…the most startling thing about this wonderful tree was that hundreds of tapers glittered like stars in its dark branches, and the tree itself, shining with an inner light, invited the children to pick its blossoms and fruits.
– The Nutcracker, E.T.A. Hoffman
In the midst of the chaos of 2020 and all that it has brought us, Christmas is still coming. There is true light in the darkness. What joy! So let’s get preparing….
I love clambering into the attic for our big box of Christmas books. It’s such a delight to rediscover old favourites and decide which of the longer chapter books I’ll read to our three children. As well as enjoying lots of Christmas themed picture books during December, we cherish something longer to revisit chapter by chapter as the nights draw in and Christmas gets closer.
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 voice that tells us a story aloud is always more than a carrier wave bringing us the meaning; it’s a companion through the events of the story, ensuring that the feelings it stirs in us are held within the circle of attachment connecting the adult reading, and the child listening. To hear a story is a social act.” — Francis Spufford, The Child that Books Built
I love Francis Spufford’s reminder that “to hear a story is a social act.” 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 →
I see the coloured lilacs flame
In many an ancient Oxford lane
And bright laburnum holds its bloom
Suspended golden in the noon,
The placid lawns I often tread
Are stained and carpeted with red…
These lines from Lovatt-Williams’ poem ‘Oxford’ capture perfectly the beauty of this city over the last few weeks. Lockdown has definitely made me far more appreciative of the way nature is changing around us here in Oxford as we take our ‘daily exercise’. Continue reading →
It’s all about the Tudors this term in our house. There’s nothing like well-written historical fiction to bring history alive for young ones, alongside visiting museums and relevant places of interest. Continue reading →
I will defend the importance of bedtime stories to my last gasp.
— J.K. Rowling
Rowling talks of bedtime stories, and of course there is something special about children all ready for bed being read aloud a story about a faraway land before they drift off to the Land of Nod. Continue reading →
There are few stronger family bonds than this habit of devoting an occasional hour to reading aloud, on winter evenings, at any rate. The practice is pleasant at the time, and pleasant in the retrospect, it gives occasion for much bright talk, merry and wise, and quickens family affection by means of intellectual sympathy. Indeed, the wonder is that any family should neglect such a simple means of pure enjoyment, and of moral, as well as intellectual culture.
— Charlotte Mason, Formation of Character
Happy New Year!
With my elder two at school since Easter, it has been very special to have time in the day to read longer chapter books to my four year girl that are pitched just for her. Continue reading →