Day 23 of Homeschooling in the Middle East – Library Treasures and the Tom Tom Crew

Tonight, bar traffic chaos from protests, we hope to see another ‘Spring of Culture’ event from the Tom Tom Crew, an Australian outfit which is described on its website as a, “…fusion of breaks, beats, flips and awe inspiring physical spectacle.” I think it will be quite different from Dan Zanes (I miss them. I want them back already!) so a really nice juxtaposition to show the kids all kinds of performance – in terms both of music and the way artists perform on stage.

Petra and I hit the libraries this morning. Edward stayed behind with Daddy (Friday is a weekend day in the Middle East) because he doesn’t much like library visits; too many sound restrictions and fustiness. He’s a very well-behaved, take-him-anywhere kind of boy but that doesn’t mean he enjoys behaving within such tight strictures.  A really fusty library even makes ME want to start singing and dancing, especially because I feel such joy to be with so many books!

I thought you might be interested to see what we borrowed for the next couple of weeks. It seems  a lot but we devour books together. It seems a homeschooling trademark to raid libraries frequently and with heavy armfuls!

This is what we burdened ourselves down with today 😉

Adapted classics (I don’t know in what way they’re adapted, I’m ashamed to say I don’t know the original stories well enough, which is partly why I’ve borrowed them for the children, but certainly, I think, they’re shortened with a few illustrations for younger children):

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss

Treasure Island by R.L. Stevenson

The Secret Garden by F.H. Burnett

Robin Hood retold by R. Storer

The Adventures of King Arthur, retold by Angela Wilkes. This is an interesting book. Most of the pages are divided into 4 little illustrations with a part of the story underneath each one. It looks like a very accessible introduction to this classic story. However, I’ve just noticed a scrap of paper inside saying there are 4 pages missing! Oh no! I hope this doesn’t totally spoil it. It’s also an ancient old book! I wonder how old this library is! I was pleased to see both this book and the ‘Treasure Island’ adapted book because I’ve just bought two ‘Greathall Productions’ CDs of ‘Treasure Island’ and ‘King Arthur and his Knights’ narrated by Jim Weiss. Edward has not shown great interest in listening to them so I thought we’d read the books together and he might find the CDs a bit easier to listen to. Not that he’d tried them yet. He might have loved them directly but I find familiarity is something that makes him happier to try something new but related.

A very ancient looking ‘Ladybird History Book’ about Florence Nightingale. One of the only things Edward said he enjoyed learning at school was the Crimean War, so I thought I’d borrow this book.

Angelina on Stage by K. Holabird. Both the kids quite like Angelina stories.

Franklin is Bossy by P. Bourgeois and B. Clark. I first came across Franklin in Toronto second-hand shops when Edward was about Petra’s age. I am so pleased I bought quite a few because both kids love him. We are always on the lookout for new ones.

The Great Paper Caper by Oliver Jeffers.  I was delighted to find another Jeffers book. We love him and so far own and read multiple times, ‘How to Catch a Star’ and ‘Lost and Found’ and we’re waiting for a copy of his new book ‘Stuck’ pre-ordered on Bookdepository. I also came across ‘The Heart and the Bottle’ at the library but I thought it was just too sad, although beautiful! Even the kids could manage it, it’s amazing how resilient kids are, I would have to read it over and over again and I didn’t think I could!

Postman Pat’s Thirsty Day by J.Cunliffe. A brightly illustrated book. Good old Postman Pat and his black and white cat, Jess. What else to say?

The Bear who wanted to Read by Lee Davis. A nice way to encourage little ones to want to read themselves. I don’t think Petra really needs this but it’s a charming story.

And lastly, an Usborne Activities Book, ‘Mermaid Things to Make and Do’. I wasn’t sure about borrowing this one. I prefer the children make crafts a bit more ‘freestyle’ but Petra loves mermaids so as long as she’s given plenty of time to do more ‘freestyle’ crafts,  I think this will be a fun addition. Talking of ‘freestyle’ art activities, Jade commented with an awesome idea on Day 22. I will repeat it here, “Here is a very simple art activity that requires nothing more than a permanent black marker and something to colour with. It is called squiggle art. On a piece of paper, draw an enclosed squiggle of any shape (e.g. a blob or amoeba shaped thingy). Give the kids their squiggle and ask them to make it into a picture. You will be amazed at what they will come up with and what they see. Don’t give them any direction at all, let them decide and use their imaginations. I have seen everything from cars, aliens, plants, buildings, animals, etc. come from the same squiggle by different kids. The only guidelines I give are that they can make the squiggle be anything they want it to be/or see, and can add other parts to the squiggle if they need to (e.g. legs, heads, etc.). There is no right or wrong, no good artist, bad artist … everything they create will be wonderful and so very unique.” I love this! That’s a great very-nearly-freestyle art activity with unlimited creative options. I will also, maybe not the first time, unless they ask, let them stick on any additions they want like coloured paper, sparkles etc…

Right, off to meet friends to see the Tom Toms. I’m taking all those library books with us in the car in case of long traffic delays but hopefully they won’t be needed! I certainly hope it won’t be so bad that I can read the books to them whilst on the road!!

Please always feel free to post comments on any of the days you read, however old they are. Your views are valuable and it’s always good to have debate. If you’re busy but enjoyed that day’s blog, please do press the ‘Like’ button at the end of the post. It would be much appreciated as it helps encourage more people to read homeschoolinginthemiddleeast! Any comments about Maths teaching is especially appreciated and suggestions about resources warmly welcome, as per my plea in yesterday’s post


About homeschoolingpenny

Hi and welcome! My name is Penny and I used to live in Bahrain but In November 2012 moved to Dubai and now we live in Granada, Spain! If you want to contact me my email is I recommend you start my blog on 'Day 1' but please enjoy whatever you dip into. 23 February 2012 marked the first day of no more school FOREVER for my two kids. Edward, who is nearly 10 had attended a variety of schools since he was very little. Petra, who is now 6, has never gone to school. On this date we decided Edward was never going back to school and Petra never would go to school. We hope to successfully homeschool from this day forward, although we would consider an alternative school as an option- if there was some amazing Sudbury or other really alternative school. Actually, I prefer the term 'home learning' than 'homeschool' because I don't like to think of school coming into our home. In fact, I hope to go further and guide/learn alongside, rather than teach, my kids using the 'unschooling' philosophy to instill a lifelong love of learning in them. We lived in the Middle East and now Spain all of which are very challenging places to home educate. This is an exciting journey that I used to blog about regularly, at first it was on an almost daily basis. Please join me on our travels and I hope we might be able to help each other out along the way. I certainly hope I can be a source of support and comfort and, in time, knowledge to all potential/presently participating homeschoolers/home educators/unschoolers. Good luck to us all! If you want to read about why I started home educating, why I pulled my son out of a 'very good' private school mid-term, how I felt at the very start and how my philosophy has evolved, please start from 'Day 1' of the blog. Please do post comments at the end of any days that you read. Your opinion is valuable and it's great to start up debate amongst other people commenting too, however old the post. Thank you for visiting homeschoolingmiddleeast.
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