We probably read Shakespeare in the first place for his stories, afterwards for his characters, the multitude of delightful persons with whom he makes us so intimate that afterwards, in fiction or in fact, we say, ‘She is another Jessica,’ and ‘That dear girl is a Miranda’; ‘She is a Cordelia to her father,’ and, such a figure in history, ‘a base lago.’ To become intimate with Shakespeare in this way is a great enrichment of mind and instruction of conscience. Then, by degrees, as we go on reading this world-teacher, lines of insight and beauty take possession of us, and unconsciously mould our judgments of men and things and of the great issues of life.
— Charlotte Mason
It feels as though we have just taken the lid off a treasure chest as we have opened William Shakespeare together this term. Continue reading
As 2019 gets underway, I’ve put together some of the ‘modern classics’ that my older two children (aged 9 and 7) enjoyed reading in 2018. Continue reading
“Always winter and never Christmas;
think of that!”
“How awful!” said Lucy.
— The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis
Lucy is right. It would be awful! Christmas is most definitely the light in the darkness. Such joy amidst the long winter months. Continue reading
Oxford is feeling very autumnal.
The holidays are nearly over.
We have got building work beginning on our house tomorrow morning!
But before I think to the term ahead, I wanted to share some of the books I’ve read over the summer. My older two have loved passing on some of their favourites to me and we have had lovely conversations over meals or on car drives comparing thoughts on characters or plots. Michael Morpurgo became Continue reading
Our 8 year old daughter was given a beautiful doll for Christmas. She is absolutely besotted with her, and takes great care dressing her, brushing her hair and including her in all that she is up to. It’s very special to watch. She has even written a story all about her. Of course now she is scouring the bookshelves at home and at the library for stories about dolls. So I thought I’d share those that she has enjoyed in case there are other readers out there that would appreciate them too.
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!
‘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
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.
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.
Happy Valentine’s Day!