Saturday, 23 February 2008

Big Day

My baby E is going for her first swimming lesson today...

Friday, 22 February 2008

Our Learning Week

An updated version of what we do & when...

*Bible Study & Language Arts*

We study one Bible Text per week, On Mondays I introduce it, ask questions & read from This Bible
Sometimes we follow up with a song, story or craft related to the story. A great resource for Bible crafts & activities is 1001 ways to introduce your child to the Bible However, I should point out my recent conviction to stay away from crafts that are too 'adult directed' as they seem to have little meaning & benefit to the child. My children benefit much more from their own spontanious art creations, than anything i could dream up for them. This does not include handcrafts, however, such as sewing, fingerknitting, etc, etc. Which are soothing & excellent for developing the fine motor skills (& patience of both mother & child!)

We read every day, both myself to the children & E reads to me. We have just started out with Bob Books Which are working very well for us. So far, so good :)

We work on a multitude of reading/writing activities, which will be the topic of another post ;)

*Bible Study & Language Arts*

as for Monday, but digging more into the bible story.

Again, the subject for a longer post, but for soemone who hated maths as a child, I look forward with delight to number day! there are so many wonderful things to do with numbers!
We also have a selecion of number stories which are true favourites to read & this 'curled up together' time is always appreciated (by mummy, of course!)
Wednesday tends to be our main baking day, when our home is filled with the aroma of freshly baked fairy buns, bread, or whatever we fancy. (usually fairy buns as the girls adore decorating them with glorious goops of glossy neon icing!)
The afternoons are taken with our Tea & crafts...Honouring the Lord by celebrating the liturgical & seasonal year, we bake, craft, read & hold tea parties that follow our theme for the week.

*Bible Study & Language Arts*

as for Monday, but today we may use a devotional for our current bible story.

*Nature Study*
Walks in the local woods, by the river, in the park, or simply observing seasonal changes in our garden makes our nature study day. E has her own (very full) nature notebook to record her findings, of which she is very proud.
Hereis a wonderfully inspiring article about nature study.

This weekly rhythmn is working wonderfully for us at the momment. Devoting a day to a topic is setting a much less harried & smooth pace.
Each day has extra's too, but essentially, each day I try to include the following:
Family devotions
That particular day's study theme
Read alouds
E reading to me
something we have added/subtracted etc etc
Habbit training
Work on E's current unit study (At the momment she is keeping a moon journal)
cooking/baking/household chores
the creation of art
Lots of time for each other :)

Fruit pastel maths!

Wednesday is our number day & the last few weeks we have been learning our shapes. We have been using this geometric solids set from

and these nomenclature cards from Lori at (pssst! she does great freebies!)

So far, we have worked with the Cube, Rectangular Prism, Pyramid & Sphere. I put them in our 'feely bag' & E has to pick one out (eyes closed!) describe it, & state which solid it is. We have drawn around their bases, rolled them in our salt tray to observe the different markings & tracks they make. We match them to the nomenclature cards (these are really good tools, as they come lots of cards showing 'real life' items for each solid, such as a gift for Cube, etc, etc. A great shape book we have read is Cubes, Cones, Cylinders and Spheres by Tana Hoban. A super picture book, again showing shapes in their real life context.

This week, number day came into its own
Fruit Pastel Math!

We had a ball! What great fun.Making our own solids with cocktail sticks & fruit pastels. E & I worked on the cube together, which she found reletively easy, then the pyramid took some thinking. She really wanted to put three vertices on the top, which made a triangular prism, not a pyramid. Frustrating! But, then, she got it! What a wonderful momment for a proud mummy! She went on to make another pyramid & another cube, then a rectangular prism. *all by herself* :)
who said maths couldnt be fun?

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Ash Wednesday

Wednesday is number day...which in our household translates as baking day ;)

Later in the day, we burned our palm cross & added the the ashes to our little bowl of earth on our Lenten Altar.
The time has now come in the Church year for the solemn observance of the great central act of history, the redemption of the human race by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In some denominations, the beginning of the forty days of penance is marked with the austere symbol of ashes.
Although we would not define our faith as Methodist, we attend a Methodist fellowship. The fellowship does not use the symbol of Ashes on the forehead. after discussing at great length the meaning & traditions of Ash Wednesday, my sweet little E wanted to have ashes on her forehead 'to show she is sorry'

We had fun playing with our montessori tower today

Here is a great explaination of the presentation of the pink/natural tower, from
Purpose: Build blocks of graduated 3 dimensional sizes in order to understand sequence and order.

Presentation: Spread a mat or rug on the floor,Dr. Montessori used a green carpet in her first school. Carefully scatter the cubes over the mat. Build a tower starting with the largest cube. Choose slowly and with deliberation.

Grasp each cube with one hand to get the muscular impression of the size. Build the tower from largest to smallest. The child will probably not be able to do this with the largest cube with one hand, it is fine to use both hands.However, the other cubes should be able to be grasped this way.
(Again the connection- the hand is visually measuring the cubes for the mind to process)
Exercise: The child builds the tower after the demonstration.
Using the 3 period lesson introduce the concept of large and small, large, larger, largest, small, smaller, smallest. Also, if your child is ready, you can count the numbers 1 through 10 starting with the smallest cube (1) to the largest cube (10). The concrete difference between 1 and 10 is the first step in understanding addition. Later, when you teach your child to count backwards, use the tower again. Count backwards from 10 as the largest cube down to the smallest cube (1). This visual aid is invaluable to understanding subtraction.

Advanced Exercise: When the child can build the tower easily have him or her build the tower with one corner exactly above the other all the way up, the two edges exactly even. The smallest cube can fit on each ledge on each level. This shows the size and difference between each of the cubes. Let your child use the smallest cube on each level to measure.

Develops -
1.Visual and small muscular perception of dimensions.
2. This awareness of dimensions leads to observation of the child’s environment.
3. Helps to make smoother and more coordinated movement.
4. Math readiness by introducing concepts of smaller, larger, prepares for the decimal and number system.

This helps to prepare for the cube root. 1000 smallest cubes make the largest 10th cube. 8 of the smallest cubes make the second cube, 27 of the smallest cube make the third cube, 64 of the smallest cubes make the fourth cube, 124 cubes make the fifth cube, and so on.

The cubes represent the concrete concept of the numbers of 1 through 10.

Error control. If the tower is incorrectly built, it will topple over.

Hint: If the tower is too difficult give the child every other cube to until he or she has mastered the exercise. Then add all ten cubes.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Shrove Tuesday

We began Shrove Tuesday in a very fitting way...Pancakes with sugar & lemon juice! Yum!

Basic Pancakes with Sugar and Lemon

Makes 12-14 in a 7 inch (18 cm) pan; makes 10 in an 8 inch (20 cm) pan

4 oz (110 g) plain flour
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
7 fl oz (200 ml) milk mixed with 3 fl oz (75 ml) water
2 oz (50 g) butter
To serve:

caster sugar, lemon juice and lemon wedges
You will also need a good solid 7 inch (18 cm) or 8 inch (20 cm) frying pan, some kitchen paper, greaseproof paper, a palette knife or flexible pan slice, and a ladle.

First of all sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl with the sieve held high above the bowl so the flour gets an airing. Now make a well in the centre of the flour and break the eggs into it. Then begin whisking the eggs – any sort of whisk or even a fork will do – incorporating any bits of flour from around the edge of the bowl as you do so.

Next, gradually add small quantities of the milk and water mixture, still whisking (don't worry about any lumps as they will eventually disappear as you whisk). When all the liquid has been added, use a rubber spatula to scrape any elusive bits of flour from around the edge into the centre, then whisk once more until the batter is smooth, with the consistency of thin cream. Now melt the butter in the pan. Spoon 2 tablespoons of it into the batter and whisk it in, then pour the rest into a bowl and use it when needed to lubricate the pan, using a wodge of kitchen paper to smear it round.

Now get the pan really hot, then turn the heat down to medium and, to start with, do a test pancake to see if you're using the correct amount of batter. I find 2 tablespoons about right for a 7 inch (18 cm) pan and 3 tablespoons for an 8 inch (20 cm) pan. It's also helpful if you spoon the batter into a ladle so it can be poured into the hot pan in one go. As soon as the batter hits the hot pan, tip it around from side to side to get the base evenly coated with batter. It should take only half a minute or so to cook; you can lift the edge with a palette knife to see if it's tinged gold as it should be. Flip the pancake over with a pan slice or palette knife – the other side will need a few seconds only – then simply slide it out of the pan on to a plate.

Stack the pancakes as you make them between sheets of greaseproof paper on a plate fitted over simmering water, to keep them warm while you make the rest.

To serve, sprinkle each pancake with freshly squeezed lemon juice and caster sugar, fold in half, then in half again to form triangles, or else simply roll them up. Serve sprinkled with a little more sugar and lemon juice and extra sections of lemon.

Shrove Tuesday is a day of celebration & penitance. 'Shrove' comes from the word 'shrive' which means to confess. During the middle ages, people would confess their sins on this day to begin Lent forgiven.

I set up a small Lenten alter, today. A small white cloth, upon which rests our crown of thorns. A white unlit candle, a palm cross & a bowl of earth from our rather frozen garden. (please excuse the microscope in shot!)
I will post further about the small bowl of earth tomorrow.