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Archive for September, 2009

Today we began our study of the Mohawk Nation–one of the nations that make up the Iroquois League. (During colonial times, the French called them the Iroquois, while the British called them The Five Nations. The other nations are the Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca, all located to our west in what is now New York state.) The Mohawk people were also called the People of the Eastern Gate (referring to their location in relation to the other four nations) and the people of the Flint Country because of all the flint found in the earth in the places where they lived.

We had our Morning Circle at the South River the home of our friends—Leslie, Sam, Elias, and Rosa. We began with our regular circle songs and then sang “The Earth is Our Mother” with ASL signs to the bountiful earth all around us.

We roamed the garden and saw two of the “Three Sisters” (corn, squash, and beans). We picked both, golden and red raspberries, and then went to the river and thought about what it would be like to of the Mohawk people living here, many years ago. We spoke of their homes—longhouses—and how people lived in large groups related through their mothers. Children called their mother and mother’s sisters “Mother,” and sisters and brothers were comprised of those plus what we call cousins today. We talked about how no one came from a small family! We also discussed food—meat, fish, corn, beans, squash—and how the Mohawks made it through the winter with stored food and food they hunted. Being on the river helped friends to understand the many uses it had for the Mohawk people—rinsing after a sweat lodge “bath,” as a source of food and water, as a means of water for growing.

In addition to the fun with berry picking and river time, we also spotted two monarch butterflies on the butterfly bushes in the garden. We returned to Mt. View with many berries and whipped some cream to top them off!

Books We Read:
The Life Ccyle of a Butterfly by Trevor Terry & Margaret Linton
Butterflies and Moths by Nic Bishop

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Morning Circle

At the end of circle we began our discussion of the Mohawk people who lived (and some of whom continue to live here and the surrounding areas) in the Northeastern area of the United States. We learned the song “

    The Earth is Our Mother

” with American Sign Language Signs.

The Earth is our Mother

The Earth is our Mother
We must take care of her (2X)

CHORUS:
Hey yana Ho yana Hey yana Ho
Hey yana Ho yana Hey yana Ho

The Sky is our Father
We must take care of him (2X)

CHORUS:
Hey yana Ho yana Hey yana Ho
Hey yana Ho yana Hey yana Ho

The Rivers are our Sisters
We must take care of them (2X)

CHORUS

The Trees are our Brothers
We must take care of them (2X)

CHORUS
(The song continues…The earth is our mother, she will take of us…
The sky is our father, he will take care of us, etc.)

Friends begin taking turns doing jobs. Thus far, we are taking turns being the Line Leader, the Bell ringer, and the Candle Holder (The beeswax candle is a special unlit candle that we use for greeting each other in circle. We pass the candle around as we greet each other with “Good Morning (name).”

Butterfly Quest to other meadows: We took our morning walk to two different meadows along Cricket Hill Road. Butterflies have been scarce this year (although we have spotted some on our butterfly bushes on the front lawn), but we have found evidence of eggs on specific plants. Some of the plants also show evidence of hatched eggs because of “munched on” leaves. Friends have enjoyed being butterfly detectives.

monarchcaterpillar

We have referred back to The Tiny Seed and The Very Hungry Caterpillar to review Eric Carle’s artistic style with tissue paper and glue. We have begun our project of illustrating
phase one and phase two of butterfly lives (eggs and caterpillars) on watercolor paper that we prepared on the first day of school.

We are preparing a Peace Traveler’s Alphabet Book, studying one to two letters per week, and matching them with words for birds, animals, and plants in the natural world, as well as geographical references and those people who have achieved becoming Peace Travelers in the world.

This week we began with the letter “A” and its sounds (short A as in apple, long A as in ape.) The friends practice sounds with the American Sign Language Alphabet, which assists in getting the sounds “in their bodies.”

asl_sign_a

Closing Circle

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Morning Circle: We begin our day with a free play transitional time where friends have options about various games, blocks, imaginary play, and a shelf full of books. After tidy up, we begin our day in our circle with a morning ritual of ringing the singing bowl and feeling its vibration in our bodies and our circle. Then we sing our song with our voices and American Sign Language as we offer our gratitude to Mother Earth.

“The Four Directions” by Sarah Pirtle (Modified for our circle)

Come on and sing, sing to the earth
Come on and sing, sing to the earth
Come on and sing, sing to the earth
Our journey has begun

Come on and sing, sing to the east
Come on and sing, sing to the east
Come on and sing, sing to the east
The place of the rising sun

Come on and sing, sing to the south
Come on and sing, sing to the south
Come on and sing, sing to the south
The place of the fire song

Come on and sing, sing to the west
Come on and sing, sing to the west
Come on and sing, sing to the west
The place of the setting sun

Come on and sing, sing to the north
Come on and sing, sing to the north
Come on and sing, sing to the north
The place of the rich, black earth

Come on and sing, sing to the earth
Come on and sing, sing to the earth
Come on and sing, sing to the earth
Our journey has begun

We greet each other by passing an unlit beeswax candle around the circle, looking into the face of the person next to us and saying

    “Good Morning (name).”

The person who takes the candle returns our greeting.

Morning circle is also the time we talk about our plans for the day, and have discussions. There are times when we will read a book to begin a new area of study.

Today we began with Peace Wishes. We have a Tibetan Prayer flag banner that we hung after we added our own wishes to it.

Charlotte: I want to grow bigger and be five years old.

Zoe: When I’m six, I wish to grow into the clothes that are too big for me now.

Sydney: I wish that I can sleep in my own bed.

Kate: I wish that we learn and grow from each other, as we collect more Peace travelers throughout the year.

The friends also answered the question, “What was your favorite thing about summer?”

Charlotte: Playing with my dogs and going to the lake.

Zoe: I learned to go off the diving board and swim to the ladder in the deep part.

Sydney: I had fun swimming and seeing friends.

Kate: I liked visiting Cape Cod for a couple days, and staying in the house where we stayed when Liam was a little baby. It was fun to remember that. The light in September is really beautiful, but the water was really too cold for swimming.

At snack, we celebrated the Autumn Equinox, and learned about the earth’s tilting away from the sun, here in the Northern Hemisphere. We are on our way to less light and warmth, as the days grow shorter and colder. The friends took turns measuring both, the dry and wet ingredients for Strawberry Yogurt-Vanilla Muffins from The Sunlight Café by Mollie Katzen, p. 85. (We substituted the strawberry yogurt for ricotta cheese, and added ¾ c. whole wheat flour to the otherwise all white flour recipe. We used skim milk for the buttermilk that was suggested.)

Our snack was followed by a Butterflies and Mushroom Quest through the woods down to the meadows. We began our study of butterflies, and looked for signs of eggs and caterpillars on the milkweed close by. We found a couple of wooly bears, and an odd yellow wooly bear as well. (When I looked this up, it seems another homeschooler had found one in West Chesterfield, MA, and identified it as a “Yellow Bear” that becomes a Virginian Tiger Moth.)

We have begun our study of the lifecycle of a butterfly, and began depicting that lifecycle in an art project in the Eric Carle tradition. Today, we did our background color (a sky blue, grey, and purple combination for all the happens around this time of year), and we’ll use tissue paper glued on to show the eggs on leaves, the caterpillar munching away the leaves on which it is hatched, the chrysalis, and full grown butterfly.

We baked and ate our muffins, and then finished with our closing circle.
Closing Circle: We finish our day with two songs. The first is adapted from the book called

The second was composed by Lui Collins (of Music Together and Kids’ Jam fame) of Ashfield, Massachusetts.

Tibetan Farewell
May no harm come to us
May we love each other well
May we be kind to all the creatures of the earth

May no harm come to us
May we love each other well
May we be kind to all the people of the earth

Kids’ Jam Farewell (with American Sign Language)
See you later alligator
Bye-bye fly
After awhile crocodile
Time to say good-bye

Toot Alou kangaroo
Ciao meow
Adios nanny goat
Good-bye for now

Bye-bye (name), bye-bye (name), bye-bye (name), bye, bye, bye….etc.

Books we read:

The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
The Life Cycle of a Butterfly by Trevor Terry & Margaret Linton

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