A peaceful day

Phillipians 4:4-8

For with Thee is the fountain of life; in Thy light shall we see light. Psalm 36:9

Karlimoot the scarlet robin

Posted by Jeanne


The sweet little Sarlet Robin, Petroica boodang, has returned to our patch of Central Victorian bush for the winter, and I was delighting in their antics this afternoon. They're impossible for me to photograph, though - too quick and too small, so I grabbed a photograph from this page. Pop over there to find out about Victoria's other red robins -we have five.

Noongar Aboriginal legend tells us that long ago during the Dreamtime, Chitty-Chitty the wagtail and Karlimoot the scarlet robin were in a dispute over hunting rights. The two were forever fighting, and one day Chitty-Chitty attacked Karlimoot, hitting him in the face and making his beak bleed. The blood ran down his breast, forever staining his feathers red.

The fight still goes on to this day. Chitty-Chitty continues to chase Karlimoot from his territory, and remains king over the hunting ground. Bit of a bully, really.



Happy 90th birthday

Posted by Jeanne

Sometimes Disney does something very right, and this is one of these times. This new story, written to celebrate the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth (and Winnie the Pooh, incidentally), is just delightful, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

If you're the kind of family that needs to read the book before watching the movie, you can do that, too - here it is free!
So from a forest far away, for your special day, We’re sending you some quiet and a little time to play.


Substituting Aussie books in AO1

Posted by Jeanne

I thought that today we might have a chat about substituting books. The post is for Grace, who asked for it, and for Melissa, Tara, Becci , Agnes, Belinda, Kathleen and LouLou, who got excited about the idea. Grab that coffee, girls, and let's talk books.

Okay, firstly, I've spoken about substituting books before. That post is here, but Ambleside Online is written for Americans living in America, not Aussies living in Australia, and part of the curriculum just isn't relevant for those of us living over here. A certain amount of substitution has to take place, and this is what I want to chat about.


I'm going to start today by looking at AO1, since that's what you most wanted to hear about. If you like, we can continue on to other years after that. So let's take a look at the AO1 booklist as written. You'll find it here, but you might want to print out a copy to scribble on. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Okay, so you'll see that AO1 covers the years 55 BC to 1066 AD - a huge time period, basically overviewing the time from the invasion of Britain by Julius Caesar up until the...er...invasion of Britain by William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings. Now, the history of Britain is really the history of Australia as well, so you're not going to mess much with the books under history, are you? Here they are cut and pasted:

Trial and Triumph, by Richard Hannula ($ K) [2] [3]An Island Story, by H.E. Marshall β Δ ($ K) Ω [4] (Kings and Queens Timeline Figures)* ** Fifty Famous Stories Retold, by James Baldwin, selected chapters β Δ ($ K) Ω Ω Κ [5]** *** Viking Tales, by Jennie Hall , ch 1-11β Δ ($) Ω [6]

Viking Tales is there mainly because the first discoverers of America were the Vikings. You could leave it out for this reason, or substitute, but I didn't. It's a really interesting book. Trial and Triumph is church history. You'll want to read this, unless you're Catholic, then you'll want to read this first and decide.

Next up is a group of books entitled American History Biography. Here are the books:

* Benjamin Franklin, by Ingri D'Aulaire ($)** George Washington, by Ingri D'Aulaire ($)*** Buffalo Bill, by Ingri D'Aulaire ($)

At first glance, people are inclined to leave these out of an Aussie AO, but I'd encourage you not to. Firstly, the D'Aulaire books are delightful, and are beautifully written. You might want to read them just for that. Secondly, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington were really great men. They also happen to be American, but really, they're men important to world history, not just to America. You are going to want your kids to know about Ben and George sometime. Now, here's the rub. If you continue following my Australianised version of AO, you're going to discover that I leave out pretty much all American History, so if you want your kids to know these men, this is your chance. These books give your kids a delightful introduction to two men that they're going to need to know about. Leave them in. I leave in Buffalo Bill and Pocahontas, a free read by the same authors, too, because it is good for your kids to know these stories. You could substitute, if you want, but you'll struggle to find books as good as these, and most Aussie heroes you'll want to save for later years. Leaving the books out completely is an option. Do that if you want, but I wouldn't.

Next up is geography, where the scheduled book is Paddle to the Sea, by Holling C. Holling. You could substitute this for Alison Lester's Are We There Yet? if you want. It's a fabulous book, and a great intro to Aussie geography. The only problem you'll have with this book is that it's much shorter than Paddle, so you'll want to use it over maybe a term, not a whole year. You could do it in addition to Paddle, if you choose. That would be extra good. I didn't do that, but in hindsight, perhaps I should have done. I used it in AO0 instead. I chose to use Paddle to the Sea because it is beautiful, and I'd always wanted to know the Great Lakes myself, and this book teaches them to you. Paddle covers America, Canada, and even across the Atlantic to France, and it teaches it all so delightfully that I can't imagine leaving this book out. You can if you want, but don't tell me if you do. The two books used for physical geography, Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography, and Home Geography by Long are relevant for Australia, so you'll want to include both of those.

Are you still with me? Let's march onward to Natural History/Science.:

The Handbook of Nature Study, by Anna Botsford Comstock Δ ($), as scheduled in Nature Study; online.James Herriot's Treasury for Children, by James Herriot ($) [8]The Burgess Bird Book for Children, by Thornton Burgess β Δ ($) Ω Κ [9]

I have Comstock, and I use it all the time. This handbook is a cheat-sheet for mum. It's designed to make you look clevah in from of your clevah kids. The idea is this: You find that aphids have taken over the new spring buds on your roses, right? You're irritated by that and try to squash them all, but your kidlets are fascinated, and want to know all about them. You know nothing about aphids except that they suck all the loveliness out of your roses, so you sneak inside (pretend to be going in to collect an icecream container or something), and grab out your book. There on page 351 you'll find a nice big juicy section (heh) on aphids. Speed-read the section, grab up the container and rush back outside. You are now super clevah, and your kids are super impressed Win! There's even an experiment listed for the aphid. Sacrifice a bit of your rose, and bring it inside. You'll learn all sorts of stuff that turns nature study into science. All this comes from Comstock. You want it; you need it. There are lots of things we don't have in Oz that you'll find in the book, but there is plenty enough to make it a useful addition to your homeschool library.

I also list Nuri Mass's The Wonderland of Nature in my curriculum list for AO1, but in hindsight, this book would be better in AO3 or 4. Leave it to then.

James Herriot's book is super lovely. Read it, adore it. Don't forget to read the Christmas story at Christmas time. That's why it's not scheduled, so you can put it where it needs to go.

Which brings us to Burgess. If you look at the footnote for The Burgess Bird Book (You do all read the footnotes, don't you? You absolutely have to), you'll see that you're to do 6 birds per term based on the season and birds that frequent your geographical area. For those of us in Australia, there are almost no birds in this book that frequent our area, so it will be useless for us. What the footnote is telling us, though, is that we are to read about 18 birds that we should be able to find and see. The idea here is to start learning about the birds we know and love. We have no equivalent book to Burgess in Australia. This book is a possibility, but even though it was only published recently, it is not currently in print and is hard to find. I used a delightful book by C K Thompson, Old Bob's Birds, but all of you gals who have followed after me have bought up all the copies, so it's really expensive, and not worth inflated prices, in my opinion. Sometimes you can get hold of his other titles - snap them up if you see them, but I wouldn't pay more than $10.00. Failing that, Leslie Rees's books are good. You're looking for the ones starting The Story of... Again, don't pay more than ten or twelve dollars. Lyla Stevens wrote a beautiful book, Birds of Australia in Colour, which is still available on Abe. Today, at least! I'm inclined to think I would use this book as a spine, reading a bird a week, but read one of Thompson or Rees's books per term to do an in depth study of three over the year. Again let me remind you to study birds you see. Put a birdbath outside your kitchen window, too, and get to know your feathered neighbours! If you really can't find a book, just study your own birds using a field guide. That will do.

Moving right along to poetry

* A Child's Garden of Verses β by Robert Louis Stevenson; ($) Ω Κ [10]** Now We Are Six ($ K) and When We Were Very Young ($ K) by A.A. Milne (4-Volume Pooh Library: $)*** A Child's Book of Poems, by Gyo Fujikawa ($), OR The Oxford Book of Children's Verse, by Iona and Peter Opie ($), OR AO's free online collection of 200 Classic Children's Poems. (K)

You can use the recommendations at listed if you choose, but if you haven't already introduced your child to C K Dennis's A Book for Kids, you'll want to do that this year. I would substitute it for the third term anthologies. You really need to use this book while your kids are young.

I left all the literature and free reading titles as is, and added Australian titles to them. Generally my rule is one book in; one book out so as not to overburden my student, but in AO1, the amount of reading is light enough that a couple of extra books can be added without a problem. In fact, somewhere it says that the book load is deliberately light to allow parents to add their own favourites, but I can't find that right now. Anyhow, to literature - that is scheduled books that required narration after each reading - I added Dot and the Kangaroo by Ethel Pedley, and The Way of the Whirlwind by Mary Durack. I also added Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs and Blinky Bill by Dorothy Wall to the Free Reading list. I did not require narration of these two.

And that, I think might be that. I do hope that's what you are after, ladies, and I'm sure your coffee is cold by now. Have I left you with more questions than answers? Let me know what else I need to address.

Here's pne mpre photo of my beautiful girl. Wasn't she cute?



A Little House movie...

Posted by Jeanne

Are you excited about the possibility of a Little House on the Prairie movie? I am, although they're going to struggle to find actors who look just like Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert, and...well...authenticity is important, and those two are Pa and Laura, and that's all I have to say about that.

I guess I was not alone in wanting to be as good as Mary, as beautifully dressed as Nellie, and as independent as Laura. Even as a youngster, I admired the Ingalls' sense of family, and their ideas of what were important. I loved their simple life.

I'm suppose that before the film comes out I should reread the series. I read the first four or with Jemimah a few years back, but she took over the reading of the rest, and I haven't read them since school. I have Pioneer Girl sitting on the shelf, too. You can't do enough preparation for these very important events, now, can you, and this is clearly important. Mind you, every time I read these books I find myself needing to make quilts, and corn dollies and maple syrup candy. Maple syrup! I've always wanted to go to a sugaring! See? I just get carried away. Imagine what a movie will do. If they can find the right actors, that is. Otherwise it'll be a wash.



Seeking to be wise

Posted by Jeanne

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool. William Shakespeare, As You Like It

I suspect I've been living my life as a fool, knowing not what I did not know. It's a humbling place to be. I mean, I guess I always knew that I knew nothing about philosophy, but until last week, I didn't think that mattered very much.

Last week, Jemimah started AO9 Term II. The week before, she'd been in kindergarten, but that's another issue. Anyway, there were two books in the first week that actually brought both her and me to our knees. One was Postmodern Times - A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture by Gene Edward Veith Jr.; the other, The God Who Is There by Francis Schaefer. Jemimah managed the first chapter of each with little problem, but - oh my - those second chapters were doozies! Liberally peppered with words like existentialism, postmodernism, classical rationalism and positivism, and assuming at least a passing knowledge of the beliefs of Kant, Nietzsche and Freud, the chapters were almost meaningless. Even having the word defined on first usage is useless if you've confused it with myriad others a few pages further on.

I say that these chapters were almost meaningless, but there was one powerful message that came out of these chapters, and that is that modern evangelistic methods must depend on the beliefs and knowledge of the age in which we live, and that if we are unaware of the issues in the minds of those we seek to minister to, we will fail to engage them at all. That was sobering, and it made me want to read more. It made me want to understand. But how?

I turned, as I always do, to those clever than myself, the leadership and members of AmblesideOnline, and as always they were my saviours. Clearly it became evident that we would need some introductory philosophy books to act as a bridge between foolishness and wisdom. They couldn't be too complicated - they were to be a means to an end, in this case providing a foundation for the understanding of these two books and those that will come after, and they couldn't be too long. They also couldn't be more difficult that the books we were attempting to read..

This is the list they came up with:

:: The Consequences of Ideas by R C Sproul
:: Books on philosophy by John Frame, Vern Poythress or Groothuis
:: History of Philosophy and Christian Thought by Ronald Nash
:: Saving Leonardo by Nancy Pearcey
:: Thinking About God: First Steps in Philosophy by Greg Ganssle
:: Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder
:: The Universe Next Door by James Sire
:: Teach Yourself 101 Key Ideas: Philosophy by Paul Oliver
:: Living the Answer (website) by David Vogel

Wow, what a wonderful selection. If you're a member of the AO Facebook Group, you can read the discussion, and the comments that were made about the books. It's worth your while.

In the end, we decided on Sophie's World, mainly because it's a novel, it's by Gaarder, whom I love, and most importantly, I already have it. I scheduled it at three chapters a week to get through it by the end of term. Veith we are continuing with at a slightly slower pace; Schaefer we have moved to Term III. We started last week.

Learning what you do not know is humbling. I realise now that what I thought of as my scientific rationalism may have been thought of differently by those who understood more, and it leaves me wondering how foolish I must have sounded in conversations where I thought I knew what I was talking about, but in reality was merely a fool.

Gaps in education - we all have them. A big, gaping hole in mine is just about to be filled.



Mother's Day

Posted by Jeanne


Hello, dear mamas. I do hope your Mother's Day was as happy and peaceful as mine was. My day was filled with flowers, from this sweet little chrysanthemum boutonnière given to me by a delightful older lady at church, to the lovely bunches of pink roses arranged by Jemimah on my bedside table and vanity unit. I felt truly blessed, and much loved.

Our Mother's Day was simple, because, really, how complicated is it to give thanks to the mother in your life? We had no cards, no expensive gifts, no fuss. I heard people yesterday complaining about the commercialism of the day, but really, I didn't see it. Most of the mums at church had enjoyed a yummy breakfast ( eggs and bacon or pancakes seem to make most mums happy, it seems), some had received little gifts, or had planned a picnic or other outings, but really all the expensive fripperies were startlingly absent.

Mother's Day is about family, not stuff. It is about eating lunch together and showing each other that we care. And somehow, without the gifts and the brouhaha, I felt loved and special and truly blessed.

I hope you did, too. Happy Mother's Day, friends.



How to stop me twitching

Posted by Jeanne

Those of you who follow AmblesideOnline's Facebook group (and if you don't and you use AO then you really really should - I'd love to see you there), will know that there is little that makes me twitch as much as discussions about whether or not to toss the dust jackets from old books. Dust covers are beautiful, people. Beautiful. They also add value to your books, not that that actually had any bearing on anything, because who's going to be silly enough to actually ever sell a book, but they do. Anyhow, once I've convinced people on FB that they need to love and cherish their dust covers, the conversation invariably leads on to how to protect them, and I've lost count of the number of times I've tried to explain my method.

Those of you who follow A Peaceful Day's Facebook page (and if you don't then you really should - I'd love to see you even more there) will know that we're just back from six blissful weeks gallivanting around the Middle East and Europe, and will have been blessed (or bored to tears) by the copious photos I've been posting there.

Part of the trip included a week or so visiting my beloved's parents in beautiful South Wales, and whilst there, I was gifted with a couple of books that were precious to my hubby and his sisters in their youth. Entitled Simple Heraldry and Simple Custom, both written by Ian Moncreiffe of Easter Moncreiffe O. St. J., M.A., LL.B., F.S.A. Scot., Advocate, Falkland Pursuivant Extraordinary and cheerfully illustrated by Don Potting, M.A., D.A. Herald Painter Extraordinary to the Court of The Lord Lyon King of Arms (I kid you not - that's what it says on the title page. The pair were clearly characters - take a look at their wikipedia entries to see what I mean. And now they've made me lose my train of thought completely), the two books were in poor condition, and are not precious to anyone except my beloved and perhaps his siblings, and therefore to me, but they provide an ideal opportunity to explain how I repair and care for delicate dust covers, and how to make the old and fragile robust enough for use by the next generation. So today I photographed the whole process, and here it is.

You can see here the poor condition of the jackets. Step 1 in their repair is clearly to mend the paper, and for that I use a special archival tape called filmoplast P 90 by Neschen. Normal sticky tape will not do if you intend to keep the repaired books for any period of time, since it goes brown, brittle and loses its stick quite quickly.

I prefer to be quite conservative with my repairs, doing only the bear minimum. Repairing books reduces their value, but like I said, who actually ever sells books, and anyway, all I want to do with these is make them tough enough to endure reading by people old enough to take care of them. That said, the folding bits always need reinforcing, so first I run a strip of tape down those, even if they've not yet torn, gently edging together any tattered areas.

The spine of this cover had split entirely in two, and clearly needed special care. I mended it in the same way, with a strip of tape down each side. I don't like to fill in the missing areas on my covers, although some people do, so I carefully cut the tape away from the areas where the paper is missing.

Sometimes, if a jacket is particularly fragile, I also run tape right around the edges. I didn't bother with these books, mainly because the edges were in much better condition than the fold lines, but also because I don't intend using these books for school, where more wear and tear would be anticipated.

Now on to Step 2, protecting the cover with plastic film. I use a clear polypropylene film called Pro-lene, which you can read about here. I'm pretty sure you'll be able to buy an equivalent product in most countries, only I can't find it on Amazon. Anyhow, it is just plastic. I pay $130.00 for 100m, so this product is cheap. !00m lasts me an awful long time. Years, even.

Cut off a bit that is about 7 cm bigger all round than the front, spine and back of the book. You can best do this by removing the dust cover and using this as your template, but remember that you don't need to cover the whole of the flaps that fold inside the book. You just need 7cm wider than the actual book. Got that? Don't be too particular about the 7 cm, either. Just about that much will be fine.

Covering the actual jacket is easy. Fold the top and bottom of the plastic over the cover and hold tightly in the centre, over the spine. Tightly is the operative word.

Next, place the book spine where it belongs, ensuring that the plastic remains neatly folded around the cover and hasn't become loose.

Hold the plastic together, and gently lower the book onto one side of the plastic.

Holding the book tightly against the plastic, gently fold the flap into place inside the book. What you're trying to do here is keep the edges of the plastic tightly against the top and bottom of the dust cover. It is really easy for these to get loose, and this results in a sloppy finish.

Almost done. Now you just repeat the process with the other side.

Once again, position the spine and tighten the plastic over the cover.

Turn thee book over the cover, again ensuring they're tight. Yes, I know I'm harping on about that, but it's really the only hard part of the whole process. Fold the final flap into place

Run your finger firmly along the edges to crease the plastic and neaten them up.

And voila - you're done. Make yourself a cup of tea and have a chocolate to celebrate a job well done! I'm so proud of you!

I can't tell you what to do with your own books, and if you don't tell me, I'll never know, so I won't even lose sleep over it, but I'll hope you'll agree that the covers of these books are much more attractive than the mildewed red covers they protect. Plus, they don't make me twitch!

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