HALLFOLK OR VILLAGER - Which would you be?

Discussions about the Stonewylde Series of books

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Postby Beantighe » Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:05 am

That's a lovely idea, Fliss, and you're right - inner city children seem to have hardly any idea of the natural world around them when they're surrounded by buildings and city streets. It's such a shame, and I think what you're doing is brilliant, because who else is going to teach them about the flora and fauna of the country where they live? They need to be taught a love of nature which will hopefully last them for life.

Is it possible these days to take the children on nature walks, or maybe to a park to hunt for minibeasts? We did all that when I was at the little village school, and it had a profound effect on me, because I still remember those walks with pleasure. Another thing the children could do is tree bark rubbings (put a sheet of paper on the tree trunk, and then rub over it with wax crayon). Then they could learn to recognise different trees by their bark, which is often quite difficult to do in winter when they are leafless.

xxx
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Postby Sorcha » Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:54 am

Carprimulgidae wrote:
Sorcha wrote:Yep. uploaded my first photo!! do not need Ebany any more to do it for me!! 8) 8) 8)


Poor Ebany, now Sorcha can do it on here own you are redundant, dont worry so am I :?

:lol:

:wink:


[color=olive]There are plenty of jobs for you two in the Jack ( sweeping floors, carrying heavy beer barrels, putting faery's into Yule-trees etc.!!!) and at the Gathering as well , so don't worry Carp and Ebany!!! 8) 8) :twisted: :lol:
Still try to make you into our storyteller Carp 8) 8) 8) 8) :wink:

My color does not seem to work anymore in this thread, just think olive! :? :(
Last edited by Sorcha on Wed Dec 10, 2008 12:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Sorcha » Wed Dec 10, 2008 12:12 pm

Beantighe wrote:That's a lovely idea, Fliss, and you're right - inner city children seem to have hardly any idea of the natural world around them when they're surrounded by buildings and city streets. It's such a shame, and I think what you're doing is brilliant, because who else is going to teach them about the flora and fauna of the country where they live? They need to be taught a love of nature which will hopefully last them for life.

Is it possible these days to take the children on nature walks, or maybe to a park to hunt for minibeasts? We did all that when I was at the little village school, and it had a profound effect on me, because I still remember those walks with pleasure. Another thing the children could do is tree bark rubbings (put a sheet of paper on the tree trunk, and then rub over it with wax crayon). Then they could learn to recognise different trees by their bark, which is often quite difficult to do in winter when they are leafless.

xxx



My kids are both big city kids but I try to take them out in the country as much as I can! In the summer we usually go camping at forestry camp grounds with no electricity, only basics and they love being out in nature, building huts, looking for stones and shells from which we make a small altar next to our tent. We also go Midsummer camping so they become acquainted with paganism. So far I managed; not to make them into computer zombies but into kids who can play with sticks and stones, but I see loads of kids around who have no idea that a tree is a living being! :? :? :shock: :shock: :( :( :(

I think it is our job as pagans to teach these kids as well!! Kit is doing a great job in her books but as a teacher you could also do your thing! I suspect Rifka's teacher is a pagan, but she is not out of the broom closet! ( I do not think it would be a good idea to come out of the broom closet when you are a teacher, specially in her case with Moroccan kids in the class as well!) But the stories she reads the kids and the craft work she does with them is very pagan! She works a lot with nature and natural materials and often take the kids outside to show them things!! I am really happy with her as teacher!!!
:P :P :P :P
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Postby kit » Wed Dec 10, 2008 3:43 pm

One of the sad things about the improvements to schools (and there are many improvements I believe) is that the National Curriculum is very prescriptive and there isn't always room for individual teachers to teach things they're passionate about. When I was teaching in primary schools, I saw (in the earlier days before Labour invested so heavily in education) many very lazy and bored teachers who'd get by with doing the absolute minimum. When the National Curriculum came out in its full glory, teachers became far more accountable for what they actually taught and covered. Up until then, a bad teacher could really get by with doing very little other than keeping the kids quiet with endless worksheets and text book exercises. The good, inspired teachers of course made their children's days full of interest and excitement.

So once the NC was adopted, reporting and accountability tightened up etc, it did mean that children were generally given a fuller and higher standard of education, but it also meant there was far less scope for the inspired teacher to take children out on walks (don't even mention Health and Safety, which must be the worst straight-jacket of all) and use his or her own initiative. So much too depends on the school's ethos. Some schools insist on all sorts of checking up, paperwork, plans etc. That's fine if you teach like that, but I found it very hard to cope with. I wanted to do different things with my children, read them books and stories for inspiration and follow this up with art, creative writing, music, dance etc - and it's very hard, if the school is one which does things "by the book", to get away with this. I used to bend all sorts of rules to cover up what I was doing. But it's very difficult, and being a maverick teacher is risky! Inspections can uncover uncomfortable issues such as why you read "The Mermaid of Zennor" to your class, and then spent the whole of the next two days doing a massive wall display with the children about it, including their own pieces of writing, poems, paintings, craft work etc and made up a little play with their own music, when you should have been teaching "how to write in the passive voice, using conjunctions, finding the mean and median, etc". :oops: :oops: :oops:

I can completely understand, Sorcha, why your teacher can't come out of the broom closet because I was in the same position and you have to be so very careful. I don't know if the NC is as prescriptive in the Netherlands as over here, but it really is so hard for teachers to bring magic to their lessons, in every sense.

I used to have a nature table and tried to keep my classes' eyes open to the beauty of nature. This was in Dorset - it must be so difficult in an inner-city school. I also ran a gardening club after school and we'd plant bulbs and seeds and maintained the school pond etc. But it's hard work doing all this extra stuff, and sometimes you're just so exhausted by the day-to-day stuff of teaching that you just can't find the energy for the extras - and that's assuming that you even want to. You can also get criticised by other teachers who clearly feel guilty that you're putting in far more than they are.

I really think that there should either be more scope and leeway for extra-curricular things like walks, foraging, story-reading etc - or else a new part of the curriculum that covers just this - appreciation of our beautiful world. Unfortunately the curriculum is so crowded now that something would have to give. With the constant harping on in the media about falling standards and children unable to read and add up (some kids' brains just aren't wired for this I reckon!) I doubt very much if any government would be brave enough to sacrifice "proper" subjects for a "soft" one like nature.

It is such a shame, and as M.Poppins said before, we'll have to launch a Stonewylde initiative! We could build a Stonewylde-mobile that visits schools and inspires children! And teachers!

Phew - climbing down off my soapbox now! But this is a subject very dear to my heart. Sorry!
Visit the Stonewylde website at www.stonewylde.com and my blog on www.moongazygirl.blogspot.com
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Postby wherethewildrosesgrow » Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:17 pm

couldn't agree with you more Kit -the NC is churning out "educated" kids who are really only taught how to pass exams (gross generalisation I know).
My eldest was marked down, criticised and admonished when he was taking GCSE's for "asking too many questions about things he doesn't need to know at this stage, and which are too advanced for the exams" - I was apalled that an supposedly educated and intelligent person would put the stoppers on an enthusiastic and enquiring young mind :shock: The entire education system drives me nuts (with notable exceptions both in staff and attitudes) my middle son is a school refuser - he's non academic and has many behavioural problems, but has many strengths in other areas - and his father (who is a teacher) won't agree to me home educating him, so the threat of fines, court and prison hover over my head, simply because the law makes no exceptions to the fact that all children must receive an education, (and obviously because his father is a blinkered ***********)

I took my youngest out for a walk on sunday by the river - the frost was beautiful, we found badger sets, fox poo(which he dissected with twigs :shock: ) saw a pair of goldcrests, found old willow trees with magical cleft trunks which he climbed, took photos of frosty leaves, found fairy lichens, talked about life and stuff - that's what I call education :D off my soap box too now - also very close to my heart - Daddy woz a teecher too!
where the willow weeps tears of diamond
and the oak bleeds pearls of dew
I have often dreamed there....
have you?

http://wherethewildrosesgrow.co.uk
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Postby sea sprite » Wed Dec 10, 2008 9:29 pm

That's precisely the reason why I didn't complete my PGCE. I just found the whole NC so restrictive and uninspiring, although as Kit says, it does ensure that teachers do actually do some teaching :lol:

We had a nature table at my primary school and we could bring things in to put on it, ie old birds' nests, conkers, shells, flowers, etc. I like the ethos of the Steiner schools, although they are few and far between and there are fees to pay. There's a Steiner playgroup in my area, although I would need to pass my driving test to get to it and I think there's a waiting list.

It must be so hard for teachers and children in cities. My primary school was next to a dairy farm :lol: I like the idea of home educating, but I think in reality I would find it very hard work, although I know that it doesn't mean that just the child's parent has to educate them all day, every day.

Robin already seems to be fascinated by nature. He loves flowers and is enthralled by the moon. He must be moongazy :lol: He IS a Cancerian...

I really dislike all the testing that goes on in schools. I worked as a teaching assistant for 2 years and I felt so sorry for the children who don't do well in tests. In the first class I worked with I worked with the same group of children each day, so they were used to my support. However, when the SATS came round they still wanted my help and I wasn't able to offer it-only the bare minimum that was allowed.

I saw on the news yesterday that traditional subjects such as History, Geography and English will be scrapped to make way for subjects with really bizarre and long winded titles. It's bad enough that Maths and English are now 'Numeracy' and 'Literacy'... :roll: :evil:
sea sprite x

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Postby Beantighe » Thu Dec 11, 2008 12:31 am

I'm self-educated too, to a great extent.

My schooldays were blighted by consistent bullying for very many years, and it's impossible to learn and concentrate when all you can think of is getting away to be by yourself for some peace and respite.

Also, I can still think of several teachers who I particulaly resented, both because of their teaching methods (or lack of them) and for their injustice, although in fairness I have to add that there were one or two who were inspiring, like my first History teacher, my German teacher, and my Music teacher.

Exams were always my downfall. I used to suffer from such chronic nerves; I'd be sleepless, feel sick to my stomach and get the shakes before exams - I just simply would go to pieces. It's a wonder I managed to pass 4 'O' levels. But then it wasn't like today, where kids regularly take up to 12 subjects; by the time we'd been allowed to give up two subjects, one in the 4th and one in the 5th year (I gave up Maths and History, simply because of bad teachers) and then we were compelled to give up other subjects (for instance I couldn't take German as well as Art) and then there were Boys' and Girls' subjects - boys took Science and girls took Biology; boys did woodwork and metalwork and girls did Cookery and Needlework - in the end we were all left with 6 subjects to take, out of which I passed 4. The ones I failed were Geography and Biology, both of which I hated anyway.

But one thing I had loved ever since I was little, was books and reading. It was wonderful to have the freedom to be able to choose books on subjects that interested me, and of course, reading is good for the vocabulary and spelling, which I had always been good at, and the stress of having to sit exams was completely removed, and with it the panic I always suffered, so what I read was better absorbed.

Unfortunately, I found my schooldays to be a traumatic and very distressing experience, one I was utterly relieved to leave behind.

On the basis of that, Steiner schools sound wonderful.
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Postby Sorcha » Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:05 am

I have been very lucky to find a good school here in Amsterdam and despite the waiting list both my kids were admitted. The school they go to is a Montessori school and in some ways they are still very old fashioned. The children have to clean their own spaces and take care of the plants, greet the teacher by shaking hands etc. helping the younger kids with schoolwork. They also have a school vegetable garden where they are taught to grow vegetables and flowers. They do this in 7th grade ( Montessori has 8 grades) so last year Kaspar came home with all sorts of vegetables and flowers. He brought me a whole bunch of Marigold that I dried and used to make into a tincture to use for bumps and bruises.

They do have time for themes and Rifka for instance had the theme "vulcanoes" a couple of weeks ago. She made this wonderful volcano out of clay and painted the different layers of magma inside. They always have a seasonal table and despite the fact they are in the big city they pay a lot of attention to teaching about nature. But like most schools it is becoming more and more difficult here in the Netherlands as well. They only thing that is important is achievement and children are tested since kindergarten. Montessori was always against this but now it is made obligatory by the government here.

I am also very sad that there hardly seems to be time for History, Biology and Geography lessons. We used to have these lessons in the class and they were always my favourite. Specially history. Now they can only do these subjects if they have finished their task for the week. They get a task to do so many pages of maths, spelling, Dutch language, reading etc. and when they have finished this all they can do the other subjects. Luckily my son is reasonably fast with finishing his tasks so he can do history, biology and geography, the subjects he also loves best. And I try to teach him here at home as well! I think it is a large lack of education not to know history and geography!! We at least have to learn where we come from and where we live!! Otherwise we become like most Americans who think that Holland is the capital of Amsterdam, think that Europe is a country and think that the Native Americans were the bad guys! :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:
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Postby Sorcha » Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:36 am

I have added this link for the Dutch reading people here. They are haiku's ( short poems) made by the kids from the school of my kids. The poems are about the 4 elements and some of them are really pagan!


Like this one:



"De stroming der goden

De stroming van de hemel

De lucht is heerlijk."

Thomas

Movement of the Gods

Movement of the heavens

The Air is wonderful



Or this one:



Vuur, lucht en water

rood, blauw, allemaal iets moois

maar ook een gevaar.

Yamila

Fire , Air and Water

Red, Blue, all beautiful

But also a danger




And I love this one:


De aarde was niets

De aarde was vroeger alleen

Toen was het rustig

Jelmer

The Earth was nothing

The Earth used to be by itself

Then it was peaceful


Anyway; this is the link:

http://www.obs-winterkoninkje.nl/devier ... ichten.htm



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Postby Carprimulgidae » Thu Dec 11, 2008 10:07 pm

Well I started reading thsi the other day & thought I would reply later that night, it didnt happen then I was too busy & forgot now it has grown with you all adding a bit so here is my two penny worth :lol:

School for me was a bit of a bore, the only lessons I like were PE, wood work & metal work. I did come 3rd in maths once but it must have been when there were only tree in the class :lol: how i did that i never know to this day. PE t6he teacher didnt like the cold so every week when we looked forward to being out in the fresh air he would have us inside :roll: i can count on one hand the times we went out. wood word was great & 1st in that every year and metal work the same, i was to become a craftsman it was all mapped out for me.
I couldnt wait to leave school and start work my first pay packet was £3 and I had to spen £5 on tools so i was doomed to be broke for the word go :lol: the next 5 years was spent doing my apprenticship then i moved on. Looking back at the learing in school i realised how much the teachers didnt know & most of them couldnt change a light bulb but i suppose it was all good fun at the time, we had one teacher that used to play drums and would practice all day on his desk (how were we suppose to work with that going on) we could get away with murder. he was so laid back (or lazy) we used to fill the register in and my report looked good with no missed lessons or days off, every friday we had french :idea: that was my half day :lol: as a result i know know four words of french. one for each year i was in school, my friday afternoon was spent on farms bird nesting and learning so much more than i ever did in a class room, i was in my oils.

we had a school garden and a keen new teacher that was young and full of helping us kids, we all got on well with him and dug his garden and weeded it then lost interest when the higher ups decided we were wasting our time so our gardening was spent in a classroom with him trying his best to tell us about animals we already knew about & ended up telling him. A big no no was country dancing :shock: me dancing not on your life. never have & never will but they tried hard and we had to prance around in pairs & i always ended up with the same girl. I used to see her as she still lives in the same village but she been ill & havent seen her in years. I remember chasing her down the road with a pigs tail and she used to remind me about that :lol:

There was a traveler gypsy whatever you want in my class too, he was never in school so it took a few years to get to know him but when we did break the ice he showed me the most Beautiful goldfinches I ever seen, how he got them he would never say and only showed me, these days he would have been locked up but I knew he had wild ones, it was part of his culture. He could hardly read a page when he was 14 but knew so much more and went on to run his own bussiness while the teachers just plodded on :lol:

I have learned so much more after school, it wasnt a waste of time I did learn a few things and spent hours watching the drams come up and go around a circuit before going back down under ground, them were the days with no H&S and the men would get you a drink or sandwich as long as you were out of the way safe you could site and watch it was great.

Oh I could rant on all night but what would i say next time :lol:
Leave nothing but foot prints, Take nothing but pictures )o(

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Kids' stuff

Postby cornmother » Fri Dec 12, 2008 9:18 am

Loved the haikus, Sorcha.

I really liked the one from Sofie (well, I would, wouldn't I? as it was about the sea!). Curiously, it almost sounds better in English:

Denderend, klotsend
Spattend, botsend woeste zee
Mag ik met je mee?

Smashing, dashing,
Splashing, crashing wild sea
May I join you?
(not sure if that last line is translated correctly, my Dutch is very rusty!)

But thanks for posting.

Prettige weekend!
(Have a nice weekend)

CM
Joy, Health, Love and Peace
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Postby Sorcha » Sun Dec 14, 2008 5:48 pm

Weekend is almost over, but I did not read this until now!! Thanks CM!!! :P :P :P Hope you had a great weekend as well!! Yesterday I went to the Midwinterfair in Archeon with my kids!! Had a great time, will post about this in another thread because we are already frightfully of topic here! :roll: :roll: :oops:
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