6 Aug 2011

Home and Away Q & A

Okay, so I called it that coz it rhymes.

Anyhow I thought I would answer your questions in a sort of random manner since they're sort of random questions. Thank you so much for commenting - it was so nice catching up with old friends - and meeting a few new ones as well. I tried dropping in on most of you last night, only I am not able to comment on some blogs at the moment - something to do with the cookie settings I'm told, so if you don't have a little note from me, that'll be why. Do drop by again please!

Now, to the questions:

Selena asked about Jeannie Gunn's books, Little Black Princess and We of the Never-Never. I blogged about them a little bit here. I loved these two books when I was a kid. Nowadays words like nigger, piccaninny and lubra are considered racially offensive by indigenous Australians, but they weren't back in 1905. I read Little Black Princess to Jemimah in AO2. We enjoyed it very much. We had a bit of a discussion about why we would choose not to use those words now, and talked a little about racial stereotyping and then I left it at that. We of the Never-Never we'll leave for a few more years. We'll probably tackle that in in AO6 or AO7. In my opinion, these are Australian literature, not history, although there is considerable overlap.

I'm particularly impressed with the plot of the two Jackie French books that I own - Hitler's Daughter and A Rose for the Anzac Boys. I plan to include the former in AO5 next year. Possibly we'll look at the Anzac book in April as well. That said, I've not read either of them right through, so I might change my mind. With historical fiction for school, it is important to me that the line between fiction and fact be clearly drawn. Is that line evident in Jackie's books? I am also very harsh when it comes to twaddly language. I will be disappointed if Jackie French's writing could be regarded in this way. Have you read any of her books, Selena? What do you think? Anybody else?

Steele Rudd's comic stories are marvellous at any age. We've not read any yet, but we have read a number of Henry Lawson's. I think these sorts of stories work for any age provided you select stories with a theme appropriate to the age of the child. You may choose to read them aloud as well to allow for some surreptitious editing if the swearing worries you as it does me.

We also have a number of self-published books precious to my family. I totally agree with including these as part of school, bearing in mind that it is really difficult to narrate from books of poor literary quality. If you find this a problem it would be appropriate to not require narration from this book. Perhaps you could build a family tree instead.

Pam asked about timelines. I've blogged about these here and here. In my opinion, kids younger than about nine fail to be able to grasp the concept of time except in a most rudimentary fashion - this came before this and after this and at the same time as that. If I were beginning again I would create the most simple timeline I could of names and centuries only. In AO4 I would begin a Book of Centuries. The new one from Simply Charlotte Mason looks potentially interesting.

Have any of you had experiences vastly different from mine? Do tell.

Pam also asked about notebooking pages. I have never used a single one, and I don't think that notebooking pages are necessary in a CM education. I also don't think I would have time for anything much else unless I thought it was significantly enhancing our CM study in some way. That said, if you and your daughter like them, then use them! The CM police will not come a-knocking at your door if you do.

Sarah asks about Spelling Wisdom. We use this excellent programme twice a week. First Jemimah takes a look at the passage and underlines the words she doesn't know. She then has 15 minutes or so to learn these. Generally she writes the words a dozen or more times and then spells them aloud. When she is ready she takes a quick look at the punctuation and then I read the passage to her, a phrase of about five words or so at a time. If she gets a word wrong I cover it immediately with a sticky note and we continue on to the end. Afterwards she re-learns any words she got wrong, and if necessary we redo the exercise. Jemimah's spelling is definitely improving using this method. I just wish it were improving a little quicker, that's all!! Hope that answers your question, Sarah.

Dee asked about the MEP shape cards. Yes, you will need to use the shapes with and without dots at the same time. I just purchased a few sheets of cardboard and printed directly onto that. It is worth spending a bit of time on these cards, because you use them quite a bit in the first few years. We still use ours occasionally, and Jemimah is in MEP5. I hope you and your family enjoy MEP as much as we do.

Renelle asked lots of lovely questions. I'll try to answer some of them here - a few deserve a post on their own! How do we approach science? I blogged about what we're doing for science here. Apart from this little book and the science related books on the AO list - A Story Book of Science by Fabre, we just do lots and lots of nature study. I'd love to say we draw everything we find, but with all the stuff going on right now, we haven't done any journalling at all since the flood. Maybe next term :-). We do love to identify things in field guides, and get a lot of pleasure out of finding new birds and butterflies.

I'm assuming, Renelle, that you're after Aussie biography recommendations for our age kids? The Australians in History Series are marvellous if you can get a set. We did Bennelong by Joan Phipson last term, and Matthew Flinders by George Finkel is listed this coming term. They're marvellous. We also read James Cook: Royal Navy by George Finkel last term. It was an excellent choice.

Renelle has lots of other great questions, but I'm going to stop now. My book is waiting.

I've never done a post like this before. It has been fun!! Anything else you'd like to know? Anything you agree with, or worse, disagree with? Tell us your experience!


  1. I'm curious about where you find folksongs from different countries? We are learning World Geography this year and I would love to incorporate some folksongs, but have no idea where to actually find them! Do you have any suggestions?
    I'm jealous of your home alone status!

  2. Thanks Jeanne...reading this was like holding my breath! You are amazing! xxx

  3. Hi Jeanne,
    Are you having trouble commenting at my place? I have found it very hit and miss which blogs will let me on with my Ruby profile and so have resorted to using the anonymous setting all the time.
    Have a great week!


I'd love you to leave me a message. Tell me what you like - and what you don't. Just remember that this is what we do in our family - it doesn't have to be what you do in yours...