Wednesday, 4 January 2012

It's All Go Today!

This week M has been doing a lot of lesson work. She's been practising her handwriting (printing) and has been so good about it. She's been learning the logic and method for sorting things alphabetically. I wrote the alphabet down for her and she said 'Well done you!'

We've been reading Paddle-to-the-Sea each day and it will be interesting to follow the travels of this little wooden canoe and its occupant. We read The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader and the illustrations are simply gorgeous. It is a story of how animals prepare for winter, some hibernate, some adapt, some migrate and there is a couple who feed the animals who stayed behind.

I was looking at the book and its illustrations and showed it to TBG (The Big Guy) and he agreed that they are beautiful drawings. Then I looked at when the book was published, 1948, and realised why they were so beautiful. The animals looked realistic and not drawn to look like something unrecognisable. For some reason now everything can't look like what it really would in the real world, perhaps it's for copyright or licensing reasons so we end up with unrealistic looking cr*p that doesn't show how something really looks in nature.

Look at the toys children have today, there is a pet shop that is really popular in our house and the skunk doesn't look like a skunk and the cat doesn't look like a cat and the dog, well, you get the idea. I want a skunk to look realistic because in the wild skunks are not purple with a yellow stripe down their back and big heads and small bodies. I nearly tripped over one and came face to face with another one (or maybe face to bottom with one if he had decided to spray). I hoped and prayed that neither skunk sprayed me. I was negotiating with them, 'Please don't spray, please don't spray.' I slowly backed away and quietly walked to the other door of the house (yes, it was on my doorstep!). Breathed a huge sigh of relief when I was safely inside the house. Skunks spray if they are frightened, it is their defence mechanism, so I was hoping to not frighten the two skunks on my path that night! Their odour is so strong that it permeates walls. Another time a skunk decided to make its bed in a chair on our doorstep. We had to keep the dog inside the house for the day and the skunk smell lingered even after we humanely trapped it and then took it elsewhere and let it go free. The skunk didn't spray either, that's just their natural scent!

OK I digressed off topic but I couldn't help myself. Back to educational stuff, L has been teaching herself Japanese and today she was reviewing everything and then she went on to read about William the Conqueror (obviously written in English) and now we are about to read Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? by Richard Maybury.

I needed a break from reading aloud because I read Paddle-to-the-Sea and The Big Snow to M and my voice is a bit tired. We will be doing a nice lapbook on The Big Snow (available through Hands of a Child) and so this book is our winter project because it will take us a long time to work through it.

Later on today we will read a chapter from the story Our Island Story written by H E Marshall. It gives a fantastic overview of the history the British Isles but it is written specifically for children. She says in her introduction that it's meant to be a story.

Then, when you find out how much has been left untold in this little book, do not be cross, but remember that, when you were very small, you would not have been able to understand things that seem quite simple and very interesting to you as you grow older. Remember, too, I was not trying to teach you, but only to tell a story. H.E. Marshall, Melbourne 1905

Holling Clancy Holling is also another great children's author, and after we finish Paddle-to-the-Sea, we will start on Seabird and then move on to Pagoo. I also like James Herriott and will start reading his stories to M. I used to read them as a child/teen because my grandmother kept giving them to me. Again, the illustrations in these books are simply gorgeous. We are going to look at some paintings by Jean-Honoré Fragonard today as well. Here is a nice one for your enjoyment The Grand Cascade at Tivoli.

What are you up to today?