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The Genial Hearth
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Archive for Family

Geography: Format

First Monday: Location. (I’ve found a world map I’ll use, and just set him to find the country in the atlas, and identify it on the map)
First Tuesday: Flag.
First Wednesday: Language.
First Thursday: Animals.
First Friday: Music. (Folk songs/dancing)
Second Monday: Features. (Cities, Mountains, Rivers)
Second Tuesday: Famous People.
Second Wednesday: Language.
Second Thursday: Culture. (Currency, festivals, population, religion)
Second Friday: Art/Craft. (if there’s a related ‘My Family Feast’ episode, we’ll watch it)
Second Saturday: Food.

Books

Graphic Novels for Kids

Puggle loves Asterix:-) We have plans to start him on Tin Tin eventually. But I was really excited to read last year Melissa Wiley’s two posts from Comic-Con about Graphic Novels for kids:-) A discussion today reminded me to look them out, and I’m linking them here so I can find them more easily:-) She also posted about this year’s con here and here.

Cygnet Chatter

He now has definite (and independently used) names for his siblings! He’s been wandering around the house, calling for Puggle (2 syllables, just missing the middle consonant… “EEh-un!”).

Hit With a Revelation!

Puggle was sad last night, when he realised he didn’t know how to play ‘From the shores of Montezuma’ (The Marines’ Hymn) on the piano, one of our folksongs from last term. It proved very popular (well, after Grandad sang it:-) ).

This morning, I was looking for sheet music to simplify the process:-) (He’s playing around with the piano… he’s worked out how to play a variety of his recorder songs on it, but only looking at the right hand:-) ) My ear is not great, and I’d rather he had a good example to keep coming back to:-) I did my search, and what did I find (or rather, be reminded of)?

The composer was Jacques Offenbach. My kids love their Offenbach:-) We listened to a number of his pieces a couple of years ago (including the Can-Can:-) ), and they were a real hit. And I can guarantee that if any of his pieces come on the radio, my kids will dance in their seats (even though they haven’t heard who it is:-) )

It’s no wonder the song was so popular:-)

Bilby Babble

“Outside our house must be a beach! Because I keep on finding beach shells!”

Taking Over the World

Puggle has had a plan for a while. He intends (with his friends, the oldest of whom is 8) to re-build the Roman Empire (he was very taken with our studies of Rome last year, Story of the World is wonderful:-) ).

Tonight, I asked him what he’d do when he had the Empire re-built. He told me, “Keep the Barbarians out, obviously… Of course, it might be rather hard, because it’s quite small.”

He then decided that it might be more sensible to take over the whole world. “But then people might try to kill me. I may need to ponder some more on this.”

(He’s also very taken with Asterix. He was asking earlier whether Julia Gillard would be carried around on a shield like Chief Vitalstatistix. When we said we didn’t really think so, he suggested Kevin Rudd probably would have… He seemed kind of disappointed that we didn’t think that was very likely either:-) )

ETA. Paddington has just told me the reason he intends to re-build the Roman Empire is so that Susan Wise Bauer [the author of the series] will write more books:-)

Disney Princess Recovery

A friend pointed out the Disney Princess Recovery blog. While I don’t think we have too many concerns currently with Bilby (certainly no ‘Rapunzel Syndrome’—see her sidebar, given Bilby’s current hairstyle), I have been finding it a very interesting read!

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!)

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:-)

Gardening

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!)

Geography: Thailand

First Monday: Location. (Once again, he’ll use the atlas to identify Thailand on a world map.)
First Tuesday: Flag.
First Wednesday: Language.
First Thursday: Animals.
First Friday: Music. (Folk songs/dancing) Some links from youTube are here.
Second Monday: Features. (Cities, Mountains, Rivers)
Second Tuesday: Famous People.
Second Wednesday: Language.
Second Thursday: Culture. (Currency, festivals, population, religion)
Second Friday: Art/Craft.
Second Saturday: Food.

Books
*Welcome to Thailand
*Thailand (World of Recipes)
*Thailand (Festivals of the World)
Elephant Hospital
Culture in Thailand
Thailand (Focus on Asia)
Thailand (Countries of the World)
A Tale of Two Rice Birds: A Folktale from Thailand

Geography: Vietnam

First Monday: Location. (I’ve found a world map I’ll use, and just set him to find the country in the atlas, and identify it on the map)
First Tuesday: Flag.
First Wednesday: Language. Milet Bilingual Visual Dictionary: English-Vietnamese
First Thursday: Animals.
First Friday: Music. (Folk songs/dancing)
Second Monday: Features. (Cities, Mountains, Rivers)
Second Tuesday: Famous People. Ho Chi Minh It’s really a bit old for him, but it will do. There’s a reasonable timeline at the back, and decent pictures throughout.
Second Wednesday: Language.
Second Thursday: Culture. (Currency, festivals, population, religion) Tet: Vietnamese New Year, Asian Holidays, Festivals of the World: Vietnam
Second Friday: Art/Craft. Weaving. (We’ve got some of a guy on SBS visiting Vietnam and learning about the food, we’ll try and watch that in preparation for the food.)
Second Saturday: Food.

Books
(These seem reasonable… but there are no stand out books this time.)
Vietnam: Land/Vietnam: Peoples/Vietnam: Cultures
Vietnam
A Family from Vietnam
Vietnam: Still Struggling, Still Spirited
Australia’s Neighbours: Vietnam
To Swim in Our Own Pond: Ta Ve Ta Tam Ao Ta : A Book of Vietnamese Proverbs
The Vietnamese in Australia

Geography: India

First Monday: Location. (I’ve found a world map I’ll use, and just set him to find the country in the atlas, and identify it on the map)
First Tuesday: Flag.
First Wednesday: Language.
First Thursday: Animals. (Asian Elephant, Bengal Tiger, King Cobra, Indian Walking Stick, Peafowl, Dhole)
First Friday: Music. (Folk songs/dancing)
Second Monday: Features. (Cities, Mountains, Rivers)
Second Tuesday: Famous People. Mohandas Gandhi, Mother Teresa
Second Wednesday: Language.
Second Thursday: Culture. (Currency, festivals, population, religion)
Second Friday: Art/Craft
Second Saturday: Food.

Books
(These were the ones that seemed particularly useful, as were the two biographies above.)
Taj Mahal
Welcome to India
India (Festivals)
India (A World of Recipes)
Tiger Child

(other books we had, they seemed reasonable and age appropriate [I left more at the library:-)], but they as useful as the above books)
Indian Food and Drink
Indian Subcontinent (I know that’s not the listed title… but it’s the book we had—just with a different title)
Jamil’s Clever Cat: A Folk Tale from Bengal
Demons, Gods & Holy Men from Indian Myths & Legends
We Come From India
Country Insights: India

He Signed!

I’ve been using signing (intermittently, it’s true) with Cygnet. He hasn’t seemed especially taken with it (I thought).

But this morning, he signed ‘More’ (completely unprompted… he likes his weetbix!) and ‘All Done’ (after I asked him if he was all done).

On reflection, he hit me on the chest yesterday when he wanted to nurse (the sign for breast is hitting your own chest!)

Another tool in his communication belt:-)

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