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Welcome Imbolc with song

The songs from The Children’s Forest are now available online, great for those of us with fledgling music-reading skills. Author Anna Richardson sings the Song of the Snowdrop to The Hazel Tree Song.


The Celtic festival of Imbolc, St Brigit’s day is on 1 February, halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox and has been sacred in Celtic lands since Neolithic times. While we are all mostly sheltering at home Imbolc offers us signs of the changing seasons and life.

Imbolc is the time when we become aware of that which is invisible. Animals in the forest are revealed by their footprints and snowdrops emerge from under the ground with a promise of spring to come.
You may be able to see snowdrops on your daily walk? Try making some snowdrop folk or see if you can spot some footprints left in the mud or snow.

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Homeschooling discussion

On 16 January 2021 we held The Case for Homeschooling panel discussion with author Anna Dusseau. As many families home school in the latest Lockdown, this timely panel discussion will share personal experiences of home learning and address key questions. Anna Dusseau, teacher turned home educator and author, was joined on the panel by:

  • Wendy Charles-Warner of Education Otherwise
  • Eloïse Rickman, author, parent educator, and founder of A Beautiful Childhood
  • Nana-Adwoa Mbeutcha, home educating mum of 4, radio producer and co-host of the Black Mums Upfront podcast
  • Damien Gayle, a Guardian reporter and alternative education advocate
  • Sean McDougall, trustee of the Centre for Personalised Education, home educator and future education consultant

The Case for Homeschooling: free range home education handbook by Anna Dusseau is a must-read for homeschooling parents and families considering teaching their children at home even after schools reopen. In this timely and acclaimed guide, teacher turned home-educator Anna Dusseau explores the benefits of home education, the ways children come to understand the world and how homeschooling can cultivate true creative learning for life. Anna tweets @NotTheSchoolRun and blogs at www.homeschoolguru.org @hawthornpress

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Home learning through lockdown

As 2021 begins we find ourselves back in lockdown, and looking for inspiring activities and home learning aids.

Hawthorn Press has practical books that can help with home education such as educational text books, crafts, seasonal projects, storytelling and literacy.

Pandemic Homeschooling

The Case for Homeschooling: free range home education handbook by Anna Dusseau is full of useful tips and advice on how to help your children learn at home. From a chapter on pandemic homeschooling, discussing how to juggle home learning with work and with tips to get you started, to 101 Activity Ideas, a Q&A section and suggested further reading and resources.

Early learning and movement?

Sally Goddard Blythe offers stories, songs with 2 CD’s, rhymes and exercises for early years brain development, attention, co-ordination and balance in Movement, your child’s first language.

Learning to write and read?

Parents of children aged 6-8 years will find Writing to Reading the Steiner Waldorf Way a creative, fun way of introducing literacy, from drawing the letters, to movement, telling stories to then writing and reading. Creative Form Drawing For the Four Temperaments with Children aged 6-10 years offers colourful pre-writing exercises.

Every family is a storytelling family and every child a storyteller?

Interested in telling nature stories? Then The Natural Storyteller has stories for telling orally. Using the story maps, you can easily tell the stories without reading and become a family storyteller. You can build up a repertoire of stories to tell your family, and impress your teachers on returning to school. You can find world stories in 147 Traditional Storiesfor children aged 7-12 to retell, and storytelling tips.

Seasonal Nature and Craft

Booksuch as The Children’s Forest offer stories and songs, wild food, recipes, crafts and celebrations for all the year round. Families can enjoy these, with seasonal things to look out for on your daily walks.

Crafting is a great way to spend time with your family, or to lose yourself in to counter feelings of anxiety or loneliness. Making with your hands is a great way of giving children the creative life skills for navigating this age of disruption. We have a wide variety of books including Making Soft DollsMaking the Children’s Year, Making Simple Needle Felts and Making Peg Dolls.

Our own Katy Bevan co-hosts a visible mending workshop, Meet Make Mend that you can now join online. The group will next meet on 13th January from 7 p.m. – sign up here.

There are also countless online tutorials springing up where you can join like-minded folk and make things together. For example, Hikaru Noguchi, author of Darning: Repair, Make, Mend is currently offering visible mending tutorials on IGTV and Steffi Stern, author of several crafting books published by Hawthorn Press, has a selection of online workshops available to watch via Youtube.

You can keep up-to-date on Hawthorn Press books, events and activity suggestions by following us on social media and by signing up to our monthly newsletter.

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Anna Dusseau interview in The Green Parent magazine

‘Everyone is different and home education allows for this diversity.’

Anna Dusseau, author of The Case for Homeschooling: free range home education handbook, discusses home education and schooling in the Dec/Jan 2021 issue of The Green Parent magazine, available now.

For the full interview see the Winter 2020 issue of The Green Parent magazine. Anna’s book, The Case for Homeschooling: free range home education handbook is available to buy from Hawthorn Press.

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Celebrating Autumn

The Autumn Equinox brings a turning point in the year, when summer gives way to autumn and the nights begin to draw in.

It is the season of harvest – fruits, nuts and berries fill the hedgerows and birds and mammals prepare themselves for the colder months ahead.

The Children’s Forest by Dawn Casey, Anna Richardson and Helen D’Ascoli includes lots of seasonal activities, stories and crafting projects for autumn, including leaf sewing:

This and many more autumn-celebrating activities, songs and stories can be found in The Children’s Forest: Stories & songs, wild food, crafts & celebrations all year round.