We love going on adventures! Adventures are our daily walk. Sometimes it’s a rambling walk, sometimes we have a specific quest in mind.

Walking in the same place is very rewarding. It provides a chance to notice the seasonal changes as they happen in our own little spot. It also encourages the children to start asking deeper questions about a place. Why do something grow in one spot but not another? What signs of birds or other animals are there and how does that change?

At the moment our own adventures are very similar to the description of Charlotte Mason’s nature study as described in Ambleside online, if you scroll past the prescribed list and read the description of how it should be implemented. Most of the time I just let the children discover what they will, but every so often I will send them off with a quest to look for something in particular – like The Quest for The Golden Leaf in Autumn.

Oh, and don’t forget to bring a bag, for all those leaves and feathers they will collect!


Phonecian Dyed Pasta


The Phonecians were famous for the purple dye they made. It was made by boiling down a mollasc, sort of like a marine snail. Not having any of these handy, we decided to use berries. We but a good half cup of berries in a saucepan with some water. After boiling for about an hour, we strained it. My children insisted on eating the berries with some yogurt but I don’t think I would! Anyway, the resulting syrup was brightly coloured. we dropped dry pasta into it, leaving it to sit for a good ten minutes before fishing it out and placing it on a cake rack to dry. I think they came up really well, but it is tricky to tell. You see, most of them were eaten by the dog. Sigh.

A Traveling Education


One of the perks I hadn’t considered when we chose home education was that we would be much more free to travel. We wouldn’t be bound to expensive school holiday periods or fighting with all the other parents for holiday leave. We have the freedom to take up opportunities as they present themselves.

We recently returned from a trip. I admit it wasn’t the best holiday ever – it was plagued by bad luck and fire alarms – but it really got me thinking about the ups and downs of a traveling education.

I don’t think we will ever be a permanently traveling family. I am too addicted to my comfy bed to be without it too long. But I do love traveling. Travel with children IS hard work but it is intensely rewarding. A child’s presence changes the way you look at things. It forces you to travel more slowly, to seek out playgrounds and meet locals. You find yourself exploring not just the tourist listed sights, but the cute parks, the slightly unkempt fringes. It is a different way of traveling.

For children, traveling is an education in itself. Not to mention all the museums and other interesting involving places to visit. So much to take in!

I love, too, how travel binds you as a family. There are so many fewer stresses and so much more shared experiences. It can be a part of the shared ethos of your family, develop a shared family culture, the in-jokes, the memories and the laughter or tears of a holiday can stay with you for a long time.


I am not a expert on travel with children, but over time I have picked up a few tips I am happy to pass on.

1. Pack masking tape. Its a great baby-proofing material, and it can even be used to keep small people occupied.

2. You will need more clothes than you did before children. You will end up with food/mud/something on you. Children are mess magnets and somehow it ends up on you too.

3. Bring toys for children. They miss having self-directed play.

4. Bring about twice as much food as you think you could possibly need. Expect said food to last half as long as you think it should. Expect said food to run out when you have not much hope of finding more with ease. Something about travel seems to make children eat constantly.

5. Chocolate after the children go to sleep will be mandatory. Trust me on that.

Travel doesn’t have to be far or long to be interesting and involving. It doesn’t have to be expensive or extensive. Just moving out of your comfort zone is enough. It really is worth it.



The Phoenicians are not as widely studied in the primary years as say, the Greeks, but they are covered in a chapter of “The Story of the World” and so we have found our way there.

Or first activity is was to make coloured ‘glass’. Primus wanted his bottle-shaped. It is made of greaseproof paper filled with crayons shavings, ironed and cut out. We also incorporated some tissue paper. It looks very effective on the window.


Up next, making purple dye!

Quick, Easy and Fun – Juggling Balls.

With illness in the house, we needed something that wasn’t too much work for anyone, but that would get the boys outside to enjoy the sunshine. Given that juggling was a sport enjoyed by Ancient Greek girls, we could even tie it in to our current interest area.

You’ve probably made these balloon and rice juggling balls before, but just in case, we used the instructions here. They were very easy. There were only a few steps that the boys needed adult assistance to complete. This project uses only a few easy-to-come-by materials, it’s a great inclusion into an Emergency Box.

Our juggling balls

It’s All Greek To Me

This week we went back to Little City Kids Curriculum We are moving very slowly with this, but we are up to the topic ” It’s All Greek to Me”. We have already looked at the Minoans, and the Mycenaeans, and this unit is looking at Greek culture in general. What I love about it is that it exposes children to big ideas yet lets them work at their own level, so I can use it with both Primus and Secondus. We used some old sheets to create Ancient Greek clothes.

Dressing up ideas. There was also a whiteboard with further information about common clothes for men, women, children and babies.

For younger children, such as Secondus, doing up pegs is a challenge in itself, developing finger strength and co-ordination.

Pegging up

We also looked at some Geometric designed pottery from the Greek dark ages.

Plate decoration materials ready to go.

We have recently raided the library for books and  ideas – this is on topic that has plenty.
My current plan is to move more quickly through Little City Kids, spending about a fortnight on each topic. This will leave plenty to do when we revisit later but will help give a broad sweep of history. Later specific details can be filled in more thoroughly.

Snack time: Part 1

I consider snack time part of our educational programme. 😉 Ignore for the moment that it is necessary and fun – when these things happen in the classroom it goes on the teacher’s plan, why couldn’t it be part of yours? ‘Food Curriculum’ is an easy way to incorporate other learning. Here are some ideas for two Key Learning Areas. Food is such an important part of human culture that there is little it doesn’t touch, and you will easily think of more to add. (When you do, let me know!)

Health and Physical Education

Yes, healthy eating, but what about interpersonal skills? Mealtimes and snacks provide a fantastic opportunity for modeling manners and etiquette.

Montessori theory talks about Grace and Courtesy lessons, and teaches them explicitly but not at point of need. We do this usually by talking about manners, but not when a child fails to use manners, but beforehand. Then we model, model, model. I am aiming for my children to use manners not to get treats, but because they want to. To me, manners aren’t about codes or ‘magic words’.  Manners are just about conventional ways of showing another person we respect them as a human being.

But that’s probably a whole different post, so moving on. 🙂

The Social Sciences (aka Society and Environment or Social Studies)

The Little City Kids curriculum has some really interesting ways to incorporate snack time into learning about a particular topic – albeit heavy on the sugar sometimes.  Our jelly layers were a fun way to demonstrate stratigraphy in the ground.

Dino Layer Jelly

One of my favourite lessons I did as a teacher involved making an edible (ice cream) model of a comet, and as a Guide Leader I have made working edible aquifers.  (Which reminds me, I haven’t done either of those with my children yet…)

Food is invaluable in the study of culture. As a basic human need all societies must find a way to meet that need, so food provides a great bridge between cultures and a wonderful way to demonstrate diversity and similarity. This is an important concept in Montessori, which prides itself on being education for peace.

Cultural cuisine is a fairly obvious inclusion here, but it is fun! What about ancient foods?  Did you know the Minoans grew poppies? What a great excuse for orange and poppy-seed cake!

The use of culturally appropriate eating tools, like chopsticks, or the use of bread as scoops, is good (messy) fun, and again provides a bridge between cultures, embracing similarities and differences. (Did you know, for example, that the chopsticks used in Japan are a little different from those used in China?)


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