Monday, 16 March 2020

When you unexpectedly have children learning at home

In this pandemic, some countries have already closed schools and others are likely to close very soon. These are just a few ideas which may make learning at home easier.

First, though, please don't think that this is like usual home education. Usually, home educators go out, see friends and go to groups and classes. This is something that we will miss too. In many ways this situation is a caricature of usual home schooling.

Despite this, we are at an advantage in that we have a pattern to our day and resources at home. I know that most schools will be sending work home and teaching remotely so it won't be necessary to set up a curriculum, however, there will be much, much more time to fill with no journeys to school, no after school clubs and no playdates.

These are some ideas which help shape our days plus some extra resources.

  • Morning Time. We always start with Morning Time. We include prayer, read alouds, Bible memory work and sing a hymn, Our read alouds include a missionary biography and a chapter from a history book. This is an ideal time to read those books aloud that you have always intended to read. We have just finished making a homophone sheet where we added a homophone and illustration each day.
  • A set order. We always have English time then a break, followed by maths. The afternoon is a bit more varied. There isn't anything special about our order except that it means that we all know what is happening next and there is less argument about unpopular subjects. 
  • Reading time. 30 minutes after lunch for everyone's sanity!
  • Usually, we always go outside.
    I don't know how much this will have to alter but even a few minutes in a small garden will help. Swingball or a chalked hopscotch can be done in a small area.
  • Something fun. This depends on the age of children. Ideas are a board game, poetry tea,
     a film and educational treasure hunt. The prize for the treasure hunt only needs to be small. The clues don't have to be complicated.  We have used treasure hunts for learning tables with choices for answers. The right answer goes to the next clue!
Just a few ideas for resources. These are all free
Please do add other ideas. We all need to encourage each other in these challenging times.

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Thursday, 12 March 2020

Living in a Pandemic

It is no secret that we are in a pandemic. None of us know whether we will be unwell/have to self isolate and whether, soon, we will be able to leave our homes. Obviously, in our family, this has been a matter of a fair amount of discussion as well as making sure that the children know the official guidance and that practically, hand washing takes place often, carefully and for at least the time that it takes to sing Happy birthday twice.

One of the most important things that we want to remember is that God knows and cares about us, even at this time. We have been singing Sovereign Ruler of the Skies in our Morning Time. 


Sovereign Ruler of the skies,
Ever gracious, ever wise!
All my times are in Thy hand, 
All events at Thy command.

He that formed me in the womb,
He shall guide me to the tomb;
All my times shall ever be
Ordered by His wise decree.

Times of sickness, times of health;
Times of poverty and wealth;
Times of trial and of grief;
Times of triumph and relief:

Times the Tempter's power to prove;
Times to taste a Saviour's love:
All must come, and last, and end
As shall please my heavenly Friend.

Plagues and deaths around me fly,
Till He bids I cannot die:
Not a single shaft can hit
Till the God of love thinks fit.

O Thou gracious, wise and just,
In Thy hands my life I trust:
Thee, at all times, will I bless:
Having Thee, I all possess.

John Ryland

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Saturday, 22 February 2020

Wulfgar and the Vikings

This year, we have been learning about the Middle Ages in History so I was delighted to be asked to review Christina Eastwood's new book Wulfgar and the Vikings.




Christina is a Christian author who home educated her children. I have reviewed her book, Not without Tears previously and enjoyed her novel set in Italy, Switzerland and Ireland, Trasna na Dtonnta.  When my children were younger, we used some of the home education resources which Christina collected together as a Mother's Companion.

Wulfgar and the Vikings is the first in a children's trilogy called Wulfgar the Saxon. Wulfgar is a fictional boy living in the village of  Leofham, in the Kingdom of Wessex during the days of King Alfred the Great. The story is around the dangers from the Vikings and the arrival of a stranger, Morcant from Wales. Morcant is a skilled medicine man who also teaches the villagers to read and has a teaching which is different from that of the monks who came round to collect rents and the church dues. 

The theme of wanting a written copy of the Bible in English is throughout much of the book and of course, the threat of the Viking raiders. 

This living book is ideal for reading whilst learning about King Alfred. There has been much care around historical details such as the illness of the King, the relevant battles and the Celtic church. It did send me to  do some research to find out more about this period in history.

Wulfgar the Viking is a short read and would be ideal for children aged 8 plus. The book is complete in itself despite being the first of a trilogy. I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy. Recommended!

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Disclaimer: I was provided with a review copy of Wulfgar and the Vikings. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions are my own.

Monday, 10 February 2020

Catch up!

I have been AWOL for about a year!

The beginning of 2019 was dominated by my husband's Mum's declining health. She died, very peacefully, in April. Soon after her funeral, my husband had major surgery. Happily, the summer was busy with meeting our first grandchild. None of this was conducive to writing and, to be honest, I was really quite tired and felt rather directionless which again, doesn't lead to blogging.

Anyway, this is a new year and decade so time for a post!


These are some useful resources, with a rather chemistry and geography theme, which we have been enjoying recently.

Seterra periodic table

Ellen McHenry Periodic Table games Thank you to @Spreadingthefeast for telling me about this.

Blog about Britain

Oaka books On the map

I hope to be back again soon with a book review.

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Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Primary Maths Resources

Apologies for the lack of posts over the last year. I have a draft post waiting with a bit of explanation!

Anyway, my friend Emma has started a new website, Home Educating the Early Days. Emma's site designed is to give reviews on all things related to home education and is particularly designed to help families with young children who are either starting out on home education or have an interest and aren't sure where to start. Do pop over and have a browse round Emma's site.

Today, I have a guest post on Home Educating the Early Days about Primary Maths Resources.

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Friday, 11 January 2019

Reading Challenge and Advice Please!

Last year, I decided not to take part in a Reading Challenge. Life was busy and whilst I had read plenty of books during the previous year and enjoyed the chance to read more widely, I didn't manage all the categories in the 2017 Christian Reading Challenge.  

2018 wasn't a bad reading year but many of the books were either read alouds to my children or books that I preread to check whether they would be suitable for the home education book club. It was a busy year, after all my eldest daughter was married and strangely enough, this was rather more important than reading!  So, 2019 seems a year for a reading challenge but people, I need advice. My reading is in the doldrums and I don't feel best inspired. 

The plan is to do the avid reader level  of the 2019 Christian Reading Challenge so 26 books not 104. I would like to succeed! Please would you send me ideas. I don't want to buy many books so ideally books from the library/free on line would be great.

The categories follow with my comments. A blank means that I don't know. 

  • A BIOGRAPHY-ideas?
  • A NOVEL-possibly Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell
  •  A BOOK ABOUT HISTORY-SPQR by Mary Beard. I have started this but haven't been gripped so far...
  •  A BOOK TARGETED AT THE OPPOSITE GENDER-haven't a clue!
  •  A BOOK ABOUT CHRISTIAN LIVING-possibly a reread of the Loveliness of Christ by Samuel Rutherford
  •  A BOOK WITH AT LEAST 400 PAGES-I have downloaded Dicken's Our Mutual Friend which seems to have over 800 pages according to Amazon.
  •  A BOOK A FRIEND RECOMMENDS-ideas welcome
  •  A BOOK ABOUT CHRISTIAN LIVING-a couple of friends have recommended titles by Jen Wilkin
  •  A BOOK MORE THAN 100 YEARS OLD-Should be easy but I don't know yet.
  • A BOOK BY OR ABOUT A MISSIONARY-Reading Letters from the South Seas by Margaret Patton
  • A BOOK FOR CHILDREN OR TEENS-thinking about Beverley Naidoo's Journey to Jo'burg which is conveniently in the local library.
  • A BOOK OF YOUR CHOICE
  •  A BOOK ABOUT FROM A “BEST OF 2018” LIST-not sure. I need to read some lists!
  •  A COMMENTARY ON A BOOK OF THE BIBLE
  •  A BOOK WRITTEN BY A PURITAN: John Owen's Glory of Christ.
  •  A BOOK BY OR ABOUT A MISSIONARY
  • A BOOK ABOUT THEOLOGY: reading Stuart Olyott's Son of Mary: Son of God
  •  A BOOK YOU THINK YOU CAN FINISH IN A WEEKEND-Doug Bond's new book The Resistance
  •  A BOOK RECOMMENDED BY A FAMILY MEMBER 
  • A BOOK ABOUT AGING-Jennifer Bute and Louise Morse's book Dementia from the Inside.
  •  A BOOK PUBLISHED IN 2019 -Hopefully, Beyond the Thirty Nine Steps: a biography of John Buchan by Ursula Buchan
  • A BOOK ON THE CURRENT NY TIMES LIST OF BESTSELLERS- possibly the Tattooist of Auschwitz but it seems a bit grim.
  •  A BOOK ABOUT CHURCH HISTORY-hope this isn't a cheat but I am reading SM Houghton's Sketches in Church History with my children. I love this book and it has lead to some interesting discussions and rabbit trails. Who would have known that Patmos is 15 days walk from London plus a few ferries-thank you Google maps!
  •  A BOOK OF 100 PAGES OR LESS 
  • A BOOK OF YOUR CHOICE
  •  A BOOK ABOUT MUSIC OR A MUSICIAN-not a clue.
Thank you everyone, in advance for your suggestions!

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Friday, 4 January 2019

New Year and Resources

Happy New Year!

I haven't blogged much recently with plenty of other things going on, and in particular, caring taking more time. I would like to make time to write during this year although what transpires could be another matter.

These are some of the resources which we are using-the ones that I particularly want to recommend.

Oaka Books produce resources for visual learners. We have been using the biology matching pairs game and On the Map which is a global locations game.
The latter has been used on an almost daily basis, only takes 15 minutes to play and has helped the children's geographical knowledge enormously. On the Map is designed for Common Entrance so some of the answers are over simplified, for example, there are more countries in Africa beginning with S than the options given. These cases have proved discussion points.

There is a discount for home educators.

Learning how to learn: how to succeed in School without spending all your time studying is a book which I first about on the Brave Writer podcast. Since I read it, I have been quoting the principles to the children on a frequent basis! At some point, we hope to read though in morning time. 

Seterra is an online geography game. Last autumn, each child had a challenge from this and I plan the same again. This can get a bit competitive and involves Mum having to revise/learn geography!

Duolingo is a free app for language learning. It is aimed at beginners and only takes a few minutes each day. Younger Daughter has begun language lessons, this academic year and supplements these with a daily Duolingo session. Yes, Mum is also working on her daily Duolingo. Who said home education was only for the children!

The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) has a helpful website with ideas for books and poems. I was able to visit the library which was a delight. 
Many of my usual book ideas come from the Read Aloud Revival podcast (definitely worth listening) but these tend to be American and so not available from our local library whereas the books recommended by CLPE are mainly from the UK. Many of these are in our local library system so I have been able to put them on order.

The Daily Poem is a podcast from Close Reads which does what it says. So far, I have listened myself rather than getting the children to listen. My plan is to enlarge my range of poems to share with the children. 

Please add your favourite resources to the comments.

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