A Week in the Country. Reflections, Week 43

I’m over taking naps in the afternoons; actually, I forgot to mention in my last post that I had been getting migraine/stress headaches too, which was the main reason I was napping – when I get a migraine my only choice is sleeping it off.  But I feel a bit better this week.  I let myself be depressed, but I’m a resilient person and now I am swinging in the other direction, and I am determined!  This week I’ve been collecting important paperwork I to fill out, moving forward with starting my own housekeeping business (there’s actually a pretty good amount of money in it, particularly for the area I live in), and putting out some applications.

As well, Elizabeth are I were back to school.  We started our unit last Thursday and are reading A Night in the Country, by Cynthia Rylant.  I think Cynthia Rylant is one of my favorite children’s book authors.  Her books include the Henry and Mudge series, as well as one called The Wonderful Happens, and another about cat heaven that we read at the vet soon after my cat that had lived here with us for a while before going back to live with my Mom was put to sleep.  Her books are so calm and gentle, I just absolutely love them all and keep looking for them whenever we go to the library.

Night in the Country is no different, and in it she describes some of the behaviors and sounds of night animals and things that are about if one were to be awake during the night somewhere in the country.  I really enjoy my modifications for this unit, which include discussing and listening to some of the noises of night animals and what happens to things at night, such as plants and kids growing.  We also made a dot graph of the change in night length across the seasons, and took a ‘listening walk’ one evening after Brother went to bed (unfortunately it was kind of chilly and none of the crickets or frogs were trilling, but we did see a cottontail).  We have also done some day- and nighttime-focused art as well.

Actually, as I look back over what we’ve done, it appears as though most of the activities this unit are modifications I have made.  I added in discussing why we need darkness, and we are growing some mung bean sprouts in a paper bag to demonstrate how plants need darkness.


Mung bean sprouts (we will eat them in a few days!)

As we are focusing on what plants do at night, I decided to focus on sleep as well, and wrote out a “How does it feel to sleep” meditation.  Elizabeth enjoys my Denis Austin yoga VHS tape that I have had since I was in the 8th grade.  Her favorite part is the guided meditation at the end with the nature sounds behind Ms. Austin’s voice, so I decided to write up my own in the same style.  I think she enjoyed it.

Discussing country living should also involve touching on city living, so today we stopped at the library and got out a bunch of supplemental books on farming and life in rural communities, as well as some fictional stories about life in a city.  A few of my choices were Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña to illustrate life in a city, and Community Helpers: Farmers by Cari Meister to continue on the country theme.

Lastly, no unit study about the country would be complete without a trip to the farm, so we made one!  Chepe said the kittens were old enough to be held, so Elizabeth rode over with him when he left for work in the morning on Tuesday, and Paul and I went over a little later.  We got to see the kittens and calves, as well as watch the cows getting milked.  Luckily, another co-worker of Chepe’s had his 4-year-old daughter there with him that day, so she and Elizabeth got to play together all morning.


One of the kittens



The only black this calf had on it was this one spot and on the tips of it’s ears, and looks like maybe some on it’s lips. It was so cute!

So, when one lives in the country, it’s not hard to observe things that happen in the country, but teaching a 5-year-old that observation is important is necessary.  I have read that young children are very observant, because their life is in the here and now, as in they are present most, if not all, of the time.  But if the adults in their lives dismiss their special observations, by the time they are nearing ten, their attention to the details of life surrounding them significantly reduces.  I am trying my hardest to keep that keen observation alive for as long as possible in my amazing little girl.  I am reminded of that meme that was being passed around on Facebook too:  that most kids can identify more logos and brand names of products than trees and plants and animals.  Not my kid, she’s a nature wiz.

Share your thoughts:  What are some interesting ways you have studied life in the country?