24 November, 2008

Travelling the Silk Road

This morning we had another History lesson, which hasn't happened in a long time! Our dear friends with whom we used to get together for History and IEW lessons have packed up and moved to North Dakota, where my friend is originally from. We will miss them dearly, but we will carry on alone, sniff sniff! We are using Story of the World Volume 2: The Middle Ages. Today's lesson was about Marco Polo, the explorer to China who travelled the Silk Road along with his father, Niccolo.

So, don your paper bag Chinese hat and come along with us:

First up, we must pass through the hot and treacherous Taklamakan Desert:

We'll stop for a rest on a comfy chair and enjoy a snack at the oasis of Tun-huang-shih:

We must now pass south of another desert, the Gobi Desert:

The Gobi Desert is not so treacherous, it has some oases along the way, so let's stop and have a glass of water.

We'll take a rest and have another snack at Loyang-shih.

Now we'll take the Yellow River to Peking:

In Peking, we can trade for Chinese goods:

and visit the Emporer, Kublai Khan in his palace:

Here we will find gold, ivory, silk and exotic animals.

We'll relax here and then return home to Italy.

It'll take us about four years ;-)

Hope you enjoyed the journey with us. Thanks Susan Wise Bauer, we are loving the Story of the World!


01 September, 2008

Recently we have started reading a chapter fromThe Gift of Values by Rosie Boom on Sunday evenings. Last night's chapter was on the value of A Positive Attitude. Rosie had included this poem, which I thought was perfect for this week's Charlotte Mason blog carnival on Habit! I don't know who the author is and Rosie doesn't quote anyone either, so I'm assuming it's in the public domain!

Who Am I?

I am your constant companion.

I am your greatest helper or your heaviest burden.

I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.

I am completely at your command.

Half the things you do, you might just as well turn over to me,

And I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.

I am easily managed; you must merely be firm with me.

Show me exactly how you want something done,

And after a few lessons I will do it automatically.

I am the servant of all great men.

And, alas, of all failures as well.

Those who are great, I have made great.

Those who are failures, I have made failures.

I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision of a machine.

You may run me for profit, or run me for ruin;

It makes no difference to me.

Take me, train me, be firm with me

And I will put the world at your feet.

Be easy with me, and I will destroy you.

Who am I?



15 July, 2008

Nature Talks to New Zealanders

I just received an email through the CMandFriends-ANZ@yahoogroups.com list to say that Nature Talks to New Zealanders by Philip Crosbie Morrison is now available as an e-book. You can find it at Down Under Literature. Thanks Michelle for making this great book available again!

06 June, 2008

Great Booklist Links

Here are a few links for my favourite booklists online:

Ambleside Online has great booklists for each year level as well as many other great resources and articles in the tradition of Charlotte Mason.

Classical Christian Education Support Loop also has a great booklist by reading level or by author.

Of course there are the books of booklists too, such as Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt.

18 May, 2008

Colour Wheels and Portraits

Last week we had another two workshops with New Zealand artist, Graham Braddock. To see our bushmen's huts we did last year, click here.

This year we had two workshops: Confidence with Colour & Fun with Portraits.

In the Confidence with Colour workshop Graham had us draw a colour wheel with a difference - a vase of flowers. Then we added a marrow to demonstrate how to blend different colours together to different effects.

Bethany's colour wheel

Mine (left) and Emily's (right) colour wheels

In the Fun with Portraits workshop, Graham picked a boy & a girl from the audience and led us through drawing a portrait of them. We focussed on getting proportions right before filling in the details.

Bethany's portraits

My portraits

09 January, 2008

Favourite NZ Nature Study Books

Here are some of our favourite New Zealand nature study books:

The Life-Size Guide to Insects and Other Land Invertebrates of New Zealand and others in the series by Andrew Crowe have life size photos of many common species. This makes it easy for you and your children to identify the nature you find in your own backyard!

Philip Crosbie Morrison's books are lovely too. He was a naturalist and hosted a radio programme back in the 1950s or 60s. The titles we have are called The Junior Naturalist - Nature Talks to Australian & New Zealand Children, published 1966 and Nature Talks to New Zealanders, published 1962. The books have chapters on different nature topics, from "The 'humble' bumble-bee" to "The Immaculate seagull." The books also have lovely illustrations.

We also have some little books by Murdoch Riley, Shrubs & Small Trees, New Zealand Wildlife, and Know your New Zealand Birds. These have lovely illustrations by artist Peter Scaife, who was a customer of ours when we had a picture framing business in the Wairarapa. Great little books for learning and identifying common NZ species.

We have also enjoyed The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady. Although it is English, it still has beautiful illustrations of many of our common plants & birds. We also refer to our copy of Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock often.

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