Wednesday 31 December 2014

For the New Year

As 2014 draws to a close, I want to wish all my readers a happy New Year. 

Thank you for your prayers and messages both on the blog and elsewhere. 

I wanted to put up some verses for the New Year and then realised that I had used the same verses last year. They seem even more appropriate this year.

 God is all sufficient for the coming year!

Standing at the portal
Of the opening year,
Words of comfort meet us,
Hushing every fear;
Spoken through the silence 
By our Saviour's voice,
Tender, strong and faithful,
Making us rejoice.

Onward then and fear not,
Children of the day!
For His Word shall never,
Never pass away!

"I, the Lord, am with thee,
Be thou not afraid,
I will help and strengthen,
Be thou not dismayed!
Yea, I will uphold thee
With my own right hand,
Thou art called and chosen
In my sight to stand."

For the year before us,
O what rich supplies!
For the poor and needy
Living streams shall rise;
For the sad and sinful
Shall His grace abound;
For the faint and feeble
Perfect strength be found.

He will never fail us,
He will not forsake;
His eternal covenant
He will never break.
Resting on His promise,
What have we to fear?
God is all-sufficient
For the coming year.

Frances Ridley Havergal

Friday 26 December 2014

With Christ

Dear Friends,

My lovely Mother went to be with her Lord and Saviour, yesterday morning, after a very long illness.

We mourn for ourselves but rejoice for her.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.  Psalm 116v15

With Christ which is far better.  Philippians 1 verse 23.


Thursday 18 December 2014

End of term in London

We had a trip out to celebrate the end of term. My younger two had never been to the Transport Museum in Covent Garden so this seemed an ideal opportunity so a winter trip.

Covent Garden was decorated for Christmas.

There were amazing Lego raindeer.

Youngest Son made some estimates of how long these would take to make: one hundred years perhaps?
Other model deer and then the Transport Museum.

This is a fantastic museum for children. There is so much to do: a list to stamp, buses and trains to climb on and tube trains to "drive".

Models for the Year of the Bus:

Real buses in the Museum:

The traffic lights work and the buttons were constantly being pushed by children.

Many London buses were sent to the First World War

 and women were recruited as conductors for the buses remaining in London. 

The children were able to dress up as bus conductors and a wall height chart was provided to see if they reached the height requirement.

Many of the interiors had models dressed in period clothes. The children found the models a bit freaky. They looked real enough until the children looked closely.

I highly recommend the London Transport Museum. It isn't free. We paid £15 for an annual pass for an adult, me. The children, being under 17, went in free. I suspect we will visit again so will make the most of the annual pass.

Do you have museums that you love to visit? Please share in the comments.

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Tuesday 16 December 2014

Not Giving Way to Fear

One of my biggest home education struggles has been with fear. Fear from several sources: fear of the children turning out badly; fear of poor academic results and fear generated by gainsayers. This fear isn't productive as it makes me tired, anxious and irritable. 

The fear makes it a worry that the children don't start work as early as I would like. The anxiety that adds to the difficulty of a struggling reader. The worry around having to take an elderly relative to yet another appointment and whether the children are working at home while their father is busy with his work in the study.

OK, I'm a worrier but there are plenty of other worriers out there who doubtless have the same concerns.

Recently, I've come to see that this fear is counterproductive and wrong. We believe that it is right for us to be home educating these children. Home education wasn't a snap decision but a decision made over years and with much prayer and examining of how the Scriptures apply to us as a family. Whatever anyone else says or thinks, I shouldn't be afraid. 

Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 
Philippians 4 verse 6

Whose daughters ye are (Sarah's), as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
1 Peter 3 verse 6

Of course, I have to do my best for my children. Timothy was told to be a a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2 v15). In many ways, this applies to us as educators. We have to be skillful workers and treat God's Word properly so that it isn't brought into disrepute. 

So how can we avoid fear?
  • Prayer
  • Reading God's Word and hiding it in our hearts.
  • Talking to trusted friends. My husband is a great sounding board and has listened to any number of my concerns about not getting things right.
  • Meeting with others, of course, in church but also with other like minded educators. Often, just the chance to talk and laugh with others can bring worries into perspective.
  • Taking advice when the going is difficult. There are plenty of home education on-line groups where it is possible to ask questions.
  • Avoiding taking advice from nay sayers. Of course, unasked for advice can be reasonable and helpful but it is important to remember that it can come with an agenda.
  • Going outside. Often, minor difficulties and stresses can be ironed out with some outside time.
Please comment with any other thoughts about not giving way to fear in home education.

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Monday 15 December 2014

Paddington Bear at Heathrow

Life has not been boring. Anyway, in the midst of a trip to Heathrow Airport, Younger Daughter and I managed to see another Paddington Bear statue.
This is Chief Scout Bear. It is in Terminal 5 in Arrivals just opposite Information. We found that the staff didn't know anything about this Bear. If we had followed the instructions we were given, we would have taken the tube to Paddington Station!

I hope to be back soon with some more posts but getting up at 3am isn't conducive to writing much!

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Monday 8 December 2014

How to make a free Christmas wreath

Younger Daughter has been very keen to make a Christmas wreath so this afternoon, we make one from some items found around the house and garden. Younger Daughter (aged 8) did most of this with a little help and guidance. Children from about four could probably help with this project.
The whole wreath took about an hour.
We paid nothing for the project although if ribbon/tinsel/ornaments were purchased then the wreath would not be free. It would probably work to substitute wool for ribbon provided that there was sufficient tinsel. Ornaments are optional and can be varied according to what is available in your house.

Items needed:
Wire coat hanger
Willow twigs (live not the snappy dead branches). I think that any creeper would probably work as well.
Short lengths of fir branches ( we used Leylandii). This might be the most difficult part if you do not have a garden or fir tree but there are plenty of Leylandii around so check with friends and family.
Ribbon (we used a length that we already had so it was a rather pinky colour rather than red but red/green/gold/silver would do well).
Tinsel (we already had some).
Optional Christmas tree decorations.

Pull the wire coat hanger into a circle.

Wind willow around the hanger so it is well covered. We didn't use anything to attach the willow and tucked the ends under other pieces of willow.

Once the hanger is covered,
wind the fir branches around the willow.
They will not wind so well and may stick out a bit. This doesn't really matter. Add fir until the willow is completely covered.

Secure the fir with ribbon.
Wrap tinsel round the wreath and decorate with tree decorations if wanted.

Tuck in any loose ends!
Hang the wreath.

You may also like 
Grandma's Christmas Pudding

Christmas Pudding Spice Sauce
Four Picture books about Christmas

Linked to

Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth
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Friday 5 December 2014

Paddington Bear Trail

We have a mini-project about Paddington Bear going on and there is, most conveniently, also a Paddington Bear Trail in London, this December. Obviously, we decided to explore this. 

The trail has fifty Paddington Bear statues at locations around London ranging from Heathrow to the East End. There are four mini-trails:

  • Royal Parks
  • Paddington in Paddington
  • River and Historical London
  • The Christmas trail
We decided to investigate Paddington in Paddington on a cold and rather wet day!

Appropriately, the first statue was on Paddington Station where the Browns found Paddington Bear. This is a classical Paddington designed by the author of the books, Michael Bond. 

Not too far from this statue is a another, not of Paddington, but of Isambard Kingdom Brunel who designed Paddington Station, and of course, much else as well.

Paddington Station also boasts a Paddington Bear shop. We managed, somehow, to avoid buying anything!

Our next stop was just opposite the station in Norfolk Square Gardens where Paddingtonscape is set.

I don't think that we were intended to follow the route that we found but we wandered through St Mary's Hospital and eventually found a footbridge over the Canal
to the next set of bears.

Brick Bear

Bearing Up
This was the children's favourite as it was fuzzy. I had difficulty getting them to stop hugging the bear to take this picture.

Futuristic Robot Bear

This section of Paddington Basin had some amazing bridges being put through their paces.

This is the Rolling Bridge. The children had been learning about polygons recently so it was interesting to see an interesting use for octogons!

Then we realised that the bridge behind the Futuristic Robotic Bear was moving.

This picture was before I realised that the bridge would move but it does show a fairly standard appearing footbridge, in the background, but then


This is the Fan Bridge.
If you are planning to see the bridges then Friday at noon is the time to go. We didn't realise this so the bridges were an added extra but it is definitely worth making a trip fit in with the bridges opening. 

Onto Little Venice

and more Paddington Bears.

Love, Paddington x

Texting Paddington was dwarfed by a large Christmas tree.

The Mayor of Paddington

We've just seen eight of the fifty bears, so far! According to the downloadable map, that makes us Apprentice Adventurers but we were ready for a warm house and a cup of tea. Maybe we should have added a marmalade sandwich!

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