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The Genial Hearth
I’ve just put the kettle on, join me for a cuppa and a chat.

Archive for April, 2007

This Week

Our plans for
Week 1, Block 4
‘Bat, Bat, Come Under My Hat’, ‘Big A, Little a’ from My Very First Mother Goose by Iona Opie
‘Young Night-Thought’ from A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert L. Stevenson
‘The Twelve Dancing Princesses’ from The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
The Tale of Mr Jeremy Fisher by Beatrix Potter
Folksong: God Bless Australia (You’ll have to scroll to the last section.)
Composer: Robert Schumann
Work: Scenes from Childhood, Kinderszenen, Op15
Artist: JMW Turner
Work: Rain, Steam and Speed
Art Activity: Make a fiery ‘F‘, trace around feet and decorate
Cooking: Curried eggs

Progress—Thinking about the Term

Term One
(This week is the end of Term One. There are three terms, plus a Christmas block to make up the total year. I plan for us to school year round. We’ll work for four weeks with a focus, and then have a week that is unstructured (aside from Swimming and Co-op which both follow the local school year). Three of these blocks will form a term, which will mean twelve weeks of school and three weeks of break per term, three terms a year. There will be a tenth block, which will be basically December, where we will still do some formal work for the first four weeks, but much lighter than usual (this is planning generally for the future, at the moment it probably won’t make much difference) while we prepare for Christmas.
I want to name the terms, as we’re not using the same structure as local schools, so I think numbering them will just lead to confusion. Not sure what we’ll name them… need to ponder on something appropriate…)

Back to this last term. We stuck to the plan in fits and starts. I was kind of expecting that—it’s one of the reasons for
beginning now, so I can develop the habit.
The singing and the art study works well. The craft and cooking basically falls down when I forget to look ahead at what I’m doing. I kept going to begin a craft and then realise that there was something that I should have looked out ahead of time. Actually, the same applies to the composer study too… We didn’t listen to much Mozart, because I forgot to line up tracks ahead of time.
Puggle enjoyed the poems a lot, although we rarely read them more than twice a week. I should make more of an effort to read them each day (at this stage, they’re all quite short). The same with the nursery rhymes.
The stories that we were reading were less successful. Partly that was me not making a push to sit and read them (we read picture books a lot, but not the longer stories). But I think part of the problem was also the slow reading of the tales. I think for now, we might change to reading the whole story each day, a couple of times a week, and see how that goes.
I started printing out letter outlines, just so that he’d be seeing the letter each week, but he loves to trace around them! I’ll keep doing this, but I think I’ll put away the skinny pencils and crayons, and just leave the thick ones. His grip is quite variable of late, but with the thick crayons, it tends to be more correct.
We’ve been gluing his work into a journal (that will be what we take to co-op fair), but I probably need to be more regular about that, perhaps do it on Friday afternoons? (That’s also probably a good time to be sure to add cooking requirements to the shopping list).
Mostly though, I just need to make a point some time on the weekend of printing out what we need, gathering craft supplies, and making sure the music is lined up. That and the full story readings should make a difference to how this next term progresses.
Actually, I guess I should try and be more regular about posting my progress reports… I have a number drafted, but incomplete…

Progress

Week 5, Block 3 Break Week
We made Fairy Pikelets (well, I did. Theoretically this would have been spreading, sprinkling, stamping… but mostly Paddington did the spreading as Puggle wasn’t too keen). As I was packing the foodstuffs, he asked if we could take the hundreds and thousands to make fairy bread:-)

The music was on constantly, so there was a lot of singing. Most of it was nursery rhymes and kid’s songs, but we did include a few folksongs as well.

Puggle spent a few blocks of time looking at dogs and fish. When the it was sunny in the morning, it was possible to see into the canal quite well. Lots of blowfish, and whitebait, but also a number of other larger fish. There was even one that had black and yellow horizontal stripes, and shape to make it look like a coral reef fish!

This Week

Our plans for
Week 5, Block 3
This is a break week. The plan is to sing “God Bless Australia”, and theoretically make Muffins—except that as this week is also ANZAC Day, we might make Anzac biscuits instead. We’re going down to Mandurah, so it’s probably a good time to try and do some more Nature walks.

Progress

Week 4, Block 3
We sang, and dyed eggs. Puggle also got quite a bit of practise at shelling hard-boiled eggs. (And we learnt that the way to sleep in is to make sure that he can access his own breakfast! It works—as long as Bilby also allows us to sleep!)

Dye-ing Eggs

Dye-ing Eggs
Puggle was writing ‘e’s, so I thought we’d dye some eggs. I decided to do fairly basic cold dye-ing, using food colouring. We put half a dozen drops of colouring in small containers with water.

Dyed Eggs

They turned out reasonably, but probably a little paler than I expected. Somewhere later I saw instructions for doing this, and they used a (large) bottle of dye per colour… Easily fixed in future:-)

This Week

Our plans for
Week 4, Block 3
‘There was a Crooked Man’, ‘The Cock’s on the House Top’ from My Very First Mother Goose by Iona Opie
Autumn Fires’ from A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert L. Stevenson
History of Jack the Giant-Killer’ from The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
The Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter

Folksong: God Bless Australia (You’ll have to scroll to the last section.)
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Classical/Roccoco)
Work: Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra in B-flat major (although, I still need to check if we have this one)
Artist: Pieter Bruegel the Elder
Work: Landscape with the Parable of the Sower
Art Activity: Make an eggshell ‘E‘, dye eggs
Cooking: Bread and Spread (we’ll probably include cutting shapes out of the spread bread:-) )

Progress

Week 3, Block 3
Fairy Bread. He did a lot of drawing ‘e’s this week.

(Abbreviated so I can get it out of my drafts folder.)

Broccoli and Anchovy Pasta

I mentioned this recipe here, but I thought I’d post the full thing so that I can easily find it:-) (It is afterall, one of our staple recipes.) I’ve also discovered that it works really well from the freezer. Of late, I tend to make a triple quantity, bag the extra florets in a freezer bag, and freeze batches of the stem mix once it’s all cooked up.

2 heads broccoli
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8 fillets anchovy
2 small chillies, dried, red, crumbled
4 knobs butter
455 grams orecchiette
pepper, freshly ground
2 handfuls parmesan, grated

Remove the florets from the broccoli and trim, and finely chop the stalks. In a pan fry the garlic, anchovies, chillies and the broccoli stalks very slowly in a couple of lugs of olive oil for about 15 minutes with the lid on. Feel free to mash up some of the broccoli as it cooks, giving you a chunky puréed sauce. Season to taste.
Cook your pasta in boiling water until al dente. About 3 minutes before the end, add the florets to the pasta to cook.
Mix the drained pasta and florets with your tasty sauce, adding a little cooking liquor to loosen if necessary.
Sprinkle on the parmesan before serving.

Resetting the Equilibrium

We’ve been away for a few days, without Puggle. We brought him home last night, so today is our first day back in our usual routine.

It hasn’t gone quite as I’d planned, although, I was expecting to have to be ‘strict’ (grandparents who bow to every whim can be rather unsettling!)

Last night, he didn’t seem to have particularly missed us, but today is a different story!

Still, instead of piles of cleaning up and sorting out (I’ve done a little!), today has involved lots of snuggles and cuddles and kisses and many tickle spiders and hugs and butterfly kisses and “I love you”s.

I know which I’d rather!

Missing:-(

Puggle is leaving when he wakes from his nap, for a special little holiday (actually, it’s kind of like three in one). Paddington and I (and Bilby) are going to Swancon. Puggle is spending a couple of days with one set of grandparents, a day in the middle with us, and a couple of days with the other set of grandparents.

I miss him already:-(

I haven’t been away from him for any length of time apart from the bit more than a day after Bilby was born. And although we knew that separation was coming, we didn’t know when it might be, it was very brief, and I was labouring, sleeping and getting to know a newborn.

This time, I have been preparing Puggle for when he’d be collected and what he’d be doing. Each stay is a couple of nights and the connected days.

God Bless Australia

This is to the tune of Waltzing Matilda, so I’m not going to bother to include a link to a midi:-)

Here in this God given land of ours, Australia,
This proud possession, our own piece of earth,
That was built by our fathers to pioneer our heritage,
Here in Australia, land of our birth.

God Bless Australia, our land Australia,
Home of the ANZACs the strong and the free.
It’s our home land, our own land, to cherish for eternity,
Here in Australia the land of the free.

Here in Australia we treasure love and liberty,
Our way of life, all for one, one for all,
We’re a peace-loving race, but should danger ever threaten us,
We’ll let the world know we’ll answer the call.

God Bless Australia, our land Australia,
Home of the ANZACs the strong and the free.
It’s our home land, our own land, to cherish for eternity,
Here in Australia the land of the free.

This Week

Our plans for
Week 3, Block 3
‘Hickory Dickory Dock’, ‘Hickory Dickory Dare’ from My Very First Mother Goose by Iona Opie
Fairy Bread’ from A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert L. Stevenson
The Brave Little Tailor’ from The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
The Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter

Folksong: God Bless Australia (You’ll have to scroll to the last section.)
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Classical/Roccoco)
Work: Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra in B-flat major (although, I still need to check if we have this one)
Artist: Pieter Bruegel the Elder
Work: Landscape with the Parable of the Sower
Art Activity: Make Elephant Ears
Cooking: Bread and Spread (we’ll probably include cutting shapes out of the spread bread:-) )

Progress

Week 2, Block 3
Nighttime reading. Letter recognition. Cutting. Bread and spread.

(Rather abbreviated so I can finally get it out of my drafts folder!)

The Little Prince

Today we went on our first Home Education Co-op Excursion.

We went to see Spare Parts Puppet Theatre‘s The Little Prince.

We drove to Fremantle, and parked near the Esplanade park, then walked to the theatre. I had underestimated the time required for the boy to walk—not because of the distance, but because there was so much to see! Cars, bikes, trucks, footpath sweepers, people! He was terribly excited just from that!

It wasn’t the first theatre Puggle had seen (although, it was Bilby’s first performance). That was Jigsaw Theatre Company’s adaptation of Shaun Tan‘s The Lost Thing.

This was his first ‘real’ theatre (as opposed to a performance space). He got to sit in his own big seat with arms:-) As it ended up, he was in a seat in front of me, next to another 3 year old boy (whose mother was beside me). Bilby was on my lap where I thought she would go to sleep. (She didn’t. She watched intently almost the whole thing. A brief pause to feed, and a couple of minutes being held in a sleep position by another mother, but the rest of the time was watching the stage.)

I reached out to reassure him as the house lights went down, but really, I needn’t have bothered. He was completely fascinated. He barely looked around. He didn’t really giggle at the initial non-verbal exchanges, but he was intently focussed. He remained that way for the first two thirds of the show (aside from a quick glance around after a while at the step lights). He watched the Little Prince meet the king and the business man. As he met the geographer (and I fortunately just finished feeding Bilby!) he turned around almost in tears and said he wanted to sit beside me… I passed Bilby to my neighbouring mother, and lifted him over to my lap. He certainly sat close, but was definitely still watching!

More movement later, we were sitting side by side, with Bilby back on my lap. Then the play ended. Once again, he was almost in tears asking ‘Where are they going?’ I think he found the transition difficult as the actors returned to the stage as themselves to answer questions. He was definitely excited as they showed how the fox’s tail worked, in response to a question.

Afterwards, we walked back to the car (quickly, as I was worried I wouldn’t make it back in time to replace the ticket) and joined the others in the park for a picnic lunch, then a play on the equipment (amongst all the school kids on their excursions!)

All up, it was great fun. Next time (and there will be a next time, this was too good to miss!), I think we’ll plan on going ourselves (although, I may tag along with the homeschool group booking, just not with so many folks we know). We’ll use the train to get there as the theatre is so close to the station. And we’ll just have our lunch in the park adjacent to the theatre. That will make it much easier to talk about the play without getting distracted with cars and people and playgrounds. The big thing that disappointed me today was that with everything else, I didn’t take the time to sit and chat with Puggle while things were fresh in his mind. He remembers a couple of bits, but I think he would have taken more in with more immediate re-inforcement. I think he had plenty to process and absorb, but I didn’t really allow him time to do that.

We are now reading The Little Prince. I vaguely thought about doing so before, but then decided not to. It may have allowed him to understand the play a bit more. It’s been a while since I read it, and I’m not sure how close to the book the play was, but if it is particularly different, I worried that it might put a greater distance between him and the play as it didn’t align with what he knew of the story, so I decided against it. I had planned to just read one section at a time (the book is divided into nice short bites), but he’s been keen to have a few more:-)

All up, a good day:-)

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