We have been studying birds this term – learning names of garden birds, spotting them wherever we go, listening out for the ever increasing bird song as spring takes up residence, learning about their homes, nest making, migration and more. We are total amateurs and our garden’s most common visitors are wood pigeons, blackbirds, robins and magpies, but all the same we have delighted in having time to actually observe them carefully. As well as enjoying the birds around us, this morning we visited our local RSPB Nature Reserve, where a delightful retiree took time to point out oyster catchers, herons, a yellowhammer and some grass snakes!
Having grown up in a Russian Orthodox home, Lent and Easter was a time filled with traditions (mostly involving food!) that we enjoyed year on year. I have warm memories of these and have continued many on with my own family as well as adding some more along the way.
Here are some of our Easter traditions:
With Easter fast approaching I’ve been thinking about traditions.
Traditions and celebrations throughout the year are important to our family – patterns of life that give shape to the onward movement of time. Traditions that we repeat and seasons we observe situate us within a different mode of time – one that is more like a circle than a line – bringing us back to times and places we have been to before.
‘They must grow up upon the best… There is never a time when they are unequal to worthy thoughts, well put; inspiring tales, well told. Let Blake’s ‘Songs of Innocence’ represent their standard in poetry; Defoe and Stevenson, in prose; and we shall train a race of readers who will demand literature–that is, the fit and beautiful expression of inspiring ideas and pictures of life.’
— Charlotte Mason
The British educator, Charlotte Mason, held that poetry was a key element of the feast of learning that children should delight in. Young children don’t need to dissect and analyse – that comes later – but they do need to be helped to appreciate some of the variety and majesty and tragedy and comedy that exists in (and between) the lines of great poems. And so we spend time enjoying them. We read lots of poems, focusing on one poet a term, and try to learn one or two along the way. Anthologies of different poets’ work are wonderful but we have found that taking time to explore one poet at a time has meant we have got to know the poet more deeply.
Here’s a list of nursery rhymes, anthologies, poets and books that we have enjoyed: Continue reading