I’ve decided to make this week cooking and reading week. There’s a lot of books around that we don’t get a lot of time with in the normal run of things so it’s good to get a good old cuddle on the sofa with a pile of books.
We have read this book about Copernicus which is beautifully illustrated and reasonably well written. There’s a nice bit about how he worked out that Mars moves slower than Earth which I let the children work out for themselves. Avila got the answer first and was very pleased with herself.
Unfortunately the book makes out that the Church would not have supported the heliocentric view and even goes as far as suggested Copernicus didn’t publish his work until near his death for fear of censure. This isn’t true of course. Copernicus published his book when it was finished. He worked on it for a very long time-30 odd years. Meanwhile he was not the only priest working away at new ideas as Cardinal Nichoas of Cusa had said he believed the earth was not central to the universe and he was not censored.
The other thing I was a little disappointed in was the book leaves out the role Copernicus played in the formation of the Gregorian calender.
Nevertheless there is a good story line which shows his work as a doctor as well as astronomer.
All in all, not brilliant, but not awful either.
We’ve also been busy with Tmie dePaola books such as The Legend of the Poinsettia which is a book just crying out for all sorts of good imaginative Christmas activities to go with it. Maybe next year. The illustrations are lovely and very dePaolaish. It’s the kind of book I can leave Ronan to read when he reads to the girls and he wont have any problems with it.
Avila’s favourite story is another dePaola one The Legend of Old Befana. It’s an Italian legend and in Italy every year Old Befana visits the children and leaves cakes and coal for them. I have decided that when Alex and his beloved return from Italy in the new year we will celebrate Old Befana day here too.
Her day is Epipany -Twelfth Night, as the story goes that she should have gone with the three kings and went a little too late. I think there are similarities to the Russian Babushka story. In some older versions Befana is a witch but dePaola simply draws her as an old woman. You get the impression there is a deeper story to her with her lonliness and baking, sweeping and singing lullabys, but you never quite find out what that is. DePaola is a talented writer and I particularly love his illustrations.
Alex and his beloved will bring “coal” back from Italy with them. It is a sugar version that is left out for the children. We’ll do some little treats and have some fun that day.
Avila was very pleased with herself today when she read the first of her Oxford Reading Tree Stage 5 books. While I know a lot of home ed parents don’t like reading schemes, she does get a boost in confidence and a sense of achievement when she reaches a new stage.
We’ve also read the splendid allegory “Take It To The Queen” today. There were some difficult words in it and the children asked about them. It’s a book that started a lot of discussion with Ronan and Avila which is always a good sign. I didn’t tell them it was an allegory but Avila (who was on a roll today it seems) picked up on some of that as we went along.
I have a couple of Shirley Hughes books to read with them too. They have some nicely edited Winnie the Pooh books that we either read together or as happened yesterday Ronan and his mate Max sat and read together themseles.
We have a huge book of Classic Christmas Stories which Avila received from a friend last Christmas. It has all the best ones in it including the Nutcracker and the story of the Christmas Tree by Hans Christian Anderson.
I think we shall have lots of cuddle time and stories ahead and then the week finishes with the home ed Christmas party. We’re all supplying food and some games and activities and the children are going to dress up. Fun to be had by all.