More geometry – Sacred or not

Here are some follow-up ideas on doodling with the Vesica Piscis.

The PDF contains two A4 sheets.  The first guides the student into creating a whole range of shapes within the basic pattern they drew last time.  It’s a lovely way to explore the relationships between shapes and lends itself to creative colouring/ shading in.  So many different patterns (2D and 3D) emerge, depending on how the patterns are shaded.

The dreary ‘properties of two dimensional shapes’ taught in school become self-evident to children as they explore the patterns they have created.

Infinite, Optical Deception, IllusionThe second sheet explores the tribar.

There are hints – but not instructions – on how to draw it.

Finally, children are invited to ponder on whether this very solid-looking structure could be created in three dimensions, and if not, why not?

Branching off into an exploration of MC Escher‘s prints would be a great direction to take, as would a discussion of dimensions and the nature of reality!

Here’s the link to the sheets >>>>>Triangles and more plus tribar


basic skills  creative expression  philosophy and spirituality  exploration and construction


Geometry – as sacred or mundane as you wish

Basic Skills  Philosophy and Spirituality  Exploration and Construction  Creative Expression

Zirkel, Ruler, Writing UtensilsHere is some more of the geometrical exploration I’m currently doing with a 12 year old student.  It follows on from the ideas I published towards the end of the ‘Circles’ post a week or two back.

‘Sacred Geometry’ is a mindset, rather than a particular branch of learning.  The patterns inherent in mathematics are the same patterns we find all around us, whether they occur naturally in Nature or as a result of human creation (which, when you think about it, is no less natural).  They are beautiful and fun to explore.  So depending on your child/class’s inclination, exploring the vesica piscis can be a journey into the divine or a mathematical investigation.  Personally, I like to allow them to open up to both.

Mature, Colorful, Pattern, CircleThe young person I’m aiming this at is currently home educated, but will probably return to school at some point, so I’m trying to keep one foot in the school curriculum camp.  In that way, the transition will be as easy as possible.  At the same time, it’s good to provide the freedom to play around with shape and to make personal discoveries – something that is often squeezed out by other pressures in school.

Here is a link to the PDF of a couple of pages on constructing and exploring the pattern >>>vesica piscis 1 and 2

permaculture adventures

More inspiration and wonder from Carly…



We have embarked on a wonderful permaculture adventure, with the notion that we will be able to sustain ourselves with organically grown fruit and vegetables. This exciting process, has the whole family involved. The food forest is well on the way, temporarily looking much the same as large vegetable patches at the moment, but will eventually grow out and beyond the boxes that contain them, into an expansive incredible food forest to rummage ourselves through. We have planted out an orchard, with apple varieties, pears, nectarines, oranges, lemons, olives, cherries and plums and will grow a field of white clover, radish, and Lucerne to support and nurture our young fruit trees. The children are taking it all very seriously, eagerly watching for growth and new life as it appears, and learning the names of fruit that we have never seen before like pepino melon, which is apparently wonderful to eat with ice…

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Spelling Game

IMG_20160511_114954Basic Skills

As I mentioned in the dyslexia post, spelling (for children who have moved beyond the simple stage of putting sounds together to make short words) can be made easier to understand if you show them how to BUILD a word, using a ‘root’ and adding extra bits on the start and/or end of it.

If they can spell port, for example, they can build many other words, such as report, export, porter, importing, importance etc.  It helps to get rid of the fear of spelling ‘big words’.

IMG_20160525_091923 (1)This simple game helps children of about 8 years onwards to develop their spelling skills.

Decorate a box (I used a cardboard snack carton, some left-over emulsion paint and a few stickers) and cut up the root words (2nd link below) and put them inside.

Click on this link for a PDF of the rules for the game >>> Spell Casting.

Click on this one for a PDF of a selection of words to use as roots >>> words for spell casting .

Click here for a PDF of prefixes and suffixes >>> Some Prefixes and suffixes

intentionally moving off the path

Just discovered this amazing post – so full of inspiration and wisdom. Enjoy!


Asperger would often just sit with the children, reading poetry and stories to them from his favourite books. “I don’t want to simply ‘push from the outside’ and give instructions, observing cooly and with detachment,” he said ” Rather, I want to play and talk with the child , all the while looking with open eyes both into the child and into myself, observing the emotions that arise in reaction to everything that occurs in the conversation between the two of us.”

-NeuroTribes, Steve Silberman


This is how i want my children to learn, i want to be the observer not the dictator to their curious and instinctual  minds. I want to watch what they are drawn to, and where they take themselves naturally when provided the space, opportunity and environment to do so. I don’t want them ever to become accustomed to what is perceived as normal or abnormal about…

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Dyslexia and Spelling – a perspective

Woman, Face, Head, Hand, Leave, GlassI’m not getting embroiled in any of the dyslexia debates.  No point – they don’t help.  So what does?

For a start, dyslexia didn’t exist in Shakespeare’s time.  That’s because what mattered then was making the meaning clear. If words weren’t always spelled the same, it didn’t matter.  William Shakespeare himself, the greatest English writer ever, spelt his name 5 different ways!  (And we still have options with a few words… spelled/ spelt, for example.)
Many peoples have invaded our country and brought their own languages with them: Celtic (Celts), Latin (Romans), Anglo-Saxon (Scandinavians and Germans), Norse (Vikings) and French (Normans).  That makes English a ridiculously difficult language to master.
In more recent times, we have also adopted words from other countries, e.g. bungalow (Indian), spaghetti (Italian), okay (American), salsa (Spanish), rendezvous (French), ski (French Swiss) and angst (German).

There ARE spelling rules, but most of them get broken sometimes.

Homework, Girl, Education, StudyingAll of the above is a minor annoyance for those lucky enough to be able to memorise the appearance of most words and reproduce them accurately.  It’s a total pain for those with the ruthlessly logical mind of a dyslexic speller, who attempts to construct each word – based on the rules s/he’s been taught – from scratch every time.  That explains why, in just one passage, our young dyslexic may have written byootifol, beootyfull and beeyootifw.  If we didn’t expect ‘correct’ or consistent spelling, but instead accepted clear, logical and highly inventive attempts which can easily be read, there wouldn’t be a problem.

So what can we do to help, other than teach them to word process and use a spell checker efficiently, of course?

  1.  Do teach phonics.  The typical dyslexic mind (if there is such a thing) is great at building and constructing.  They’ll pick up basic phonic patterns perfectly.  Just don’t expect them to be able to differentiate between ur/ er/ ir  when they all make the same sound!  If you live and spell in the UK and haven’t yet discovered Sparklebox’s wonderful free range of photocopiable phonic games and resources, go here now >>> Sparklebox link.  Be selective, though.  It’s easy to get through a whole cartridge of printer ink when you get carried away!
  2.  Take off the pressure.  The more the dyslexic child is told their honest effort is ‘wrong’, the more self-esteem and confidence will suffer, and the more they will want to stop writing altogether.
  3. Reversing letters is really common.  Again, it’s fairly arbitrary.  In some cultures they read from right to left or top to bottom!  Make a long, thin strip of card with an arrow pointing left to right and the words ‘this way’ printed above it.  (You need the words, or they could just turn the arrow upside down!)
  4. Praise phonically correct attempts and all the letters they’ve got right in a word.  Then show them the bits that need tweaking.  These kids don’t have amnesia.  Sooner or later they will learn the way more and more words are spelled.
  5. Read to them and with them – anything from novels to a cereal packet, to help them see how our crazy language works.
  6. Be a scribe for them.  Imagine having a wonderful story, poem or idea locked inside and not being able to put it down on paper.  Let them dictate their passage, type it up for them and print it out so they can read and illustrate their words.  It’s a huge morale-booster.
  7. When they start freaking out about spelling long words, show them that almost all of these can be constructed from the smaller building blocks they’ve already learned.  There are two types: compound words and roots-with-extra-bits.  Teach both and see how they improve.

Compound Words:  These are just two simple little words stuck together:  goal + post = goalpost,  pea + nut = peanut,  pop + corn = popcorn.  Let them hunt these words down and see how easy it is to spell them.  Have them make collections or challenge them to see how many they can find using ‘hat’ or ‘rain’, for example.

Roots-and-extra-bits:  Again, Sparklebox has plenty of resources for adding prefixes and suffixes >>>  Here are some.   Prefixes are the easy ones – you just slap them in front of a word.  Once a child gets that, they’ll have no problem adding dis and ap to the root word point and suddenly it will be dead easy to spell disappointingly with double letters in the right places.

Here is an example of one way to make word construction accessible and fun. >>> Root word point  (Basic Skills)

Box, Open, Taking Out, ContainerAbove all, let your child know that you are aware of what a gift the dyslexic mind can be, once you take it away from the classroom and set it free.  They are true ‘out of the box’ people and will continually surprise you with their originality and creativity.  Have fun learning with them 🙂