to live is with the “Living Book”. 🙂

  10. Wendy, always so lovely to visit your neck of the woods. I love watching the birds outside my patio door. The blue jays are the only ones who seem to make it to the feeder, but it’s robin season now and I can hear and watch them on nearby branches. Beautiful photos and words. His living book is all around us as these creatures sing praises with the rising sun.

    1. Susan, I love this: “His living book is all around us as these creatures sing praises with the rising sun.” So beautiful and so true. He’s an Artist who paints so many variations of birds, flowers, trees, and people that it makes me curious about “what He has prepared for those that love Him.” ❀

  11. Love these photos… they are terrific. I am glad I found your blog. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I also love that you are encouraging your kids to draw their own greeting cards! I look forward to reading more from you. ~Rita

  12. Oh what a wonderful post! I have lots of feeders and bird houses in my yard and one of my favorite things to do is just sit and watch the birds. And then, when, I hear the baby peep-peeps from inside the nests, I often squeal with joy like a child, and the best thing of all is being able to watch the parents bring food to their babies and watching the babies stick their heads out to eat. Oh what amazing and lovely things did our good Lord create!!! Thank you for sharing this. I enjoyed reading it. Love and hugs, N 🙂 <3

    1. Thank you, dear Natalie. <3 I'm with you in that I never tire of watching the birds raise their babies. They work so intensely to ensure the survival of their young. I've even caught myself getting anxious for them when a hawk shows up. A garden without birds would sound barren. ❀

      1. I protect mine from feral cats when I see them in hiding trying to prey on the little unspecting ones. And once I had the pleasure of watching mom and dad getting the babies to finally fly away. One of them, the last one got off to a great start but fell pretty soon to the ground. So I watched him/her keep flapping his/her wings and trying to lift up until the thing finally did. It was just too exciting and fun and he/she flew away to sound of my applause and shouts of joy. But then sadly a couple of times, I’ve found dead baby bodies on the ground. It was such a pitiful sight and I cried. But that’s life in a garden. There’s the good and the bad as there is in all parts of the life here in this world. A garden without birds would definitely be barren and bereft of one its greatest treasures! Hugs, my bird-loving twinkie! <3 🙂

        1. Natalie, I know the sadness you speak of. Last year a hawk got hold of a small bird, and I could hear the victim squawking. Then the hawk carried it away since it didn’t like me being near. So sad. Even the earth groans in anticipation of its redemption. <3 Hugs to you also, "my bird-loving twinkie." ❀

  13. What a delightful post, Wendy. Ken and I often refer to our home as ‘The Nest.’ One of our great joys is to sit on our back verandah, surrounded by native bushland, to enjoy the singing of birds. We’re getting very quick at identifying different bird songs. Their music is so unique and beautiful to each species. Love ’em all!

    1. Mary, I’m impressed that you’ve both learned to recognize so many of the songs. It surprises me when the tiniest (and often plainest) birds seem to have the biggest and prettiest voices. ❀ Blessings on you both and ‘The Nest.’

  14. I love this post, Wendy. It’s so Spring-y, complete with your lovely poem.
    Is there a sweeter sound than birdsong in the early spring? Only my children’s laughter. Homeschooling your children: what a gift all of this must be for them and for you.

    1. Cynthia, I agree, one’s own children’s laughter is the sweetest music of all. Dinnertime isn’t complete without a huge helping of joy. My hope is that each of my children will serve up love and laughter at their own family table. And, yes, I feel blessed to have been given the gift of being a stay-at-home mom. Very blessed. ❀

      (PS – On the weekend I ordered the book about memoir writing that you had suggested–I feel like I’m being homeschooled, and I love it.)

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