‘These are the days when birds come back’

Observing

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!

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Easter Traditions (part 2)

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:

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Easter Traditions (part 1)

With Easter fast approaching I’ve been thinking about traditions.

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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.

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Poetry with Children

‘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

Easter Picture Books

With Lent underway and Easter approaching, I’ve been digging out our Easter stories to enjoy over the next few weeks.  Here are some we read last year and will do so again through February and March as we prepare to celebrate. My Russian roots are very dear to me at Easter time so you may notice an eastern European flavour in my book choices.

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Valentine’s Day Reading!

Valentine’s Day is around the corner.  I’m not here to encourage you to buy cards, flowers and chocolates, although I’m sure they’d be appreciated! Rather here’s a short post to recommend this book that we read last year and intend to do again on 14th February. Beautifully illustrated short picture book telling the life of Saint Valentine from the 3rd-century – the man behind our celebrations.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Bayeux Tapestry

If you’ve been watching the news recently you will have noticed that The Bayeux Tapestry is coming to Britain in 2020.  There has been great excitement in our house since we heard, as we are right in the middle of studying the Norman Conquest of 1066. Continue reading

Read Aloud Picture Books for 2 year olds

There are obviously thousands of wonderful books out there for you to read to little ones of this age but if you wanted some inspiration to make a change from that one book your toddler always asks you to read to them, Continue reading

Classical Music

Each term we enjoy learning about a different composer – this term we are getting to know Camille Saint-Saens and his Carnival of the Animals.  Our youngest was given this beautiful book for Christmas so it was a natural fit.

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Museums and Galleries with little ones

Happy New Year!

Many of us are making resolutions and hoping to try new things as we plan for 2018. One thing I was reflecting on as I looked back on last term was that museum trips and art exhibitions were real highlights in our homeschooling life. Continue reading