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The Genial Hearth
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Archive for May, 2010

Composer Study, Dorothea Term 2010

This term’s composer(s) are Edvard Grieg and Jean Sibelius.

I have made some playlists. Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 (weeks 1 and 2), Grieg’s other pieces and Sibelius’ Finlandia (weeks 3-9), and Sibelius’ Symphony 1 and 2—from which we’ll choose one (weeks 11-14).

There are child-sized biographies found at the Classics for Kids site (Grieg and Sibelius). There are podcasts (six minutes each) available covering Grieg, Peer Gynt (and associated worksheet), incidental music (including Peer Gynt), Scandanavian Composers (including both of them), and Halloween music (apparently includes Grieg, but I haven’t listened to it yet).

This is what I’ve found so far, but I’ll come back and add a couple more bits (I hope!) before the end of the term:-)

(Feel free to add any links you have in the comments!)


I just wanted to put in a plug for the AOCopywork list. If you’re doing copywork, and are reading any of the Ambleside Online book suggestions, you’ll find copywork already selected (there may still be a couple of books not done). (You will need to join to be able to access the copywork.) There are generally a couple of possible examples from each chapter (the examples are selected within fairly strict parametres… so if you’re reading it at a different level to the AO suggestion, it may not be as helpful… but if you are, they should be an appropriate length, and use appropriate grammar and vocabulary).
I joined a couple of years ago, and selected copywork for a couple of books (Swallows and Amazons, and Anne of Green Gables), thinking it was a way of contributing back to the homeschooling community who had already provided me with much food for thought:-) But until now, I haven’t used any… But Puggle has reached the stage where he’s got a grip on his letters, and is ready for something a bit more meaty—and we’ve just finished ‘Little House in the Big Woods’ (and he’s loved it!) which is one of the Year One suggestions:-) A perfect match:-)

Classics for Kids

This is one of those sites that keeps turning up in my reading. And I keep clicking over, meaning to explore…

Well, today I did! And they have Composer biographies! (Hitting the main points, but not too long for my little kids, not going into details I don’t want to explain yet!) And little podcasts (6 minutes) on composer related topics! Of course, the topics are not on our current composer, but I’ve subscribed, and eventually, we’ll end up with something useful:-) And in the meantime, we can listen out of order:-)

There’s more to see, but it’s definitely worth a visit:-)

Singing Updated

I’ve just gone through the Songs We Sing page, and added in the last few (8? 9?) months worth of songs:-( That was a little overdue!

I’ve also retconned the list. We didn’t do Battle of the Boyne, because I could find nothing to help me learn it! So I’ve replaced it with The British Grenadiers (which is along a similar line, and a tune we already know!) I had in mind it was one of the Ambleside songs, so I was keen not to swap it out, but I was mistaken:-)

Paper Dolls

The new topic we’re doing for French is clothing. So I thought it would be a fun idea to find paper dolls for the kids to dress. Ideally, I wanted some they could colour themselves. I found I was rather overwhelmed with options! Eventually though, I found this collection which seemed to work:-) I collected them together on a couple of sheets, and we gave them to the kids.

They loved them! We were quite surprised at just how much they did:-) (I knew Puggle was looking forward to working with them, because we recently started reading Little House in the Big Woods, and in the chapter we read just recently, Ma Ingalls had made paper dolls for Laura and Mary. And Bilby too, just because of the doll aspect, I think.) The bigger kids kept working with them for most of the rest of the afternoon, and Puggle got them out again as soon as we got home:-) All together, they were a great success. I plan to print out some more blanks for them, just to have around:-)


A friend mentioned recently that she and her children were going to the regular Monday preschoolers’ session at Environment House, were we interested in joining them…

This morning was the time, and it was delightful! It was a really relaxed session, just a few families (and it turned out no big problem that we were a little late, they’d started, but we were able to just join in, because it was so informal).

We started by making seedballs out of clay. There were a selection of seeds to include. Some of the little ones had difficulty in rolling the balls, but they got to play with clay, so they were happy:-) Then some garlic chives were pulled up to be potted on. First of all though, the kids were shown how to get the seeds out of their dried flowers. They then potted them up. So we came away with garlic chives in a pot, and a collection of seed balls of a variety of types (and sizes:-) ) Puggle also got to play in the worm farm, and pull out the manure to spread on the garden (“Mama, do youknow what manure means?”)

We followed the session with a wander through the garden and a browse through their shelves (there’s a shop inside the house). There are about 5 well established fruit trees already on the site, and they’re adding a number more, espaliered at one end of the garden. There’s a massive compost heap down the back, and 4 or 5 keyhole garden beds. The guy was really great with the kids, encouraging them to smell, then taste the leaves of the various (edible) plants to identify them. They also got to eat some peas—and then I couldn’t resist getting some pea seeds:-) They got to eat lots of mandarins, and got shown how to choose a ripe pomegranate from the tree (most timely:-) Although, it will be quite a while before Puggle’s birthday tree is that big!)

It was a wonderful morning, and most inspiring:-) They obviously have a range of activities, as they were encouraging us to come back every week:-) That hour of the morning, that far from home is probably not do-able each week, but we’ll definitely go back again! And I’d love to check out some of their weekend sessions as well:-)

Six Years On

Six years ago this evening, I was having a fabulous dinner with friends. I felt a bit out of it, but figured it was tiredness. The next day, Puggle was born.

I can’t believe he’s about to be six!

It’s been an un-missable six years. Puggle is a source of great joy:-)

Now I have a (small) stack of presents, and a felt menhir on his birthday flag (I wasn’t going to attempt to do Asterix and Obelix in felt!)

Tall Men Riding

There’s a midi file here, along with some information. There’s sheet music here for the melody line. I haven’t found a suitable .mp3.

Oh, the high hawk knows where the rabbit goes,
and the buzzard marks the kill
But few there be with eyes to see the tall men riding still
We hark in vain on the speeding train
for an echo of hoofbeat thunder
And the yellow wheat is a winding sheet
for cattle trails plowed under

Hoofdust flies at the low moon’s rise
and the bullbat’s lonesome whir
Is an echoed note from the longhorn throat of a steer,
in the days that were
Inch by inch, time draws the cinch,
till the saddle will creak no more
And they who were lords of the cattle hordes
have tallied their final score

This is the song that the night birds
sing as the phantom herds trail by
Horn by horn where the long plains fling
flat miles to the Texas sky
And this is the song that the night birds wail
where the Texas plains lie wide
Over the dust of a ghostly trail
where the phantom tall men ride