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The Genial Hearth
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Archive for August, 2004

Finished ‘Anne’

I sent it off last night:-) With a whole day to spare (I’d had it for about a year in the end). I ended up with four selections for one chapter, but all the rest were two or three only. Having finished, I find I really enjoyed the opportunity to go back and closely re-read a book I have loved for many years. I often (once a year I guess) read it again, but rarely concentrate as closely as I did this time. I am now going to take on ‘Swallows and Amazons’ by Arthur Ransome as my next project… hopefully it will take me less than a year to do:-)

In other reading, I took ‘Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots’ by Sharon Lovejoy out of the library on the recommendation of one of the homeschooling lists I’m on. It’s fabulous! It has details for a number of garden projects to do with kids, and I am now longing for Puggle to be old enough to do some of them:-)

I’m also in the process of reading ‘What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew’ by Daniel Poole. I’ve had it for years, but I don’t think I’ve read the whole thing through before. I’m kind of on a Regency kick at the moment thanks to ‘Regency House Party’ being on at the moment.

Anyway. Time to go outside some more. The weather is fabulous at the moment. Beautiful sunny, clear days. It’s actually possible to get hot just wandering around outside. I’m really enjoying getting outside and walking—rather a shock to me:-)

New blog

I have now set up (yet another!) blog. This one is to record the explicit learning experiences (and perhaps some of the incidental ones, particularly as we progress) we share with Puggle.

My reading this week has focussed on a couple of different things. Firstly, I’ve been looking at ‘Baby Yoga’ by Francoise Barbira Freedman. So far it looks good—and comprehensible to non-yoga experienced person me. Basically it’s info on exercises for baby—which in essence are simply physical games. Exactly the sort of information I was after as Pad and I are both well aware of our need to focus on Puggle’s physical skills (physical development not being a strong point for either of us).

The other stuff I’m reading is on Montessori methods. ‘Montessori Read and Write’ by Lynne Lawrence is quite informative. I’ve decided though, that I’m not going to attempt any more of Maria Montessori’s writing, I’m having difficulty following her style. But I like what I’m seeing of her ideas—although, I’m enough of a CM-type person that I think I’ll leave the early reading alone. Of course, really, I plan to be driven by Puggle, but I don’t see the need to get him reading early unless he seeks it out. I’m reading ‘Montessori Today’ by Paula Polk Lillard as my primary overview. Not far enough into it yet to comment.

I’m almost through collecting copywork from ‘Anne’. About 10 chapters to go. Then I have to go through and weed the list. I currently have about seven selections from each chapter after the first ten, and I need to end up with no more than about three. That will be a challenge. But I should be able to get it done by the end of next week. I hope.

Today hasn’t gone as planned with Kabuki’s abcess:-(


I didn’t expect Puggle to be a boy. Initally, that’s what I thought he would be, but I didn’t seriously expect that would really be the case.

What do I know about boys?

I’ve spent a lot of time teaching them (workshop classes are largely male), and in fact, in the first term this year I had two all male health classes (my principal said she was preparing me in case Puggle was a boy…) But I don’t really feel I have a clue. What books do they read?

I think that’s a big part of it. We are planning on homeschooling. I lean towards a Charlotte Mason approach–using living books. And most of the ones with which I am familiar are ‘girls books’. I will have a lot of searching to do to find the equivilent boys books (not that he won’t read any of the others, but it’s important that he can see himself in the stories).

So I’ve been doing some reading on boys.

Steve Biddulph’s ‘Raising Boys’ was really informative. I like his style of writing and it had a warm feel to it. It will bear re-reading. ‘Raising Cain’ (by Dr Dan Kindlon and another psychologist colleague of his) had it’s moments. It boiled down to ‘boys have an internal emotional life, don’t forget about it’ and ‘be sure to give boys the vocabulary to talk about their emotions’.

I feel as though I have seen so many broken boys in the last ten years in schools (there have been some that don’t appear so, but they are definitely in the minority) and I just don’t want my son to end up like that.


Some weeks I have only one thing on, and it’s something that I can get done at any point I choose. Then others, like this week, I have multiple appointments for specific times, as well as a range of things to get done _some_ time during the week. And then the washing machine dies. And it’s really easy to pop out and do stuff, but Puggle means that _nothing_ is really ‘popping out’. Even just going to the library to return books is an expedition.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m loving being home and doing the whole ‘mum’ thing, but I can see how people wind up holing themselves up in the house and feeling cabin fever! I’m not (so far), but I think it’s mostly because of the people around me. Pad will happily look after Puggle so I _can_ just go and drop off the books. George rings me regularly. My sister stops by (almost) whenever she drives by. Both sets of grandparents are very local. It makes it comparatively easy for me. Because otherwise, I think, even given my introverted tendencies, I’d be feeling fairly isolated.

On the other hand, I am discovering a huge world out there, to do with babies. There are mother’s groups, cloth nappy gatherings, baby swimming, natural parenting/yoga workshops, not to mention the homeschooling groups. I lean towards completist tendencies (you only need to look at my bookshelves!) so it may take an effort to avoid overdoing it…

Anyway, enough for now. I need to go and feed Puggle and mark up more of “Anne of Green Gables” for copywork. It’s supposed to be finished by the end of August…

Which reminds me. I need to start thinking about books for boys. I don’t think I seriously thought Puggle would be a boy, and I don’t know that he’ll necessarily have the same connection with Anne and Laura and Nora and all _my_ childhood reading memories…