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Tot-school | Week 23 | Letter XMarch 25, 2017

This past week’s tot-school
…was deliberately sparse

The sun has arrived and we are taking full advantage. Every morning we go out either for a walk or just to play in the backyard space. The afternoons have been often outside too and all that wonderful fresh air and vitamin D means that tot-school was pushed to the edges. We started tot-school in September when the heat was still with us and before the cold of Autumn descended, it’s taken us though the cold and miserable months well but I’m well aware it’s success has correlated with a lack of time outdoors. Now as we near the end of the alphabet I’m deliberately easing up on the table time activities in favour of exploring dandelions and blossom, the way a torch hits a dark pavement, the swift shadows of birds overhead, and all the everyday worldly wonders.

The letter X was the perfect week for this. While Adam knew what a Xylophone was it doesn’t actually use the phonetic sound which didn’t really help. An X-ray was a foreign concept so I made a special x-ray craft slider for us to explore. Rather than choose non objects we stuck with just the four words, using fox and box for the phonetic sound.

The pack I’ve made is available for download at the end of the post.

This weeks read more questions:

I loved taking a leisurely view, X isn’t a very common letter and so I felt no guilt in doing the bare bones, if you’ll forgive the pun!

The fox craft was printed but when I looked at it I realised it really was going to be far too tough, I think that one will have a remake for our next round through the alphabet.

I’m not sure what the weeks will bring but after Z, in a couple of weeks, we’ll probably change how and possibly when we do tot-school.


A trail unseen (follow)March 24, 2017

When I first heard I would be going to Serbia I travelled up to Nottingham to meet a woman who had some a similar trip some five years before. If memory serves she had stayed in the house of a local minister and her experience had been fostered in that communion of a church family. The effect the trip had taken on her was clearly visible and while it gave me some broad brushstrokes for my preparation prayers, the realisation, even at that time, was that my visit would be immeasurably different. I left with clear knowledge that this encounter would provide me with no road-map for my travels.

It’s a simple desire with many who travel to wish for a road-map in advance, and the longer you spend living between cultures the more you realise the simultaneous futility and terrible need for one to be given. For many on mission trips the road-map is presented, to some extent at least, within the organisation they go to serve within. For others, the mission itself is undefined, to draw a map or simply traverse the land. We imagine this trail unseen, undiscovered, not yet laden with footprints, not yet cleared with human traffic. We paint ourselves explorers lead by God’s great call, when in reality we are stumbling forward hoping God will use wherever we land.

In the the messy daily gritty-ness of living we can find ourselves aching for the guidance a road map may bring, a need to feel in some way routed and not totally clueless on where we should be going. On basic level it’s a control craving, to live with more certainty and less reliance on that faith that got us here in the first place.

As I follow my saviour on the long 40 day Lenten journey to the cross I simultaneously walk a pathway well worn, with smooth stones and prayers untold held in the memory of every speck of dust, while continuing on the pathway of everyday which seems to hold no fixed destination nor plot any course. The two hold each up upright, the certainty and the security of one breathe stability and flexibility in the other. It is only through trusting faith we can slowly become less about pursuing the way forward through the undergrowth and more about following the sound of that faint whisper, searching it out.

I know even as I move that my path is not direct, my route not efficient, rather it is like a child’s innocent dance – it swirls and falters and it’s elegance is equally clumsy. I move littering the ground as I pass with echo’s of my presence. Easily I fall pray to relying on my own council, my own image of the divine becomes both a comfort blanket and justification for stomping over the ground with such bad grace. I may snap twigs and trample undergrowth, weaken bridges or clear pathways, I may cause ripples of conversations and interrupt others. But the call beckons me to keep on towards a light, a whisper, a radiance of power that words can not contain. I follow those dusty sandals that lead me up Golgotha’s hill, those ancient words that open up wells that quench thirsty souls, than indescribable that calls me to come. Perhaps my trail may never be a pathway for another soul but really that was never the point, perhaps I’ll turn round to realise that as I followed I lost my own way completely without even realising it.

Linking up with Velvet Ashes where the theme this week is “Follow”

Tot-school | Week 22 | Letter WMarch 19, 2017

This past week’s tot-school
…swam with whales

Once again our week was sparse but it included some beautiful elements and we have some rather delightful crafts to show for our time. I’m equally aware as we dredge the end of the alphabet that W is probably the last week where sourcing items won’t be a struggle but that there is also less than a month to go before our first journey is complete. I have no regrets skipping the letter Q, even if it is the only letter he now has hesitation identifying. All the other letters are now familiar to his eyes and he identifies them with a mixture of names and/or phonics.

The letter W itself was quite delightful as we travelled with whales and pretended to pour from our watering can. For the first time in an age we didn’t complete the letter spinner,and we replaced our usual tot-school time on one day with a trip through the blue ‘teach my toddler’ box that hasn’t been out much of late. It was nice to have this week holding a bit more focus to the wider alphabet rather than so narrowed in on one letter.

The pack I’ve made is available for download at the end of the post.

This weeks read more questions:

I loved the whale paper craft from ‘doodles and jots’ which was a mini invitation to play Adam readily took up more than once.

Pen work was pretty much missed this week with Adam showing little to no interest, he does however love his wipe clean books that hold the alphabet so I suppose i just need to diversify the drawing experience.

X is a letter i don’t want to skip but equally there is a real dearth of words suitable for use. Adam has a couple of Xylophones and i’ve some X-ray craft ideas lined up but I’m going to use words containing an x for the letter spinner