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The Genial Hearth
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Archive for January, 2008

Carnival Time

Carnival of Homeschooling

Life on the Road is hosting the ‘Leaving a Legacy’ edition of the Homeschooling Carnival.

Pancake Day

Easter is early this year, so next Tuesday (the 6th) is Shrove Tuesday. We plan to do the same as we have done the last couple of years. We will cook pancakes a plenty, and everyone is welcome. Please bring either a savoury or sweet filling/topping for the pancakes, and whatever you’d like to drink. I’ll plan on being ready from about 5 (I’ll try at any rate!) so those with kids can come earlier if they choose and start eating.

I’m going to have some paper plates, (and hopefully some elastic) and glue, and maybe some stuff to use to decorate them, if any of the kids feel like making Carnival masks.

Hope this is enough warning for everyone:-)

(Some idea of numbers would be appreciated, so that I can work out how many batches to make🙂 )


Little boy, couldn’t go to sleep,
So he counted tigers, instead of sheep:-)

This Week

Week 3, Block 1, Boronia Term
Introduce phonograms ‘g’, ‘o’ (sandpaper letters and sand tray)
decem urnae (Ten [green] Bottles)
Gratias (Thank you)
TĂŞte, Ă©paules, genoux et pieds (Heads, shoulders, knees and toes)
Écoute!! (Listen)

English Studies
The Brown Bear of Norway‘ from The Lilac Fairy Book Andrew Lang
The Princess and the Pea’ from The Complete Illustrated Stories Hans Christian Anderson
Narration: ‘The Eagle and the Jackdaw‘, ‘The Boy and the Filberts‘, ‘Hercules and the Wagoner‘ from The Aesop for Children Ill. Milo Winter (He’s really a bit too young for Narration, so I’m mostly going to be keeping an ear out for re-tellings, or incorporation in play)
Recitation: Happiness and The Christening A. A. Milne from When We Were Very Young

Art and Music
Folksong: The Drinking Gourd
Composer: Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Work: Scheherazade (I’d planned for us to move on to another piece, but I haven’t sourced it, and we haven’t really listened to this exhaustively… so we’ll continue)
Artist: Leonardo da Vinci
Work: The Virgin of the Rocks
Music: Loud/Soft (The Kodály Method 1 Lois Choksy) Sleep, Baby, Sleep
Art: Watercolour
Lifting off paint (Art Ideas Fiona Watts)


Week 2, Block 1, Boronia Term

All in all, pretty good. Much reading and singing (not usually on the mat, but on the couch because Bilby has been awake). Having the books is so much better! He’s also done some watercolours, and much drawing. The latter wasn’t planned particularly, but he saw Drawing with Children by Mona Brooks and took it away “so I can learn to draw”. (He did a great “racoon and caterpillar with a shell”—which was an even better cocoon:-) )

I’m pretty pleased that we do the ‘formal’ part easily in 15 minutes, three days a week. He doesn’t always use the other activities I have set out for him (although, he’s been getting to at least one of them), but the idea is that they are there when he feels the pull.


CM carnival logoCarnival of Homeschooling

Jacci at The Educational Life is hosting the current Charlotte Mason Carnival—The Cabin Fever Edition.

Alasandra is hosting the American Literature edition of the Homeschooling Carnival.

Reading Games

Puggle was very excitedly telling me this morning that he can read. He listed all the books he can read (and a handful he can “read just a bit”).

“So that means I can play the reading games now!” (Balderdash, Taboo, Oxford, Scattergories and Once Upon a Time are sitting on a shelf out of his reach, because I can’t see an easy way of him playing them until he can read—actually, maybe he could try the latter!)


I’ve been following Sarah’s artistic journey at Handmade Homeschool (well, I was following it when she was Poppins… but she’s at HH now), so when I was at the library, I thought I’d look around the art/photography section for some ‘inspiring’ books (or at least attempt to browse… a Puggle is still only partially conducive to that!)

First personPuggle was reasonably obliging—and joined me in browsing:-) He had to bring home this book so he could learn to draw:-) This morning, he decided he was going to begin. He got out pencils and paper, opened the book to the first page—some information about drawing eyes. The first demonstration was a circle for a face with two dots for eyes, and a mouth. So that’s what he drew!

This is his first ever attempt at a person:-) (There are eyes, but they’re dots, and in light green so they’re a little hard to see.) Pretty good I thought:-) He was quite keen to post it to someone, but instead, turned over and drew more people:-)

Oranges on the Table

Bilby has discovered climbing… she’s learnt how to use the various dining chairs to reach the table—she can finally get to it when she chooses! She loves to see what is up there (including herself:-) ) and takes joy in dismantling the fruit bowl:-)

Time to leave the tabletop clear for a while, I guess.

Montessori Monday—Moveable Alphabet

Moveable AlphabetI made these ages ago, about the same time I made the Sandpaper Letters. I used the same font/size for the letters for both. For the Moveable Alphabet though, I arranged the letters on three pages to print out (one for the vowels, two for the consonants). I then printed the vowels onto blue paper and the consonants onto red. (I decided to just use paper rather than stiff card, as they’re unlikely to be used by a large number of children, and it is quite easy to make replacements if some start to look a bit tatty). I chose to do twenty of each vowel, and eight of the consonants. Then there was much cutting out!
The final stage was making the trays. In the end I used the lids of two shoe boxes, and made dividers. That took a bit of fiddling to ensure sufficient room for each letter. Once they were in place, I glued one of each letter into the bottom of its space, so that there would be no difficulty in putting them away.

It was a once again a fairly straightforward project… there was a lot of cutting out, but that was a fairly mindless (and portable!) task, which made it quite easy to get through.

Information about how to use it can be found here and here.


We had a lovely afternoon, a good number of people (and two chickens!—Puggle was certainly pleased with their arrival!) and I was very productive… I’ve now finished the appliquĂ© on Puggle’s baby floor rug (the one I started when I was first pregnant with him!) Now I just need to iron the front and pin the front, back and batting together; quilt it (not sure quite what I’ll do for that); and bind it.

I might manage to get it done before he leaves home! I’m hopeful! (Of course, if I did manage to get it done before Swancon, I could enter it in the Art Show—and it does have a dragon on it:-) )


Bilby has continued to work on this skill:-) It’s still not her preferred method of locomotion, but she’s getting more and more adventurous. And she certainly is choosing for herself to walk on occasion:-)

It’s very exciting:-)

This Week

Week 2, Block 1, Boronia Term
Introduce phonograms ‘d’, ‘f’ (sandpaper letters and sand tray)
o mea Maria (Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary)
Amabo te (Please)
Frère Jacques
Viens! (Come)

English Studies
A Lost Paradise‘ from The Lilac Fairy Book Andrew Lang
Great Claus and Little Claus’ from The Complete Illustrated Stories Hans Christian Anderson
Narration: ‘The Frogs and the Ox‘, ‘The Dog, the Cock and the Fox‘, ‘Belling the Cat‘ from The Aesop for Children Ill. Milo Winter (He’s really a bit too young for Narration, so I’m mostly going to be keeping an ear out for re-tellings, or incorporation in play)
Recitation: Buckingham Palace A. A. Milne from When We Were Very Young

Art and Music
Folksong: The Drinking Gourd
Composer: Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Work: Scheherazade
Artist: Leonardo da Vinci
Work: Ginevra de’ Benci
Music: Loud/Soft (The Kodály Method 1 Lois Choksy) Hop Old Squirrel
Art: Watercolour
Painting a Wash (Art Ideas Fiona Watts)


Week 1, Block 1, Boronia Term
We’ve started back reasonably well. I wouldn’t say we’re fully back into the swing of things, but we are definitely back to singing, Mat Time, and some of the reading. Puggle is happy to go and choose an activity from the sewing cabinet (and mostly put it away again).

I’m still not completely happy with the way the sewing cabinet is set up—the shelves/language work is good, but the art/craft side is a bit unfocussed. Also, my aim is to have it arranged so that I only have to move a couple of things and it’s clear for sewing (making a virtue of the fact that we always end up with ‘stuff’ there… if I choose what is on there, I can choose to make it easily moveable.) I probably need to look at that this evening, I want to sew tomorrow, and I don’t want it to be a pain to set up:-)

One of the things that I think is helping me feel we’re off to a good start is the books. Last year a lot of our reading was printouts (for most of the year we didn’t have book copies of A Child’s Garden of Verses, or the Fairy books, we just found a copy of the poem/story online and printed them out). This year, we have all the books before the year starts. They are in a tub (well, the ones we’re using at the moment, four of them), and Puggle will wander over and bring me one of them at random times. I have post-it notes marking what we’re up to, so it’s easy to pick up where we left off (the Anderson and the Lilac Fairy Book have longer stories than he can cope with in a single sitting), and of course, they have pictures:-) He is most keen on Aesop, and will ask for more, and the Poems (well, the poem!) is a hit… he can’t wait to do the next one:-)

We do have a bit of a change in our days, Bilby is no longer having two naps as a general rule. Last year we’d have Mat Time when she was napping in the morning (and we’d light a candle—although, I doubt we’d be doing that for now even if she were asleep… it’s a bit too warm!) and that’s not possible now. Given the nap has basically disappeared this week, we haven’t re-settled to a rhythm as yet. I’d like to see us take the bucket of books outside, so Bilby can explore while we read a bit… but I’ll have to think about how to manage the singing bits… I guess a ‘cheat sheet’ of all the songs? That could be a pain though, as they change on different schedules… I may need to re-visit the songbook idea…

I was a little worried that I’d planned on too much. As I said, we’re not back into everything yet, (and we’re also not back to our outside activities yet), but I’m feeling better about what I’m intending. I need to get better about playing the music, and the art set up needs work (I didn’t get to anything other than putting the book out for him) but other than that, Mat Time is no more than about 20 minutes a day (and that’s a good mix of singing, reading and talking about a picture—although, he also chose to bring over some of the outlined letters we used last year:-) ), and the rest of the stuff is pretty much there for him to use as he feels the inclination. So, for three and a half, I don’t think that’s excessive.


Today is the birthday of A. A. Milne. Obviously honey is required for the celebration:-) However, unlike Pooh, I prefer my honey on something:-)

Redbraids gave me this delightful book for Christmas. This seemed the perfect opportunity to try Crumpets:-) (I had made them when I was in Guides, but aside from the fact we made them, and cooked them on tins over candles, I can’t remember them at all.)

They were the perfect choice!

They were remarkably simple—and very forgiving! Although, I did forget to have a candle as befits a birthday celebration:-)

Crumpets (from Tea with the Bennetts)
(The recipe is supposed to make 12, but I used egg rings rather than crumpet rings and made 18)

Crumpets300 mls milk
50 mls water
1 tablespoon dried yeast
1 teaspoon caster sugar
225 grams plain flour
1 teaspoon of salt
butter for greasing

Warm the milk and water, stir in the yeast and sugar, and leave in a warm place for 15 minutes or until frothy.
Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle, and stir in the milk mixture. Use a wooden spoon to work the flour in, and beat to make a smooth batter. (I stuffed this all up! I got distracted in the middle and added the yeast to the cold milk/water combination, and the sugar to the flour. I tried to warm the milk without over heating the yeast, but then gave up, and mixed the whole lot together immediately.)
Cover the basin and leave in a warm place for 45 minutes. The batter will be frothy. (We started too late. It probably only had about 20 minutes before we started cooking. I certainly wasn’t frothy by the time we began—but was beautifully so by the end… and the batter had really made a change in consistency, becoming much more dough like!)
Use a thick based frying pan or griddle and crumpet rings (usually about 10 centimetres in diametre—as I said, I used egg rings which are around 7.5 cms) and grease the insides well. Place the pan over a medium heat for a few minutes, place the rings on and spoon some batter into each ring until it is about 3-4 millimetres deep (I used about a soup spoon and a half for each ring—I think they were dramatically thicker than 3-4 millimetres!) Let them cook for about 4 minutes. Holes will appear on the surface. Remove the rings (I had to use a pair of tongs), turn the crumpets over and cook the other side briefly. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Toast the crumpets before serving, and spread generously with butter (and honey!)

These were great! I will obviously try them with wholemeal flour, and I think it would be good to try freezing them (the commercial ones do fine in the freezer). They’re a bit small, but really, I don’t think I’ll be searching for crumpet rings (although, if I found them at a jumble or something I might be tempted!) Actually, they’d probably still work for lunch (a slice of tomato and a slice of cheese, grilled… mmm! They are around the size of the tomato slice:-) )

Definitely to be repeated:-)

Next time I’m going to try the Cheese (English) Muffins:-)

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