Archive Post: Firecrest


I thought I would share what we’ve learnt this morning.

We were reading about the ‘firecrest’, which is apparently one of the UK’s smallest (if not *the* smallest) bird, though I had never heard of it before now.

I checked it out on the RSPB’s website, and was pleased to find that they have a sample of its song together with lots of information:

https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/firecrest/

We’re just on the edge of being in the right area to find the firecrest, so I will have to make a note to look for it when we go out towards the south-east.

The book we were reading, by the way (if any of you are interested) is ‘366 and more Nature Stories‘, published by Brown Watson.

The author is Anne-Marie Dalmais with illustrations by Annie Bonhomme. It seems to have been written originally in Europe (printed in Milan) and is translated into English and edited by Colin Clark. It is a great book for nature study, with short and sweet little stories every day of the year.

It is available through used booksellers.

 

 

[Originally posted on my Multiply blog]

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Birthday Fun

starwars7

We have a birthday coming up this week, and we’re heading out to a second showing of Star Wars as one of the birthday treats. It’s always a challenge to organise presents and parties for birthdays so close to Christmas, and it’s difficult to make them memorable, as they’re normally quiet, family affairs.

When birthdays fall during the ‘school’ week, though, it is nice as home educators to have the freedom to take time off from academics to go on outings, or just to chill out for the day.

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I thought I would share this birthday memory from the Svengelska Hemskolan archive:

We’ve been gearing up for a birthday this week, so we have managed only to get very little formal ‘schooly’ work done. On Tuesday we received a CD of stories and nursery rhymes from a toddler-group we used to go to (produced and recorded by the group and the Library service), which proved to be really popular. It reminded me that we used to sit down everyday and have music-time with nursery rhymes and action songs, but we haven’t done it for a long while.

On Wednesday, the birthday boy got to choose all our activities, so we ended up watching “The Blue Planet” on DVD (one of his presents) most of the morning, and in the afternoon we went for a walk in Salcey Forest with a group of friends. The children particularly enjoyed running and jumping along the tree-top ‘Elephant’ walk and jumping in muddy puddles! (Mummy was slightly less enthusiastic!)

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More recently, I have tried to re-introduce music time or circle time as part of our ‘Morning Time‘ (see Cindy Rollins’ lovely Ordo Amoris blog for details.) But right now all our music books (we love the books from A & C Black such as ‘Okki-Toki-Unga’ and ‘The Jolly Herring’ amongst others) are all in storage so I’m not sure what shape our music time will take from now on. Dragon-tamer has discovered that he loves the Beatles, so we may learn some of their songs to sing, just for fun. I remember learning ‘Yellow Submarine’ at school myself. Thank goodness for the internet! I don’t know how we ever coped without it!

January Nature Notes

One of my favourite resources is a very old cloth-bound book, “Enid Blighton’s Book of the Year“. My revised edition is dated 1950 and is a classic that really ought to be reprinted. Enid Blighton fell out of favour, of course, and many of her stories would be considered inappropriate nowadays; but she was very knowledgeable and her writings on nature are very Charlotte-Mason-esque, so I’m rather fond of her, on balance.

enid-blytons-book-of-the-year-1Each month has its own chapter, which includes a motto for the month, stories, puzzles, plays and songs and – the reason I love it so – nature notes on weather, birds, trees, flowers, animals and insects.

We started our week by filling out our RSPB Big Garden Survey form (which we’ll post rather than register online, as we’re old-fashioned like that).

And I thought I would share with you today’s poem, from Enid Blighton’s book:

“The Blackbird is Singing”

Here’s the new year – now what will it bring?
Apples in Autumn, bluebells in spring,
Pussy-palm soft as a grey kitten’s fur,
Poppies-a-dancing when summer winds stir,
Yellow-clad fields where the butter-cups gleam,
New little ducks on the chattering stream,
Eggs in the hedgerows, lambs skipping by,
Woods full of primroses, little and shy.
Yellow bees droning in summery heat,
Early nuts ripening, blackberries sweet;
All these and more the New Year is bringing –
Really, no wonder the blackbird is singing!

We are invited to write out the poem and then underline the first letter of each line: “Read them downwards, and you will find there is a message for you from the blackbird.” 🙂

Review of the Week

Just a quick review of the week, because we still haven’t quite got in a new routine in our new house in this new year yet!

We’ve been to the library a couple of times, and taken out more books than we can carry. Ds12 said half-jokingly that he though we already have more books than our tiny local library, and if we had another house next to our house, we could open our own library! 😀

Library book topics this week include: birds and insects, and Denmark. (I know, odd collection!) This weekend we’ll take part in the RSPB Big Garden Watch Survey, counting the birds in our garden, and I’m aiming on starting regular Nature Walks again.

We’ve visited with some other home educating families, and played with their chickens and rabbits and the children have started back at their weekly after-school and evening activities (at the moment, we’ve got climbing, swimming, dancing, drama, choir, scouts and a little church group between the 4 children) and we’ve been to beach a couple of times.

We haven’t done a whole lot of academic work yet. A bit of reading (me to them and them to me) – literature, a bit of science etc. but no formal lessons yet.

Our book of the week is “The Avion My Uncle Flew” which is a lovely story of an American boy who ends up living in France with his Oncle and the clever way in which he learns to speak French. By the end of the book there is a section entirely in French. We’re not quite halfway through yet, so we’ll carry on with this one next week too.

Then to finish the week, we’re watching “War Horse” to kick off this year’s centenary of the First World War. I’ll be gathering resources over the next little while to do a study project – recommendations would be welcome.