Saturday, October 29, 2011


We are enjoying our readings from "The Word Spy" by Ursula Dubosarsky. After today's reading we found a u-tube video of this song.Here are the lyrics:
, man, am regal a German am I
Never odd or even
If I had a hi-fi
Madam, I'm Adam
Too hot to hoot
No lemons, no melon
Too bad I hid a boot
Lisa Bonet ate no basil
Warsaw was raw
Was it a car or a cat I saw?

Rise to vote, sir
Do geese see God?
"Do nine men interpret?" "Nine men," I nod
Rats live on no evil star
Won't lovers revolt now?
Race fast, safe car
Pa's a sap
Ma is as selfless as I am
May a moody baby doom a yam?

Ah Satan sees Natasha
No devil lived on
Lonely Tylenol
Not a banana baton
No "x" in "Nixon"
O, stone, be not so
O Geronimo, no minor ego
"Naomi", I moan
"A Toyota's a Toyota"
A dog, a panic in a pagoda

Oh, no! Don Ho!

Nurse, I spy gypsies -- run!
Senile felines
Now I see bees I won
UFO tofu
We panic in a pew
Oozy rat in a sanitary zoo
God! A red nugget! A fat egg under a dog!
Go hang a salami, I'm a lasagna hog

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"Chasing Vermeer"

We have discovered a new readaloud author! Not only does she write thought provoking prose but we get to do art history and maths at the same time!As one reviewer comments:"
Secrets, lies and mysteries surround the work of one of the greatest artists of all time. Moonlit chases, hidden hiding places, and even a secret code help to solve the mystery."

 There are clues in the art work that help you solve the mystery. The art work itself is worth close investigation.The author has her own site with games and puzzles and even downloadable pentominoes for you to work with! 

The book also has plenty of scope for writing projects:"Is writing the most accurate way to communicate, investigate",  "Research letter writing by asking people to describe a piece of mail that changed their lives and then,write me a letter I won't be able to forget ". "At the beginning of chapter three Petra "window gazing" from a train is described, write about a changing scene you have observed on a journey." Then there are descriptive writing examples including the children's narratives of famous paintings(but not just these!) that beg to be used as jumping boards for further discussions/projects.     This is a book we will remember for a long time. And the good news? The author has two more in the series along similar lines. No we haven't read them. Yes we are looking forward to doing so!                                                                                                                              

Mathilda knows my name!

Someone can say my name! And its not the easiest name to pronounce when you're just learning to speak.But its a handy tool to have if you want someone else to do you bidding!" A....come, a... sit!"
I think she looks very cute!And very like her older siblings: now isn't that a surprise!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Someone came to call!

Another type of visitor: small but with bulging,starey eyes decided to visit late at night. Sorry but it wasn't invited inside!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Apostles visit us!

Well not in person. But on Sunday afternoon we were privilaged to be visited by two mysterious birds.

Youngest son spotted them first through his bedroom window and was allerted by the srange noise they were making.I quickly dismissed them as starlings or blackbirds only to be assured that a more thorough investrigation would negate both these assumptions.

Two older brothers were called in plus our bird book but it was my daughter plus google that settled the matter. They were apostle birds, so named for their characteristic of flying in large flocks or groupings.

These two appeared to have had their wings clipped and we were concerned they may have escaped from a cage perhaps having been hand-reared. However no ammount of attempts to catch them bu us or some of our neighbours was successful so finally we had to thank them for sharing some time with us and leave them to continue their journey!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

"The Genius of Leonardo" picture book find

I love to use picture books as an introduction or summary of a particular topic. I was surprised and delighted to find this at our local library. As part of our readings for history we are reading "the Second Mrs Gioconda". This book is a fictional representation of the life of Leonardo de Vinci. (Now I have heard some negative reviews by homeschoolers of this book because it mentions one character's unfaithfulness to his wife but again I think if you are reading this to older children it can give you a good opportunity to discuss such topics as trust and commitment. Again I don't think a book has to ascribe to my world philosophy for it to be worthwhile in our homeschool. )
I enjoy reading books by E.L Konigsburg for myself but I think she is a fabulous author for older children.Books by her always encourage lots of discussion!
However back to my picture book find. It is described as being written by Guido Visconti with quotations from the notebooks of Leonardo. The artist's illustrations are supurb. one reviewer says:"When I first saw the cover and title for this book, I was pretty sure I wasn't going to like it. The illustrations did not remind me of Leonardo Da Vinci. I was ready to be disappointed. Instead, I was surprised when I found myself enjoying the book.

I like the portrayal of Leonardo and his apprentice. The genius of the man is portrayed while still keeping him imperfect. Leonardo doesn't have answers for all of life's questions. Still, the book reminded me how fascinating math and science can be while reminding me why the Renaissance is such a fascinating time in history.
All around, this is a wonderful book."
another states"The illustrations by Bimba Landmann are amazing, making the book a work of art. The text is meaty, telling us a lot about Leonardo and his ideas (with direct quotes). Kids will relate to the mischievous character of Giacomo, Leonardo's 10-year-old assistant, who frequently annoys his famous boss. I would recommend this book for anyone age 6 to adult!"(reviews from Amazon)I think this is a book worth re-reading long after our history study has been completed.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A castle or pagoda?

As part of our study of Japan ds has been reading historical books about Japan. He has particularly enjoyed looking and comparing medieval Japan with Europe in the same time period.

Some of the books he has read are: "The boy and the Samurai" by Erik Christian Haugaard. "Te Samurai's Tale"(by same author. "The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn" by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler , "Castles of the Samurai" by Jennifer Mitchelhill and "Commodore perry in the land of the shogun" by Rhoda Blumberg

He thinks Japanese castles look way more cool and so decided to construct his own interpretation of part of one. It has involved a lot of  design and maths, even protractors were brought out to assess angles. We haven't been able to find a similar project online so the ideas are all his own.The small cardboard tiles on the roof were a real test of time and patience and they are yet to be painted.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Kamishibai Man

Today ds read The Kamishibai man by Allan Say. This is what he wrote from the story.
Kamishibai began in the 1930’s. 

 The theatre is a small wooden box transported by bicycle.

 It contains drawers of paper figures,different pictures that tell a story or are shown as a story is being told.
 The story is unending always ending in a cliffhanger. 

As well as telling the story the Kamishibai man also sold delicious homemade sweets. The story was a drawcard for people to come and buy the brightly coloured assorted sweets

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


We had a great morning yesterday helping our kids violin teacher raise funds for  Guide dogs. Of course it helped that we had a real guide dog with us aka "Potter"
we were divided into three groups and went off to different sections of our local mall to busk. My 14yo was leader of one group. He had organized a repertoire of songs to play, mostly at book 1 level because that was the level most in his group were at.In the beginning no one was super keen all refused to play a solo but after warming up nearly everyone did.

After 30 mins we all came together for two special group pieces.
Then it was back to our groups again to play. Of course I am not exactly unbiased(11) but I think the kids really looked like they enjoyed playing together. It was a good lesson in improvising and "just keep on playing" when you stuff up. It was also exciting to see how the second in our group took over so expertly as leader when oldest son's D string came loose.

The children and parents are all keen to do it again. Now to persuade their teacher!