Week 7 ~ Clay & Wool

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We have had a cold and blustery week with patches of sunshine ~ the dark nights are drawing in. How I love Autumn!

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Lessons have progressed as usual. The girls are really enjoying The Water Babies, as am I. It can be extremely wordy, with long descriptions that can go on for pages. But it is a really beautiful book that has really captured us all.

Homeschool's Cool :)

Homeschool’s Cool :)

Ellie is progressing well with her Latin lessons & has progressed far beyond me.

Latin Lessons

Latin Lessons

Do you remember that Rose was writing her very own ‘Naughty Animal’ story, as planned in my Beatrix Potter enrichment lessons? She has been working on a ‘Tale of Wayne The Rabbit’. Slowly, but surely. Little by little. She works on her illustrations during read aloud time, and writes during her writing lessons.

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(please excuse errors!)

Pond Study this week focused on the girls special trees – Ellie’s is an Alder, Rose’s is a Beech. We looked at the leaf shapes & arrangements, among with generally observing the changes in our pond & its surroundings.

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The girls worked on their nature journals when we got home.

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Ellie has become very interested in wild & wonderful fashion & decided to make herself some shoes from wooden blocks & clay!

Shoes!

Shoes!

The First Shoe!

The First Shoe!

Disaster has struck as we have run out of clay! A trip to the craft shop is needed!

Rose is very much enjoying using cuisenaire rods for maths & made me a ‘maths milkshake’ :)

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Do you remember that we dyed some wool felt a couple of weeks ago? I was planning for the girls to make bookmarks, and Rose has finished hers.

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Some of the books we have been reading this week:

The Tales of Beatrix Potter

The Water Babies

Boys & Girls Of History

Twilight Child

Age of Fable

The Story Of The Romans

D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths

Fire Cat

Marie Curie

King John & Magna Carta

I wonder Why Camels Have Humps

I wonder why snakes shed their skin

We have a poorly wee girl here today, so this afternoon shall be a lazy one.

Happy Weekend!

Daily Rhythm

Our Calendar

Our Calendar

I thought I would share our daily rhythm. I take a very structured approach to educating my girls, which makes me rather an oddity amongst my home educating friends, who mostly favour an autonomous approach.

How our days generally progress:

Monday – Thursday

7am – The girls get up, bring pillows & covers down to the living room & I read aloud for an hour while they eat breakfast.

8am – They read quietly. Elianna usually reads her ‘Literature’ choice, sometimes ‘popcorn’ style with me, Rose reads a science book.

8:30 – Latin with Elianna, Rose gets dressed & does her chores

9am – Rose works on her maths lesson & then she reads to me from her ‘Literature’ choice (currently Beatrix Potter) Elianna showers, dresses & does her chores.

10am- maths for Elianna, free play for Rose.

10:30 – Writing, spelling, and grammar for everyone. They work from different books, Ellie often takes herself off to her ‘reading room’ to work on this & I sit ‘elbow to elbow’ with Rose :)

Rose’s lessons are usually much shorter than Elianna’s, so get gets lots of chunks to play, throughout the day. She has such a vibrant imagination, I usually hear her chatting away, playing with her bears, or wooden animals, or lego figures…

11:30 -Memory work; poetry, Shakespeare, maths facts, grammar facts, and the periodic table song – but not all on the same day :)

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1pm/1:30 depending on how the day is going!

Monday is usually our Pond Study day, so we are out for the afternoon.

Tuesday to Thursday are for History.

Dependant on the day, Elianna either reads from the Kingfisher encyclopaedia, outlines from what she has read, reads a primary source document & writes a paragraph about it, or reads from a history book & writes a narration.

Rose reads from a history book for around 20-30 minutes.

2pm/2:30 Free time…but no T.V. but often the girls paint, sketch, model with clay, or sew. Sometimes we do watch a documentary or film.

After dinner the girls often enjoy watching a T.V. program with their dad. Rose is tucked up in bed at 8pm & Ellie goes upstairs to read. She reads a chapter from whatever science book I have assigned.

Then she then either reads from her own choice, (currently she is taken with Greek/Roman/Norse myths, or comic books) or sketches & colours.

Fridays are completely different – we still have read aloud time in the morning, plus quiet reading time. The girls add anything they have read about in history to our time line, I have allocated time to work with Rose on anything to do with Little Passports ~ reading related books, looking places up on the map etc.then the rest of our morning is science & art. Friday afternoon is free for outings & meeting friends & family.

This year I have not got into a regular rhythm of picture study. I have ordered a few books from the ‘Come Look With Me‘ series. I will be using these during Friday morning Read Aloud time, so hopefully this will get us enjoying picture study again.

This is my guide for our days. We do not always follow this rhythm…but it gives me a structure to work with.

How do your days flow?

Week 6 ~ Out And About

This week we have been out & about. Elianna needed to see the GP and Rose needed a trip to the radiologist with a suspected fracture to her hand. We also stopped into our local library, where Rose was enchanted with this beautiful tapestry:

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We spent a little time looking for books

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And stopped at the local park on the way home

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We have also been very fortunate to see the BBC’s 10 Pieces. It was truly amazing. A really good introduction to Classical Music. I believe that you can watch it for a few weeks via I-Player. Please do watch if you haven’t had the chance to see it at the cinema.

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After the cinema, we went to visit with some lovely friends & had delicious scones & pancakes. Yum!

And to hold their pet Tarantula!

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The rest of the week we have been ‘getting on’ with regular learning times.

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Ellie is still building Jotunheim

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Rose has spent every spare moment building circuits

We have dyed some wool felt, ready to make book marks, so I am hoping to work on those over the next week and Rose has begun a wonderful little ‘book’ – a naughty animal tale :)

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We have been learning more about energy; this week photosynthesis, and also how food releases energy – we had fun burning various foodstuffs to see which released the most energy.

Banana Bread won :)

Some of the books we have been reading this week:

The Tales of Beatrix Potter

The Water Babies

Boys & Girls Of History

Twilight Child

Age of Fable

The Story Of The Romans

D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths

The Orchard Book Of Roman Myths

D’Aulaire’s Book Of Trolls

Why do trees change colour

Be a friend to trees

Mountains of Usborne Beginners fact books.

Various comic books

Lots & lots of poetry ~ focusing on Beatrix Potter & Walter de la Mare.

 

 

On Creativity

Hunca Munca by Rosie

Hunca Munca by Rosie

There is a really great guest post by Anne White on Brandy’s blog. Part of a series, it is called “Myth: Reading and narration are the sum total of a Charlotte Mason Education.”

I first became acquainted with the ideas of Charlotte Mason when my eleven year old was a baby. Wonderfully inspired, I began to learn about, and follow her principles. As we moved into & progressed through formal education I was tempted to add other things in…the sorts of things Anne discusses in the article:

“We assume that it won’t work to simply teach the Middle Ages from a book of history, or to read an entire book about Robin Hood, and to do copywork or keep a Book of Centuries, because that’s not what the public schools do when they study the Middle Ages. We should be spending a great deal of time on the innards of castles, and doing dragon art. We should be including time-travel novels and fictional diaries of imaginary young squires or princesses, because that’s what children will relate to. Perhaps we can even have them film stop-motion videos based on those books. Or, if we’re looking for more serious work, we can buy study guides filled with questions and vocabulary, maybe a crossword or two, and assignments for research papers.”

I have found, with my own children, that when I strip back the busy work, and focus on the skills that Charlotte proposed; reading, narrating, copywork, & dictation etc, my children use the time they have available, and the space they have in their imaginations, to go on to create.

Creativity is the highest level in Bloom’s taxonomy. I see it expressed in other systems of learning too:

In Lectio Divina, a a traditional Christian practice, we see three stages of learning:scriptural reading, meditation and response in the form of prayer and action. This is discussed in the wonderful video from CAP featuring Jenny Rallens “Liturgy of the Classroom” This video is a must see! So very inspiring.

In the Trivium we see three stages; Grammar – obtaining the basic facts and skills Logic – which addresses the ‘why’ of a subject & finally Rhetoric – the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing; the ability to create a well reasoned argument.

In Reflection, self awareness & critical thinking – Ebby 2000 the three stages are shown as “self awareness, critical thinking & reflection”

In The Private Eye the stages are Explore, make analogies, theorise.

Charlotte Mason’s lessons follow a similar pattern…First read the new text, then narrate, then discuss…enter ‘The Grand Conversation’. Create in one’s mind thoughts that connect with other ideas & experiences.

Watercolour in the Garden

Watercolour in the Garden

This is so very exciting to me! And I am struggling to put into words the the ideas I have on this subject. But these very simple, age-old steps, lead to a great & rich education. These unadorned steps that Charlotte would have us follow, lead to creativity within our children.

The Nine Norse Realms

The Nine Norse Realms

Simple, though does not always mean easy. My homeschool requires a lot of effort on my part. I would like to compare my efforts to a swimming swan…serene on the surface, with a lot going on behind the scenes! I spend time pre-reading our read aloud choices, making copious notes, researching allusions etc. This gives the preparedness I need to be able to discuss ideas with my girls. Not just tick the books off the list… My youngest daughter acts out the stories we are reading with puppets & soft toys, she draws pictures & paints with watercolour. My eldest creates poetry, paintings of mythological worlds & most recently a clay model of Jotunheim.

Making Jotunheim

Making Jotunheim

Creativity is the highest level in these various ideas & the fact that my children are doing this of their own accord is so greatly encouraging to me!

“Self-education is the only possible education; the rest is mere veneer laid on the surface of a child’s nature” Charlotte Mason

Poppies by Rose

Poppies by Rose

Little Passports

Little Passports

Little Passports

Rosie’s first parcel from Little Passports arrived this week.

It was greeted with much excitement & fervour, opened immediately, and the activities completed within the hour!

The initial package contains a letter from Sam & Sofia; the imaginary children that are writing to your child from various destinations around the globe, a passport, boarding pass, stickers, wall map, activity sheets and finally a Little Passports suitcase. This is designed for the child to keep all of the items sent in future packages. It is sturdy & well made & Rose was soooooo excited to have one!

She first added the stickers of Sam & Sofia to her suitcase, then completed her passport, filling in her name & address, plus the other couple of questions in there which really engaged her. Next she chose to play the activities online. The ‘boarding pass’ the child receives has a special code, which allows them to access various online games, puzzles, quizzes, and other activities. Rose whizzed through these, playing them all, then she wanted to complete the activity sheets, which she had fun with. One of the games on the activity sheets lets your child know which country Sam & Sofia will be visiting next. Oooh! The excitement!

I am really delighted with Little Passports. Rose whizzed through this first package, but she is able to go back & play all the online activities at any time. I think the main benefits for me are the following; I was looking for an activity for Rose that she could work on at her own pace & have me as involved or uninvolved as she liked. The first package is of really high quality and & I pleased that this structured activity will be dropping through my door once a month.

Being a Charlotte Mason inspired family, of course there will be books! Here are the main resources I will be using to go with Little Passports:

If The World Were A Village: A fantastic, thought provoking book, which explains facts about the world’s population in a simple and fascinating way.

Material World:This book shows ‘average’ families from various countries, photographed with all their possessions.

Hungry Planet: What The World Eats: Again, a book filled with informative photographs, revealing what people eat during the course of one week.

I will also be taking books out from our local library each month, to read about the individual countries, and I plan for Rose & I to create some national dishes from the various countries.

I hope this gives a little insight into what is included with Little Passports. Here is a link that gives more information about the various packages.

Happy Weekend!

Week 5 ~ Reading & Creating

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October is here! We have had gorgeous weather again, mixed with rainy days…perfect home schooling weather…

We read a lot of poetry here..one of our selections this week was from ‘Around the Year’ by Elsa Beskow

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We ate Blackberry jam tarts and dragon bread on Michaelmas

Blackberry Jam Tarts

Blackberry Jam Tarts

The girls have spent a lot of time reading

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Our reading time is early in the morning…7am to be precise! I get up between 5 & 6 am, have some quiet time & a shower, then I wake the girls, & everyone troops downstairs in their pyjamas. I read to them from our current read aloud & from our poetry books, then they read to themselves for 20-30 minutes. I also read with Rosie during the day. This is where Beatrix Potter is coming into our day right now. We cuddle up together on the sofa & read ‘popcorn’ style ~ taking it in turns to read a page.

Ellie tends to do her assigned reading at bedtime, with a cup of tea & a biscuit! At the moment, she is reading Twilight ChildThe Story Of The Romans and Age of Fable. Twilight child is usually read one chapter a day, The Story of The Romans & Age of Fable are a couple of chapters a week. Age of Fable we read together, again popcorn style. It is an extremely ‘meaty’ book, with complex sentence structures, rich vocabulary & big ideas to consider. She is very taken with Astraea, & wants to create some art inspired by her, so we shall see where that goes. Ellie is very deeply interested in myths and has a real passion for them. She has been reading D’Aulaire’s Book of Norse Myths and D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths, which are both beautiful, classic books.

This week has brought several new books into our home…The Orchard Book Of Roman Myths  & D’Aulaire’s Book Of Trolls for Ellie, these wee ‘fact’ books for Rose; Dogs, Cats and Farm Animals. We literally have heaps of these Usbourne books & Rose devours them. More Beatrix Potter books arrived too. We have all her tales in our Treasury, but Rose prefers the wee individual books. Squirrel Nutkin, The Story Of a Fierce Bad Rabbit and Little Pig Robinson all arrived.

There has also been a lot of creating going on this week…Rose has been working on her water colour, plus freeform painting in the garden.

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She made monster puppets…

Rosie's Monsters!

Rosie’s Monsters!

Masks…

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Sketches…

Sketches by Rose

Sketches by Rose

And Elianna has been working on a clay model of Jotunheim.

Jotunheim

Jotunheim

Both girls are working on small tapestries; Elianna is working on something to hang on her bedroom door – it says ‘Warning! Danger’ & Rose is working on a tapestry of a wee squirrel.

Tapestry

Tapestry

I chose this one as it ties in nicely with The Tale Of Squirrel Nutkin. Rose has also enjoyed lots of imaginative playtime with finger puppets this week. Using an owl & a squirrel to play ‘Squirrel Nutkin’.

Last week I mentioned I was changing up our science plans. Building foundations of scientific understanding is the resource I am planning to use. I really like the idea of laying down foundations, mastering a topic before moving on. It does, however, require a lot of teacher prep for the science-phobe such as myself…I shall see how I get on, if I can do it, it will be worth the effort.

We began with the Physical Science thread – Energy C1 Making things go.

Fortunately as we began the lesson Rose dropped a full jar of tiny golden cake decorating balls all over the floor! This made for a great example of gravity & movement (mechanical) energy!

Can you spy the teeny golden balls all over the floor?

Can you spy the teeny golden balls all over the floor?

We worked through the lesson, then played Energy Flows, the girls wrote in their science notebooks, & we finished off by watching Bill Nye The Science Guy – Energy.

Little Passports arrived this week! That deserves a post all to itself :)

Little Passports

Little Passports

Some of the books we have been reading this week:

The Tales of Beatrix Potter

The Water Babies

The World of Columbus & His Sons

Twilight Child

Age of Fable

The Story Of The Romans

D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths

The Orchard Book Of Roman Myths

D’Aulaire’s Book Of Trolls

Mountains of Usborne Beginners fact books.

Various comic books

Lots & lots of poetry ~ focusing on Beatrix Potter & Walter de la Mare.

Happy Weekend!

Beatrix Potter

Hunca Munca by Rosie

Hunca Munca by Rosie

Rosie is going through a delightful phase of being enchanted by all things Beatrix Potter. The tales were read to her when she was smaller, but now she is enjoying reading them to herself. They make for delightful reading & the sentence structure, & language sometimes challenges her.

I wanted to make the most of this interest & have come up with some ideas to keep this love burning for a little while. This is not a unit study by any means, just some ideas to enrich her reading.

Discussion

I usually ask Rose to narrate her readings & I found a handy-dandy Story Chart to use for narrations about the tales of ‘naughty’ animals. Simple, but useful for furthering our discussions about what has happened in each story.

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For me to read to Rosie:

My Dear Noel The story of how ‘Peter Rabbit’ came to be

Nothing is Impossible. The Story of Beatrix Potter

Poetry

Appley Dapply’s Nursery Rhymes

Cecily Parsley’s Nursery Rhymes

Writing

Copywork from her favourite tales

Have Rosie write her own simple ‘naughty’ animal story. Again, another handy-dandy story planning chart!

Art

Drawing & painting inspired by the illustrations of Beatrix Potter.

Nature Study

Time for her to observe wildlife & also our pets. As a wonderful home educator pointed out to me; Squirrel Nutkin was so hysterical because Beatrix captured what a naughty squirrel would be like & that talent came from hours just observing squirrels.

To consider:

How does Beatrix Potter’s life compare with Rosie’s life?

The personality traits of the naughty animals

The difficulties they got into

I am really enjoying infusing our days with the richness & beauty of these timeless tales and Rosie is thoroughly enjoying herself.

“Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality.”

Beatrix Potter