Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Flexibility or Connecting to the Now

Our next door neighbor's ferret tends to get out and when he does, he sometimes comes to our house to visit. He sometimes opens the back door himself, so when the boys open the back door to go outside, he will surprise them by being there.
In the middle of our DaVinci picture study today, he came over to visit.
It causes a stir, not only because it is a surprise, and not only because the the boys want to pet him, but also because the cats and the ferret are not too sure about each other and we would like to avoid any confrontation between them.

His visit in the middle of our picture study, however, also prompted my six-year old to say, "Mom, can we do a picture study of a ferret?" My older children and I exchanged glances and smiles because we had just been looking at DaVinci's Lady with Ermine.
So, I replied that I thought we could.

So, I printed out a copy of it and we all examined it, with the image of the ferret fresh in our minds.

This lead to a curiosity as to  the difference between a ferret and a ermine.
This lead to research, which led us to the fact that apparently there is a bit of debate as to whether she is, in fact holding
an ermine or

a ferret?
This led us to looking at the classifications.
The Mustelidae is a large and diverse family which includes many species. Ermine are from Mustela erminea. They are stoats and are only referred to as ermine when they turn white for the winter.
Ferrets are the domesticated descendants of the European polecat, Mustela putorious. (Don't you love that name?)
So our little visitor, instead of a diversion became an enrichment to our studies.

By the way, I wanted to show you something I learned about this painting.
There is a new technology available that virtually restores paintings so that they can be seen closer to how they looked when they were painted.


  1. What a FUN, spontaneous lesson! Ah, the joy of homeschooling...

  2. I love how flexible you are in your teaching, without losing the general direction of their learning. I'm not surprised that the ferret chose to join you all.

  3. yes I do love that name, some animals just have the coolest names.

  4. Oh, how fun! I love when art meets life! :-) We are studying da Vinci right now and reading a lovely book (A Weekend with da Vinci).


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