Thursday, March 21, 2013

Walk Like an Egyptian

This week we covered The New Kingdom of Egypt (Chapter 13 - Story of the World Book 1) in our history session.

We read about a couple of lesser know Pharaohs, well one was actually a woman named Hatshepsut. The girls were pretty impressed with her declaring that she was staying on the throne, even though it was unheard of for a woman to rule in those days. She told the people to think of her as a man, dressed like one and even wore a beard when she was on the throne. Hatshepsut you rock! The girls were horrified to learn that the only positions available to women back then was as a wife/mother, a dancer or working in the temple. They understand that there is nothing wrong with those occupations but they didn't like that the women didn't have a choice.

They added a lapbooking piece to their history notebooks, courtesy of The Chronicle of the Earth blog.

We also read online that apparently all Egyptians wore makeup, and that included children. Black kohl which was used to outline the eyes as it wasn’t only makeup; it protected the eyes from the blinding Egyptian sunlight. Green and blue eyeshadow, along with red lipstick and blush was worn for special occasions by the ladies. So of course ...

Yes, I even logged onto YouTube and played them "Walk Like an Egyptian" by the Bangles. Again a pretty impressive "female" band ... there seemed to be a theme, but I assure you it was by accident.


And then cause I am just weird like that, I had them pretend they were mummies ... took AGES for The Fashionista to stop giggling for me to get a shot! Agent Smelly is such a good little actress and can immediately get into the mood for any shot.

If I had of been more prepared, cause we decided to dress up at the last minute, I would have had some of those big necklaces printed out for them to decorate and wear but instead we just settled for some of my old chunky gold jewellery that now lives in the dress up box.

In case you are wondering, yes our dress up box is HUGE! Forget spending a load of money that children outgrow, invest in lots of dress ups, doesn't have to be expensive, we have material, second-hand clothing, you name it in ours. When friends visit the kids always end up dressing up. 

Some links in case anyone wants them:
Egyptian headband

Pharoah Headdress

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Winter Onesies

The other day whilst out shopping the girls spied these "onesies" and asked if they could try them on.

I should have said no, cause they were so darn cute on, that I had to buy them! In my defence they do need winter PJ's as they have outgrown all their others.

I may have to find a pattern to make them because they would love more of them ... and I am thinking the Papa and I would look pretty hot in a pair too.

I have visions of us all in Christmas themed ones for the annual Christmas Card photo.

Friday, March 15, 2013

My New Garden

Look at this lovely wee garden that The Papa made this week on his days off.

Cost ... nada; except for lots of grunt work.  We had the bark, sleepers and plants all lying around. The plants were all looking a bit worse for wear because of this nasty drought that we are experiencing in the North Island. so fingers crossed they'll be OK.

I am so pleased with it. The Papa is rather amused that I keep referring to it as "my" new garden.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Playing school with the Papa

When you homeschool you can work anywhere you want to. I often say to the girls they can sit outside, lay on their bed, under the dining table and do their bookwork and reading wherever they want. Despite this they generally can be found within 3 inches of me!

This week I was unwell so I requested that they simply do a couple of easy things, like handwriting and math whilst I rested up. The Papa took the day off to look after the girls and I didn't want to make things to difficult for him but at the same time, rather than give them the day off, I rather evilly let him spend some time in my shoes supervising some work.

I came out later in the morning to see how things were going and this is what I spied ...

Apparently they went and set these tables up in the lounge and then made the Papa sit in a chair nearby like a teacher would. They even asked him to give them a spelling test so I had to find a spelling book for them to use and then they made him grade them!

I laughed my head off and went back to bed.

By the way recently I suggested them trying school if they wanted and they were dead against it but they do so enjoy "playing school" ... go figure!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Inspirational People Review

As mentioned previously, last term we started reading some books on inspirational women as I want my girls to feel as though they can pretty much do whatever they set their minds too, same as these amazing ladies have done. These ladies have something else in common, despite their backgrounds they haven't "settled", they have followed their passion and in some cases their calling  from God, and gone on to happily achieve some amazing things.

To-date we have covered Helen Keller, Florence Nightingale, Amelia Earhart, and Dian Fossey. We were going to start on the magnificent Mother Theresa today but the girls did not really seem in the right frame of mind (beans in their pants) so I secretly decided to test them to see how much they had remembered on the ladies that we had already covered.

I sent them both off to the spare room (where the dress ups box lives) and asked them to come back dressed as one of the people that we have covered and sit down on the stool that I placed in the corner of the lounge room and tell me all about themselves.

Agent Smelly came down as Dian Fossey. She has a plastic leaf in her hands which she chewed on when she sat down, like Dian did when she tried to make friends with the gorillas. Then she told me some things about herself, actually remembering where she, Dian, had lived and studied the gorillas. I was quite impressed although I did need to ask some questions to prod her along a bit but she did very well considering it's been a few months since we studied Dian.

Not hard to guess who The Fashionista decided to come as ... "The Lady with the Lamp" ... Florence Nightingale. I didn't have to ask her as many questions as she was able to tell me quite a bit about herself. I was very pleased with her efforts too. Check out the pose will you, apparently she had to sit like Florence was on the front of one of the books. Her bonnet is actually off one of her old fashioned dolls ... she certainly gets and A for the outfit!

This activity was a huge success with both girls really enjoying the dressing up and pretending that they were a famous person. They had no idea that I was checking to see what they had actually learnt and retained, which was about what I expected them to have and in some cases I was pleasantly surprised. It's funny what they find important enough to have retained about a person. A little telling at times.

I will try this again with them and they are very keen to do it again, so I had better get a move along and teach them about some more inspirational people.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

What Makes A Bird A Bird?

Today we completed Chapter 2 of Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day.

After completing the lapbooking pages, that we are using to accompany the text book, we set up a bowl of bird seed outside the front door, and before long had a pile of wee sparrows come down for a feed. We watched and listened to them and were amazed at what we  noticed after reading about the calls and songs and actions they make. We were particularly fascinated by two of them, which we assume may have been males, flapping their wings and calling at each other, obviously trying to claim the feeder.

We then moved onto making some bird feeders from pine cones.

First the girls applied some very expensive 100% organic natural peanut butter (only the best for our bird life apparently) over the pine cones with their hands. The expressions were priceless!

They then pressed some of Joe's bird uneaten seed onto that very expensive 100% organic natural peanut butter.

Side note; Joe now thinks she's a chicken.She lives amongst the chooks flying down to join them in pecking at the chicken food as we dish it out to the chickens morning and night. She's also now roosting inside the chook house too, rather than her tree or specially built dove house right next to the hen house ... poor confused dove, she's even laid eggs!

The girls tied some strings onto their pine cones and then went and tied them in some trees. They've placed them in different areas of the block and are planning to see if one is favoured more than another, despite them both being made from the same very expensive 100% organic natural peanut butter and bird seed.

Despite this being a very simple and easy activity (we did it when they were preschoolers) they really enjoyed making them up and going out together and hanging them somewhere.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Oh No or is it Oh Yay, GirlGuide Biscuit time again!

Well it's that time of year again. We have lots and lots of yummy GirlGuide Biscuits to sell to fund raise for our GirlGuide unit.

Now if I am being very truthful I have not really enjoyed selling biscuits in the past. I am not sure why, I suppose it's because it was my job to try and ensure all the families mucked in and did their share and quite honestly in the early years it seemed as though I spent thrice as much time selling the darn things as anyone else as there always those families who are "too busy" or "I have no-one to sell them too". Also because the girls were so young it came down to The Papa and I doing all the selling. We had no other clubs we belonged to, and no family close to sell them to, nor could we sell them at our school, cause we homeschool. We ended up doing a lot of stalls to get rid of them. It was a bit of a choir if I am honest.

These days whilst I don't exactly jump for joy when the selling time comes around, I don't mind it so much. We have some great parents who get in and do their share which makes life a lot easier but, something else has happened which is more important. Both my girls simply LOVE selling them! They don't mind knocking on peoples doors, whilst I wait at the front gate (imagine a pack horse that's me all loaded up) as they are quite confident to ask people to purchase them. They are equally good at working out how much is owed and what change to give back and they just love manning a table outside our local dairy (milk bar/corner store) and selling to the locals. I think they'd like to hold their own stalls down the street if I let them and if we lived in town I know for certain they'd have a lemonade stand or similar.

(an old pic from March 2010)

Their joy and delight and yes even pride at how well they manage selling these biscuits ("no, mum we can do it, you just sit there") is amazing and I find that I quite enjoy watching them plying their trade amongst the people passing by. They have learnt to say thank you for the support and also how to take a "no thanks" from some people and not to take it to heart but to try again next time. So it is a valuable learning experience for them.

They have developed their own little system. they say hello or good morning as people pass us when they walk into the store but they don't try to sell them then. As the people leave the store they will then ask them if they would care to support their unit by purchasing a packet or two of biscuits and most people just automatically will walk out of our wee 4 Square (mini mart) and walk straight over to buy a pack or two.

We have quite an older aged township, with the local retirement near the shops, so lots of the elderly will stop for a morning chat or donate money even if they are diabetic and can't eat the biscuits. We have even had an elderly gentleman purchase a packet only to hand them back to the girls to eat them for him as he wasn't allowed to. The girls love the elderly men as they can't seem to resist purchasing off them and always have the sweetest chats with them about what they do at Guides or comment on their badges. The elderly really engage with them. I have met some lovely people myself who remember back when they sat outside stalls or went door to door selling Guide biscuits with their daughters. I can see on their faces how precious those memories are and how they would switch places with me in a heartbeat to go back to that time.

So not only do the children learn some valuable lessons selling Guide Biscuits but this Mama has seen first hand that her girls are maturing and developing some great life skills and learnt that one day I will be looking back and remembering those mornings selling biscuits with both my beautiful girls with much fondness (and a slightly thicker waist, yes they are that good!).
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