Sunday, August 29, 2010

Notebook pages

We use unlined artist notebooks for much of our schoolwork. I like that they are spiral bound as it makes turning pages,even bending the book back on itself possible without damaging work. I also like that their durable covers,means you can take them anywhere and work in them.

Here are pages from our middle eastern scrapbooks. I use that term very specifically. They are not meant to be exhaustive compositions but just "glimpses" into how other people live their lives and the places they live them out in.Perhaps in later years they will also be memory prods as the boys tell back things they still remember of our study of this part of the world.As you can see we like maps! We also like putting key words/and or pictures as a summary of what we have discovered. We also add samples of art work and if is not possible because of the size of the piece(such as mosaic work we are doing for this unit)or because the art work was made of a material that would not fit easily into our books(eg pottery)we add photos of the work. Pictures and titles of books we have read,plus music cd's we have listened to and dvd's watched also find a place in the notebook.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

History reading list

Following this brilliant list of readings for the middle ages I have composed our own list for the rest of our middle ages study. We focused on the early middle ages last year.

The Story of Mankind pgs 163-167

The Story of Mankind pgs 168-174

OIS (Our Island Story)Chap 31. Henry Plantagenet—Thomas a Becket

Britannia by Geraldine McCaughrean pgs 82-85

OIS 32. Henry Plantagenet—The Conquest of Ireland

If All The Swords in England (13 chapters)

The Story of Mankind pgs 175-181

A little History of the World chap 24 + 25

The Story of Mankind pgs 182-193

Britannia pgs 86-88

Britannia pgs 89-91

OIS 33. The Story of Richard Coeur de Lion (1189 – 1199)

Red Falcons Of Tremoine

The Red Keep by Allen French

The Story of a Village chap 8+ 9

The World’s Story by Elizabeth O'Neil chap 24

CHOW (A Child's History of the World by Hillayer), chap. 53,54,55,56

The Story of Mankind pgs 194-200

The Story of Mankind pgs 201-209

OIS 34. The Story of How Blondel Found the King

CHOW, chap. 57

OIS 35. John Lackland—The Story of Prince Arthur (1199 – 1216)

The World’s Story pgs 241-248

Britannia pgs92-95

Britannia pgs96-97

Britannia pgs98-99

Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green

Children of the Red King by Madeline Polland

The Lost Baron by Allen French

The World’s Story chap 25

CHOW, chap. 58

OIS 37. Henry III of Winchester—Hubert de Burgh (1216 – 1272)

Britannia pgs100-102

OIS 38. Henry III of Winchester—Simon de Montfort

OIS 39. Henry III—The Story of the Poisoned Dagger

CHOW, chap. 59

Marco Polo

The Story of a Village by Agnes Allen chapter 10

OIS 40. Edward I—The Little War of Chalons (1272 – 1307)

Britannia pgs 102-104

OIS 41. Edward I—The Lawgiver

OIS 42. Edward I—The Hammer of the Scots (Edward II, 1307 – 1327)

OIS 43. The Story of King Robert the Bruce and Bohun

Britannia pgs 105-107

Pied Piper(poem)

CHOW, chap. 60

OIS 44. Story of the Battle of Bannockburn

OIS 45. Edward III of Windsor—The Battle of Sluys (1327 – 1377)

OIS 46. Edward III of Windsor—The Battle of Crecy

OIS 47. Edward III of Windsor—The Siege of Calais

OIS48. Edward III of Windsor—The Battle of Poitiers

The Story of a Village chap 11

The Door in the Wall 1348

OIS 49. Richard II of Bordeaux—Wat Tyler's Rebellion

Tales From Chaucer:The Canterbury Tales by Eleanor Farjeon

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

E is for Escher

We have just completed a study on the artist M.C Escher.
Escher grew up in Holland in the early years of the twentieth century. He studied art and traveled through Europe as a young man. During his travels he discovered he especially liked the geometric designs by Moorish artists in Spain and Africa.

Escher is also famous for his so called impossible structures which challenge the way we see perspective. The boys had a chance to employ this technique in their snake art work.Te challenge was to draw a snake with as many overlapping lines as possible. Both boys completed work reflects their different personalities as well as their interpretation of the challenge.Thanks must go to this excellent homeschool blog for this idea

Next we explored making tessellations of our own getting ideas for this from another great art study site.

We have really enjoyed our art study this year looking at three Dutch artists; van Gogh. Mondrian and now Escher. Much of our study has overlapped in other areas such as maths and history.
Of course now we have to decide where to travel next or whom to study? do you have suggestions; preferably artists whose ideas/work we can imitate

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Value Education

We are continuing to use "Say Fellas" by Wade C.Smith as part of our learning in Values and moral character. The boys and I like the way the stories are written. Some of the vocabulary is a little dated and sometime requires explanation but the meaning behind each story is very clear.Also they are "just long enough" without over"hammering" their message. Here is sample for you.We downloaded the stories from this site

Say, fellows! of all the boys in the Old Testament, David is my choice. There was something about that chap that was "real class."

If David were to happen in your bunch, doubtless when you got to knowing him every one of you would want him for a chum. He was the kind of fellow that real boys like: not a braggart and not a "sissy," but generally when it came to his turn to bat he smashed the ball for a clean hit. Or if he should happen to strike out, he didn't slam the stick to the ground, but with a smile stepped back and turned a handspring and lit on his feet rooting for the next man up. Of course, you know there was not any baseball in those days, but that is about the way David would have played the game.

Out there minding the sheep, David didn't get moody. It might have been a slow job for others, but not for him. No, he had a harp and he made music with it. He had a sling, and could hit a quarter on a telegraph pole with it—if there had been quarters and telegraph poles. But there were other things to use that sling on, and
they gave David a touch of real life.

David knew that lions, bears, and wolves lurked in the forests near the pastures in which his sheep must graze, and he got ready for them. Notice, fellows, here is one of the secrets of David's success: he was always ready. His big opportunity came when he arrived at King Saul's camp on that errand for his father, and he was ready for it.
He was ready, first, because he believed God's power was greater than any army, and that God would fight for any one who fought for Him. Did you notice in the Bible account how David told the king that God would handle the matter; and how he also told Goliath out there on the field, while all men held their breath, that it was Goliath plus sword, spear, and shield, against David plus God?

And so God helped. One smooth stone, the first out of the sling, crunched through that big bluffer's head like a baseball through a stained glass window, and the Philistine fell on his face. Everybody's giant comes some day. Every fellow's big opportunity comes one time, at least, and he can be just as ready for it as David was.
That's the big news to-day.

I like to think of the five smooth stones as representing five characteristics of David's readiness.
First Stone: (the one he slung) Faith. We have been talking about that—faith in God. David prayed as he picked up those stones, you know he did.
Second Stone: A pure heart. God searched it that day at Bethlehem and approved him for anointing. David was clean. You would never hear him telling smutty stories, nor did he think them.
Third Stone: Industrious habits. Think of his skill in playing the harp, and his effectiveness with that deadly sling.
Fourth Stone: A courageous spirit. A lion's mane, a bear's skin, and a giant's head, of which we know, bear testimony to this. No wonder the shepherd boy could stand before a king and reason with him in the presence of a national crisis.
Fifth Stone: A humble spirit. Listed last, but not least by a good deal. "Thy servant will go and fight this Philistine"; "Thy servant kept his father's sheep and—" "The Lord will" do this thing—not I. David's humility throughout his boyhood and young manhood—indeed throughout his whole life—is one of the fine and strong points of his character.
In the brook that runs alongside your lives, fellows, these five smooth stones and others are waiting for each one of you. Put them in your "scrip" now and be ready for life's opportunities; for they are coming, head on, to meet you, and God wants to be on your side.
Read the seventeenth chapter of 1 Samuel.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Love is....

Verse 1
Now Hollywood wants to make you think they know what love is. But I'm a tell you what true love is. Love is not what you see in the movies. Its not the ecstasy, its not what you see in that scene, you know what I mean? I'm telling you right now, true love is sacrifice. Love is thinking about others before you think about yourself, love is selfless not selfish. Love is God and God is love. Love is when you lay down your life for another, whether for your brother, your mother, your father or your sister, its even laying down your life for your enemies, that's unthinkable, but think about that. Love is true. Think.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Middle east mosaic work

Today in our study of the middle east we read about Jerash in Jordan. We thrilled over the beautiful mosaics that have been discovered there. This site in particular showed us an amazing map mosaic. And so after all this looking we decided to do some paper mosaic work ourselves. In doing this we also learned how time-consuming this art form is and how even with paper pieces it can be a very exacting process.One son decided to replicate a part of the Madaba Mosaic Map with his own interpretation of course. Other son decided to first draw his imagined scene and then color it mosaic. This is what they looked like at the end of this first day's session.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Nature study in winter

on a rainy morning on the way to violin lessons what better way to fill in the time than a spot of nature snaps! we thought these skeletal-like trees were a good place to start.

of course because we live in Australia even in winter evergreens predominate.

and finally a hint of the season to come in the blossom

Friday, August 13, 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A hint of spring

The blossom that blooms while its still winter shows us the promise of the spring to come!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Over the fence

We spied two cockatoos yesterday in our neighbour's blossom laden tree. Years ago our original neighbor, in her nasturtium covered garden, would each evening be surrounded by a whole flock of these birds which she fed on her hills-hoist clothes-line.

We were privileged just to spot these two.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Winter shadows and a warming recipie

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 1300g pumpkin, peeled, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1/2 cup (60ml) olive oil
  • 1 tbs honey, plus extra to drizzle
  • 1300ml vegetable stock
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 cup (220g) arborio rice
  • 1 1/3 cup (160ml) white wine
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to garnish
  • 3 tbscream cheese, plus extra to serve


  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  2. Lay pumpkin in an even layer on a large baking tray and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, then remove and drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of honey, tossing well to coat each piece. Roast for a further 15 minutes until cooked and golden.
  3. Place stock in a saucepan and keep at a simmer over low heat.
  4. Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a large heavy-based pan over low heat. Add onion and stir for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add celery and cook for 1 minute, then add rice and cook for a further minute, stirring to coat grains. Increase heat to medium-low, add wine and cook until absorbed. Add stock a ladleful at a time, allowing each to be absorbed before adding the next. Continue for 15 minutes or until rice is cooked but still firm to the bite. Add lemon juice, pumpkin and parsley. Season, then stir in cream cheese.
  5. Serve with a dollop of cream cheese a drizzle of honey and extra parsley.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Winter gardening

Making the most of a good amount of chicken manure from our silky bantams, a break between the showers and an afternoon at home I decided to launch an attack on the front garden!

I re-located plants from the back garden and planted things closer than the recommended spacing in anticipation of only some surviving our hot summer.
I figure we still have several months(wishful thinking?) for them to become established.

I am thankful for the few plants that have survived from last summer...and of course the nasturtiums that will come up anywhere regardless.
I find gardening a very meditative experience
a time of recollection and in this I know I am not alone:
In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.
- John Muir

I also enjoy the hidden secrets that a garden discloses; the little things which would be overlooked unless one paid careful attention.

Gardening is a long road, with many detours and way stations, and here we all are at one point or another. It's not a question of superior or inferior taste, merely a question of which detour we are on at the moment. Getting there (as they say) is not important; the wandering about in the wilderness or in the olive groves or in the bayous is the whole point.
- Henry Mitchell, Gardening Is a Long Road, 1998