Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Learning for our Younger Children

Typical School Day 2014: Moran Myffwyn Corbyn Arwen and Trahaearn

*Early Morning-
Read Bible
Private Prayers
Walk and  exercise
Daily Chores

*Morning Time/Devotions-
24 family ways
God’s Wisdom for Little Girls and God’s Little Book of Wisdom for Boys
Saint of the Day
Saint Book
Pray for the day (approx 30 mins)

*Circle Time-
Gathering Verse
Opening Verse and Light candle
Seasonal Verse
Seasonal Song
Scripture Verse
Seasonal Poetry
Read a chapter from Picture Bible
ActionVerses and Songs
Skip Counting and Times Tables with Actions (2 or three numerals)
Stories- Angel Food, Enchanters End Game, The Tale of Tiptoes Lightly and Fairy Necklaces (or equivalent books when finished)
Closing Verse
Candle blown out (all takes over an hour)

*Focus Time-
Reading with Moran, Myffwyn and Corbyn with Me, Vellvin and Rogan. (approx 20 mins) – Arwen and Trahaearn doing their own table time activites to keep them busy
Daily Main Lesson approx 1 hour – History, Geography, Science, Nature and CGS
Daily Activity approx 30 mins – Baking, Painting, Colouring, Gardening, Craft
Maths- Oak Meadow and Maths Read Alouds (Together) 15 mins
English- Voyage in Language and An English Manual (Together) 15 mins
Faith- First Communion Reading and Sheets (Together) 15 mins

*Table Time-
Individual Work sheets : Weather, Clocks, maths,
Maths on Line
Spelling - from book
Dictation - from book
Copywork - from book
Daily Grid - God's LittlE Boy and Girl
Memory Work: Poetry, Catechism, and times tables  (up to an hour)
*Arwen and Trahaearn – focus time on learning to read ( ABOUT 20 mins) while others do Table Time
Also Funnix reading and maths and assorted Computer orientated learning programmes
Nature books
Alphabet Play
Cupboard Play

 with Read aloud and Credo, Choir and Poem Recitation (30 mins)

*Handwork- knitting, crocheting, work with our fleece

*Evening Routine-
Bible Story
Read Aloud
General Prayers (45 mins at least)

*Little ones up to Bed with a Candle
Tuck into bed say little prayer
Read a couple of little books or tell a story
Sing a song
Blow out candle (30 mins)

*Older kids-
Assigned Reading or other activities
Private devotions and bible reading

Blessings to you and your homes,

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Cambric Tea Comfort

Some days we all  need that little extra comfort in our lives that can nurture and soothe us. A routine or action that we do that is part of our family circle that says we are loved and cared for even as we are hurting.
I know that our little ones especially love this process when they have an emotional or physical situation that not only needs mama love but something extra, something special that gives not only physical comfort but comfort  for the soul as well.

One of these comforts is something called Cambric Tea!
It really is something that in our home is known to be a therapeutic care process for everyone. Of course this applies not only to little ones but older members of the household, even Mum and Dad!

It seems that Cambric Tea has been a part of our home for quite a long time.
Frankly as a mostly coffee drinker I have never really enjoyed tea and so did not introduce it to my children for a long time.

When we first started celebrating Tea Time with our children as we embraced the Charlotte Mason philosophy of Education at the start of our Learning at Home I would make up a  pot of Cambric Tea for the children on a Friday afternoon. This came about  after trying a variety of herbal teas with the children, which they did enjoy but only  a few  varieties of and  really they didn't have that same 'tea time' look the same without the milk!

Now our children often have Cambric Tea but it really takes on a special something when served in a special tea cup and adding a little honey which we have as an extra special treat.

There are quite a few differing ways of making Cambric Tea but essentially it is a mixture of a very weak tea that has a lot of milk added and a sweetener, but really I like it with honey 'cause milk and honey go so nicely together.
A simple version is to simply put a tea bag into a tea cup or a mug for a non special event.
Pour in water just of the boil to  not even  half way
Then add the sweetener of your choice- I like honey for the little ones. Stir to dissolve.
Add milk to fill the tea cup or mug and enjoy.
This is an everyday version that we use often.

For a more Special treat: which serves two (obviously double or triple to make more)
Vanilla Tea:
1/2 cup of already brewed tea and 1 cup whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean
1 Tablespoon honey or more to taste

In a small saucepan, whisk together the tea, milk, and the seeds scraped from the vanilla bean, split lengthwise. Heat over low heat until steamy. Remove from heat. Strain the tea into a tea pot, and stir in the honey. Pour into two cups and serve.

Of course this is a very old tradition and can even be found in one of our favourite series of books  ~The Long Winter, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
"The cold crept in from the corners of the shanty, closer and closer to the stove. Icy-cold breezes sucked and fluttered the curtains around the beds. The little shanty quivered in the storm. But the steamy smell of boiling beans was good and seemed to make the air warmer.

At noon Ma sliced bread and filled bowls with the hot bean broth and they all ate where they were, close to the stove. They all drank cups of strong, hot tea. Ma even gave Grace a cup of cambric tea. Cambric tea was hot water and milk, with only a taste of tea in it, but little girls felt grown-up when their mothers let them drink cambric tea."

So do tell do, you have a Cambric Tea tradition in your home?
Blessings to you and your homes,

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Little Girl Tea Party ♥

Last week our sweet little Arwen attended her very first ever away form home Tea Party!!
She had received her invitation the week before and had been counting down the days until I took her to the party.
Of course no one else from our family was invited cause it was just for little girls, so this made it even more special for her although she did have 'pre party anxiety' which is something I am discovering this precious little one has.
 I must say how impressed I was with this little afternoon for the girls as I have never had an outside the home experience either.
Arwen's little friends have big sisters too and they were part of the organising as well as my friend Shell.
When we arrived one of the older girls settled them down with a book and they read stories together for a while.
It was adorable to see, six little girls ages 7 down to nearly 5 so excited by their 'afternoon tea'.
The table was being prepared and Mabel had made each of the little girls a giant letter of their name.
The little girls had Cambric Tea (with out the tea I think and a spot of honey) while their Teddies who had accompanied them had a special tea cup with water in so they would feel welcome too.
The request to dress up in their  best clothes was attended to and Eden fixed up Arwen's hair in a braid which is very fancy, don't you agree?
Arwen's companion of choice was Felix who was named after this family favourite book: Letters from Felix, a book we have had for at least 16 years.
The little girls had such fun eating the special food drinking from their tea cups all the while in an atmosphere of beautiful  aroma from the many scented candles around the room while the festive bunting was so pretty too.
 The giant cookie was such a personal gift  for each girl and I think they really enjoyed that.
After the tea part eh little girls were given a craft to do.
A little embroidery for each girl that they could have as a special hanging for their doors.
 The girls could choose the colour they wanted to embroider with and the shape was pre-drawn on the reverse of the ada. Each girl was very patient while waiting and chose her colour carefully.
Mum's or bigger sisters were able to help.
 It was delightful to see how much the girls concentrated on  the project at hand and the project was just the right amount of time before little ones got bored with it.
My friend Shell helping Abby who is one of Arwen's special little friends and a hostess of the 'Tea Party Afternoon'. It is so special when Mum's and their children are good friends I think :)
Arwen's  other friend and co hostess Lilly was the oldest of the little girls and was a very adept hostess too.
Naturally after the other girls had gone home Mummy and Arwen stayed later to play and chat because everyone know that Mummies always take at least another hour .....or so...... to say goodbye.

I think that Arwen had a very lovely time at her first 'all girl tea party' and I certainly enjoyed the Mummy time.

Thank you to all the girls who prepared and shared the tea party with Arwen.

Blessings to you and your homes,

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Lemon, Ginger and Honey Cold and Flu Remedy

 So we have been struggling with a few health issues lately and as Winter is upon us we have a few colds and sore throats we have been battling.
Last Winter I was keen to add this mixture to our Cold and Flu Arsenal (which reading I said I would share our Chest Rub recipe as well as the soothing moisturiser we constantly use, which I would like to update as we have used them for quite a while now), but did not get around to making up.

It only requires three simple ingredients and a small amount of time-

1.Raw honey is antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-tumor and high in antioxidants. 
2. Lemons are antiseptic, anti-viral, antibacterial, aid digestion and contain immune-boosting vitamins and minerals like Vit C, Magnesium, calcium and bioflavonoids.
3. Ginger is anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, aids digestion  and helps soothe inflamed sinuses and throats. It also helps boost the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Also effective against human respiratory syncytial virus
4. You will also need a jar to put it all in.

You will also need a jar to put it all in.
1. Cut up your lemons into thin slices I used three for this jar
2. Cut up your ginger into small discs
3. Layer lemon then ginger and repeat layers till you have the amount you require.
4. Pour honey over the top and allow to settle.
5. Put lid on and store in the fridge.
6. It may thicken to a gel or not, it isn't a big deal

To Use:
1 Take a spoonful out of jar and pour hot water over when you are ready to use.
Blessings to you and your homes,

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Creative Imaginative Play is an Essential Childhood Activity

If I know one thing from years of parenting it is that I treasure as much as the children do those times when they use their imaginations and create a new game or activity that sometimes can even evolve into a whole new world even when using the same raw materials each time simply from the source of their own minds and imaginations.
It sounds like such a simple thing - this world of creativity and imagination that every child should be able to play like this. However I would challenge this claim and say that so many children have their days structured from the time they wake up till the time they go to bed that the idea of having enough non-structured, i.e. free time to even contemplate such an activity probably does not even cross their minds.
I would further say that having given this free time that many of them would not know what to do with it because they live in such a structured and ordered environment and you really do need non adult intervention (except for small children who need a bit of help in the beginning or perhaps a start to get over a 'stuck' part for older children.
I think play time should belong to the children and we should only be a part of it if invited or if there is need as stated above or as occasionally happens, to intervene due to some friction that can't be resolved amongst the children.
The games the children come up with can be varied or the same game played continuously for days until you think they could not possible play it any more. To the children though it is a chance to develop so many skills and social etiquette that can be of such benefit to them not only now but in the future, too.
How I love this quote “Play is the work of children”….. J. Piaget
It encompasses so much about the very nature of children and how they learn.

I feel sorry for those children who are not given those opportunities to play as they go on the endless round of activity after activity to school and homework. Their lives as adults already in existence as children.

The most important skills that children everywhere need to learn for their lives to be happy, productive, and to live deeply moral lives are skills that cannot be taught. These skills are what they learn while playing. What types of skills are learnt?
To think creatively, to get along with other people and be able to cooperate as well as to control their own impulses and emotions.
This means that as adults we have people who can in work situations or even at home be able to think creatively about any situations and thus look in different ways for the answers to the problem at hand.

Our society seems bent on creating little adults of our children, giving them limited 'free time' and expecting them to mature faster and faster and being little clones of the adult world.
The expectations that are placed upon our children academically at an earlier and earlier age.
The fact the most Early Childhood Daycare Centers are emphasising the 'early learning' the children will get when enrolled.
Rarely is it a play environment and I believe it fosters a competitiveness at a much earlier age than necessary.
Social success seems to be the reason for the early intervention at these centers and in homes.
If my child does not start reading before .......then she will be at a disadvantage in the future!
If my child does not attend .......then this will affect his future career!
I believe that fostering the love of play and creativity with imagination will help the children to be more grounded and have the ability to move on academically. I don't believe we should compare any child to another in regards to academics, sports or other pursuits.

This does not mean we cannot help each child to better them selves at something or to play competitively. But the competitiveness need to be about bettering ourselves not at the belittling of another's work or efforts, even in the competing of sides against another.
Play is also an opportunity to know your self more. To understand your strengths and weaknesses. Your likes and dislikes and to then use that knowledge to make yourself a better person.
Obviously younger children don't work this out to start with, but still the growing happens and it does help them as they continue to play and to develop.
Our children do enjoy this type of play and although our younger children certainly have more aids and extra props to help them I still remember the older children playing similar games when they were little.
Play is universal and imagination is normal for children.
We can foster this with activities and lifestyle choices to help our children or we can limit them with no opportunities for this type of play or perhaps limiting them to computer games, TV and other less messy 'play'
Did I mention that the free unlimited type of play tends to get messy?
Oh my yes it does!
So for this reason only it can be a reason in some eyes not to foster the type of play.

Imaginative play does need tidying up and that can impinge on schedules that need to be met.
Better to just get the kids to sit down and play a non messy game.
Now, don't get me wrong. Our children do play some computer games (we have age restrictions and time limits that are enforced rigorously), we do watch DVDs (we have no TV access) we have some great family movie nights and do allow our younger ones to watch DVDs, (again we have fairly strict control on content too) we have watched you-tube for some things, I very occasionally let the younger ones play a game on my I-phone: we aren't living in the dark ages!!
Given the opportunity mostly I encourage them to play outside and to play imaginative games.
Of course like everyone else we have succumbed to the "It's a madhouse I can't think- turn on a DVD for the children to watch so I can get something done!" syndrome.

I myself love to watch a great movie with my Beloved or the older children. I love a great mini-series and the relaxation that comes from that too.
It thankfully isn't my only type of 'play!'
I can do other activities as well and I do believe that what children play as children and especially teens they tend to use that some type of activity for relaxation as adults.

So I would like to think that we are helping our children to think outside the box - literally. To do more with the free time they have as young adults than simply turning on a box of one sort or another.
I remember doing so much more as a young teen and adult. More outdoor and creative activities that seem to be disappearing from the social lives of our young people.
Do many of them go for a walk just to be outside?
Do they plan picnics and go to local events together just to spend time and make memories together?

I sadly think this type of activity is disappearing and that the young children of today will have even less chance of this as they become conditioned to going to constant round of structured events and being 'guided' in how to use the free time they have that they will not know how to use any time they have unless they have an organised activity.
I think we mistakenly think that if we are 'busy' that we are actually 'living'.
We all have spent lots of busy time on the computer or in front of TV only to realise that what we have actually done is fill in time but not achieve anything creative or useful.

Now I know that not all time has to be counted as useful or creative but the more time we actually spend in 'fill in' time the more we accept this to be normal.
There are so many outlets that count as Imaginative or creative play.
Outdoors is one of my favourites but indoors can be just as imaginative if we provide the time and effort to encourage this....

Activities that don't require us to passively allow others to fill our mind with thoughts and ideas rather than using our minds to actively engage in our situation.
It really is up to us adults to encourage and help our children achieve this blissful imaginative and creative part of childhood.
It is a well documented fact that the dramatic decline in children’s opportunities to play has seen an equally dramatic increase in childhood mental disorders.
So sad when most of this could be avoided by actually allowing creative and imaginative play
Building relationships and bonding while actively engaged in creative and imaginative play create many childhood memories that can be drawn upon as adults to feed the souls when in difficult situations.

We all carry remnants of our childhood with us and so we can give our children the best opportunities to use these for their benefit or sadly we can restrict the way in which our children best grow, by restricting play and as such effectively limit the children as they grow to be all that they are capable of.
So no I don't believe  our children don’t need more structured learning or even structured activities. They definitely need more play. It isn't just for our children but for our children's children that we need to encourage creativity and imaginative play.
I have heard the term 'give childhood back to children' before and seriously we do need to allow our children to be exactly that - children. We must allow children to pursue that which comes naturally to them to play and explore so they can use this 'play/learning' to grow into strong adults in the ways that matter: intellectually, emotionally and socially.
Here are some more quotes by others to inspire you to recognise the true value of childhood play:

Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning. –Fred Rogers

Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity. -Kay Redfield Jamison

 Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn. -O. Fred Donaldson

When children pretend, they’re using their imaginations to move beyond the bounds of reality. A stick can be a magic wand. A sock can be a puppet. A small child can be a superhero. -Fred Rogers

 It is in playing, and only in playing, that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self. -D.W. Winnicott

Blessings to you and your homes,

Friday, June 27, 2014

Books I love Reading (for Vellvin)

Well I have been planning this post for a while as I do sooooooo love to read.
In fact it is often the reason for lack of posting here :)
Why for Vellvin you may ask?
Well she said to me 'why don't you do an interesting post like about books instead of those mother ones or tutorial ones?'

So I was thinking I would share the books that I would call my favourites.
Favourites for me is a book or series that I have  read at least 2-3 times.

Now I really am not a fan of anything with what I call 'adult themes' and I have been criticized  before for not ready anything above children's level books. However I do believe even as adults we still need to protect our hearts and mind and souls and thus exposing ourselves to adult themed books is still not wise.

While I read a lot of  'self educating' books and do a lot of online learning in regards to our family's health and parenting as well as obviously Learning at Home for the children, I find that for purely recreational reading I love books that would loosely come under the heading of Fantasy.
I am not a huge mystery fan but do love a great adventure/romance/fantasy book, which is in fact code for something that does not require me to think at all.

Therefore you probably already know many of these as they will be classified as Children's books.

I share these with you as one book lover to another but always remember they are my choices and you still may not agree with them so especially if you are sharing with your children I ALWAYS read them first and would recommend you do too.

Fantasy: (just good reads)
Inkheart Trilogy - Cornelia Funke
Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins  (our family age to start is 15)
Obernewtyn Chronicles -Isobelle Carmody (more adult concepts as the books go on)
After Cilmeri Series - Sarah Woodbury (15 years again)
Cold my heart- A novel of King Arthur - Sarah Woodbury (probably the same age restrictions, it has been a while)
The Last Pendragon Series - Sarah Woodbury  (as above)
River of Time Series - Lisa T. Bergren (age to start a mature 15 year old)
Belgariad Series - David Eddings (some adult concepts and themes)
Gareth and Gwen Medieval Mysteries - Sarah Woodbury
Fairy Tale Novels- Regina Doman (again we have age restrictions on these ones)
Miss Read Books
The Praetorian Series-  Edward Crichton as the books go on more adult concepts
The last book finished a little strange so waiting to see where it goes with the new book release this year. (and If it gets into areas I am not comfortable  I usually skip these parts completely, but I have low tolerance if it becomes a major part of the story)
The Rys Chronicles - Tracy Falbe as the books go on more adult concepts
Legon Series - Nicholas Taylor  again as the books go on more adult concepts
The Spear - Louis De Whol
Rosemary Suttcliffe- mostly anything  but Sword at Sunset  is definitely Adult  and I don't like Tristan and Iseult and I am sure that The Flowers of Adonis is not one I wanted to read either

These ones I am sure our 'teens' can read and some are published under the 'clean teen' label-
The True Reign Series - Jennifer Anne Davis
The Viking Series - Marti Talbott
Gladiator- Simon Scarrow
King Raven trilogy - Stephen Lawhead

Younger Readers-
Princess of the Midnight Ball and other ones by Jessica Day George
Books of Bayern - Shannon Hale
The Hollow Kingdom Trilogy - Clare B Dunkle 
Rangers Apprentice - John Flanagan
The Youngest Templar - Michael Spradlin
The Inheritance Cycle - Christopher Paolini
Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series - Rick Riordan (not entirely happy with a concept in the later ones but it can be over looked-in my opinion just sad that it has to be implied)

These to me come under the Classic's title-
All of Gene Stratton Porter
All of Louisa May Alcott
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
Anne of Green Gables Series - L.M. Montgomery
Pollyanna series
Heidi Series

Mother books- or boring mother books as my children would say
These inspire me in my vocation as wife, mother and keeper of the Hearth :)
Butter at the old Price - Marguerite de Angeli
Applesauce needs Sugar-Victoria Chase
Wren Bay- Clarice Fox-Hughes
Pocketful of Pinecones- Karen Andreola
Lessons At Blackberry Inn - Karen Andreola
Mother Carey's Chickens - Kate Douglas Wiggins
Mama's Bank Account - Kathryn Forbes
Coffee with Nona - Vincent Lezzi
The House on the Hill - Frances Wilding
The children on the Hill - Michael Deakin
Cheaper by the Dozen -  Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.
 Belles on their Toes - Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.
The Family nobody wanted - Helen Doss
Mother A Story- Kathleen Norris
Tasha Tudor books about her life and crafts etc

So there you have it - my favourite (at the moment books) I have not shared favourite life-skills or craft books or even inspiration books as yet but who knows that may come one day........
Happy Reading!!

Blessings to you and your homes,

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Winter Solstice 2014

So, today is the Winter Solstice and while I had plans to celebrate earlier in the week using our plans as a guide and a few new ones I was planning.
Today suddenly arrived and we had not started to think about it and so our day began and just evolved as such.
The day was overcast and quite 'gloomy' as my dear love would say.
He and Saxon had planned to go firewood cutting if it wasn't raining too much and as it hadn't started raining as such they went off leaving the rest of doing everyday Saturday cleaning jobs.
They did arrive back after the first load and Stephen spent a lot of the afternoon fixing the chainsaw while Saxon proceeded to be an entertainer while we were still finishing off.
After all everyone needs to have some light humour while working and Saxon certainly provides that.
The rain came and went as we did our usual jobs and of course we are seriously behind with the washing as we have had rain a fair bit during the week.
Some of the Saturday plans I have lately involve baking and refreshing my sourdough starter. This usually means a Sourdough Fruit Cobbler gets made with the discard  portion of  the sourdough.

I also made for the first time crumpets with some of it as well. They tasted like store bought crumpets but are much better as they are wholegrain spelt and home made as well.
The children on and off spent a lot of the time reading, leaving the scattered remains of piles of favorite books and to my delight quite a few times today I found our little Trahaearn sitting down with a pile of books.
The other children also spent time playing card games and checkers and watching some family favourite DVDs together... Lady and the Tramp which was turned off in favour of Peter Pan and then later on Bugs Bunny........
The evening really had some stunning scenes which sadly I cannot  get great photos of on my I-phone., which is the only camera I have.
I love this time of day and enjoy spending this time out side, I often do not remember to savor this time as I am usually busy inside as most of us are tending to our families.
I think it really calms my soul and truly makes me very happy.
Fog was rolling in as the last light of day was slowly fading and our son was out chopping a little extra fire wood for our comfort inside.
As we were waiting for  dinner Arwen and I played fish and snap in front of the  fire.
She is so enjoying the fact that she plays games now and  is able to really participate.
After the children are in bed I have every intention of working on my Sun Banner while having a glass of part since I could not find any red wine to make mulled wine like my good friend shared on her FB page.
I only have the embroidery to finish and then make it into the banner. I suppose I need to say that I  started this project two years ago.

So even though we did not do any 'official' Winter Solstice activities I do feel we covered the celebrate this day with in the best way possible- with family, food and thankfulness for the seasons that God has given us.

Blessings to you and your homes,
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