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The John Muir Block

We just finished our first sage block of grade two and it was so nice.  With Enki, the block begins with trickster tales from the culture of the sage.  These are light and lively stories, ones that are fun to tell and fun to draw.  Willow really enjoyed hearing about the misadventures, and occasional triumphs, of the fox and his brother.  The stories were told with the mood and brogue of Scotland.


Next, we moved to the story of our sage, John Muir.  We heard of his playful and mischievous beginnings in Dunbar, Scotland, and of his family's move to America.  The children have pretended they were climbing Dunbar Castle, just as Johnnie did.  When he had to leave his beloved Grandfather behind, I cried, honestly.  Good stories do that to me.  We followed his family to Wisconsin, where Johnnie helped to break the sod and plant crops.  He always had his eyes and ears on the woodland surrounding the farm.  Part of his special skills were the ability to hear the call of nature.  After all, the mountains called him and he went!


We found him in his little cabin in the Yosemite Valley, where he slept in a hammock and a stream flowed inside. Enki shows him as being alone during this time, though some books like Squirrel and John Muir show him closely tied to the Hutchings family.  I'll admit that I like Enki's take better.  We heard the story of John riding the avalanche after a snow storm and Willow really enjoyed that one.  We left John Muir as he had discovered the Big Trees and worked tirelessly to save them from logging.


It was a wonderful story that really left me wanting more!  But, I think Enki got it right in keeping it succinct.  I've considered showing some of the Muir segments from The National Parks to Willow, but I may wait a few years.  The children found him to be so fun and reverent and I'd like to keep that mood, though I did share with them that he climbed a big tree in a thunderstorm to see what it felt like to be one!

We'll continue with our immersion in Scottish culture through the end of October.  We're learning "My Heart is in the Highlands," Scottich dances significant to that time period, and folk songs.  We've had a really good time with the songs, especially, and I'm quite thankful Enki provides video for the dances and games of the cultures studied.

My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
Chasing the wild deer, and following the roe,
My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go.

Farewell to the mountains, high covered with snow;
Fairwell to the straths and green valleys below;
Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods;
Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.

My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
Chasing the wild deer, and following the roe,
My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go.

~Robert Burns


( 2 trees — Plant a Forest )
Sep. 28th, 2016 06:49 pm (UTC)
Oh, I love this! Scottish history is near and dear to my heart, and even though I hadn't planned on studying it with the children this year, when my genealogical studies led me to our clan's castle (http://www.duntrunecastle.com/), I couldn't help but share some of that history with the kids, which then led us to researching bagpipes and pipers. :) Finley now wants a set of bagpipes for his birthday! We shall see. ;)
Sep. 30th, 2016 10:53 am (UTC)
That sounds like a wonderful journey of discovery for you all! Finley with bagpipes--that would be great. :-)
( 2 trees — Plant a Forest )

A Blessed Wilderness

It was just like being in heaven, being in there. In those days there was no road. The park was all a blessed wilderness. I have often thought what a wonderful people we would have been if we had wanted to keep it that way.

~Adolph Murie, biologist, on Denali


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