Sunday, 27 February 2011

King of Kings

We haven't been doing as many activities based around Iona's Bible readings lately, as other things seem to have filled our time. However, this week we began stories about Samuel choosing Saul to be King of Israel, then stories of Saul and David, so I thought a lapbook about kings might be a good idea. It's been easier said than done, though, as I can't find much online directly about that.

I started by discussing with Iona what God said in our children's Bible about how Israel shouldn't have a King as he was their King. From that we made a picture of a crown labelled "God is our King":
I drew a crown shape on sugar paper, then Iona helped me stick bits of kitchen foil onto it, followed by a "fur" edging of cotton wool. I'd wanted to decorate the crown but didn't really have anything suitable so the picture had sat around all week waiting for inspiration. Then yesterday we visited my husband's family (now I can finally drive again after my heart operation) and Iona got her Christmas present from one of her aunts. It was a Grafix Glitter Art Chest , which turned out to be absolutely perfect for finishing the crown. We were able to put some fake gems on, along with some glitter, although we had to use our own PVA as the glue stick included in the set wasn't up to the job. Iona and I were both pleased with the result, though, and it's now decorating the wall above our computer.

Reading was a lot harder than I expected, too, with not many books at Iona's level available in the local libraries about kings or royalty. I extended the theme a little, though, and borrowed a book about leadership, Being a Leader. It didn't really explain what a leader was, but gave good examples of how a good leader should behave. I expanded on some of the examples in that book by reading Iona Taking Turns, which we also enjoyed. I did manage to find a lovely Usborne book about royalty, Kings and Queens (History of Britain), which we flicked through. It was too grown-up to read to her, but we looked at the pictures and I explained who people were. I hadn't really intended to start teaching Iona history until we'd introduced the concept by talking about her history, Mummy and Daddy's history, and back through her grandparents' experiences, to try to make the concept more real. However, I've been doing that informally, and I made sure to look through the Usborne book backwards, so we could begin by looking at the present Queen, her son who will be King, and his son, an even more future King who we've been talking about getting married in 2 months. My plan in borrowing this book is to use it to draw up a time chart with Iona, showing Kings and Queens throughout Britain's history, with other key events added as we look at them (including such important events as Iona being born!). What I'm not sure is where I'll put it. I've heard that other home educating families put them up in the hallway, but we don't really have enough bare wall anywhere in this house.

Online, I found a few useful printables. Sunday School Fun Zone had a good colouring page of Samuel anointing Saul, while DLTK had a K for King to assemble; Iona liked sticking the pieces on which I cut out for her.
She was able to name this letter when I asked her what it was, and we talked about how the word "king" begins with a K.

We have looked through her Spanish picture dictionary, and found the Spanish words for "king", "queen", "prince", and "princess", so I'm planning on making a mini book of some sort to illustrate this. I'm also thinking of doing something with Iona about "The Lion King", and probably "Old King Cole" to finish this study, and I will hopefully be able to put photos here of the finished lapbook.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Love is in the Air

For Valentine's Day this year I decided to do a little project with Iona about love. We began by making this wreath from a paper plate, sugar paper and tissue paper:

I found the idea and templates at, and it really was very easy to make. I cut the hearts out from the paper, and allowed Iona to stick them onto the plate, although, as I didn't cut the centre of the plate out, I had to prevent her sticking them in the middle. She's definitely improving in her ability to stay on task when doing crafts, although I have to choose ones that allow her to do her own thing to a large extent, which is quite restrictive.

Another craft I then went on to do with Iona was making these Valentine cards:

This idea came from the blog Artful Adventures. It required a little more effort than the wreath, to prevent Iona doing her own thing and sabotaging the painting, but I helped her do 3 fingerprint hearts on one sheet of paper, then removed that to dry while she fingerpainted to her heart's content on another spare sheet. I explained to her that on Valentine's Day we give cards to people we love, and asked who she wanted to make her cards for, expecting her to say Mummy, Daddy, and 1 or more of her friends. She replied "I love Mummy, and I love me, and I love Daddy", and insisted on making her cards for Mummy, Daddy and herself! I love the way she is so un-self-conscious in her self-regard, and wish that she could stay that way, although I recognise that she will have to change, and probably sooner rather than later. Still, I hope that she will learn to accept and love herself as God loves her, rather than accept any negative judgements that the world will try to impose on her.

For Valentine's Day reading I borrowed The Love Bugs from the library and read it to her. She was keen to read it, but the story was a bit complicated for such a young child, and I don't think she really understood, even with me trying to explain the intricacies as I went along.

On the day itself I tried to make heart-shaped jellies, but failed in that attempt, due to being unable to find the raspberry jelly. However, I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out bread hearts, which I then used to make Iona Valentine's pizza:

Iona enjoyed these, and was easily able to name the heart shape.

Funnily enough, although the lesson at church the day before Valentine's Day was about Paul's letter to Timothy, it fitted in well with our Valentine's theme, as it emphasised that God loves us. In fact, the leader actually arranged for each child there to receive a letter addressed to them, telling them so, so that aspect of my theme was well-covered.

Finally, I found this channel on YouTube with various Valentine's Day activities on it. Iona loved this song, and I had to sing it to her repeatedly for several days!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Mother's little helper

In recent weeks my little girl has undergone another huge change and, turning around, we suddenly notice she is different! Previously, she liked to investigate everything, such as the full shopping bags after a shopping trip, but mainly to play with them and generally cause chaos. However, she now loves to think she's helping us (even when she's not!), and is keen to find ways to do so. Yesterday, after I had been shopping and was beginning to unpack the shopping trolley she appeared in the kitchen and before I knew it was behind me, holding a sweet potato out to me. Rather than asking her to leave things alone, as we've often had to do, I asked her to put it in the vegetable cupboard. Wonder of wonders, she did!! (She knows where the veggies live, as she's always going into the cupboard when I'm in the kitchen, trying to get vegetables out, so I wondered if she'd be distracted and start playing with them again, but she didn't.) We were able to continue in this way to the bottom of the trolley, with me telling Iona where to put each item she got out, and her doing so (although I had to open the fridge door for her, as it's heavy). I was really impressed both with her focus on helping and her memory of where things went.

The same has been true of Iona helping us in other ways lately. Once, a few weeks ago, she found our feather duster and started running it along surfaces, saying she was dusting, and she often picks up the tool that we use for getting dog hair off the carpet and wipes it along the carpet, saying she's hoovering. She also went in the garden yesterday, picked up an old broom head, and rubbed it over the wet path, saying she was cleaning because her friend was coming! My question now is, how do I capitalise on this desire to help? Invariably, if I ask her to help with anything, she doesn't want to! I'd like to do like so many other families seem to and have set chores (simple, of course) for her to do, such as helping with the washing up (which she did with me once), both to improve her skills and to get her into good habits of looking after herself, but she seems to just be at that age of non-cooperation. Of course, it probably doesn't help matters that both David and I tend to do housework whenever we feel like it (or when it's desperate!), rather than at set times, so maybe it's hoping for a bit much that Iona would be any different!!