Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Celebrating Ostara

I think technically the spring equinox was yesterday, but we couldn't celebrate yesterday so we've celebrated Ostara today instead.

We read a lot about the history and symbolism of Ostara traditions, read the myth of Persephone and the Underworld again, read about the forms the pagan Goddess and God take at this festival and read about how the Christian church hijacked Ostara and its symbols of eggs, rabbits etc to become Easter.

Emily had fun blowing six eggs and blow painting them with food colouring via a straw. They're now in her special bowl on the altar under the tree.
Then she decorated lots of polystyrene eggs to go on our seasonal tree, which we also decorated with peacock feathers to honour the birds that begin to return to our lives at this time of year.
Since Imbolc, we've had on the altar some twigs from various trees and bushes in the garden. They all sprouted buds and leaves and one of them had rooted in the water too. Today, in honour of the Goddess, we planted all of them, using rooting gel for the ones that hadn't yet rooted.
Finally, Emily made some really scrummy Springtime Strawberry Bread.

Yesterday I was out all day taking Grandad to two separate hospital appointments, so Emily got a day off and spent it playing and making more fashion designs.

Monday, we started properly on our new curriculum. I abandoned the idea of having a day for science, a day for geography etc and decided it would be much better to have a little bit of everything, every day. So we started with maths, consolidating time telling again. Then Emily did the first half of the first lesson from History Odyssey, looking at the first nomads-turned-farmers in the Fertile Crescent. She wrote a summary in her history binder and filled in pertinent dates on the beautiful classical history timeline that came with it. While she was doing that, I read to her from Story of the World. After lunch, we continued with the Trail Guide to World Geography, this time doing a world mapping activity, with Emily having to identify and outline the seven continents on a world map, and add in the equator and the Arctic and Antarctic circle. We also studied map projections and Emily drew the world onto a blown up balloon before cutting the balloon and trying to turn it into a rectangular map, noting the distortions that occurred.

For science, we started on the Great Science Adventure space project book. It's quite fiddly, making little flap books for all sorts of things, but it was fun. Emily made a very posh looking vocabularly book where she wrote the definitions of astronomy and constellation, and she also made a question and answer book about why the constellations appear to rotate. Best of all, she got to play on my Dad's Sky Map astronomy software which he's kindly copied onto our laptop for us. She had an absolute ball with that, setting it to the correct date, time and place and finding her favourite constellations (on screen, not outside on this occasion as it was still light!) and stars. She got to grips with it very quickly and was soon setting it into time lapse mode to see everything rotating, and changing the place, dates and times to find some of the constellations not yet visible or not visible ever from here.

[added later - forgot!] We also started our Cambridge Latin course on Monday. Loved, loved, loved that. Emily picked it up really fast and I was hugely impressed with her ability to work words out. For instance, she worked out without even a second thought that the "scribit" in the sentence "Pater in tablino scribit" meant writing "because it's connected to words like scribe, scribble and script". We've got the DVD (ooops, sorry, "E Learning Resource" to give it its posh title) to go with the Cambridge course and that was excellent too. We'll be doing a bit of latin on every "normal" day, and I think we'll do rather well with that.

So, it's been a succesful few days for education, at least.

However, we've spent a lot of today in tears of anger and frustration thanks to the bank, yet again. This time, they decided to bounce two £200 cheques yesterday (and apply £70 charges, of course)....even though we were thousands of pounds in credit at the time. It's just beyond belief. Plus, on screen, our account balance says £x....but under available funds, where it has *always* until now said whatever our account balance is plus any available overdraft, now it says that "available" is less than £500, despite the "balance" being thousands. I have written and faxed with undisguised disgust, and I also telephoned. The woman on the phone adopted an "of course we're perfectly entitled to do this, you stupid customer, you just don't have a clue how the system works" attitude, which presumably will be their entire defence. The stress this is putting us all under is incredible. We're just waiting for them to get back to us in writing before we can take it any further, as the ombudsman can't intervene until we have their final position letter. Which, I'm certain, they are stringing out as long as possible.


IndigoShirl said...

What lovely pictures.....:0)

BBs, Shirl

Nikki said...

Thank you!