Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Preparing for May Day

The first day of the month of May is known as May Day. It is the time of year when warmer weather begins and flowers and trees start to blossom. It is said to be a time of love and romance. It is when people celebrate the coming of summer with lots of different customs that are expressions of joy and hope after a long winter.
Traditional English May Day celebrations include Morris dancing, crowning a May Queen and dancing around a Maypole.
Although summer does not officially begin until June, May Day marks its beginning. May Day celebrations have their origins in the Roman festival of Flora, goddess of fruit and flowers, which marked the beginning of summer. It was held annually from April 28th to May 3rd. As a Christian family, we use it to talk about how the Lord changes the seasons & the wonders of his creation.

We began our preparations this afternoon, by making our 'May Crowns'
I followed the directions in Earthways.

You will need:
- light spring colours, about 1 meter in length for each child.
We used 3/4 " grosgrain. Gorsgrain is easier for little ones to handle than satin.
Tissue paper - again, choose light spring time colours.
Cut into strips 2" x 5"
Needles & thread

What to do
Give each child a ribbon to fit their head (dint forget to add another few inches for the knot & streamers.)
Also, give each child a needle with about 12 " of doubled thread.
Bring the needle up through the ribbon about 7 " in from the end to allow space for knotting & streamers. This also puts the knot on the back side of the ribbon.
Have the children choose a strip of tissue & sew a running stitch down the centre of it, scrunching as they go. Then gather this 'blossom' by pushing the tissue down to the end of the thread. Tack the blossom onto the ribbon by sewing down through the blossom & the ribbon & then up through the ribbon again, so the needle is now on top of the ribbon, ready to stitch another tissue blossom.
When the ribbon is full of blossoms, except for the know & streamer allowance at each end, tie it around the maker's head & marvel at what a beautiful thing they have created :)

We also will be making Salt Dough May baskets & a magnificent May Day Cake (lemon flavoured - delicious!)

We happen to be going for a lovely nature walk on Friday morning - hopefully with a water theme :)
Do you have May Day plans?

Why We Do What We Do....

I just have to share with you this wonderful song

I first heard it at Elizabeth's blog.

You have to listen, you really do.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Maths Journals

I am awful at maths. Terrible. My maths is even worse than my spelling! (& that is saying something!)
Despite this fact, i have chosen to stay away from a packaged maths curriculum. I have a bit of a wobble every now & then & doubt myself, but, deep down I believe this is the way to go for us.
The first book I read on the Subject of home schooling was Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style This is a wonderful book, one i return to often. Very meaty, packed full of information & food for thought.
This list (which is contained in the book) really struck me: Ten Things to Do with Your Child Before Age Ten
No maths textbooks! I have since read a lot of discussions as to the various ways children best learn mathamatical ideas & concepts. I have to have a balance. I have a wonderful MIL who is a maths whizz & a retired teacher. I have a husband, who, despite supporting us in our home education, would get very nervous if we were not 'doing maths' (as would I)
So, for the last two years of my eldest daughter's 'official' education, we have played games, counted all manner of things, weighed ingredients, talked about & looked for patterns & various other fun things, with the odd Kumon workbook thrown in for good measure.

Today we began a Maths Journal
E is using a simple spiral bound lined notebook (it was what we had on hand) to record her ideas & work.
I found this article to be very inspiring & explains the concept well.
I also have this book which i have yet to read :)
We are currently looking at patterns in maths (isn't that what maths is all about?) which has lead us on to looking at place value.

We use hundred boards a lot
We have wipe clean ones & I use these printables online:
100 Board
Blank 100 chart

Today we looked at the number 5. We identified all the numbers containing 5 on the hundred board & E coloured them & we looked at the resulting pattern.

We then made 'pictures' with cocktail sticks. Our rules where that we had to use 5 sticks for each picture, & each stick had to touch another stick, either on a side, or an end.
We talked about each picture & described them (a house, a kite, etc etc) Then, we talked about how we would describe them in numbers.
For example, E said about the picture below, that she could see 2, then 1, then 2.

We went through this process with each 'picture' then taped them into her journal, following this page:
(The story of 5)

We also talked about where on our bodies we have 5 :)

I plan to do this basic work for all numbers 1-10
I also plan to read Math For All Seasons by Greg Tang we have this book & I am sure the subject of this book is grouping items together to count them more easily. (It is a while since we read this)

I am still very intimidated by maths. I will never be a maths genius, but, since I have begun looking at maths more closely with my girls, I have to confess, I am beginning to find it more & more interesting :)

Here are some more maths journal pages you may find to be of interest:

Math journals for primary aged children
Math Journals Boost Real Learning
Prompt ideas

Please do share any ideas & experiences of your own, I would love to hear them.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Birthday Baking

Today is my birthday & E has been planning my birthday cake for a l-o-n-g time, complete with sketches & lists. (She is her mother's daughter!)
Today, the plans were finally brought to fruition!

It tasted yummy & my sweet girl took a lot of care to make my day special :)

My mum gave me a lovely drop spindle & some smooshy roving which I have been having a whale of a time spinning.
That is a whole other post ;)

Monday, 20 April 2009


Our morning.
Home schooling rocks :)

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Spring Has Sprung!!!!

We have had such a lovely sunny day, today.

The girls wanted the ball pool out & had fun diving in & out.

The Magnolia is just past its best, but here is a shot anyway :)


Rosie was caterpillar hunting & found four Magpies

(not my photo, i didnt take any pics)

The girls have chosen their 'own' caterpillar to 'raise' & sketched them:

Well, the girls are being bathed, I am off to put pizza in the oven for family 'movie night'. I will be having a lovely glass of pimms later & doing some more spinning! (hmmm, will pimms & spinning be a good combination?)
Enjoy your day

Friday, 17 April 2009

Nature Hunt

I made these eggbox nature boxes a while ago, but cant remember who to credit for the original idea -sorry!

The girls went out into the garden this morning with their boxes, to hunt for the colours in their boxes, out in the garden.

They each filled their boxes very quickly. (sorry, the pics arent too clear)

This afternoon, they will be sticking their finds onto some cardstock & adding to their garden notebooks. Then, they will be matching their found items with paint chips that i picked up free of charge from the DIY shop.
They can cut out the correct shade from the chip & paste it onto their cardstock, if they wish to.
another variation on this is to give each child one paint chip & send them off to see what they can find outdoors that matches the paint chip. This activity really encourages the child to notice subtilties of colour, as opposed to thinking something is just 'green' (for example)

Thursday, 16 April 2009

April Nature Table

Sorry for the poor photographs!
Here is our nature table, now we have cleared away the Jesse Tree.
We have the 'April' page open in Around the Year.
There are a couple of branches on there, a beautiful oyster shell, our wee dandelion & daffodil flower fairies, two root children & our little gnomes. Centre stage is a birds nest, filled with wooden eggs & 2 tin butterflies

What is on your nature table?

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

New Yahoo Group: Christian Fiber Arts

Announcing a new Yahoo group:
Christian Fiber Arts

From the group home page:
She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
Proverbs 31:19

Welcome to Christian Fiber Arts!
This is a group for ladies to share our love of all things fiber related - Knitting, Spinning, Felting, Dying etc & our love of Christ

I have begun the group as a way for like-minded ladies to connect & share their love of all things fiber-related. Non Christians are welcomed, but please bear in mind this is a predominantly Christian group & therefore will have lots of Christian topics.

I am hoping to host a 'Sock-along' So, if you have never knitted a sock before & would like to have a go, come & join us, & we can help each other along the way.

Some Knitting....

A little knitting chat...
Here are some rainbow socks i recently finished for E.

I had also planned to knit the girls some special socks for Easter. I finished R's socks in time..you can just see them peaking out here:

But, E's socks are still a WIP, I'm afraid!

I had also hoped to knit the girls their own Easter bunnies. Again, I only had one ready in time!
Here is Hop, who belongs to E. Will cast on bunny no.2 for Miss R, when I have finished the Easter socks!

I knit Hop with the help of this pattern & this book.

I would love to see what you are knitting. Please leave me a link in the comments, if you have any pictures to share.

Monday, 13 April 2009


A busy garden day today.
We caught a cream spotted ladybird & had a quick look at the little fellow. Then we headed off to the garden centre to buy an apple tree.

Underneath we planted Yarrow, Wood Anemone & White Campion.
We also planted Borage (in a pot, as it is quite an invasive plant) Thumbelina Carrots & Sunflowers. We also planted some potatoes I had been chitting for a while.

We later caught a Peacock butterfly which has reminded me to chop some fresh orange & leave on a bird feeder in the garden to attract butterflies.

All this has been recorded in E's garden notebook - our current project. We have had a lovely day. Chilled, but hard work.
I am off to make dinner: Cheesy cauliflower pasta. & then enjoy a relaxed evening knitting socks :)
Have a great day.

He Is Risen!

Our Easter Garden. See-the empty tomb!

Matthew 28:1-10

In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:

And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.

And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.

And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.

Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.