Saturday, 10 March 2018

Happy Mother's Day

Nowadays, Mother's Day is associated with cards, flowers, chocolates and, if you're as lucky as me, breakfast in bed :) The day is a celebration of mothers and an opportunity to show our thanks for all they do for us.

How did it all begin?
Nobody is really sure when the celebration of Mother's Day began but in the British Isles, Mothering Sunday has taken place on the fourth Sunday in Lent for centuries. Lent is a time observed by many Christians as a preparation for the mysteries of Easter. It lasts from Ash Wednesday (the day after Pancake Day/Shrove Tuesday) to Easter Sunday. Many Christians observe Lent by fasting and/or taking part in special study groups.

Originally, Mothering Sunday was a time when Christians returned to their mother church where they had been baptised. Most people would attend their local parish church for weekly Sunday services, but on Mothering Sunday it was traditional to make a pilgrimage to the mother church, which might be the cathedral or the main church in the area.
Bradford Cathedral
It was often an occasion for family reunions. Children as young as ten often left home to go into service or become apprentices. They weren't often given holidays and so rarely saw their families. However, servants and apprentices were given the day off work to travel to their mother church and as they walked along the lanes, they picked wild flowers to give to their own mothers. And so, it is thought, the tradition of giving flowers on Mothering Sunday began.
Daffodils by Annie Spratt
The Anglican church has set readings for the different Sundays of the year and the Epistle for the fourth Sunday in Lent speaks of Jerusalem as the Mother of us all, whilst the Gospel reading for the day is the feeding of the 5,000. Hence the name Refreshment Sunday, a day on which the fasting rules of Lent are relaxed and Simnel Cake is sometimes served. Although, the cake has a much closer association with Easter  these days. Other names for the day are Laetares (rejoice) Sunday and Rose Sunday.

How did it become the celebration we know today?Well, by the early 20th century, Mothering Sunday traditions were becoming less and less important in England, much to the dismay of Constance Penwick-Smith, a vicar's daughter from Nottinghamshire. She was inspired by the establishment of the officially recognised American Mother's Day celebrated in May, which had been brought about by the campaigning of Anna Jarvis after the death of her own mother in 1905. 

Constance wrote a book called The Revival of Mothering Sunday in 1920. Along with her friend Ellen Porter, she established a Mothering Sunday movement and revived the special traditions of the day in the UK and across the British Empire. The revived Mothering Sunday celebrations focussed more on motherhood than the mother church and was encouraged by the Girl Guide and Boy Scout movements. Constance aimed to take the observance of Mothering Sunday beyond the confines of the Anglican church and she obviously succeeded as the day is now celebrated widely, within both the religious community and secular society alike.

Happy Exploring!

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Friday, 23 February 2018

Logbook or Lapbook?

If you have already used Picture Book Explorers, you will know that the pack suggests that you keep a Logbook of your child's work. Sometimes, you may prefer to make a lapbook instead. What's the difference?

Well, a Logbook is a more compact means of storage, with a single A4 spiral bound notebook being perfect for the job of containing half a dozen or more units. All the minibooks, maps, flags, artwork, photographs can easily fit in. The timeline and any notebooking pages will need to be trimmed down. Work can be stored either in five different sections that correspond to the five daily sections suggested in the topic packs, or each book can have it's own section, rather like a diary of a continuous learning journey :)

Some of the Picture Book Explorers project packs lend themselves to creating a lapbook more easily than others. PBE ~ The Tale of Jemima Puddle-duck was created with a lapbook in mind :)
But what about the topic packs that have more of a mix of notebooking pages and minibooks, like Dogger, for instance? Can you still make a lapbook? Yes, of course. You may have to be a little more creative, making simple fold minibooks from coloured paper, or folding the notebooking pages in half or into quarters to create a little folded booklet. Children can write or draw labels to stick on the uppermost section to add titles to their self-made booklets. You may want to add extension flaps for artwork so that it doesn't have to be folded. All this adds to the personalised, tailor-made education that your child is receiving from you :)

Younger children may find lapbooks a little less daunting to complete, whereas older children may enjoy the continuity of a Logbook. My daughter certainly enjoyed her first Logbook with its five tabbed sections. She labelled the tabs with the subjects covered over the five days of each lit-based unit study. She was a little older than the suggested age range and was preparing to move down the separate-subject road that leads to exams. My son, however, prefers the continuous learning-journey-diary approach for keeping a record of his Picture Book Explorers adventures. When he was younger, he loved his single book lapbooks and was so proud to show them to friends and family. 

So, lapbooks or Logbooks? Which do you prefer?     

Friday, 16 February 2018

Picture Book Explorers ~ Tabby McTat

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler are a winning team, responsible for some of the most well-known and best-loved UK children's books. Tabby McTat is a lovely book about a busker's cat who loses his owner and finds him again. It's so easy to use the book as a springboard into learning with it's delightful story and colourful artwork.

The Picture Book Explorers ~ Tabby McTat is full of hands-on experiential educational activities for different learning styles that can be used to fit many different HE philosophies.
 Children can write songs, learn about rhyme, make an ink pen from a feather, create artwork in the style of Axel Scheffler, explore the science of sound, make a guitar, explore maths through music and money and make a regional dish. There are maps, worksheets, a timeline, flashcards, minibooks and fact sheets for families who enjoy paper-based learning  :)

As with all Picture Book Explorers unit studies, full instructions are given for all the activities and all necessary printables and information are included. The project pack leaves scope for discussion, expansion and individualisation. There are activities for all abilities and ages within the suggested range of 5 to 10, but you can easily adapt the activities for tag-along under 5s and over 10s. Under 5s may need more support and over 10s can set about the task of doing their own research and extending the information available in the pack :)

A selection of pages from Picture Book Explorers ~ Tabby McTat

Happy Exploring!

Friday, 2 February 2018

Black Dog

Have you checked out the new resources in my catalogue?
The suggested age range for Picture Book Explorers ~ Black Dog is 5 to 10 years old. It’s
one of the smaller PBEs and is part of a series with a focus on the science of weather.
The book, Black Dog by Levi Pinfold, is beautifully illustrated. The level of detail in the
pictures of the Hope family home kept my son engaged for ages.
We did all the activities in the pack for testing purposes, but you can pick and choose which
ones suit your family best. We had a great time learning about British folklore as one of the
activities and my son wrote his own Black Dog poem after reading the original folk song.
(Links to the original lyrics are in the pack.) Making paint out of egg yolk was definitely his
favourite activity

Instructions for these activities and many more are included in the pack.

I have to say that we were very lucky because it snowed at the perfect time for this pack,
but please don’t let lack of snow put you off exploring this fabulous book. There are other,
year-round science activities and the snow related maths can be done at any time of year.
Currently, this pack is available for the bargain price of £2 on my website. Keep checking
back for the next four Picture Book Explorers in this new weather science series.
I'd love to hear about your child’s favourite activity in Picture Book Explorers packs 👩 

Monday, 1 January 2018

Happy New Year

Here's wishing you all a happy and prosperous new year.

Branch Out World has gone from strength to strength in 2017 with the resources now available on my lovely (nearly) new website, Educents, TeachersPayTeachers and Currclick.

I'm very happy to announce that there will be four brand new Picture Book Explorers packs and a brand new Let's Explore Topic Pack available in January. Watch this space!

Finally, I would just like to say thank you to all my lovely customers and supporters.
I couldn't do it without you 😊

Happy Exploring!

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Let's Explore Earthquakes Topic Pack

We've had great fun this last couple of weeks testing out the new Let's Explore Earthquakes Topic Pack.

Boykin is 12 and has learnt a little about earthquakes in the past from the news and from workshops we've attended. Consequently, some of the information in the pack was revision, but most of it was new, thus helping to both consolidate and build on his previous knowledge.

The suggested schedule breaks the learning adventure down into bite-size chunks and short lessons (a la Charlotte Mason). This means that concentration doesn't wane; your child is fully engaged and real learning takes place.

The 13 minibooks will help your child to record and order his project, whilst the 11 hands-on activities will cement the topic for them, creating happy memories of your family's learning journey.

Happy Exploring!