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 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
As promised in last week’s post on World War II Historical Fiction, I’ve put a list together of literature set during the Victorian times that my daughter has pulled off our bookshelves. Continue reading
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!
With Easter fast approaching I’ve been thinking about traditions.
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.
‘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!
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