Sunday, 20 August 2017

Ambleside Online Year 7: plans & modifications

Whenever I start planning a new year of home education I'm reminded again of the fact that each of my children are unique and what might have been good for one may not be the right choice for another at the same age. So just when I thought I should have all this figured out the seventh time around, I've been mulling over a few niggling thoughts I've had about Moozle's Year 7 content, trying to discern what is best for this girl of mine:

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,  so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,  filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1:9-11

We're going into Week 4 tomorrow and I wanted to wait for a few weeks before I posted what we'll be doing to see how my ideas work out in practice. I've made a few adjustments for different reasons, which I'll explain as I go, while still keeping to the basic structure of Ambleside Online Year 7 (because Years 7 & 8 are two of my favourite AO years!)
The main changes are:

Devotional Reading

I've used the first two books on the AO schedule for this year with Moozle's older siblings but the more I thought and prayed about what I should be doing, the more I've felt sure that what she needs at the moment lies in the way of story. It's not so much that the books are challenging - she's an advanced reader - but it's the spiritual aspects and the 'didactic' approach that I don't think she's ready for. Biographies, on the other hand, I know she will relate to. These are the books we'll be using instead - the first two (set in India & China respectively) serve the double purpose of devotional reading and books set in Asia/Pacific, which I cover because of their proximity to Australia and our connections with people from that area. (I've linked to reviews I've written on some of them):

* Ten Fingers for God by Dorothy Wilson

** The Small Woman by Alan Burgess

*** The Root of the Righteous by A.W. Tozer - now this isn't a biography but I've included this in third term as an introduction to the devotional book scene because it's a book I love and Tozer uses the analogy of the tree and its fruit so the book has the feel of a parable.


We'll be doing the AO scheduled readings (scroll down the page) except for The Magna Carta. Instead I'll schedule this book over a few weeks because I have it & it's good. (181 pages)

Science & Natural History

We won't be doing First Studies of Plant Life or Adventures with a Microscope and will be substituting a couple of Australian titles:

A Bush Calendar by Amy Mack
First Studies in Plant Life by William Gillies. This is different to the one mentioned above (both the Aussie titles are free online)

We're also doing Apologia's Anatomy & Physiology and using some of these free resources I put together a couple of years ago for her brother. I usually do this in Year 6 but I didn't want Moozle to miss out on the excellent Science selections scheduled in that year. I'll be cutting out some of the activities in the Apologia book, I think.

Fine Arts

We'll be using the books pictured below for Music & Architecture in addition to our regular composer & picture study.

The Gift of Music by Jane Stuart Smith & Betty Carlson - I'm reading this aloud & this term we'll just be covering a few Baroque composers.

Cathedral by David Macaulay

String, Straight Edge, & Shadow by Julia E. Diggins - scroll down to see an overview of the book on the link. This is really the story of geometry but it dovetails nicely with the study of architecture and helps the reader to appreciate the significance of the Golden Mean in art and architecture...

Architecture by Gladys Wynne - I'd heard about this book but it's out of print and I really didn't know how useful it would be until one of the lovely ladies on the AO Forum posted a link to Archives and I had a chance to view it before I bought it from Amazon in the UK.


Julius Caesar 
Richard the Third


We're still reading the Life of Julius Caesar and have three more weeks left until we finish. We'll have a break before we start another life and just concentrate on Shakespeare for awhile.

French & Latin

We're continuing with French for Children B and there's quite a bit of grammar included so our English grammar study is taking a back seat for the time being.
We're still slowly going through Our Roman Roots by James R. Leek.

The Harp & Laurel Wreath by Laura M. Berquist is one of my favourite poetry anthologies and I take turns reading aloud this and the one in the picture above aloud.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Ten Fingers for God by Dorothy Clarke Wilson (1965)

Ten Fingers for God explores the life and work of Dr. Paul Brand, who was born in India to missionary parents, lived there until he was sent to school in England, and later returned to work and teach at a medical college in the southern Indian city of Vellore. 
Surgeon, teacher, and environmentalist, Dr. Brand achieved fame mostly for his pioneering research on the disease of leprosy. As a child growing up in the mountains of Madras, (re-named Chennai) he witnessed an incident which remained in his memory, a potent reminder of the awful plight and stigma for victims of leprosy. 
When Paul was nine years of age, his family had a furlough in England. A few months later, his parents returned to India while he and his younger sister, Connie, remained with relatives in order to go to school. They never saw their father again as he died of Blackwater Fever a few years later.

Paul disliked study and the school routine. He was used to the freedom of life in India where he'd sit up in a tree to do his lessons and pass his work down to his mother sitting on the ground underneath. He refused to conform, and his reports consisted of remarks such as "Poor, fair, rather disappointing; Next term we shall hope for better things."  

It wasn't books that Paul disliked, merely school books. He read avidly, often on the way to school, with such eagerness that he often ran into people. His taste in literature was respectable if not highbrow, tending largely toward adventure takes such as The Coral Islands and Westward Ho! He liked Dickens but abhorred Scott. In fact, English, next to the sciences, was his favourite subject. 

Paul tended to shine more in less admirable activities...climbing, avoiding school sports and performing dangerous science experiments in the playroom of his aunts' immaculate and genteel residence!

Paul's mother hoped he would train to be a doctor. His father had wanted to do this himself, at one time starting a course at Madras University, but Paul had no intention of becoming a doctor. The memory of his father's medical work repulsed him - pus, ulcers, blood. He decided to leave school and train to be a builder. 
After five years of training he applied to the mission board but was rejected as 'not being ready.' The two options open for him were Bible School and a short course in tropical medicine. He didn't want to do either... but he remembered his father. 

Jesse Brand had left the building trade for what he considered a nobler calling. He had prepared for his work by taking a short course in tropical medicine. His son would do the same. 

Paul found that he loved the work and the study, and his whole attitude to medical work changed. In 1937, on the eve of World War II, he was accepted into the University College Medical School in London. Here he was to meet his future wife, Margaret, their courtship taking place in the midst of evacuations and bombings, and their marriage in 1943. The war gave the young surgeon experience that would normally have taken years to acquire, and when the V-I bombs came flying over London, he was operating almost constantly, repairing gun wounds, cuts and other acute injuries. It was during this time that he became profoundly interested in the repair of severed nerves and tendons, especially in hands and feet. The skill and expertise he acquired was to serve him well in his work with leprosy patients later on. 

I really enjoy medical missionary biographies and this book is a re-read. Most of my children have read it also, usually around the age of 12 years or a little older, and I've assigned it to Moozle this term. 
Dorothy Clarke Wilson has written an engaging, joy-filled story, capturing Paul's earthy upbringing, his father's enthusiasm for nature - which he passed onto his son - his mother's dynamic personality and passion, Paul's love for the people he worked with and those he served; his struggles to overcome the stigma associated with leprosy, and his disappointments. The book also describes the disease of Leprosy (also known as Hansen's Disease), its mode of transmission, treatment, and its history. I would have loved to have read this when I was twelve!

Some highlights: 

" ...the most precious possession any human being has is his spirit, his will to live, his sense of dignity, his personality. Once that has been lost the opportunity for rehabilitation is lost. Though our profession may be a technical one, concerned with tendons, bones, and nerve endings, we must realize that it is the person behind it that is so important. Of course we need technicians: surgeons, physiotherapists, nurses, occupational therapists, vocational guidance specialists. But above all we need men and women who are concerned with people and who accept the challenge of the whole person, his life, his faith, and his hope." 

John, an older, almost blind patient, came to Paul and begged to have his claw hand opened. Paul said that there were so many able-bodied young men coming for surgery... "Your hands would take a lot of time, because they're stiff. And suppose, we did open them out, how could you use them? If you can't see or feel..."
But the old man persisted...

"I believe I could bring music to people...I use to be able to play the organ, and I'm sure that if you open my fingers, I could play again."
"Without being able to feel or see?" Paul had to be brutally honest. "I'm sorry, John, but how could you possibly play?"
The clawed hands crooked in a beseeching gesture. "I know how you feel, doctor, but - please just give me a chance."

Paul was unable to resist, and he operated with great misgivings on John's hands, the results being moderately successful.
John asked to be led to an organ and he sat at the keyboard while his nerveless hands fumbled and produced some discordant sounds. Paul was glad John couldn't see the pity on his face...

Then suddenly the organ swelled, not merely into melody but into the full harmony of the glorious hymn, "Jesus shall reign where'er the sun." And as the music came flooding out of the crude little box there spread over the uplifted face an ineffable smile of oracle and satisfaction. Paul almost wept.

We're using this book in the first term of AmblesideOnline Year 7 as a devotional read and as a book set in Asia.

Linking to 2017 Cloud of Witnesses Reading Challenge


Thursday, 10 August 2017

Plutarch's Life of Julius Caesar - a 'creative' narration

We've just finished Week 9 of Plutarch's Life of Julius Caesar using Anne White's very helpful study guide. The study of Plutarch would never have been on my radar (as I explained here) but I was persuaded to have a try, at least, when I read how highly his writing was regarded by Charlotte Mason. '...perhaps nothing outside of the Bible has the educational value of Plutarch's Lives,' - that's what I'd call high praise!

 School Education by Charlotte Mason, pg 235

More recently I questioned how well Plutarch's Lives was going to work with just my daughter and me as I've been used to having at least one teenager, sometimes three, joining in for the last six years. I think it is easier with more children in the mix, all taking turns narrating, but it has been going quite well this year with just the two of us.

Reading Plutarch isn't easy. I've always read it aloud and I've often thought to myself, "How can my kids understand this when I struggle with it myself?" But, funnily enough, although it's tough at times, Plutarch has been the originator of some great conversations and interesting written narrations. His vocabulary is so lush and expressive...'fardel.' I knew my daughter would use this word in her narration today - she latched onto the word as I read about Cleopatra being smuggled into Caesar's palace wrapped up in one. I had a good laugh reading over this today. 'It is past the hour of midnight, and I am still in my toga.'

Winter, the month of the two-headed god Janus, 48 B.C

In which much befalls me, and I meet the beautiful, divine, majestic, Cleopatra.

I, Julius Caesar, take my pen in hand to recount the day’s adventures.
I am sitting at my desk, writing this diary. It is past the hour of midnight, and I am still in my toga. Cleopatra is reclining in the room next to mine. Yesterday, I sent a message to her, asking her to meet me at the castle I am now in. She arrived this afternoon. The first notice I had of her arrival was a slave, who marched into my castle gatehouse, carrying a long, rolled up fardel. I stared at him, amazed. I asked him, “What, by Jupiter, is that?!”
The slave ignored me, and placed the fardel carefully on the ground, and started to slowly, and gently unfold it. Curious, I watched him silently. Suddenly, I gasped! The slave had finished unrolling his bundle, and out of it came Cleopatra, helped upright by her faithful slave! She advanced towards me, while I stood staring, my mouth hanging open. She took my arm, and we proceeded towards the banquet hall in severe silence. However, I soon recovered myself, and by the time we walked into supper, and we were talking without restraint, about her voyage, how surprised I had been, how I had not expected her to come like she did, and so on, and so on.
Suddenly, as we were sitting together, a slave came and whispered in my ear, a serious expression on his face. I hastily got up, excused myself, and left the room. I came back about twenty minutes later, with a nonchalant, I-have-done-nothing expression. Cleopatra looked at me suspiciously, then stared at my knife. I looked down at it, too, then hastened to explain.

“Oh dear…um, er, it’s ah, harrumph, nothing…cough, cough, ‘scuse me, um, just a little ah, um, well . . . ah, um, er, ahh, yes, a, I mean, one of my servants was er, um, killing a, ah, cough, cough, ‘scuse me, a, er pig, yes, um, er ah, harrumph, a pig . . .”
After this rather disjointed explanation, I dashed from the room, and ran to the bathroom, to wash the blood off my blade. I must admit, I gave a rather false account to Cleopatra, but I did not want her worrying. The blood one my dagger was human, and it was one of two men who had been in a plot to kill me. I had therefore disposed of one of them. My faithful slave who had told me of the plot in the banqueting room, was naturally suspicious by nature, and had, by prowling around (when he probably should have been looking after affairs of my household) uncovered this plot and saved my life.
I went back to supper, avoided the gaze of Cleopatra for the rest of the night, and then went to bed with a sense of relief. I fear, though, that she probably guessed the truth from my dagger. That is all the events of the day. I will most certainly have an eventful day on the morrow, however, for I think that I will be engaged in a battle.

Winter, Janus, 47 B.C
In which there is a battle, a fire, and I save some books from the library of Alexandria.

It was bitterly cold today. It is still cold, so I will make this entry as short as possible, so I may get to bed, sooner.
 I have succeeded in my purpose to get Cleopatra’s throne back from her usurping brother. Also, we just had a baby boy, Ptolemy Caesar, or Caesarion. I was made dictator of Rome for the second time. I had a battle with king Pharnaces, and I won. I sent to Rome the words,
“Veni, Vidi, Vici. I came, I saw, I conquered.”
In the battle, my troops were routed at the start, and I was forced to swim to get away from the archers, and in the confusion, the great library of Alexandria was set on fire, but I managed to save some books, though they are rather worse for wear, having been on my head in the water while I was swimming away from the archers, so they are drenched, and have arrow holes!

Cleopatra Before Caesar by Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1866

See Vera's Doll Stories for a 'doll narration' of Cleopatra & Caesar.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Radio Rescue by Jane Jolly; Illustrated by Robert Ingpen

Radio Rescue was published in November, 2016, and is a successful collaboration between author Jane Jolley and illustrator Robert Ingpen. (Tea and Sugar Christmas, published in 2014, was another book they worked on together).
Radio Rescue is an exquisitely illustrated book that captures the uniqueness of outback Australia while presenting an important piece of history. The story takes place in the 1930's on a remote station in the outback where young Jim lives with his Mum and Dad. Although they all enjoy life where they are, it sometimes gets lonely for them all and their isolated position is a concern that hovers in the background, especially if medical attention should ever be required.
Then one day a 'pedal radio' arrives bringing with it the ability to communicate by tapping out morse code with the hands while powering the machine by foot. All of a sudden they were connected to the outside world! Jim is told he has to wait until he is older before he can use the machine but when Dad is thrown from his horse and breaks his leg, Jim needs to try to get help and manages to do so using the new radio.

As usual, Robert Ingpen has captured the Australian landscape in an understated, powerful way. The book is lavishly illustrated in full colour and detailed pencil sketches, and in a similar fashion to Tea & Sugar Christmas, some of the pages fold out double.

At the end of the book there is a section detailing the elationship between the Reverend John Flynn of the Australian Inland Mission and Alf Traegar as they worked together on the idea of providing a form of communication for people in isolated areas.
The author explains here how the idea for the book came to be and the books she used to research the pedal radio.

  This website has a picture of a pedal-powered radio being used in 1937

Radio Rescue is a worthy addition to any curriculum covering Australian History in the primary years especially for age 10 years and under. The story line is simple but there is much to interest a wide range of ages, including some action and a young hero who saves the day. The historical aspects are intriguing and would interest any child with a penchant for invention, as well as providing some interesting rabbit trails.
Highly recommended!

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Free stuff for the Study of the Human Body - Updated

Some free stuff we're using for studying the human body:

August 2017: some of the links I originally put here don't work anymore so here are the updated ones:

The website contained the text from 'Your Body & How it Works' by Dr. J. D. Ratcliff, the author of  I Am Joe's Body but I haven't been able to link to it lately.

I did find that I Am Joe's Body is now available at, which wasn't available when I last covered Anatomy & Physiology.

Khan Academy also have a series of videos on Human Anatomy & Physiology - I haven't viewed these yet but they look like they are for upper level highschool.

The next three videos cover Genetics. They are done quite well but if viewing with a younger child check the third one as it explains fertilisation. It's tastefully done and shouldn't be a problem:

The next two are videos on the Integumentary System. The first one explains the layers of the skin and the second how first, second and third degree burns affect the skin.

This one is a journey through the human eye which I thought was one of the simplest and best explanations I've come across. It only covers the main parts of the eye but enough to make its function clear.

Friday, 28 July 2017

The Small Woman by Alan Burgess (1957)

The Small Woman by Alan Burgess is an inspiring and very well-written biography of Gladys Aylward, missionary to China for twenty years. In her mid-twenties she went through a probationary period at the China Inland Mission in London but was rejected on account of her lack of qualifications and the belief that at her age the Chinese language would be extremely difficult to learn. Still, Gladys felt called by God to go China and although bitterly disappointed at first, she wasn't going to let this stop her.
She was a parlourmaid and didn't earn much money so she decided upon the cheapest possible mode of transport and took herself to a travel agent to make her first payment towards a ticket. He tried to tell her that although her chosen route via the Trans-Siberian railway was the cheapest option, it wasn't possible due to a conflict between Russia and China.

"I couldn't really care about a silly old war," she had said. "It's the cheapest way, isn't it? That's what I want. Now, if you'll book me a passage, you can have this three pounds on account, and I'll pay you as much as I can every week."
"We do not," the clerk had replied, choosing his words with the pedantic care of the extremely irritated, "like to deliver our customers-dead!"
She had stared up at him. His acidulousness had no effect whatsoever. She was quite logically feminine about it all. "Oh, they won't hurt me," she said. "I'm a woman. They won't bother about me."

She set out in 1930 after paying for her ticket in full. She was thirty years old, alone, and with only one contact in China - seventy-three year old Jeannie Lawson, a widow who had stayed on in China after her husband died. Gladys had written to her and Mrs Lawson said that if she could make her way to China, Gladys could stay with her. With no financial resources or official backing, and no knowledge of the Chinese language, she left England, boarded a train at The Hague, and crossed into Siberia ten days later.
Her intention was to take the train all the way across Siberia and then board a steamer for Tientsin in China, but a brief undeclared war between China and Russia over possession of the China Eastern Railway brought her rail trip to an end near the Manchurian border.
Unable to proceed any further, her only option was to walk back along the railway track to the last town, which she did in the bitter cold and dark, camping in the open overnight, wrapped in the fur rug made by her mother out of an old coat, and using her suitcases as a windbreak while she slept. She eventually reached the town of Chita and after some misunderstandings and frightening experiences with officials, who thought that the word 'missionary' on her passport implied she worked with 'machinery' and so would be a good asset in Russia, she went on her way to Vladivostok. Here a young woman, who was a complete stranger to her, warned her to leave Russia straight away or she would never get out. The woman told her to seek passage on a Japanese ship docked at the harbour and after explaining her situation to the captain, Gladys was given free passage to Japan.
Her experiences in Russia shocked her and left her with a sense that the people were downtrodden and wretched.

'For her the cold wind which sifted through the streets carrying on its breath the desolation of Siberia epitomised Russia. She felt in her bones the bewilderment and hopelessness of so many of its people. She could not canalise her feelings into a coherent, critical appraisal; she only knew how desperately she wanted to leave this country.'

Gladys did finally arrive in China after a brief stay in Japan, and found her way to Yancheng where Mrs Lawson lived and together they opened an Inn (The Inn of Eight Happinesses) where traders stayed overnight, heard the gospel and then went on their way over the mountains to tell others.
Eight months later Mrs Lawson died and Gladys was placed a precarious position financially. She was saved from possible disaster when the local Mandarin paid her a visit and asked her to be his official 'foot inspector.' Gladys was basically given carte blanche in this position; two soldiers accompanied her on her expeditions into the countryside to ensure that the Mandarin's orders outlawing foot binding were carried out, and she used these times to spread the Gospel, becoming known and beloved by all as she did so.

These were times of great satisfaction for Gladys. She loved China and its people, learnt to speak multiple dialects fluently and fully identified with her adopted country when she became a Chinese citizen in 1936.

'...Gladys had not merely learnt the language; she had embedded herself in it like a stone in a fruit. The language had grown around her.'

In 1938 war came to China when the Japanese invaded:

'The policy of the Japanese was plain. For years they had operated their 'master' race policies in their northern colony of Korea. The Japanese were aristocrats, the Koreans serfs! No Korean was educated above an elementary  level; no Korean ever held an administrative post of any importance; they were reduced to a proletarian and peasant level and kept there. Hitler was putting the same theories into operation on the other side of the world. The same treatment was already accorded those areas of North China in the enemy's grasp.'

Some of the many highlights of the book are Gladys going into a prison, quaking in her boots, to quell a riot led by a huge man running around with a machete; leading a hundred homeless children on a twelve day march over the mountains to the Yellow River, the colourful descriptions of the China and the Chinese culture, and her relationship with the local Mandarin, who she eventually led  to Christ.
She became known by the name Ai-weh-deh, the virtuous one, and remained in China until 1947, a witness of the end of a Chinese era that lasted for forty centuries.

Japan withdrew from China in 1945 but civil war continued to rage between the Nationalists and the Reds. These were heartbreaking years for Gladys; the Communists saw Christians as enemies and maltreated and persecuted them:

'She saw the faith of her friends and converts outlawed and attacked by every moral and physical means imaginable, by a godless philosophy with its lunatic assertion that "the ends justifies the means."'

The Small Woman is a remarkable, inspiring story. I read this book years ago and so did my older children, but I'd forgotten about it until Brandy @Afterthoughts mentioned that she was thinking of using it as a devotional book for one of her children. I decided to read it again to see if it was as good as I remembered. I wasn't disappointed.

There is so much to be gained from this story, and I especially recommend it for girls around the ages of  twelve or thirteen years and up. Our young women are surrounded by a culture that encourages them to push for their rights, to smash through the 'glass ceiling,' to be the best they can be, to prove they are just as good as men and are quite capable of doing anything they can do. I don't have an issue with equality, or capability, but I've been reading in Matthew 10, which obviously applies to both male and female:

"The one who finds his life will lose it, and the one who loses his life because of me will find it."

Gladys Aylward knew she had work to do and that God had called her. She went against everything her culture expected of her, not to gain recognition or to be be able to say, 'I was the first women ever to do this.' When the door to missionary work closed in her face she didn't complain that she was discriminated against but believed that God would make a way when there was no way - because she was willing to lose her life. In fact, in the midst of the upheaval of war and persecution in China, she wrote this to her family:

'Do not wish me out of this or in any way seek to get me out, for I will not be got out while this trial is on. These are my people; God has given them to me, and I will live or die with them for Him 
and His Glory.'

A word on age suitability

A few situations to be aware of, although I must say that some of them were quite powerful demonstrations of God's intervention:

Gladys spent some time serving as a 'Rescue Sister' on the docks. '...she hardly knew how they 'fell' or what she was supposed to be rescuing them from...and the drunken sailors under the blotchy yellow street lamps...were just as likely to mistake her for a prostitute and act accordingly.'

Japanese soldiers broke into the mission's women's court intent on rape, 'with struggling screaming women in various stages of undress.' The soldiers didn't succeed - I love what happened here!

A Chinese Christian was forced to watch when the Japanese set fire to his house while his wife and children were inside.

There are some good biographies on Gladys Aylward's life for younger children (that I'll write about later) but I highly recommend this one at some stage.
Out of print but available secondhand.

Linking up with Cloud of Witnesses Reading Challenge and Back to the Classics 2017  - Classic Set in a Place You'd Like to Visit.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Review of AmblesideOnline Year 6 - the second time around

This is the second time we've done AO Year 6. I wrote about Benj's beefed up Year 6 here. He was 13 years of age at the time so I made a few alterations to accomodate that. Moozle is 12 years old, and although I made some modifications here and there, most of what she did followed the schedule at AmblesideOnline.
The AO Geography schedule changed during the year and as we'd already done Halliburton's Book of Marvels the year before, (see my Pinterest page for some resources I put together) this is what we actually did:

Ist Term:

The Story of David Livingstone by Vautier Golding

2nd & 3rd Term:

A Child's Geography of the Holy Land by Ann Voscamp & Toni Peckover

I've used this before & focussed mostly on the readings and mapping the various locations. Moozle also enjoyed making some of the recipes included in the book. This book meshed nicely with the study of the Ancients in Year 6.

And she started a Geography notebook:

History Tales/Biography

We stopped using Trial & Triumph a few years ago and Moozle continued with Passion for the Impossible, a Year 5 read that we didn't get to finish.
In place of Genesis, Finding Our Roots, she read the alternative AO suggestion Ben Hur.


We finished the final three chapters of History of Australia & followed AO's History schedule.
For Asian studies she read, Little Brother by Allan Baillie, which is set in Cambodia.

Australian Literature:

Golden Fiddles by Mary Grant Bruce (1928)

Natural History & Science:

We followed the AO recommendations and they were some of her favourite books.

The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson, adapted by Anne Terry White - I read this aloud, skipping the first chapter. Actually I gave her a basic outline of the evolutionary beliefs outlined in that first section and she laughed and said, "There was a big bang and all the fishes turned into men!"
It is an exceptional book in many ways but it needs some up to date explanations in places, thank you, YouTube! I made a playlist relating to the chapters here.
My Occeanography & Marine Biology Pinterest board has some other links also.
A picture of the copy I have & the table of contents:


We also made good use of The University of Nottingham's periodic videos when reading The Elements and The Mystery of the Periodic Table. Over the course of both these books Moozle wrote down the elements she learned on this free downloadable blank PDF of the Periodic Table.
(Edited to add: Interactive Periodic Table - in pictures & words)
Moozle has made regular entries into her science notebook which she started in Year 5. I wrote a post about some of her notebooks here.

I read aloud My Family & Other Animals by Gerald Durrell - some editing done on the go, but it's a fun and interesting book.

We continue to use The Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock plus the following Australian titles:

Nature Studies in Australia by William Gillies & Robert Hall

This one was great when we did some nature study at the beach earlier this year:

The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling by John Muir Laws - I was unsure whether to buy this book as I didn't know how much use we'd get out of it but we watched a couple of John Muir Law' videos on Youtube and they were helpful so I bought it. The book contains much that can be used wherever you live - drawing and watercolour techniques, as well as the use of other art media; observation skills, types of materials to use, working in the open & making fast and accurate field sketches; drawing landscapes. There are a few examples (some birds, a bear) that are specific to the USA, or not found here in Australia, but the methods he uses to demonstrate how to draw and journal are universal. It was definitely a good buy! Moozle has been working her way through it & has picked up many useful hints.

 Not an Aussie bird, but learning some skills with watercolour and composition...


Health: We read this book together: The Care & Keeping of You 2 

Maths:  Continuing with Saxon 76 after about five years of Singapore Maths.


We listened to a recording and read along with the script and then watched this movie. It was on Youtube but it looks like it's been removed.


We're about half way through Julius Caesar so will continue that. This life seems a bit longer than some of the others we've done but it's a good one to study especially as he's been around in a few of the Year 6 books.


At the beginning of the year we started French for Children B, published by Classical Academic Press after completing French for Children A. It's excellent.


A combination of Getting Started With Latin and Our Roman Roots by James R. Leek, an out of print curriculum I've used off and on for a number of years.


We haven't done a lot of English grammar this year as the French curriculum we're using has plenty,  and since starting French for Children, her understanding of grammar has jumped significantly. When we do cover grammar, it's with Easy Grammar Plus by Wanda C. Phillips, which I started using with Benj about eight years ago & continue to use. It's different to many other grammar programmes in that it gets students to identify prepositions & prepositional phrases before anything else & once that's done it's so much easier to identify other parts of speech.

Free Reading (besides the AO list) Books marked with an * are 'highly recommended.'

Devils' Hill by Nan Chauncy (set in Tasmania)
The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne *
Under the Lilacs by Louisa May Alcott
The Cargo of the Madalena by Cynthia Harnett
How They Kept the Faith by Grace Raymond
The Adventures of Shelock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle *

These Agatha Christie novels are in the Tommy & Tuppence series:
The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie*
N or M? by Agatha Christie *
Partners in Crime by Agatha Christie*

The following books are by L.M. Montgomery:

Emily of New Moon *
Emily Climbs *
Emily's Quest *
Kilmeny of the Orchard

Moozle says 'Of course I'd highly recommend every Biggles book!!' *****

Biggles & the Blue Moon
Biggles and the Missing Millionaire
Biggles Takes a Hand

All the Biggles' titles above are out of print.