This week

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We’ve progressed some more this week. We’ve put up our first Da Vinci in the kitchen at child height (Mona Lisa – I thought we’d start with something at least slightly familiar!) and ordered a CD with most of the recommended Chopin selections on. (Matt pointed out that by the time I had paid for a couple of CDs from the library, and then paid a fine for returning them late, it would have cost more than just buying a CD. And we would have to cram all our listening into a week or 2, instead of using a whole term) We’ve also started on Our Island Story, which is going down well, and one of the Holling C Hollings (Tree in the Trail – American history and geography). They are just loving this, and so it is being read much too fast ie about 3 chapters a day instead of 3 per week. And we’ve started on one of the D’Aulaires – George Washington – which they like. (though I’m not so sure about – it’s all a bit too rosy). And narrating something most days.

Still lots to work on, but it feels as if it’s taking shape, and we are all enjoying it very much.

They have also been listening to The Wind in the Willows on CD over and over. (C/O Alan Bennett)

The last month or so has been a time of planning how to progress with HE this year. Bee is coming up 7, so it feels like time to start gently easing into year 1 of Ambleside Online (but still using it very loosely). I don’t want to put too much structure in, but a bit of a pattern to our weeks looked like being ” a good idea”.

To start with, I have had to get up earlier in the morning (!) so that we could have our outdoor times in the morning. This leaves us at home in the afternoon so that we can have our main reading time while Littlest sleeps. A good 2 hrs outside seems to make the rest of the day much more productive, and , except for a couple of days, we have done this for the last month.

I’m introducing narration during our reading times, but very slowly. So about once per week atm, usually on something from 50 Famous Stories Retold. It’s not something Bee seems to find very easy, and he needs prompting with questions.

I’m gathering materials for composer and artist study. We have bought the art prints via AO, just because it seemed an easy way to start. We’re starting with Da Vinci, as we have a couple of good children’s books about him, and Chopin. I have found a not-great-but-it-will-do book about Chopin, and still need to see if I can get some CDs from the library. These will be a Monday and Tuesday focus.

Thursday afternoons are for writing a letter to someone, and Friday for a craft project. We’ve almost finished Bee’s paper galleon, and next might try candle making.

Longer books are mostly read by Matt. We have just finished We Didn’t Mean To Go To Sea, and before that we read The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader. A definite ship theme here!

French still needs to be thought about….

And to help establish some of this I have resorted to making a standard weekly menu plan that we just follow every week. Which feels terribly uninspired, but saves a lot of time.

Foxton Locks

Over at Market Harborough, there is a staircase of 11 locks that we have been through (many years ago) on a narrow boat. We took the boys there today.

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We watched a boat go down through the locks and the boys helped push quite a few of the gates. Even littlest helped out too. We saw the remains of an ‘inclined plane’ there, which was used to bring the boats up and down the hill much quicker than going via the locks. So, there was much discussion of how this worked and why…

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Mast Trees

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We’ve got a book called ‘Giants in the Land’, which is about the trees of New England that were used for masts for English ships up until independence in the US. We went for a walk in one of our local woods and were thinking of the mast trees as we looked up at the pines growing there. They aren’t quite as big as the pines in New England used to be, but it was great to look up at them and good fun to throw pine cones into the pool there.

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