Excerpt from “Oxford” by Tom Lovatt-Williams
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’. And now with online learning underway across the world, here in Oxford a number of children are learning the story of their city. Oxford has an extraordinarily rich history with so many avenues to explore. Of course there are many famous children’s authors from Oxford to explore too, including Lewis Carroll, J.R.R.Tolkein, C.S. Lewis and Phillip Pulman.
One Oxford school has put together this website Oxford What’s Your Story? to help children explore and get to know their everyday surroundings during lockdown. Some wonderful resources can be found there. I’m reading one of their recommendations to the children at the moment – Oxford By a Very Oxford Cat. The cat takes the readers on an engaging and informative adventure around the city with details about the city itself, the university and the stories that have come from here. It’s an imaginative introduction to one of the most famous cities in the world full of dry British wit.
Here are a few Oxford gems below for primary aged children:
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Open Your Eyes!
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
We’re in ‘Week 2 of Unexpected Homeschooling’ as I write this. Lunch is cleared away and I’m sitting in the quiet on the sofa. This is my sanity hour and I highly recommend it! Continue reading
* Daily Routine/Structure
– including getting up and on with the day
* Daily Fresh Air
– explore the nature in your area 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
In a squeaky voice he piped in the man’s ear: “Senhor, a ruined rain forest means ruined lives … many ruined lives. You will leave many of us homeless if you chop down this great Kapok tree.”
— Lynne Cherry, The Great Kapok Tree
Lynne Cherry writes beautifully about the plight of the rainforest through an engaging story, lively illustrations Continue reading
I will defend the importance of bedtime stories to my last gasp.
— J.K. Rowling
Rowling talks of bedtime stories, and of course there is something special about children all ready for bed being read aloud a story about a faraway land before they drift off to the Land of Nod. Continue reading
There are few stronger family bonds than this habit of devoting an occasional hour to reading aloud, on winter evenings, at any rate. The practice is pleasant at the time, and pleasant in the retrospect, it gives occasion for much bright talk, merry and wise, and quickens family affection by means of intellectual sympathy. Indeed, the wonder is that any family should neglect such a simple means of pure enjoyment, and of moral, as well as intellectual culture.
— Charlotte Mason, Formation of Character
Happy New Year!
With my elder two at school since Easter, it has been very special to have time in the day to read longer chapter books to my four year girl that are pitched just for her. Continue reading