…the most startling thing about this wonderful tree was that hundreds of tapers glittered like stars in its dark branches, and the tree itself, shining with an inner light, invited the children to pick its blossoms and fruits.
– The Nutcracker, E.T.A. Hoffman
In the midst of the chaos of 2020 and all that it has brought us, Christmas is still coming. There is true light in the darkness. What joy! So let’s get preparing….
I love clambering into the attic for our big box of Christmas books. It’s such a delight to rediscover old favourites and decide which of the longer chapter books I’ll read to our three children. As well as enjoying lots of Christmas themed picture books during December, we cherish something longer to revisit chapter by chapter as the nights draw in and Christmas gets closer.
Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.
— Nelson Mandela
South Africa is a country dear to our hearts. My husband and I lived in Cape Town for the first three years of our marriage and so I have always been keen to introduce something of the place and people to our children. (A visit one day hopefully.) Continue reading →
“…the voice that tells us a story aloud is always more than a carrier wave bringing us the meaning; it’s a companion through the events of the story, ensuring that the feelings it stirs in us are held within the circle of attachment connecting the adult reading, and the child listening. To hear a story is a social act.” — Francis Spufford, The Child that Books Built
I love Francis Spufford’s reminder that “to hear a story is a social act.” Continue reading →
The children should have the joy of living in far lands, in other persons, in other times—a delightful double existence; and this joy they will find, for the most part, in their story-books”
— Charlotte Mason (Vol. 1, p. 153)
So it looks like holidays are off the cards this summer for most of us but in Charlotte Mason’s words we can still “have the joy of living in far lands, in other persons, in other times…” So at a time when we can’t travel and see people so easily, books are a magical way of doing just that both for us adults and our children. So let’s help our children travel this summer and choose books to take them places. They may even make some friends along the way. Continue reading →
I see the coloured lilacs flame
In many an ancient Oxford lane
And bright laburnum holds its bloom
Suspended golden in the noon,
The placid lawns I often tread
Are stained and carpeted with red…
These lines from Lovatt-Williams’ poem ‘Oxford’ capture perfectly the beauty of this city over the last few weeks. Lockdown has definitely made me far more appreciative of the way nature is changing around us here in Oxford as we take our ‘daily exercise’. Continue reading →
To shop, and school, to work and play,
The busy people pass all day;
They hurry, hurry, to and fro,
And hardly notice as they go
The wayside flowers, known so well,
Whose names so few of them can tell.
They never think of fairy-folk
Who may be hiding for a joke!
O, if these people understood
What’s to be found by field and wood;
What fairy secrets are made plain
By any footpath, road, or lane—
They’d go with open eyes, and look,
(As you will, when you’ve read this book)
And then at least they’d learn to see
How pretty common things can be!
— Cicely Mary Barker
With hardly a shop or school to go to, one of the silver linings for us during lockdown has been time to walk or run most days. Without the rush of normal life, we have had time to appreciate the wild flowers growing along nearby pavements, paths and in meadows and woodlands. Continue reading →
It’s all about the Tudors this term in our house. There’s nothing like well-written historical fiction to bring history alive for young ones, alongside visiting museums and relevant places of interest. Continue reading →
With Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday upon us, I’ve updated my book list. Perhaps you are looking for ideas for your family or as gifts for godchildren or grandchildren, you can browse my list here, Continue reading →