{Daughter Diaries} #46

Daughter Diaries 46 | The Open Home

Dear Blossom, so far you’re making my job as a home educator much easier. You’re eager to learn, quick to help out and basically teaching yourself to read and write – thanks for that! You’re a joy to be around sweetheart and I’m pleased we get to spend our days together, I shall treasure these early years of no pressure learning forever. Dear Bubbles, you sure had us worried for a minute there. Hospital stays with your three year old are never fun, especially when nasty tubes are involved. It did the trick though and 24 hours later you were home and smiling and delighted to be back with your big sister. So thankful to have my noisy, cheeky and contrary little limpet back, even if you do drive me crazy sometimes! Dearest Daughters, in sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow, I will always be right there (probably getting no sleep and a crick in my neck, but I’ll still be right there, because it’s what we mother’s do!).

Anyone else ready for the winter coughs, colds and bugs to be over and done with?


{Winter Nature Study}

Winter Nature Study 2018 | The Open Home

“Why be indoors when you can rightly be without.” – Charlotte Mason

Each week we kickstart our homeschool week with Nature Explorers on a Monday morning and it’s always one of the highlights of our week. As a group we’re using Exploring Nature with Children as a guide and I also use this curriculum at home to inspire my library withdrawals and craft activities.

This term we’ve braved the cold winds on our nature walks, we’ve got our hands dirty as we dug for worms and we’ve got technical as we measured the age of trees. We took a closer look at the winter sky and moon and also revisited the tree we chose back in autumn.

We even started a Calendar of Firsts and a Phenology Wheel in our nature journals and ended the season with a rare Guernsey snow day!

Here are some of the snap shots:

Winter Nature Study 2018 | The Open Home
Watching the sea foam frolic in the wild winter wind!
Winter Nature Study 2018 | The Open Home
Rock pooling in the winter is a favourite nature activity of ours.
Winter Nature Study 2018 | The Open Home
Dramatic winter skies are best observed down on the beach.
Winter Nature Study 2018 | The Open Home
Winter pond study with early daffodils at Silbe Nature Reserve.
Winter Nature Study 2018 | The Open Home
Trudging through the beautifully muddy St. Peters countryside.
Winter Nature Study 2018 | The Open Home
Mother-Daughter nature journaling in action.
Winter Nature Study 2018 | The Open Home
The first sign of Spring, Candlemas Bells, more commonly known as Snowdrops.
Winter Nature Study 2018 | The Open Home
First family snow day!
Winter Nature Study 2018 | The Open Home
Snowmen and snow fights!

What do you enjoy most about nature in the Winter?

{February Gratitudes}

Gratitudes February 2018 | The Open Home
For memories in the making and my last look back.
Gratitudes February 2018 | The Open Home
For island life and exploring up close.
Gratitudes February 2018 | The Open Home
For the end of an era and a hope for the future.
Gratitudes February 2018 | The Open Home
For the wind in your hair and the thrill of life.
Gratitudes February 2018 | The Open Home
For slow starts and my sweet little yogis.
Gratitudes February 2018 | The Open Home
For quality time and the Spring before the snow.


These are the inserts from our gratitude journal during February, reminding us that God is good and we are blessed.

What have you been thankful for lately?

Our Flexible Learning Lifestyle

Our Flexible Learning Lifestyle | The Open Home

Well if you hadn’t quite clued on to the fact that we are home educating our girls then this post will hopefully say it loud and clear.


Have been since October 2017 and I’m pleased to say that so far, so good we all seem to be enjoying our new flexible learning lifestyle (as I like to call it).

You may or may not be surprised to hear that home educating is becoming more and more popular in Britain as families for various different reasons decide to educate their children outside of the traditional school system. Living on a small island the home ed community here is of course small, but very much alive and growing.

Our Flexible Learning Lifestyle | The Open Home

I am aware though, that for many of my friends and readers on the island we are in fact the first home educating family that you actually know so many of you of course, have questions about what we do, what’s allowed and whether or not we are crazy. The latter of which is still open to debate.

Snippets of our home educating lifestyle have and will continue to creep into my Daughter Diaries and Gratitude Journal posts from time to time, but I thought I would occasionally do some home ed specific posts to help you understand it all a little more.

I’ve actually been really surprised by the genuine interest and encouragement that has been coming my way. I guess I was mainly expecting blank and confused expressions, tinged with a side of judgement, which I admit I do get from time to time, but I’m pleased to report that the response has been mostly positive.

Our Flexible Learning Lifestyle | The Open Home

Before I share more posts about our home ed lifestyle let me first disclose that I am by no means an expert and this is not a homeschool “how-to” blog. There are many veteran homeschoolers out there with a wealth of information and flashy websites with affiliate links to go with it. I’m not planning to go too deep and wide with my blog posts here, but rather just give you a glimpse into what “school” looks like for us on this tiny island and what led us to home educate in the first place.

My hope is that by sharing a little about our learning lifestyle here that my readers will come to understand two things about home education. Firstly, that it can be a wonderfully enriching educational choice for many families and secondly, that not all homeschoolers are unsociable, tree-hugging, school-hating weirdos – although I’m sure some of us are!

If you have any questions in regard to home educating, particularly on a small island like Guernsey then please leave your questions in the comments and I’ll try my best to answer them in future posts.

What would you like to know about home educating on a small island?

{Books Lately} February 2018

Books Lately | The Open Home

The cold winter months have really fuelled my reading of late as snuggling up with a good book when the weather outside is so cold and blustery is a wonderfully comforting feeling. I usually read a lot more non-fiction than I do fiction, but I’ve had so much fun with fiction over the last couple of months that I’ve set myself the goal of reading one fiction book per month throughout 2018.

Here are some of the fiction books I’ve been reading lately:

A Christmas Carol by Charles DickensBooks Lately January 2018 | The Open Home

Having watched The Muppets version of A Christmas Carol religiously on Christmas Eve for over a decade I decided it was high time I actually read the original book, this copy of which we’ve had sat unread for far too many years. The work of Charles Dickens has always felt a little intimidating to me as I tend to picture incredibly thick books filled with lofty words set against the back drop of bleak Victorian England. A Christmas Carol is a great introduction to the works of Dickens. Firstly, because it’s not too thick. Secondly, because it’s not too bleak and thirdly, because most of us are quite familiar with the festive story the parts with the occasional lofty words are understandable. The illustrations by P.J. Lynch in this publication of the book also entice you to keep reading and there is definitely more to the story than the TV adaptations can include. I felt these extra snippets added a lot of depth and back story to Scrooge’s character and felt a lot more empathy for how the young man became the “miserable, bitter old miser” we often remember him as.

Books Lately January 2018 | The Open HomeLittle Women by Louisa May Alcott

Historical fiction may be my favourite reading genre but somehow it has taken me 30 years to discover the gem that is Little Women. Set during the American Civil War of 1861-1865 this once wealthy family now finds itself rather poor and with Mr March away on the battle field, Mrs March and the two eldest daughters are working to support the family. Jo, our protagonist along with her sisters Meg, Beth & Amy befriend a new neighbour, Laurie and the first part of the book follows their childhood games and war time struggles. The second part of the book follows the various adventures of the sisters as they come of age and find their place in the world. It’s not all love, marriage and babies though, although those do make up some very sweet parts of the story. The book is also full of some very relatable character struggles, as well as the presence of fear, the pain of rejection, and the heartbreak of loss. I think as a mother of just girls this book appealed to me all the more and the scenes of sisterly love, squabbles and unity were particularly sweet to me. I was pretty much hooked from chapter one and in fact a word of warning: Do not read this book when sat in the Departure Lounge of an airport, you may get so wrapped up in the story that you almost miss your flight!

Books Lately January 2018 | The Open HomeA Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers

I read this book a few years ago and enjoyed it immensely, more so now that I am reading it again with my church Core Group. Francine Rivers is well known for her historical fiction with Christian themes, but the stories from this book are actually based on the real women in the Bible that were woven into the genealogy of Jesus; Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and of course, Mary the mother of Jesus. I love how the author can bring so much life and context to even the shortest of passages in the Bible. She really helps you to read the Bible in the culture and context in which it was set, enabling you to rethink the familiar stories you thought you knew so well. I highly recommend this book, as well as Sons of Encouragement by the same author, which is written in a similar style. Both books come with discussion questions at the end of each novella to help you to dig deeper and unpack the stories more.


What have you been reading lately?

{January Gratitudes}

Gratitudes January 2018 | The Open Home
For nose scrunching sweetness and the bravery of toddlers.
Gratitudes January 2018 | The Open Home
For frolicking foam and a beach close to home.
Gratitudes January 2018 | The Open Home
For Mama’s little helper and a snail mailer in the making.
Gratitudes January 2018 | The Open Home
For sunshine on a grey day and the first signs of Spring.
Gratitudes January 2018 | The Open Home
For faith that can move mountains.


These are the inserts from our gratitude journal during January, reminding us that God is good and we are blessed.

What have you been thankful for lately?

{Daughter Diaries} #45

Daughter Diaries 45 | The Open Home

Dear Blossom, January is proving to be a cold and blustery kind of month, but whilst others are hibernating indoors away from the elements you are eager to continue exploring nature together, “just us!” I love you enthusiasm for learning, your wonder of nature and especially your need to refuel with hot chocolate. A girl after my own heart that’s for sure! Dear Bubbles, I’m afraid age comes to us all. You were reluctant to turn three last month, but now that the shock and denial is wearing off you appear to be embracing your new age with real gusto. Being three is not all that bad after all, you finally get to go to play school, will soon start swimming lessons with Daddy and can now also watch The Jungle Book! Wow, you must be a big girl. Dearest Daughters, may this year bring you lots of adventures and many happy memories.

What’s your favourite Disney Film? Our girls have only seen 5, but The Aristocats is a favourite around here.