Following John Muir, we dove deeply into the world of India. This block surpassed my expectations, primarily in the tangental ways we explored the subject. What did we do in addition to learning the life story of Mirabai? We:
- visited the art museum in Denver several more times
- listened to beautiful classical Indian music daily
- learned parts of an Indian folk dance (dandiya raas)
- cooked up a lot of new Indian food and therefore visited our local Indian grocer often
- read tales of Hindu gods, learned their epics from the Mahabharata
- went to a dance performance in Denver that showed the merging of modern with classical Indian dance
- drew beautiful maps of India showing cities and states, rivers and mountains as well as spectacular information such as the origin of Indian spices and indigenous animals
- recited classical Indian poetry
- practiced yoga together, learned about mudras, asanas, and chanting
We had a blast TOGETHER. When you, as a teacher tap into personal interests, the possibilities are truly endless. Having incredibly open-minded children also helps! A friend of mine from Boston, who was originally from India said to me once: “You were definitely an Indian in a past life.” I smile thinking about her comment. Laugh when I think about how incredible diving into this subject was– without much planning, but an intuitive flow. Somewhere during this epic block I glanced at the “academic calendar” & I got a little worried given that there was just SO much we wanted to do, to cover and yet, here we were leisurely bathing in the history and culture of India –without a thought of moving on. Their level of excitement was palpable. “Can we learn Sanskrit?” Or, “I would love to learn more about other Indian people when we finish. Maybe Ghandi?”
The Mirabai block was a HUGE success. Using resources from my friend’s curriculum, I told the girls stories of Mirabai and then we a) re-inacted them together b) drew pictures c) wrote out summaries to form a book by the block’s end. I was not as satisfied with these summaries as I was with the John Muir materials. However, I can appreciate the research challenges– the biographical information is scant on this 16th century mystic who went behind her “defined destiny” in life to follow God, her own intuition, love, and joy. She broke with tradition of caste, of gender and like John Muir listened deeply, consciously to what she knew was true and right. These are the role models worthy of our time. John Muir fearlessly heard the mountains calling him and he journeyed onward. Mirabai heard Krishna’s flute and she shone like the sun– sharing with others her love and joy. As a homeschooling family, we do have a lot of influence on our children. However, peers, current day culture, media are there. The more I thoughtfully select content to enrich our learning, whether it is part of our lessons or leisure, the greater positive impact I have.
Once again, I’ve been reminded that I need to listen to my inner voice. It is always there, if I listen closely. I told the girls I could not take on Ghandi next since it will take a few weeks to research. The biographies on him are hefty. I did say though that we could stay in India, relatively speaking.
Yes, so THIS is why I homeschool. To LIVE together and to LOVE learning.
Click on the first photo to view each.
We have continued to bake sourdough bread every few days. Arlene and I had fun taking pictures of scenes from around our home and those are included below. It has taken time to call here, HOME. Like anything in life, it is about coming to a place of acceptance and living with gratitude w/ what one has rather than what one doesn’t have. We don’t have a yard, but an incredibly enlightened city to live in! We do have a patio 🙂 Gorgeous mountains out our door, & public transportation. No large scale gardens like in NC, but we do have community gardening and somehow we were offered the largest plot! I had not ever envisioned living back in a city and while this isn’t NYC, our home is smaller and on a busy road. We live very close to our neighbors. It is quite urban! A couple of these “scenes” have brought me immense joy and peace. This is our home. Now.
Continuing with the theme of reading fiction on the topic we are studying, I’m reading one of the most incredible books I have ever read! It is called Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh. It is not a light read by any stretch of the imagination. It is layered and rich with varied language and history.