Bedtime reading and the history of inventions

The baby and I are currently having sections of this book read to us by Lyddie every evening:

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It’s not something we could plan for, as Mr Badman seems to think we should be able to.

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If I tried to insist that she did such a thing, Lyddie would be sure to resist. She’d close the book and we’d never hear any more of it.

But I currently don’t have to insist, so she’s reading – struggling with some words, but making definite progress every evening. She’s even talking about writing out some of the stories because she wants to improve her handwriting skill.

How could I have written this into a plan three, or six, or twelve months ago?

Ditto, her recent obsession with the solar system, or again with the months of the year and the seasons, which led to my scrawling of this chart as I supplied the required lengthy explanation and answered her questions:

22 Jun 2009

In school – or Mr Badman’s vision of home education hell, [opens pdf] she’d have probably been made to sit and colour it in, or learn it by rote to be ready to churn it back out at the next inspection, to order. As it was, she was free to look at it, ask a few questions, understand and move onto the next thing.

She’s been re-watching the Narnia films as well, and the beginning of the first one made her wonder about World War II again, about which she’s been interested for a long time. What were Anderson shelters? How did they work? What happened to them at the end of the war? And we got onto talking about evacuations as well.

We might make it to Eden Camp this year, in support of this recurring interest of hers, although we’ve also recently got into looking at castle times, thanks mostly to this book:


(which allows for endless peering at the tiny people, each doing something interesting in every different room) so a visit to here is still very much on the cards.

The juxtaposition of those two time periods in Lyddie’s mind at the same time gave rise to some extra questions, like:

“How long ago did they build the castles/ have WWII?”

(Explaining the concept of ‘hundreds of years ago’ to a six year-old isn’t easy, is it?)


“Why didn’t they have guns and bombs in castle times? Why did it take them so long to invent such things?”

So we got out another book:


– which opens out like this:

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– the relevant parts, I suppose, being this:

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and this:

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At least it gave some perspective, and context. Lyddie poured over it for hours and then her brothers joined in and kept pointing out various aspects of it to her.

A massive amount of learning took place in that one relatively short session with the timeline, but I could never have planned for it beforehand in a million years. Lyddie’s older sister, for example, wasn’t interested in such things at all and hardly ever looked at those kinds of books.

How are we supposed to know in advance where our children’s curiosity will lead them?



Filed under History, Planning - or not, Reading, Seasonal stuff

5 responses to “Bedtime reading and the history of inventions

  1. no_shoes

    Thanks Gill
    have just ordered that book, second hand from Amazon, looks perfect for my 6 year old step grandaughter AND I think her auntie might be interested too

  2. Mamacrow

    Oh my GOD I have to have that inventions bk! Havnt seen the castle one in years, may have to get that too!

  3. The inventions book is great – we’ve had loads of use out of it over the years. Ditto the castle one too actually!

  4. Allie

    Just thinking the same about that inventions book – will go and look on Amazon now!

    • no_shoes

      The Inventions book arrived!
      Got it second hand but in good condition from Amazon, very cheaply-well worth the money!

      Am pleased, it was unwrapped and used immeadiately.

      Thanks for mentioning it Gill.

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