Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The Hobbit

The Hobbit
J. R. R. Tolkien

We have just been reading this as a family and it will survive this generation as a continued classic.  I was read this aloud to, when I was 10 years old, at primary school.  It is the only book that I can ever remember being read.  That isn't to say I never had other books read to me, this teacher was great at reading aloud to us.  It is just... the only one I can remember.  For good reason too, it is awesome!

As I read it aloud to my children, I remembered every bit of the book and the classroom I originally sat in to hear it the first time.  I have watched the movie and the book, by far, exceeds the movie.  There was one particular part of the book that we re-read ove,r as I got the giggles.  I could vividly see in my mind the scene, and Bilbo.  Not many books leave us all in tears laughing, but this one did. 

This novel is going to stay on my booklist for reading to the next generation, and the next.  I am sure my kids will continue to hand it down also.  I have always loved the chronicles of Nania, I have difficulty in choosing my favourite between these two.  I think I still sit on the side of Nania, but only just.

So, for all you parents out there, pick up this book and read it to your children!  Don't watch the movie until you have read this to them.  It will be a gift to this generation.

Happy reading

This was available from: Fishpond, Amazon, Book depository and... everywhere beyond




Monday, 27 June 2016

Climb the Stack - Booktuber of the month

Hi everyone,


This month I am highlighting Ashleigh at 'Climb the Stack' on YouTube.  I have just discovered her, and I am impressed.  Here is one intelligent Booktuber, whom I am pleased to have come across.  Last week's video was on American literature from 1960.  I think she is quite refreshing to listen to.  I will be looking in on her regularly with the hope that she will inspire me to continue reading literature from a wide range rather than only new literature. 

When you are wondering around the YouTube world take a look in at her channel.  She has grabbed my interest.  It's good to see people Booktubing more than the latest, popular or young adult books. 

Well done Ashleigh, keep producing your videos.

Happy reading

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Mentoring and educating the teens: Week 2

Hi everyone

I watched a few of Sir Ken Robinson's YouTube clips this week and what he has to say on the topic of giving kids/teens/people the opportunity to find and follow their passions, was really interesting.  You can check him out by searching 'Ken Robinson' in YouTube.  How I managed to fall upon his clips, I have no idea.  But it did fit in nicely with the topic of mentoring and educating our teens.

How did we all go educating here this week?  I wont lie it had its moments, but over all I see the rewards.  I have a boy who loves his books more than ever and wont get off the treadmill.  He has gone from hating reading and always having his nose (preferably) in a game on the tablet, to reading and excising as his most preferred use of study time.  One thing he isn't enjoying, is the amount of time allocated.  Some days the work is still chugging along well into, and beyond, tea time.  This is not always a choice.  Well, on the other hand it is.  They are given a 'time' to study.  If they want to work through lunch break then that is their choice and they can finish early... I have some doing so.  Then there are the days when every thing comes before study and the study is pushed back to their own time.  There is a love-hate relationship going on with this concept but overall it is working out really well, and I recommend it.  There is more learning going on at the moment and I am not stressed trying to time manage.  They now time manage.  Isn't that an important lesson for adulthood! 

We are still having together time.  They enjoy this time and we get to have a good laugh as we encourage each other.  Grammar and reading time comes with loads of conversation opportunities, that are important for understanding and growth.  This is a time that I will always keep up, for without it there would be less communication and connection.  We have worked through Winston Grammar and now we are onto the advanced programme.  For any of you that have not seen this programme it is worth the investment.  I am of the opinion that grammar is important for understanding the written word and comprehension.  I didn't do a lot of it with the children when they were younger, but then as comprehension became more difficult the implementation of a good grammar program became important. 


We have continued to read and analyse "A wrinkle in time".  Projects from last week have been completed and enjoyed.  Where downloaded assignment pages were used, they became templates as they were encouraged to look beyond the downloads and research the answers instead.  It made the work more personalised and enjoyable.  One started reading 'Benjamin Franklin, an autobiography'  It is set out in three columns and made for hard reading.  She is continuing and enjoying the work that goes with it from "Excellence in American Literature".  This is actually a really good resource!  It has loads of added information and documents to look further into literacy eras and famous literature pieces.

So overall, letting the young adults have a little choice in their education is a good thing.  They are no longer children and should not be treated as such, unless you want them to behave as such.  That is my finding so far.  I will continue  just in case I change my mind, as teens are very good at making you do. 

Happy reading

Monday, 20 June 2016

This came to my Facebook page this week and I have to agree.  Thanks to my friend who sent it my way, and the person who designed it (as quoted in the inscription).  The kids here have been reading 'Teresa of Calcatta' over the last couple of weeks and we have watched a few YouTube clips that feature her.  She is one extremely interesting woman.  I grew up in a world where she was a prominent on TV.   I can remember watching the news and seeing Princess Diana with her.  But, I never know what she did.  Now I have looked deeper into her world through brilliant writings and clips, I am left open mouthed with surprise and respect for such an amazing woman. 

Teresa of Calcutta
Author: D. Jeanene Watson
ISBN: 9780880620123


Serving the Poorest of the Poor Agnes and her family lived in Macedonia in eastern Europe. Agnes eagerly read letters by missionaries from faraway places. She especially enjoyed the letters from Calcutta, India. Eventually Agnes arrived in Calcutta where she taught young, well-to-do girls. They knew her as Sister Teresa. Unsatisfied, Teresa searched for her calling in life. One day she decided to work with "the poorest of the poor." She conducted her first class in a public park. Only five street children attended. Despite the hardships, she stayed with the work. She knew that God had sent her to care for these people who had no one else to love them Teresa dressed in a simple white sari with a blue border. A safety pin held a cross at her left shoulder. She became a familiar sight in the slum streets of Calcutta. Teresa not only helped the poor, she became one of them. She told the girls she trained, "We will pattern our lives after their poverty. We are poor by choice. We want to be poor like Christ, who, being rich, chose to be born and live and work among the poor."

This was available from: Book Depository and Fishpond

This is one of the many clips we watched
There are quite a few available on YouTube.com

Clip featured by: The Top Ten Amazing

I hope these will in inspire all of us to look at what we do for others, today

Happy reading

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Mentoring and educating the teens -

Week 1

Hi Everyone,

This is the first week of trialling some of the things from 'A Thomas Jefferson Education'.  You can read my review in the previous post.  It was an interesting week.

It took us all some time to adjust to the aspect that I was not going to spoon fed everyone with information, curriculum or time management instructions.  I think it was hardest for me!  I had to step back many times and take a deep breath, while reminding myself their education wasn't all about me.  I have got so used to getting things done.  I spent so much time, when they were little, making sure they were seated and working on the assigned sheets, that as time as transitioned us into the teens, we have just kept on with the known.  Coming from the a school system that did just that, I followed suit... and it worked.  The problem is it doesn't always work (especially with boys as is most prominent in my case).  I thought long and hard about this and decided it was time to encourage them to look at themselves for direction.  How can I expect them to enter the wide world when I haven't equpped them with time management skills and self disciplined work ethics?

For the teens, it was just as hard.  They got all excited, at first but it then become a little more challenging.  My younger teen went online (curriclick http://www.currclick.com/ was the winner here) and choose his own project.  He worked diligently on it for the first half hour, then....  picked up a book and went reading.  Now this is a good thing because reading has always been the biggest hurdle with him.  This week he has read more than he has ever read, during the day.  And the assignment has progressed!  Maths became a challenge as to how fast he could get it done and timers were set.  As for the older teen she enjoys learning, so all went well except she preferred being told what to do... except for after school hours when she easily finds educational things to set her mind upon. 

We are reading 'A Wrinkle in Time'.  So far we are enjoying this one.  It is very imaginative.  The characters names are a giggle, Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which.  Some of the ideas of the universe, good vs evil (darkness) and the world, are all becoming a conversation maker.  Conversation is one thing we are all good at here! 

And, as the concept of reading Archimedes etc. for mathematics interested me, we started reading 'Know About Archimedes in 60 minutes'.  Yes, in 60 minutes sounded do-able to me.  It has been, actually, quite interesting.  We have stopped many times to Google things.  Some of the mathematical concepts sound so much easier in English than in Mathematical dialect.  I wonder why books like these are not encouraged more for history.  So much of history is taken up with wars of which I have become tired of reading curriculum after curriculum endorsing the same things.  I have often questioned why inventions rarely make it into great curriculum resources.  Here we have it... you just have to know where to look.  It seems like you go directly to the source and read the classics.  This book is definitely worth reading to your teens.  We all got a good laugh out of the wars and men being shaken from boats.  Nothing like the way we fight todays wars!  Added to this is the mathematical concepts that enabled such things, and the rest of Archimedes great discoveries.  Probably to  biggest eye opener was how long ago these things were discovered, and the great minds that came long before any concept I or the teens had. 

In conclusion, it's been a great week.  One of which I learned to step aside and mentor as well as teach.  It is one thing to learn to teach.  It is another thing to let the children learn, and mentor them to do such a thing as become educated.  At no time did I just walk away.  I was there to teach when needed, to mentor the act of learning, and encourage every step of the way, all while we enjoyed each others company.  Let's see how next week goes! 

Happy reading

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

A Thomas Jefferson Education... trial/research/enquiry

A Thomas Jefferson Education
Oliver DeMille

Teaching a generation of leaders

This book makes some really good points.  It is based around the cognitive learning theory where the student has to think to learn, not be fed facts.  Using a range of classics to teach every subject from reading to mathematics the foundations for enquiry can begin. 

I liked the idea of reading classics like 'Newton's system of the world' and 'Archimedes' to teach maths.  This is not the way I was taught in the school system which I developed through.  But, with having spent the last few years learning about teaching theories and education, this concept interests me. 

So, because I believe in cognitive theory and behaviourism, I am going to  trial some of the concepts from this book, in my classroom.  I will keep you informed week by week for the next six weeks, as to how it is going with my students.  They will be assigned the usual maths, writing, etc. but there will be adaptions and allowance for self-learning.  The self-learning will have to be approved by me as the mentor and well mentored to ensure no "Snap-chatting and gaming" is going on instead of learning.  I will be incorporating classics into the structure of each day, of which I will let you know what is being read and thoughts on the classic along with the benefits (or not) of the book.

Call in each Friday and I will give you an update on - Mentoring and educating the teens.


Is American education preparing the future leaders our nation needs or merely struggling to teach basic literacy and job skills? Without leadership education, are we settling for an inadequate system that delivers educational, industrial, governmental, and societal mediocrity?

In A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-first Century, Oliver DeMille presents an overview of and a primer for a new educational vision based on proven methods that really work! Teachers, students, parents, educators, legislators, leaders, and everyone who cares about America’s future must read this compelling book.

Happy reading

This was available from: Amazon and Excellence in Writing



Sunday, 12 June 2016

Angels in the early morning

I quite like the imagery in this poem and the simplicity.  I wonder what Emily Dickinson was thinking when she wrote this.  Was there metaphors involved?  No matter what she was intending, this is a beautiful piece of art.

 Printed and illustrated using Microsoft publisher

Happy reading

Friday, 10 June 2016

Out of the Ice

Out of the Ice
Author: Ann Turner
ISBN: 9781925030891

I give this book my highest credits.  I sat all yesterday afternoon and read this.  I then fed my family and continued to read.  It is a piece of literary art.  I enjoyed the way Ann Turner wrote with description.  I enjoy reading and listening to classics because of the way they were able to describe while remaining in the context of the story.  Ann Turner did just this in the pages of this novel.

I was taken i to the old village.  I just want to know more about the people who once lived there, the secrets and the truth which seemed hidden until the climax and end pages.  There was mystery upon mystery capturing my imagination all the way through.  If only Ann was able to read my mind as I read this book, she would almost have another novel in the making.  This is what makes a mystery a good mystery.  One where the reader makes up ideas only to be miss lead in the twists that unravel in the end chapters. 

The climax was beyond what I imagined as I was taken away from the original scenery and placed on a plane.  This got me thinking.  Why was I being taken away from the main mystery?  I have to say I needed a coffee at this stage.  But I was not disappointed as Ann Turner lead me down another avenue and then managed to completely tie up the whole mystery with not a speck left out.  This was what made the book, for me.  It was refreshing have every little question answered.  It seemed to me that no detail was left out.  I give her credit for this.

I will pick up any book by this author after reading this.  She has made her way up my favourite Author list.


By the bestselling author of The Lost Swimmer, a tense, eerie thriller set in the icy reaches of Antarctica

When environmental scientist Laura Alvarado is sent to a remote Antarctic island to report on an abandoned whaling station, she begins to uncover more than she could ever imagine.

Despite new life thriving in the icy wilderness, the whaling station is brimming with awful reminders of its bloody, violent past, and Laura is disturbed by evidence of recent human interference. Rules have been broken, and the protected wildlife is behaving strangely.

On a diving expedition, Laura is separated from her colleague. She emerges into an ice cave where, through the blue shadows, she is shocked to see an anguished figure, crying for help.

But in this freezing, lonely landscape there are ghosts everywhere, and Laura begins to sense that her own eyes cannot be trusted. Is her mind playing tricks? Has she been in the ice too long?

Back at base, Laura’s questions about the whaling station go unanswered, blocked by unhelpful scientists, unused to questions from an outsider. And Laura just can’t shake what happened in the ice cave.

Piecing together a past and present of cruelty and vulnerability that can be traced all around the globe, from Norway, to Nantucket, Europe and Antarctica, Laura will stop at nothing to unearth the truth. As she sees the dark side of endeavour and human nature, she also discovers a legacy of love, hope and the meaning of family. If only Laura can find her way...

Out of the ice.

Happy reading

This was available from: Amazon

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The age of miracles

The Age of Miracles
Author: Marianne Williamson
ISBN: 978140195421

This was an interesting read.  She has a lot of truth to say in these pages.  I was impressed.  It is easy to pick up a self help book from any bookstore, but this one touched me in many ways. 

I liked the way she spoke of family and marriage.  Her writing spoke of women having value, no matter the age.  It is easy to get sucked into the everyday normality of children and womanhood, losing oneself in the rush of today.  The range of subjects touched on was brilliant, and she wrote from the heart.

When you think about it what is the difference between the young lady at 13, who experiences a world of change from childhood to the responsibility of finding herself in a world where she is expected to succeed, and the woman at 40-50-60 who finds herself with grown children leaving the nest?  Both ages hold a lifetime of dreams and passions.  Why should woman curl up and stop growing just because she hits a certain age.  In reality it is a crazy idea that has been developed through the ages and is now being discarded.  And thank goodness!  I don't want to send my children out into the big wide world with dreams only to see mine crushed.  All women should take a look at this book and realise the reality that life is to be embraced, no matter what the age.


The need for change as we get older—an emotional pressure for one phase of our lives to transition into another—is a human phenomenon, neither male nor female. There simply comes a time in our lives—not fundamentally different from the way puberty separates childhood from adulthood—when it’s time for one part of ourselves to die and for something new to be born. The purpose of this book by best-selling author and lecturer 'Marianne Williamson' is to psychologically and spiritually reframe this transition so that it leads to a wonderful sense of joy and awakening.

In our ability to rethink our lives lies our greatest power to change them. What we have called “middle age” need not be seen as a turning point toward death. It can be viewed as a magical turning point toward life as we’ve never known it, if we allow ourselves the power of an independent imagination, utilising thought-forms that don’t simply flow in a perfunctory manner from ancient assumptions handed down to us, but rather flower into new archetypal images of a humanity just getting started at 45 or 50. What we’ve learned by that time, from both our failures as well as our successes, tends to have humbled us into purity.

When we were young, we had energy but were clueless about what to do with it. Today, we have less energy, perhaps, but we have far more understanding of what each breath of life is for. And now at last, we have a destiny to fulfill—not a destiny of a life that’s simply over, but rather a destiny of a life that is finally truly lived. Midlife is not a crisis; it’s a time of rebirth. It’s not a time to accept your death; it’s a time to accept your life—and to finally, truly live it, as you and you alone know deep in your heart it was meant to be lived

Happy reading

This was available from: Amazon, Fishpond and Book depository

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Never trust a mirror

Hi Everyone,

I found this poem while wondering around the net.  I came across this poem and had to find out who the author was.  It looks like she has many poems out there, and I have only just discovered her. 

So it seems she is a 20 year old Australian woman, Erin Hanson.  She has a blog http://thepoeticunderground.com/ which I am just taking a good walk through myself.   So if you like her poem take a journey over to her blog... after continuing here with mine.

Well done Erin you now have another follower.  Keep writing

And happy reading to everyone out there today

Thursday, 2 June 2016

The Prayer Rug

The Prayer Rug
Author: H M Hymas
ISBN: 978162965383
Publishing date: 11 June 2016