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The Genial Hearth
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Archive for July, 2007

This Week

Our plans for
Week 4, Block 6
‘The Grand Old Duke of York’, ‘Mrs Mason Bought a Basin’ from My Very First Mother Goose by Iona Opie
‘The Wind’ from A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert L. Stevenson
‘The Story of Sigurd’ from The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
The Tale of Pigling Bland by Beatrix Potter
Folksong: Two Little Boys
Composer: Robert Schumann
Work: Fantasiestucke, Op. 73
Artist: JMW Turner
Work: The Fifth Plague of Egypt (the extermination of livestock)
Art Activity: Make an orange ‘O
Cooking: Flavoured couscous


Week 3, Block 6
Lots of singing!
He’s done a lot of colouring (very into orange at the moment—but his ‘best colour’ is still pink), but not so much cutting (couldn’t find his scissors).
Really not much reading.
We’ve been away from home quite a bit, which probably had a lot to do with it. A group of co-op families are getting together to do semi-organised sport with our (very active!) small ones. For the next five weeks, we’re doing swimming. So we’re meeting once a week for an hour at a pool. Theoretically, we spend the first half an hour working on some skills then the remainder of the time playing. This week there wasn’t so much on the skills (I’m not particularly concerned about swimming skills as we’re still swimming each week with Waterbabies).

Bugs and Spiders

Puggle keeps noting bugs and insects and caterpillars, and asking me what they are.

I keep forgetting to find a good source for answers:-(

But now the Headmistress has posted some links someone sent to her—all about bugs! And there’s even some Australian sites (lots of homeschoolers have links to bug sites but they tend to be in the US, so probably not so useful for us).

What’s that Bug?
The Spider’s Parlour (Victorian spiders)
Spider ID Chart

Options for Ancient Greek

(In spite of what I said last week!)

This morning at KinderClassics, we were talking about resources, and because I seemed to have come across a number of the Latin courses, the teacher asked if I knew of any Ancient Greek resources for little ones. I told him there were and promised to email him the information.

I found it ended up rather longer than I expected! Then I figured that I’d post it here for my own (possible) future reference.

I’m just at the stage of noting these… and I haven’t seen any of them up close.

I’ve tried to link directly to the source… but most of these are also available through Amazon.

There are a number of different forms of Ancient Greek. The main ‘camps’ are Koine (biblical) and Attic (used by playwrights and philosophers). Koine is generally seen as significantly easier than Attic, although apparently it’s much easier learning Attic once you know Koine. For little ones, the only options are Koine. From reading the Latin Centered list, it sounds as though there might be some sales to be made if anyone came up with a children’s Attic course:-)

Elementary Greek (from Open Texture) is a three year course, aimed at eight or nine year olds. It comes with textbook, audio assist, work book and flash cards. It’s a fairly new course (I hadn’t realised they’d actually finished the sequence), but generally, the Latin Centered (LCE) folk who have tried it seem to like it. I believe it’s a parts-to-whole approach.

From Trivium Pursuit comes A Greek Alphabetarion and A Greek Hupogrammon (they also have an alphabet banner). I believe that these are just an intro to the alphabet, and a copybook for writing practice. They do have Homeschool Greek Volume One and Homeschool Greek Volume Two (which are aimed at the late primary/early secondary age group) and Little Bitty Baby Learns Greek (which is also an introduction to the alphabet). I haven’t heard anything about these, aside from the alphabetarion, which generally seems to be fine, but obviously is limited:-)

I’d forgotten Hey Andrew, Teach Me Some Greek which has been around for a while. Some seem to really love this and others not so much. It’s apparently quite slow, and the books are more expensive than some of the other options. Unless starting with very young children, there seems to be a recommendation to begin with level 2. (There’s an overview here). It is apparently a whole-to-parts approach like Minimus.

And I’ve just seen -coming this year- Greek for Children. I know nothing about it, but I know a lot of people like their Latin for Children.

At this point, you have a choice, depending on why you’re doing Greek.

If you want to continue with Koine (to read the New Testament) you go to Machen’s New Testament Greek for Beginners or Mounce’s Basics of Biblical Greek.

Or, if you wish to change to Attic, there is Athenaze, Introduction to Attic Greek by Mastronarde, Crosby and Schaeffer’s Introduction to Greek (no-frills, and no answer key), John Williams White’s First Greek Book (free download from I believe this is also pretty basic) or Cambridge’s Reading Greek.

Homer of course, wrote in Homeric which is different again (although similar to Attic, I believe). So there’s also a Reading Course in Homeric Greek.

Some Aesop’s fables in Greek, as well as Latin and English.

And after you’ve done all this, you might just be able to read Harry Potter!

I guess I should do the same thing for Latin—maybe another day:-)

That Language Meme

Your Score: Older Futhark

You scored

Language of the Norse, Older Futhark! Thirty symbols, all told. And no hardier, more warrior-like tongue has ever graced the longships of the Viki or left the Celts and Saxons in such quivering fear. There’s only one drawback, that being you died 800 years ago.

Link: The Which Ancient Language Are You Test written by imipak on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

This Week

Our plans for
Week 3, Block 6
‘Whose Little Pigs are These, These, These?’, ‘Chook, Chook, Chook, Chook’ from My Very First Mother Goose by Iona Opie
‘Picturebooks in Winter’ from A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert L. Stevenson
‘The Marvellous Musician’ from The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
The Tale of Timmy Tiptoe by Beatrix Potter
Folksong: Two Little Boys
Composer: Robert Schumann
Work: Fantasiestucke, Op. 73
Artist: JMW Turner
Work: The Fifth Plague of Egypt (the extermination of livestock)
Art Activity: Make a paperbag Owl (hmm… must find where I put the paperbags!)
Cooking: Flavoured couscous


Week 2, Block 6
We actually read the Beatrix Potter! It’s been a while since we did that… The Book Look orders arrived yesterday (I think I should get them all to you over the next week) and that included the Complete Beatrix Potter—which includes this week’s story—with pictures:-) (We’ve missed so many, that I’m thinking I should plan on repeating them, rather than doing two weeks of each one we have left.)
We’ve sung a bit (I put Puggle in his room for ‘Quiet Time’ on Thursday… we’re transitioning out of naps, and he protested by singing ‘Mica Mica’ loudly all the way through:-) ). We’ve also continued with ‘Two Little Boys’.
Lots of tracing number 1s. He has then been cutting out the number (in a doorway shape) and then he’s asked me to stick them back in like a doorway. He then turns them into a doll’s house. Not sure where that fascination has come from!
I did forget to make a noodle necklace… that’s an oversight. He’d like the threading:-(
There was some colouring while I read the Golden Goose. We didn’t get all the way through in one sitting. Surprising, given it’s quite short.
There’s been another nursery rhyme binge as well:-) He’s been singing his own bedtime songs (‘Golden Slumbers’, ‘Boys and Girls Come Out to Play’, ‘Hey Diddle, Diddle’), although he does tend to race through them so that some words are unidentifiable and others are missed out all together. I’ve been thinking that he might like to perform one of these at the Co-op Fair at the beginning of October.
He seemed more at ease at KinderClassics—he sang out the whole of ‘Frére Jacques’ when the title was mentioned (after singing it with the group in English). He was able to count to four in Latin with the others, and sing ‘Mica Mica’. And he wasn’t so ‘stunned’ by the teacher/student thing… but I’m still not sure that it’s what I’m really looking for at this stage. Paddington has put up a couple of ads for a French speaker to come and play with Puggle and another family on a weekly basis, and really I guess I’m hopeful that doing that regularly will prompt me to use French more reliably (I guess, I should find something that I can do every day… not sure what though).

Christmas Craft

I really enjoyed today:-)

It was great to have so many people come by. Not such a range of crafts, but still some interesting ones—J’s knitted seamless moebius scarf…

In the end, I crocheted dishcloths. I realised that I hadn’t planned out what I would get done today, so when I wanted to sit down it was either that, get out the sewing machine (less sociable, and really there were too many children around!) or get the ladder and find the cracker materials… I went for simplicity. (Although I did also finally finish off the last of my current Montessori Material Making project… post to come!)

Of course, half an hour after everyone had left I remembered a pile of things I had thought of doing:-( I had thought of doing some of Dawn’s window decorations, beginning work on our Christmas Cards, beginning on next year’s calendar, working on Bilby and Baby Girl’s advent calendars, making Christmas Crackers, re-visiting last Advent to begin thinking about this year’s and beginning to plan my Christmas prep (including starting to think about possible gifts for people). Quite a number of other options!

Still, there’s more craft days to come! I’m figuring the 19th of August is looking good for the next one—no theme this time:-) Just come along and craft if you have the urge, or just join us to chat:-)

Bilby Notes

I blog regularly about Puggle’s progress, but I don’t want to forget what Bilby has been doing!

She’s currently creating paths of drooling destruction:-)

Still ooching rather than really crawling, but she definitely realises that she can choose where she wants to be—and she does! Quite determinately! Mostly, she wants to be out the door to the patio, playing on the brick steps, and making her way down to the patio… across the dirt:-( She thinks it’s fabulous! Her other particular wish at the moment is to stand up. She still needs support, but she does the holding (she can’t fully pull herself to standing on things… but can on people). She’ll hold our hands and inch her feet so that she moves around—like today where she held Paddington’s hand and then moved around him to reach a better part of the newspaper:-)

She’s progressing slowly on the food front. She finally is not feeling quite so traumatised by the actuality of food, so I think from here on in should go a lot more smoothly:-) And she actually sat up at the table for the whole of tonight’s dinner (in a high chair, and only while I ate… Puggle tends to be less efficient with his meals… it’ll be a while before she can last the whole of one of his meals!)

She’s been waving goodbye/goodnight for about three weeks. She often grabs hold of her other hand in the process, so it is a bit more like the beginning of a dive. When she doesn’t do that, her right leg (the one that kicked most of the way through the pregnancy!) kicks wildly at the same time:-) This suggests that now is the right time to begin Baby Sign with her. Now to remember all the signs we used with Puggle! (We didn’t use any of the ready made programmes as they all seemed to be ASL, and I figure if we’re investing the effort into learning them ourselves, AusLan makes more sense:-) )

This Week

Our plans for
Week 2, Block 6
‘One, Two, Three, Four’, ‘One for Sorrow, Two for Joy’ from My Very First Mother Goose by Iona Opie
‘Windy Nights’ from A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert L. Stevenson
‘The Golden Goose’ from The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
The Tale of Samuel Whiskers, or Roly-Poly by Beatrix Potter
Folksong: Two Little Boys (For those of you like me who grew up with the Rolf Harris version, try searching the iTunes music store for the song. It’s really a little disturbing!)
Composer: Robert Schumann
Work: Piano Concerto In A Minor, Op. 54
Artist: JMW Turner
Work: Fisherman at Sea
Art Activity: Make a noodle necklace. Make a noodle (stellini) ‘N‘.
Cooking: Flavoured couscous

Why Latin?

(Because Purrdence asked why Latin rather than another LOTE! This was my reply—with some expansion!)


A whole other post (and here’s a little one:-) )!

There are many reasons. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, which is I guess what started me thinking about it.

I see Latin as a great beginner for other Romance languages, from a vocab perspective. It’s a great beginning place for grammer, because it’s a declined language—and the pronunciation is much easier than Russian! (Ancient) Greek could also be another option, but the resources for Attic (as in Homer etc) are apparently very sparse, and not good for self-teaching, Koine would be workable, but I don’t think we’re going to be reading the New Testament in the original, which seems to be the source material that is used. We could do German, but it’s not something I’ve ever been particularly interested in.

Latin for me is as much about the mental discipline as the fact it’s a LOTE (and that depends on your moderator… some of them won’t accept it I believe). We’ll be introducing French shortly (should have done so before now, but I fell down on getting myself in the swing early:-( ), but my plan is to continue Latin as far as possible.

(Very Euro-centric I know, but that’s my language background. Paddington and I have both done Indonesian, but not as much as I have French, and he’s also done some Japanese. I doubt we’ll stay solely with European languages, but it certainly was where I planned to start… and once you’ve learned one LOTE, I’ve found others much easier to approach. In the house there are French, Indonesian, Japanese, Russian and Swedish learning materials, and a Zulu dictionary. There’s also lots of books about computer languages:-) )

Poppins has a great quote, (which appears to have disappeared off her site)

“I choose it because a mind that has been asked to follow a rigourous learning plan is never out-of-date. My goal as an educator is to equip my students with the tools they need in order to learn whatever it is they want to do in life, whether it’s how to work a washing machine or draft architectural drawings. I believe that with a classical education my children will have the mental equivalent of a gymnast’s body-strong, flexible, well-honed, practiced.”

At this stage my plan is to follow the Latin-Centered Curriculum, which works from a less is more background (unlike a _lot_ of others, which involve jamming in as much as possible!), and I’m hoping that Latin will help us in that simplification (I know I’m prone to trying to do too much!)

The other thing is that this opportunity landed on our doorstep:-) We’re going with the flow:-) I am however, not certain that we’re quite ready for this. As I said, it may be too formal. We were (are) planning to begin French this year. But our plan with that was getting together with another family of children and hiring a native (or near native) speaker to come and play with them. We’d have a craft and obviously toys, and maybe they’d do a nursery rhyme or two, but not so much of the sit and listen to teacher (he is aware of their ages, they don’t sit long.. but they do sit around a table and listen to ‘lectures’). (If anyone knows someone like that… who is free some weekday mornings so we can try and find one to suit, and wouldn’t be put off by travelling to Wanneroo… we’re looking to employ someone!) I’m still hopeful that we can find a play leader for the French idea, and at that point we’ll think about finishing the Latin (for now… I was planning on leaving it till he was five:-) There are a couple of courses that apparently work well with kids that age, and can be taught at home—I’m not relying on this for socialisation!)

I do plan to blog more about my longer term plans/goals—but I’m wary of putting too much of it down too soon… I have outlines and sketches, but I’m pretty much going with the flow for this year and the next, planning, but then seeing what eventuates. You’ve probably noticed that there’s quite a discrepency between our plans and our reality:-) I’m hoping that they get a little closer together towards the end of next year… I’m conscious though, that no plan survives contact with the enemy. So although I do have plans, I don’t want to get them too fixed, because they may well not suit our children.


Week 1, Block 6
He’s been really focussed on ‘looking at the pictures’. He denies “reading” as a descriptor, but he is certainly re-telling books to himself. He also reads through the My Very First Mother Goose at length, but wants me there for the half dozen or so nursery rhymes he can’t remember (a very small percentage). He’s also taken to singing to himself at night, he just wants me to prompt.

The stamping thing is still a big occupation, he’s traced most of the printed letters I gave him, then stamped the outside of the page… then cut out the letter to give to me:-)

We went to ‘KinderClassics’ this week for the first time. Not sure whether we’ll stick with it as it’s probably a little more formal than I’m looking for at this age, but we’ll give it a few weeks to see. The homeschooling Latin teacher in Perth (there is one, he has more than a dozen classes each week!) runs a 3-5 year old group. Mostly it’s singing (we have begun to learn “Mica, Mica”—”Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star”), but there’s some colouring in, gluing and cutting out. And I think that’s what has made him suddenly cut out the letters:-) They made puppets this week:-) They also looked at a globe and a map to see where we live and where Rome is. He was a bit overawed by it all—except for the bit where he got to count backwards:-) (I think the teacher was trying to get to explaining about the lack of ‘0’, but he realised halfway through that these kids don’t have a strong enough concept of what the number names mean for ‘0’ to make any sense:-) )

And we sang. He often comes out with “Mica mica, parva stella” and repeats it to the whole song:-) Should progress now that I’ve learnt the rest! And he’s really enjoying “Two Little Boys”. Re-sings in his own version (“Two little boys had two little toys, one had a wooden horse and one had a wooden spoon”), and always corrects me when I use the name ‘Jack’ in the first half:-) Learning a new song always works much better if I grasp it (or know it already), unsurprisingly. I really need to work on me learning new songs more quickly so that he has a chance to.

All in all, a pretty good week.


In bed this evening, I’m about to go…

“I’m holding onto you so that you don’t go away and I don’t fly.”

I suggested he hold onto the (stuffed) wombat, as they’re not known for flying… he also decided he’d better hold onto the bed, “That would work.”

Palette Generator

This strikes me as a really useful tool:-) Certainly an easier way of finding colours for backgrounds! I definitely have plans for it:-)


Just a reminder to everyone that I’ll be beginning my crafting preparation for Christmas on Sunday, with Christmas in July. You’re welcome to join us, either to craft, or just to chat. Turn up after 1.30. I’ll make some gingerbread, maybe fruit cake muffins and possibly spiced apple juice.

I guess that means I should work out what I’m going to do!

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