Dolls and Stories

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.

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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

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

Christmas Picture Storybooks

This is my last list for Christmas.  Just couldn’t resist!

A few years ago I began collecting Christmas stories – short picture books – to share with the children through Advent.  I love the combination of a good story with beautiful illustrations. So I thought I’d share some that we have started delving into in the lead up to Christmas:

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Classics for Young Independent Readers

Lists.

You may have worked out by now that I love lists, so here is another one for you:

Some stories that have stood the test of time and that have been enjoyed in this house.

I would recommend them for independent young readers somewhere in the 6-9 year old bracket.  Obviously all children are unique so you’ll need to work out whether they are appropriate for your child – some might be for younger children, some might be for older.

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Listening to Audiobooks

Audiobooks – don’t you love them?!

I remember listening to them as a teenager for what I thought was a quick way to read set literature texts. I have a clear image of travelling around Thailand and listening to Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov on a walkman – that was called revising! On reflection it was irresponsible and doing neither the country nor the novel justice.

I now love audiobooks for different reasons.  Of course they are no substitute for actually all curling up on the sofa reading a story but I can only read so many stories to the children with my own voice, and so they are a wonderful way to supplement our daily read aloud times. Continue reading

My Boy’s Book Recommendations

Over this last year my son has gone from reading Julia Donaldson‘s ‘Songbirds‘ to J.K. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone‘ – a massive leap.  This journey has involved him devouring books and left me with the job of feeding his appetite. (In other words, scouring the internet for more book recommendations late into the night!) Of course, like any parent, I want to give him wholesome food to satisfy him, although obviously the odd sugary snack is allowed.

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I thought I’d share a few of his favourites from along the way, from early readers and short chapter books to more substantial books for fluent but young readers. Continue reading

Paris

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Navigating the Metro

“Paris? With three kids?”

Over the last year the children have started to learn French. We have also tried to learn something of France: some geography, history, art and culture.  We have enjoyed some wonderful picture books and fiction set in France.  I love good books! So this summer we spent three nights introducing them to this beautiful city.
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Living History

Today the great excitement was Hadrian’s Wall and Vindolanda!

Our older two children have been learning Latin this year with Ed and in the same way my French text books were always set in La Rochelle when I was little, their Latin ones are set in the imagined life of this historical Roman site, Vindolanda. We have also been studying the Romans this last term, so it was thrilling to see history come alive for all of us. The latrines and the sponge sticks were of particular interest, as well as discovering all the places you could stand and shoot the enemy from! We were not there for long as I always find short and sweet is best with little ones in tow!

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