Thursday, October 30

rainbow cloths

It's interesting that I never bought coloured silks for my girl to play as a baby. I've forgotten the reason why. Now at 6.5 years old she has her first set. Of course, she has several cloths of mine to role play with - scarves, printed tapestries, sarongs....

Today these were flowers in a garden, butterfly wings, zoo exhibition areas, props in a story I played out for her, all worn as a skirt for an element fairy...

We also, carved a pumpkin. Well, I did. I forgot how squeamish she is with gooey things, such as the insides of the pumpkin. We are looking forward to Samhain tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 22

A large faerie

She's going through a mini obsession with Maleficent. A couple of weeks ago I found her a book that follows the film (her first cinema experience of course) and adds more details. It includes some lovely art work too.

One of the many things I love about home educating (our autonomous/relaxed style anyway), is that when a child finds a new interest or is going through a mini obsession, there's nothing to hinder them following that interest all the way through.

That night she said, "Mama, my head is full of Maleficent!".

The book is written for 9+ I would say, so she's exposed to many new words. I'm happy that she's asking for definitions. I've resisted the urge to make her look them up in a dictionary. You know, how in Home Education Mode we can easily take the joy and purpose away by focusing on Education. A few of the words she has obviously taken in the meaning because they've cropped up later here and there.

One night in bed,"Mama, my head is full of a plethora of thoughts." So funny.

I'm looking for horns and wings, but they seem pricey and poor quality. She mentioned making wings so I think we might give that a go.

As Maleficent is from the Moors, I reminded her that we of course live right on the edge of the moors (although more than one in England). She read through a little of my 365 Dartmoor book and we discussed taking walks further into the heart of it. She is determined that we will find evidence of Maleficent in there.

Friday, October 17


Miss 6 and a half (officially today) said...

involuntarily - new word since last week. Not sure where she picked it up from. Favourite sentence talking to her dad about the previous night's storm - " caused involuntary stress in me".
Reading over my shoulder she said she made up the word involuntarily. Said that she hadn't heard it anywhere and it's not a real word, that she just made it from involuntary. Somewhat surprised to learn it was a real after all.

Despite wanting a pet T-Rex for months now (yes, a real one), one morning still in bed she admitted they could be too difficult to care for. So she said she'll have a Utahraptor instead. Although later that day we discovered together they grow to 25 feet high, hmm, this pet needs rethinking.
Ah, ok, she's settled on a Velociraptor. We might need another litter tray.

She finally finished her dinosaur extraction. Together we put together the skeleton pieces to have a triceratops.

not exact kit but similar

It's extremely dusty - horrid red plaster dust - and I can't say I would want another in my home. But it was great fun and it lasted a long time as she did a little every other day. On this last day she spent 1.5hrs at it! It's quite a thrill finding each new piece.

Perfect timing to watch BBC2's new True Stories series. I introduced her to Mary Anning, the fossil girl.

We also watched the clip on Florence Nightingale which she had heard about in her Victorian studies. Also, because it was Victorian related, this morning we included the one on Thomas Barnardo.

I'm crocheting up a toran, and she was inspired to create her own out of paper. It's a bit pale so hard to photograph.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 15

Cats & Dreads

She's on a cat phase right now. She's always loved cats since she was perhaps 3, and they remain a constant. Recently she bought herself a new cat soft toy and BBC happened to have a cat series up - Cat Watch 2014. She' watched all 3 episodes several times and learnt many things about cat behaviour.

We've been looking at the difference between Laws and Rules (citizenship), and how they affect the people living together, and a community.

One aspect we found interesting is that she was to come up with 6 rules in her home, and together we could only really think of three that came close. We realised that we live not by rules but rather, expectations in behaviour - consideration, helpfulness, kindness, respect, safety.

She had her first Dreadlock Social Experience yesterday at our Home Educators social park meet up thing. A friend of hers asked her who had created them, and Miss6 told her her mum had. Then the girl's reply was so odd that it made Miss6 'uncomfortable', so she simply walked away and continued playing with her other friend. She told me about the incident but I couldn't make any sense out of what the girl had said.

I told Miss6 that without being certain we can't jump to the worst conclusion. The best thing is to always check with the person about what they meant. I hadn't expected her to do so at all, but later on that's exactly what she did and the girl claimed that she thought Miss6's dreads were great. So there had been confusion.

I was so proud of how she handled the whole thing. Later that night I asked if she would rather take her dreads out, she replied, "No way!" She explained that by 'feeling uncomfortable' she meant that what she thought her friend has said was negative, so she walked away, but she didn't feel uncomfortable about her hair. She's such a star. I'm definitely bringing up a strong girl with tons of self-esteem.

Friday, October 10

Our days

She had her first cinema experience! We had watched Maleficent a few weeks back and we both enjoyed the film. What a fabulous re-working of an otherwise oppressive story! As it happened, our local theatre/gallery/library building was showing the film. So it isn't a purpose-built cinema complex, but it has a proper cinema room. I chose an evening to make it extra special ('we're going out at night!'), and it coincided with my birthday. So we made it a birthday outing. Seeing her wide eyes and exclamations of 'wow', was precious.

We've been to a few fairs recently, and for my birthday we visited Tavistock with a friend of mine. It's a market town on the edge of Devon-Cornwall.

Three different rivers, two woods, hills, parks, trees, mushroom spotting, leaf identification, the last of the blackberries... it's been a lovely start to Autumn around here.

tree-hugging - discarded pixie wings


On her own initiative wanted to use her bird identification book to ID two different birds in our garden.


Her dreadlocks are coming along nicely, if slowly. She'll only let me do a few a day. She prefers going the neglect method but it looks like a rat's nest, which she has no problem with. I think because her hair is fairly short and very straight, so it doesn't matt up in nice long 'dreads'. She's had encouraging comments from fiends and neighbours. She's my beautiful treasure.

We had another talk about our bedtime today - currently 3am. We're both night-owls and of course as home educators we're on no one's schedule. However, getting out of bed at midday, then add having breakfast and getting yourself sorted, makes for a very late start to the day if you want to visit anything or anyone. I asked her what she wanted most, because she can't have both super late nights and going many places.

She's very happy with 'home days' and just us two, but we both enjoy outings once in a while, especially the library! So we've agreed on a compromise, late but not super late, 12-1am. Now I'm working on slowly shifting it... waking us up 15mins earlier each day. A struggle on days we've had bad nights.

She said...

"Thank you mama for my fabulous childhood."

"Mama how was [outer] space made?"
"Errrr, well I don't know."
"It's just that I want to know what was there before space."

"How come you don't make any mistakes in caring for me... even though you weren't trained?"

I did tell her of course, that mama makes plenty of mistakes, but that being the best mama for her was my top priority, so I keep trying to be better every day. Ironically, she was sceptical - that is, she thinks I do an amazing job. So funny. I reassured her that when/if her own time comes, all she'll need to know will be inside her heart.

Must dash, she's set up a tea party for us and a few soft toys...

Wednesday, October 8

Learning and books

I introduced her to Gaudi. I had an adult's book that we flicked through first, then gave her the one I had been keeping for her.

Building on Nature: The Life of Antoni Gaudi

We chatted about the organic lines in his architecture, how it was emulating nature. I told her that his work was in Barcelona, Spain (learnt about earlier this year). We didn't go much beyond that. I think that Dali remains her favourite. She really enjoyed the connection to nature theme though and wants to visit Park Guell.

We've been learning about community through September - urban, rural, etc, - including about the people who help the community - mail carrier, police, fire fighters, mayor, etc. She got to meet the mayor last month for her Reading Challenge certificate presentation, so that was good timing. We also visited the town hall and found photos of all past mayors.

This past week we looked at our own place in it, citizenship - what it means to be a good citizen in your town. We discussed what it means to be responsible or irresponsible (this is taken from the curriculum I use as a guide).

She enjoys jokes and word-play so I gave her a book I've been holding. It's an Axel Scheffler, Proverbs From Far and Wide.

She understands a few although it's still a little over her head for the most part, but she enjoys it and has had a good giggle when I explain what they mean. Scheffler's illustrations are always fun.

She spent this week re-reading all her Cam Jansen books, so I bought her a new one. A clever girl, a helpful male friend, solving crimes with her super memory.

Inspiring Girls: books for 4-7 yr-olds, part 2

Take a look at Part 1, including my personal criteria for my choices.

Odd Velvet
Velvet is confident in who she is and what she likes in spite of her peers.
One Grain of Rice
Positive thoughts on greed, courage, and cleverness. Big fun numbers for the young, and the mathematical principle for the older ones.
Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen
Sally Jean grows too big for bike. By collecting old bicycle parts to make a new bike - and giving her old bike to a young friend - she rides again. Resourceful, active, generous.
Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian
A beautiful portrait of a 13 yr-old girl, Maria Sibylla Merian, who made the world realize that insects and summer birds were not evil.
Flossie and the Fox
A wily fox meets his match when he encounters a bold little girl in the woods who insists upon proof that he is a fox before she will be frightened.
Abuela's Weave
A story about family, responsibility, and life in Guatemala.
A Dragon's Tail (Jane and the Dragon)
Jane has no interest in being a lady-in-waiting. It's a knight's life for her! My 5-yr-old adores this series. On DVD too. My only reservation is the bickering between friends and siblings, but it's not worrying.
Pink is Just A Color and So is Blue
Despite what you teach them, they'll pick up ideas from the world around them. Like my girl insisting that boys would look silly in pink when she was 3!
Willow refuses to be stifled and in the process she enlightens her teacher on creative freedom.
Marty McGuire
Marty McGuire would rather spend recess catching frogs in the pond than playing dress-up with the other girls. Her teacher casts Marty as the princess in the class play, but Marty makes it her own.
Only Opal: The Diary of a Young Girl
Written from the notes of an 8yr old girl that has an endearing sense of the world and all its living things.
The Girl Who Loved Caterpillars
A young woman resists social and family pressures as she befriends caterpillars and other socially unacceptable creatures.
Tua and the Elephant
In Chiang Mai, Thailand, a clever little girl befriends and helps an elephant. Nice for only children too.
Katie Morag's Island Stories
Both Katie and her Grannie are resourceful, active, useful females on a Scottish Island. 4 stories in one.
Claire and the Unicorn Happy Ever After
Claire's father reads her stories with characters that always live happily ever after. Claire suddenly wondered, What, exactly, makes someone happy forever?