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The Genial Hearth
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Archive for September, 2007

This Week

Our plans for
Week 3, Block 8
‘Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, bless the bed’, ‘The big ship sails’ from My Very First Mother Goose by Iona Opie
‘The Gardener’ from A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert L. Stevenson
‘How to Tell a True Princess’ from The Yellow Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
The Tale of Mr Tod by Beatrix Potter
Folksong: The Battle of the Boyne
Composer: Richard Wagner
Work: selections from The Valkyries
Artist: Titian
Work: The Assumption of the Virgin
Art Activity: Make a fingerprint (unique) ‘U‘.
Cooking: Fruit Cobbler Crunch

Toymaking Fair

Toy Making FairBelatedly!

The October Toymaking Fair is now up at Rachel‘s blog.

I suspect some of you would be interested in the knitted daleks! (Get the pattern there!)


Week 2, Block 8
It’s been a pretty good week. I don’t know that Puggle has made much progress on the folksong (it’s another mournful one:-) ), but I certainly have:-)

I put that down to the recent innovation of blu-tacking the words to the front of the TV cabinet. (Funny how ideas stick with you:-) Sometime in the last year or so I started seeing a number of posts about fridge learning. I thought it was a reasonable idea, but then forgot about it. Now I’ve ‘re-invented’ it, by sticking things on the TV cabinet:-) ) Bilby is very distractable when she nurses, so it’s difficult to read books—but things on the cabinet are very do-able. Currently I have our folksong, our weekly poem, and our latin song. I’m thinking that it’s probably going to be a good idea to also print out the weekly painting (although, probably better to do so in colour!) to add to the display. I’m considering adding days of the week, and the weather in some format—although I may leave that till next year.

The other innovation this week has been in response to various discussions on Waldorf education. There are many things I find problematic about it overall, but it definitely has some appeal. There’s a focus on rhythms, nature and art/crafting that speaks to me strongly (actually, the latter two are part of the reason I’m a CM fan:-) ). In one of them, someone mentioned Circle Time (which once again reminded me of something I read a while ago, and considered implementing, but didn’t at the time. Cindy starts her school day with Morning Time to do a certain portion of their Ambleside schedule, which always struck me as a fairly workable formula. I’d only figured on doing it once we started with Shakespeare—and I guess, once I was working with more than one child:-) But, here I am, re-inventing the wheel!) So we’ve started ‘Circle Time’ (although, it’s hardly a circle with just the two of us as Bilby is usually asleep… so I’ll need to re-name it). We roll out one of the mats, light a candle (nice way to use some of the fancy candles we have:-) ) and sit around to recite the poem, sing some songs and do some reading. Puggle seems to be really enjoying it—possibly because he gets to blow out the candle at the end:-) We’ve also managed to read a number of our intended readings:-) I think one improvement will be to include all the relevant books in a basket, then we can move the location outside (although, without the candle!), which would also be a nice touch. Currently though, we are still using printouts for a few things.

The latin song is another addition. We had our last latin lesson for now earlier this week (and wouldn’t you know, now Puggle starts counting to ten in Latin at the drop of a hat!) I’d like to maintain our position (basically some pronounciation), so I figured we’d continue to sing the songs we’ve learnt—and learn some others. In the next while (or next year possibly) I’ll add some french songs into the mix as well. So for now we have Parva Casa in Silva (In A Cottage, In A Wood) from the Minimus website on the TV cabinet. (Puggle has really enjoyed singing ‘In a Cottage, In a Wood’ at each KinderClassics lesson, so it seemed like a good choice:-) )


Bilby is coming ahead in leaps and bounds.

Today, she was continuing to stand while holding our hands, and then let go. This time though, instead of falling forward (usually!), she was letting go, then holding on again and repeating it:-)

It’s too early (I believe?) for handedness to be established. But she is currently seeming quite left-dominant… she does use both hands, but the left is typically firstly and most frequently used. I’ll be really interested to see whether it continues:-)

Rice Bubbles

After Femmeconne, I took home the remainder of the Rice Bubbles. We gave some to Puggle, and he very much enjoyed them, plain and dry (fun to eat:-) ).

Today, I was asking him what he’d like for Elevenses. I’d suggested bread, maybe with some jam?

He asked for some “Bubble Wrap Stuff”.

Even after I’d worked out what he was talking about, and given him the correct name, he persisted in using it.

He likes Bubble Wraps:-)

This Week

Our plans for
Week 2, Block 8
‘I’ll buy you a tartan bonnet’, ‘Wee Willie Winkie’ from My Very First Mother Goose by Iona Opie
‘The Dumb Soldier’ from A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert L. Stevenson
‘The Story of Big Klaus and Little Klaus’ from The Yellow Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
The Tale of Mrs Tittlemouse* by Beatrix Potter
Folksong: An Emmigrant’s Daughter
Composer: Richard Wagner
Work: selections from The Valkyries
Artist: Titian
Work: The Pieta
Art Activity: Use fingerstamps.
Cooking: Fruit Cobbler Crunch

*We may do one of the other stories we missed earlier in the year.


Week 1, Block 8
We did sing again this week. I printed the words for the folksong of the month out in large print and stuck to the front of the TV cabinet. (I’ve done the same with the poem.) This means when I’m nursing Bilby (who is easily distracted by books opening and closing by her head and feet), we can sing and recite. It’s working well—at least this month when I (kind of) know the tune.
We didn’t get to any of the reading.

Waldorf Dolls

There’s been a lot of discussion recently in the blogoshpere about home-made toys. Once again I’ve been seeing many references to Waldorf dolls, and as always, I’m inspired by them. This time though, several people included links with more information about their construction.

So, why Waldorf dolls? I think they look lovely, and I like the idea of something homemade, of size, substance and beauty.

As I said, I’ve been seeing some instructions online. Here are some for a simple Waldorf doll. Here’s a baby doll. Then there’s basic instructions for a more complete version. And a bit more of an overview. And finally, Katharine of Life in the Onion Dome has a series of posts as she makes dolls with her daughters (she’s including a link lower down in her left sidebar which will have any newer posts—they’ve only just finished the mouth as I type this:-) )

I’m paying particular attention, as I’d like to make one for Puggle’s birthday next year (I’m figuring that Christmas would be too optimistic as I generally try and do lots of different things in the lead up to that time.)

Signs We Have Used

Now that Bilby is (somewhat!) reliably waving, we’re making a real ‘push’ to sign with her. That of course means I need to remember what the signs are! (We decided that if we were learning signs anyway, it made sense to learn the Auslan ones—that way they may be useful beyond simply the baby stage.)

With Puggle, we’d borrowed a friend’s Auslan dictionary so we were able to look up words as we needed them. I had looked online, but the only signs I could find information on were ASL. Now though, I’ve found the Auslan SignBook. That will come in handy:-)

All done/Finished
Drink (although, Puggle didn’t use exactly the sign we did… he reliably chose the sign for ‘beer’ instead!)
Breast milk
Bath (we’ll a different sign with Bilby… I realised later that there were a couple of options… the one that Makaton uses is much more simple!)

My memory was that he had a large signing vocabulary (and I know we looked up a number of other words), but this is the list of words he was regularly signing at twenty-one months. (I made a note of the words he was speaking and signing before seeing the Child Health Nurse at that time.) It’s a much shorter list of signs than I’d realised!

To help get us started, I was pleased to find some books in the baby books box at the library recently. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes…, Baa Baa Black Sheep and My First Signs, all by Annie Kubler. They are British, and BSL and Auslan are related, so I was hopeful that we could use them:-) When I looked through, almost all the signs for words I knew, were what we had used:-) Puggle has enjoyed reading them, and it’s encouraged him to use the signs with Bilby…

Preschoolers and Money

I recently came across this article on kids and money. It’s an area about which we have yet to make any decisions, so I found it quite interesting. The writer included links to two moneyboxes that I thought were note-worthy.

Obviously, Paddington and I will need to have a chat about this. I’m wondering (for those who have children, or from your childhood) when do you start giving pocket money? Is it tied to anything (jobs, behaviour, something else)?

Avast, Me Hearties!

It be “Talk Like A Pirate Day”!
Here (for ya larnin’) be instructions in Piratical Talk, and a couple of musical offerings, to get you in the mood:-) (And the words, if ye be needin’ them.)


Montessori Monday—Sound Jars

Sound Jars (top)
These were quite simple.

I started with a dozen film containers (if I’d waited a couple of weeks, I could have had half with grey lids and half with black… but I didn’t). On half the lids I placed a red dot, and on the other half a green one.

I filled two cylinders with lentils, two with rice, two with adzuki (small!) beans, two with cannellini beans, two with cous cous and two with something else. It’s important to try and get about the same quantity in each pair, so that they sound the same.

Each pair should have a red and a green lid, and on the bottom a coloured dot (the bottom dots should match the fillings). The bottom dot is what allows the child to self-assess. I had to add a little glue to the bottom dots to ensure they stayed on over the uneven base of the film containers.

Sound Jars (bottom)

These were done in about half an hour (the longest bit was probably deciding what fillings to use. It’s important that each pair is distinctly different—withou being too obvious!

All that’s left is sorting out a storage/presentation box. And working out where to keep them!

(I’ll be using information from this Sound Cylinders presentation.)

Progress (again!)

Bilby has made some real developments in the last couple of days. She’s now waving with regularity (although, she does usually face her hands towards herself). She’s even starting to do some actions in response to ‘Twinkle Twinkle’. We’re really stepping up our use of sign language in response.
She still ooches, rather than crawls, but she is moving onto all fours a couple of times each day, before then lying down again.
She’s making full use of the furniture in the loungeroom to stand up, and is occasionally managing to get herself back to the ground again.
She’s making her wishes known with regards to getting picked up and put down.
She’s loving her food, since we stopped giving her individual foods, and moved her onto what we’re eating… much more interesting:-)
We’re hearing a wider range of sounds—including occasional ‘ma-ma’s when she’s not crying!

This Week

Our plans for
Week 1, Block 8
‘Milkman, milkman’, ‘Polly put the kettle on’ from My Very First Mother Goose by Iona Opie
‘Nest Egg’ from A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert L. Stevenson
‘The Hazel-nut Child’ from The Yellow Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
The Tale of Mrs Tittlemouse by Beatrix Potter
Folksong: An Emigrant’s Daughter
Composer: Richard Wagner
Work: selections from The Valkyries
Artist: Titian
Work: The Pieta
Art Activity: Make a triangular ‘T‘. Make an egg-carton train.
Cooking: Fruit Cobbler Crunch

Maybe We’ve Been a Bit Obsessive?

That might explain why Puggle is watching Paddington cook (Crab Curry), camera in hand, regularly taking photos:-)

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