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November Newsletter: The One With Our Christmas Book Choices

Hello, and welcome to my monthly newsletter!

I hope you are all well. November has seen us enter our second lockdown here in England, albeit a slightly more relaxed one. This time around, schools and childcare settings have remained open, which has meant less disruption for us as Bean can still attend her weekly session at Farm School. She's missing her gymnastics class, but otherwise the rhythm of our days and weeks has remained much the same.

At the beginning of lockdown Bean and I brainstormed some ideas for things to do that would cheer us up if we were feeling sad or lonely, or in need of inspiration. I thought our list was quite ambitious, but now, with just one more week of lockdown to go, I realise that we've ticked almost all of them off, so it's been a busy and productive month.

North America Project: African American History and the 50 States

We are nearing the end of our North America project, and this last few weeks has seen us read some of the most wonderful books about African American history, almost all of which have brought me to tears. Reading these powerful 'stories' during the US election was almost too much to bear, but it could not have been more serendipitous timing reading the story of Ruby Bridges on the day that Biden won the election and announced that Kamala Harris would be his vice president! What a day for the world!

I've listed below ALL of the books that we have read for this part of our project as they were all so, so wonderful. The affiliate links are for Amazon, as I really wanted to be able to share them all with you. If you would like to buy these from an independent bookshop, you will find two of them listed in my North America book list at

Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt

The Underground Railroad Adventure of Allen Jay, Antislavery Activist


A Picture Book of Harriet Tubman

Africa Is My Home

I Have a Dream: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Story of Ruby Bridges

Freedom Summer

Uncle Jed's Barber Shop

We've spent the last ten days or so learning about the 50 States of The United States of America. We've been learning the names of the states and their geographical relation to one another using this jigsaw puzzle and this game. Bean has also been drawing out the map of the United States following the tutorial in this book.

We've been reading the book Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Atlas to learn about the key landmarks and sights to see in each state. It's the type of book that REALLY makes me want to do a US road trip! We also had a New York themed day, where we read about the city from this book and this book, and built a cardboard model of the Statue of Liberty (bought in a charity shop) while tasting American foods. It's been such a fun project, and we have both learned so much, but we're feeling really ready to shelve it now and embrace the festivities that we have planned for December

Kitchen Makeover

For the past few years we've been living with damp damage in our kitchen (it's funny what you learn to live with, isn't it?!) We had the chimney repaired, but had accepted the crumbling plaster and strange unsightly patches as a kitchen 'feature'. Anyway, just before we went into lockdown (literally the day before) I had our handy man come and repair it, so lockdown presented the perfect opportunity to redecorate this little corner of our home.

These jobs always take longer than you expect them to, especially for a perfectionist like me. After a whole day of slaving away, Bean returned home from her Daddy's and said that it didn't look any different!!! The change is subtle, but it feels so fresh in there that I'm determined to find new homes for all the things that I had stored on our counter tops. The next job on the list is to repair the water damage to the worktop around the kitchen sink.

Day Trips

Despite the lockdown, we've managed a few trips this month. We are allowed to meet other home educators during the school day, for educational purposes, but are choosing to minimise the risk by meeting outdoors, which can be somewhat challenging at this time of year.

We spent two cold and wet afternoons with friends at Alice Park in Bath. The children spent the first afternoon sheltering from the rain under a tree, taking turns to throw a ball for a very friendly Collie. We also met the most amazingly groomed Labradoodle, and treated ourselves to hot chocolates with all the trimmings from the sweet little outdoor café. The next time we met, we took our scooters, as the park has a satisfying path running around the perimeter. The children enjoyed watching a team of men with leaf blowers, attempting to clean up the lawns (not that effectively!)

We had a glorious, 2 mile walk around Litton Lakes. This is another of the walks from the Kiddiwalks book which we were working our way through during the first lockdown. It was very muddy in places, so we were glad to be in our wellies, and the children couldn't resist getting in the stream at various opportunities. We took a hot picnic lunch, which we ate beside the water, watching the swans glide by and the ducks fly overhead.

We also had a lovely couple of hours tearing around Hengrove Playground and the nearby airfield in the light drizzle. This area of Bristol has one of the highest Covid rates (unbeknown to us at the time) so we shan't be visiting again for a while. Ah...

24 Days of Advent Magic

I realise that I don't think I've shared this on my own social media platforms yet (must do that tomorrow), but it's not too late to sign up to my 24 Days of Advent Magic daily emails. 24 PDF guides with Advent inspiration landing in your inbox every day in the lead up to Christmas. For newsletter readers, you can type in the coupon code NEWSLETTER20 for a 20% discount.

Christmas Play Dough Collections

My Christmas play dough collections are also now available for pre-order. These will be dispatched in batches from this coming weekend. Stock is quite low now, and the post also seems to be somewhat unreliable, so order soon to avoid disappointment.

Christmas 2020 Play Dough Collection - there were just 6 of these left when I last checked.

Christmas 2019 Play Dough Collection - there were just 5 of these left when I last checked.

Winter Themed Play Dough Collection - there are plenty of these left in stock.