Saturday, 30 November 2013

Sewing with Young Children

Before I had children, I studied for an art degree, specialising in embroidery. Although I
 don't have time to do much of my own work now, I do really enjoy sewing with my children. Here are a few tips for sewing with young children (mine are ages 6 and under)....
  • I have found felt to be the best material for little ones to sew with, and it comes in a variety of lovely colours. We get ours from Hobbycraft for 50p a sheet.
  • Use thick, single stranded embroidery thread.
  • Use a thick, sharp needle. The plastic blunt ones you get for children are no good unless sewing with binca or pre cut holes. Obviously, parental supervision is needed with sharp needles!
  • Cut out the shapes before hand.
  • Running stitch is the easiest stitch to master first.

  • Adding buttons creates a really pretty finished piece. You can pick buttons up cheaply at charity shops; we buy our from Stockport market for a few pence each.
  • Adding a ribbon hoop can turn simple sewing into a decoration.
  • Add wadding to pad out your embroidery when making a 3-D piece.
  •  Purses are very simple to make.
  • Sew in an embroidery hoop to make a special gift.

 Happy sewing!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Thank You God

Today Americans are celebrating Thanksgiving Day. Whilst it isn't generally celebrated in the UK, it is always important for us to take time to give thanks and teach our children to be grateful for all that we have. One of our favourite memory verse is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 "Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
Every year on Thanksgiving day we make Thank you God books.

The children have to think of the same number of things to be thankful for as their age.
Nathanael's 6 things
  1. Food
  2. Home
  3. The Bible
  4. Toys
  5. My family
  6. Books
Tabitha's 5 things
  1. Paper and crayons
  2. Cats
  3. My family
  4. Sweets
  5. Socks
Abigail's 3 things
  1. Our house
  2. Our family
  3. Our garden
Miriam's 2 things
  1. Daddy
  2. Mummy 
So here are my 29 things that I am thankful for...
  1. The love of God, his mercy, grace and forgiveness.
  2. Jesus my Saviour.
  3. My beloved husband.
4.  My 5 children. I am very blessed.
5.  My mum.
6.    The freedom we have in have a Bible in our own language,
7.    to home educate our children,
8.    to preach the gospel in the streets,
9.    hold church services in public and
10.  not suffer persecution for our faith.
11.  Hymns and hearing my children sing them.
12.  Listening to my children laugh.
13.  Hearing my children pray.
14.  Church family.
14.  Extended family.
16.  Our car.
17.  More than enough food to eat.
18.  Baking cakes.
19.  Lattes and chocolate treats.
20.  Our washing machine and tumble drier.
21.  Buying second hand! Charity shops and car boot sales.
22.  Our health.
23.  Abigail's heart. We found out this year that Abigail has got a congenital heart defect called    Double Aortic Arch and will probably require surgery in the near future. We are very thankful that it was not as serious as it could have been.
24.  The NHS.
25.  The beauty of God's creation and being able to share it together as a family.
26.  Parks.
27.  Family Days.
28.  Reading stories to the children.
29.  Sleep.
"Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in
Christ Jesus concerning you."
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Ancient History - Weeks 5-10

Guest post by Daddy.

For weeks 1-4 click here.
The children and I have had an exciting and informative time getting to grips with the culture and history of Ancient Egypt. 

We have started to construct our model of the Nile. As you can see from the photographs, we have been collecting objects that reflect our Egyptian theme.
Objects the children chose to use were camels, frogs and locusts.
The desert was made of sand, we added stones for the mountains, and a strip of tin foil for the River Nile. Our pyramid was made using a plastic mould filled with a mixture of sand and PVA glue.
Nathanael and Tabitha deciding where to put the clay sphinx.
Together we looked at the Biblical account of the Hebrew slaves in Egypt. We talked about how they were used to construct treasure cities and other large buildings. Whilst studying the pyramids we found out about how the brick and stone would have been transported and used in Egyptian construction.
On week six we had an Ancient History Quiz and I was surprised how much the children had actually remembered!

Nathanael chose to write his answers to the quiz upside down, like they would be printed in a book!
Next we took a look at Egyptian warfare. We found out about weaponry and battle tactics, such as the use of chariots, and read Exodus 14. The children, once again, used a mixture of labelling, drawing and collaging to illustrate what we had learned in their history books.


 We had great fun making our own version of the Ancient Egyptian Composite Bow!
Having studied the pyramids, we decided to find out about Pharaohs, so we took a good look at the Kings and Queens of Egypt. We looked at the boy King Tutankhamun, Thuthmose III and Queens like Hatshepsut who dressed like a man, even down to the false beard!
We also watched a couple of videos clips that reflected the pomp and splendour of Egyptian royalty, such as The Royal Procession from the classic Polish movie "Faraon" by Kawalerowicz... 
...and this evocative scene from the epic film "Cleopatra," starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
I decided that it would be good if we could link our History project into our daily Bible Study that we do together as a family. As coincidence would have it, we just happened to be studying the book of Genesis, which tells the account of the sons of Jacob and how they ended up following their brother Joseph into Egypt (Genesis 37-50). One of the resources that I used was "The Story of the World, History for the Classical Child. Activity Book One: Ancient Times," edited by Susan Wise Bauer. I photocopied some pages which featured the story of Joseph in a comic-strip format. The children had great fun colouring this in and sticking it in their History books.
We also watched a half hour video animation on the story of Joseph by Testament Films.
I divided this section of work into two parts and gave it the title, "Hebrew slaves in Egypt - Parts one and two." Part one dealt with the Jews settling in Egypt and Part two dealt with them leaving. We did a word search on the theme of the sons of Jacob (courtesy of "Story of the World," again) and...
...some colouring.
In order to be a little bit more varied in this project and keep things interesting, I incorporated a mnemonic from the book "Walk Thru the Old Testament," by Dr Bruce H. Wilkinson.
The idea is, that through a series of spoken words accompanied by actions, a person is able to retain an overview of the Biblical narrative. Here is a video of Nathanael and Tabitha having a go!
We also watched a video clip from "Prince of Egypt" which encapsulated the drama of Moses and the children of Israel crossing the Red Sea.

I really enjoy the time we spend learning together and it is very rewarding to see them excited about history.
"Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord,
and spake, saying, I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously:
the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea."
Exodus 15:1

Monday, 18 November 2013

Floating and Sinking

As we continue with our science unit on water we have had fun investigating floating and sinking.

Most of the ideas have come from this book.

We started by talking about water displacement. We filled a jug with water and marked the waterline on the side with a marker pen and then dropped in plasticine balls. The children could clearly see the water level rise.
We tried to get the plasticine to float on the water instead of sinking by investigating different shapes. We found out that changing the shape affects how quickly or slowly it sank. Following on from this we discussed how metal ships are very heavy but because of the way they are shaped they stay afloat.
We then enjoyed making our own boats from the contents of our recycling box and loaded them with Duplo people to test how much weight they could hold before sinking.
The children found it interesting that this toy panda sunk when they dropped it into the bath, but when it was placed onto a plastic plate, it floated!
We also discovered that boats made from tin foil were very good at carrying cargo.
Lots of water was mopped up following these experiments!

Saturday, 16 November 2013

More Water Activities

We are continuing with our science unit on water. Click here for the first activities we did.

Key words: Condensation, evaporation, dissolving

The children found out about the water cycle

and painted their worksheets in water colours.

We had fun and made quite a lot of mess seeing clouds form. Follow these directions if you would like to try it for yourself.

By carrying out a series of experiments, we discovered that water can dissolve some things.
Using cold, warm and hot water we tested coffee, salt, sand and sugar to see if they dissolved.

On the windowsill we have left a dish with a salt and water mixture. We are investigating to see if the water will evaporate and leave the salt.

*Photo added a month later, showing the results of that experiment. 

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Reformation Day and November 5th

On the 31st October, we celebrated Reformation Day for the first time.
Click here for a lovely Unit Study on the Reformation that we are planning on doing next year and some resources from the Trinitarian Bible society on the history of our King James Bible.

The children acted out a short drama based on Martin Luther nailing the 95 theses to the Wittenberg church door.

To enjoy the whole service, and sing along with the hymns, watch

Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
On November 5th in the United Kingdom, we celebrate the foiled attempt of Guy Fawkes to blow up the houses of parliament and King James I in 1605. This has special significance for us as Christians, because it was King James who authorised the translation of the Bible into English in 1611, the same version our family use today.
Holding a mock Jacobean feast at Ordsall Hall in Salford.
Together we baked parkin, a traditional bonfire night cake,
let off some fireworks in the garden and came inside to enjoy our "bonfire" in the hearth.