An Afternoon with Michael Morpurgo

Just before Easter we got to hear Michael Morpurgo live in conversation with Nicolette Jones at the Sheldonian as part of the Oxford Literary Festival. Morpurgo is one of my son’s favourite authors and was speaking on his birthday, so it was an ideal birthday outing.  The conversation covered topics from the personal to the political and engaged all ages.  

However there were three things that he emphasised as being key for today’s children: Continue reading

Autumn Books

The Harvest Moon

It is the Harvest Moon! On gilded vanes
And roofs of villages, on woodland crests
And their aerial neighborhoods of nests
Deserted, on the curtained window-panes
Of rooms where children sleep, on country lanes
And harvest-fields, its mystic splendor rests!
Gone are the birds that were our summer guests,
With the last sheaves return the laboring wains!
All things are symbols: the external shows
Of Nature have their image in the mind,
As flowers and fruits and falling of the leaves;
The song-birds leave us at the summer’s close,
Only the empty nests are left behind,
And pipings of the quail among the sheaves.

— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Continue reading

What do you do with your preschooler?

Homeschooling is always a great conversation starter. I am pretty good at anticipating people thinking that I’m mad, so I normally preempt the look of surprise by saying, “Yes I know – I’m crazy aren’t I?!”

The questions very quickly come to, “How can you teach your older two with your little toddler around?”, or often more bluntly phrased as, “What do you do with her when you are teaching?”  Continue reading

Butterflies

“Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly, “one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower.”

— Hans Christian Anderson

With spring in full bloom here in Oxford, the bees and butterflies are now out in the garden. They add a wonderful sense of beauty, productivity, life and purpose.  When it comes to butterflies, we are very much amateurs, but loving learning all the same as we spend time outdoors.

IMG_1205 Continue reading

Embracing Autumn

The morns are meeker than they were –
The nuts are getting brown –
The berry’s cheek is plumper –
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf –
The field a scarlet gown –
Lest I sh’d be old-fashioned
I’ll put a trinket on.
— Emily Dickinson

No sooner had we returned from our summer holiday, than we felt the autumn chill in the air. The blustery wind has been tossing the crunchy leaves around our garden. It really feels like autumn has arrived, although unlike Dickinson’s description our roses are still blooming. To cherish the turn in the weather, we drew our first ever chalk pastel pictures of ‘An Autumn Walk in the Woods’ with help from  www.chalkpastel.com. We loved using a new medium for our artwork.

Continue reading