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The Genial Hearth
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Archive for February, 2008

Green Hour Two

GreenHourWeek Two
This morning we headed out to Herdsman’s Lake again (twice in two weeks! I’m impressed!):-) It wasn’t nearly as chilly as last week (could have been because we were an hour later, but I think it’s also just hotter this week:-( )

I’m not sure which of the factors was the cause (I’m assuming it was one of them!), but we saw a number of different birds this week, and the distribution was also quite different (lots of Swans, not many Ibis‘ or Purple Swamp Hens and no Dusky Moorhens that I noticed).

We did see a Yellow Billed Spoonbill (just one), as well as quite a number of Australian Shelducks (including one that appeared to have only one foot—we noticed it limping, and then a more attentive look revealed what appeared to be a stump!) We also saw what might be a Grebe or Cormorant… but I don’t know enough to identify it (and there was too much else for me to remember!) (We also saw a lot of Pacific Black Ducks, but we did last week as well—I just didn’t seem to mention it!)

When we first arrived we heard a lot of bees in several of the Eucalyptus trees. It was a good opportunity to remind Puggle to listen carefully. He (actually, both of them) certainly did a lot better at being quiet and moving slowly:-) We were actually able to listen a few times along the way, and he spent a lot more time watching rather than chasing the birds:-) Today’s big activity was finding a stick to sweep the track after himself.

After last week, I thought I’d try using the stroller. It definitely made for a more pleasant time. Bilby was able to walk and be put in the stroller and taken out again much more easily—and I had put our drinks and snacks and my nature journal and the camera in the stroller basket… more stuff than I had last week, because I wasn’t as worried about carrying it all and carrying Bilby later when she got tired (and I was also tired!) As a result, I took a number of photos (although, I’ll have to wait to upload them, until the film is developed) and even tried a drawing!

We ended up being out for nearly two hours! It was rather longer than I had anticipated, but we were enjoying ourselves, so there was no particular reason to stop:-) It did mean that we came straight home to lunch and naps… so there was no time for Puggle to draw/colour (I had forgotten to take paper for him… I think I need to assemble a nature walk bag, that has journals and pencils and his mini-binoculars… so that they’re all ready to go). We did talk over lunch about our walk.

I asked him for the 1/2/3 words in response to the prompt—but he struggled a bit (even with my modelling) because he’s not used to counting the number of words:-) But after a while he came up with some phrases:-) One word for something he heard was quite easy (although, not for me to write!) “eee-ee-eee”—a pretty good mimicing of one of the birds we heard. I chose “chirruping”, also a bird I’m sure, but I don’t remember it from last week. Two words for something he saw was either “Purple Swamphen” (it’s sometimes written as two words!) or “Crab nippers” (we saw just the nippers, on the trail… being eaten by ants), mine was (somewhat fudged!) “Synchronised-swimming Swans”. There were a group of about five swans who were obviously eating. They kept turning themselves upside down, tails in the air and feet kind of dangling and waving. There were a number of times where two or three of them were either upside down together, or were alternating almost rhythmically… It made me think of the Olympics:-) Three words for something he felt were “Sun and breeze”, I chose “Stamens raining down” for the bits of gum flower that dropped all over us when we stopped to listen to the bees. Interestingly, the sense he seemed to be most ready to note was smell… he frequently paused and asked me to smell something (we’re working on not picking stuff!). Mostly, I couldn’t identify anything (or even smell anything distinctive), but he was very interested in something.

I spent last night wrestling with the .pdf of The Handbook of Nature Study (it’s really long! Nearly 1000 pages—and I think probably more than that if you count all the blank pages at the start.) I’m printing out the bits I’m reading, but it takes a bit to work out which pages they actually are! Now that I have the index out though, that should be easier. I think we’ll just focus on birds for now. They’re definitely what Puggle’s noticing (aside from excavators and ditch diggers… sadly they’re very visible from the lake:-( ) I need to read up on them (I got as far as printing those pages last night, but was too tired to read them then. It should be easier if I build checking the next Green Hour assignment as part of my Sunday prep for the week… that’ll give me more time to read and digest so I can use the new information for the next walk:-) )

I should check what state the “Parts of a Bird” cards are in—I may actually have finished laminating them, and that might be a good thing to introduce to him about now.

And in spite of my good intentions, he’s napping now (he’s essentially given up his naps… and while he does still occasionally sleep, that usually means he doesn’t settle to sleep in the evening—and we’re out tonight…)

Carnival Time

Carnival of Homeschooling

SuperAngel at The Daily Planet is hosting The (American) Political Parties of Our Government edition of the Homeschooling Carnival.

“Cheers!”

We generally do a toast at least once per dinner.

This afternoon for the first time, Bilby held her (stacking) cup up to me when I was drinking! She has held her cup at the table while we clink glasses with her, but this was definitely initiated by her:-)

This Week

Week 2, Block 2, Boronia Term
Language
Introduce phonograms ‘r’, ‘u’ (sandpaper letters and sand tray)
mures tres (Three Blind Mice)
Tam Gratia est, Benigne (No, thank you)
Un Éléphant qui se Balançait (One Little Elephant Balancing)
Regarde! (Look)

English Studies
The Four Gifts‘ from The Lilac Fairy Book Andrew Lang
The Hardy Tin Soldier‘ from The Complete Illustrated Stories Hans Christian Anderson
Narration: ‘The Oxen and the Wheels‘, ‘The Lion and the Mouse‘, ‘The Shepherd Boy and the Wolf‘ 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: The Four Friends A. A. Milne from When We Were Very Young

Art and Music
Folksong: The Vacant Chair
Composer: Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Work: Cappriccio Espagnol
Artist: Leonardo da Vinci
Work: Lady With Ermine
Music: Fast/Slow (The Kodály Method 1 Lois Choksy) Bye, Lo Baby, O
Art: Watercolour
Colour Blends—Yellow/blue (Art Ideas Fiona Watts)

“Oh, Am Mighty!”

Given it’s in response to an eye-patch? I think it’s actually “Aarghh, me ‘earties!”:-)

Progress

Week 1, Block 2, Boronia Term
We got to a Nature Walk! We did read a bit (although, not as much as we have done) and we definitely sang (Puggle is quite taken with “Mures tres“). We’ve had a few slow starts this week, which is I think at least part of the reason for our inconsistency.

Green Hour One

GreenHour This week was our first attempt at joining the Green Hour Challenge:-) I read the suggested excerpt from ‘The Handbook of Nature Study‘ (and found it surprisingly approachable… I’m still not sure that we’ll buy in hard copy—I’m not sure how US-centric it is… but certainly worth a peruse).

This morning we headed out to Herdsman’s Lake again:-) (I can’t believe it’s so long since we went!) This time I wasn’t necessarily planning so much of a walk (I knew Bilby would want to walk, and that would slow us down:-) ). We strolled (pausing to watch a Black Swan floating on the water, with it’s head tucked into it’s body) down to the bench on the small headland. We sat there, had a drink and nibbled on some fruit. This had the advantage of keeping the children a little still, so that the birds actually wandered not too far away—they soon retreated once elevenses was over! From here, we saw a number of other birds (although, I don’t think there were as many varieties as we saw in August).

Puggle was very interested in the birds (which moved:-) ) while Bilby preferred listening to the sounds they made… I think between the two of them they may have confused some of the birds by calling back to them:-) Puggle was very taken with the White Ibis‘ (we saw a lot of them flying), and I was entranced by the Purple Swamp Hens that were eating in the grasses. We also saw Dusky Moorhens, Eurasian Coots, Pacific Black Ducks and one Magpie Lark (that let us get surprisingly close!)

We stayed out for about an hour. Unfortunately there was quite a chilly breeze, and although I thought about taking the kid’s jackets, it’s February! Who would think they’d need jackets now?! I’ll be a bit more together next week:-)

It seems that Puggle was most taken with the Swans and the Ibis’, so they are what we’ll investigate this coming week. Given Bilby’s interest, I should try to find some recordings of bird song, so that we can learn to identify them:-) I have printed out some of the photos from those links, and labelled them (Puggle insisted!) Puggle has been keen to copy pictures from Drawing with Children, so I thought he might like to try copying from the photos:-) We’ll see:-)

Why Is It So?

I can sit on the couch and read. I can sit there and stare at the computer. I can sit there and craft.

But add a small (cosy, but wriggly!) child to the situation and I fall asleep! Almost without fail:-( Even if I’m reading to them, or just talking…

Carnivals

CM carnival logoCarnival of Homeschooling

Simply Charlotte Mason is hosting the current Charlotte Mason Carnival. They’ve chosen to focus on Mother Culture:-)

Heather at The Homeschool Blog Awards is hosting a One Room Schoolhouse edition of the Homeschooling Carnival.

Curried Sausages

This is one of my favourites from childhood:-) It’s pretty forgiving in terms of the sausage quality.

Curried Sausages
Serves 6

2 knobs butter
1 onion, chopped
1 apple, granny smith, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon curry powder
500 grams sausages
400 milliliters stock
1 squeeze lemon juice
1 handful sultanas
rice

Put rice on to cook.
Place sausages in warm water, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain, skin (if necessary) and cut into pieces.
Melt the butter in a frypan, add apple and onion. Stir well and add tomato. Cook until soft.
Add curry and flour, stir until smooth and leave until it colours. Add stock, sultanas and lemon juice.
Boil, add sausages, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Serve over rice.

Green Hour Challenge

I really like the look of this! Nature study hasn’t been happening at all, maybe this is just the kickstart I need!

Nappy Wipes

Nappy WipesAs part of my switch to fully cloth, I finally got around to making these nappy wipes. I’ve yet to use them, but I’m hoping they work well. Each one is half a face washer (towelling) backed with flannelette (for a softer touch). I simply overlocked the two pieces together. Pretty straightforward, although it did get a little fiddly when sewing through the corners of some of the face washers… the overlocker didn’t like that number of layers.
I’m astounded at how taken with them Puggle is. He’s been playing with them all day! Using them to make patterns and hats… lots of fun:-) I did let him choose the flannelette patterns…
I’m beginning to experiment with nappy wipe solution. All being well, I’ll be sorted by the time the current packet of disposables runs out:-)

This Week

Week 1, Block 2, Boronia Term
Language
Introduce phonograms ‘e’, ‘m’, ‘n’ (sandpaper letters and sand tray)
mures tres (Three Blind Mice)
Tam Gratia est, Benigne (No, thank you)
Un Éléphant qui se Balançait (One Little Elephant Balancing)
Regarde! (Look)

English Studies
The Lady of the Fountain‘ from The Lilac Fairy Book Andrew Lang
The Emperor’s New Clothes’ from The Complete Illustrated Stories Hans Christian Anderson
Narration: ‘The Bundle of Sticks‘, ‘The Wolf and the Crane‘, ‘The Ass and His Driver‘ 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: Twinkletoes A. A. Milne from When We Were Very Young

Art and Music
Folksong: The Vacant Chair
Composer: Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Work: Cappriccio Espagnol
Artist: Leonardo da Vinci
Work: Lady With Ermine
Music: Fast/Slow (The Kodály Method 1 Lois Choksy) Hush Little Baby
Art: Watercolour
Colour Blends—Red/yellow (Art Ideas Fiona Watts)

Progress

I realised I’ve forgotten the folksong I’d planned to start this week:-( Other than that it’s been Puggle’s behaviour that’s been the focus:-(

Walking

Bilby is choosing to walk more than half the time now… she’s still not precisely stable, but if she topples she stands up again and carries on rather than deciding that crawling is easier. At least part of that is because she’s realised she can carry things more easily (or because she’s sufficiently competent that she won’t automatically fall over:-) ). One of her great joys is carrying shoes around and delivering them to people.

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