Sunday, March 31, 2019

Tall Tales & U.S. Geography Week 2

This week we learned some more tall tales and American folk legends from New England and the Mid-Atlantic region, then moved to the Southeast and the Mississippi and Ohio River Valleys, and ended with a field trip on Friday!

Monday, March 25

  • watch video for U.S. Capitals song, pass out lyrics and sing along
  • play Here Is... Where Is map skills game
  • listen to The Ballad of Captain Kidd recorded by Carl Peterson
  • rough draft summary and illustration, add Captain Kidd to MLB
  • listen to "I've Been Working on the Railroad," what were the jobs involved in building the railroad?
  • listen to railroad work songs from This is the Way We Wash-a-Day:
    "Pat on the Railway" - track #9
    "Manamolela" - track #10
  • listen to Manamolela - Work Song recorded by The Song Swappers and Pete Seeger and collected by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
  • discuss how many legends were passed down in rhyming poetry or song (Iliad and Odyssey by Homer, Poetic Edda of the Norse, etc.)
  • read John Henry's Contest with the Big Steam Drill: A Story of West Virginia Told from Ballads of the Railroad Builders from Olive Beaupre Miller's Heroes, Outlaws & Funny Fellows of American Popular Tales

Tuesday, March 26

  • pass out lyrics and sing along to the U.S. Capitals song with Turkey in the Straw - music video in the barnyard! by the Biegel Family
  • recall John Henry, read tall tale version of John Henry by Julius Lester
  • listen to John Henry Song recorded by Tennessee Ernie Ford
  • listen to John Henry Song recorded by Harry Belafonte
  • rough draft summary and illustration, add John Henry to MLB
  • read Heroes of the Coal Mines: Told from Tales and Songs of the Anthracite Miners of Pennsylvania by Olive Beaupre Miller

Thursday, March 28

Friday, March 29

signage at the top of the steps

the huge bluffs

cave entrance

climbing in the first chamber

the hole in the ceiling of the second chamber makes it lighter

looking back at the cave entrance

the limestone walls

Zac is fascinated by the texture

it's quite easy to climb a bit on the naturally formed ridges

cold water drips constantly from the roof
and falls on your head
and makes the floor quite muddy and slick

the Ohio River
looking over at Kentucky

We had a great time! And it couldn't be any easier to get to. Just head east on IL-13 through Marion and on until you turn right on IL-1 (labeled Cave in Rock) and follow it to the town. Drive until you get to the River and turn left. The state park is right there. There's a small playground (with an old-fashioned metal merry-go-round) and then head up the steps, read the signage, head down the steps, and walk along the sandy beach to your left.

This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!

The Root Children Circle, Week 2

This was our second week working with this Circle inspired by the 1906 book The Story of the Root Children by Sibylle von Olfers.

Here are my notes from The Root Children Circle, Week 1.

We continued with our Songs, Verses & Movement for classroom routines.

Circle Time Introduction


Getting the Pikler back out for some fun indoor climbing... continued interest in scissors and construction paper in morning play time, lot of cutting elaborate designs along the folded edge of a piece of paper and then opening up the paper to see the exciting results... adding yoga to our morning Circle.


It was a joy to have the strong scent of hyacinth blossoms in the classroom today, and to help each child take a turn making a necklace or crown. They worked so so carefully to line up the end of the needle with the end of the blossom! We used a wonderful vintage pure linen thread through the hyacinth blossoms, so that the project is all natural and fully compostable.


  • mixing greens and painting outside
  • "The Old Woman and the Tulips" from Tell Me a Story, page 109

Today the paper cutting work which has been so popular for the past few weeks transitioned into an interest in folding. The children were folding the paper in many different ways and then opening it up to see what designs the crease marks made on their paper. "My folding is really good. I'm an artist."

There was also a renewed interest in weaving and all of the potholder looms and loops were out all over the floor, while older children tried to explain the pattern of over, under, over, under to the younger children.

We took this beautiful day as an opportunity to also do some paint mixing and explored the different greens that we could make by combining yellows and blues. Then the children went outside with their paint palettes (old ice cube trays) and stirring sticks and brushes and stretched paper and painting boards and tried to find a Spring green which they would like to paint. Two children decided to paint the color of the brand-new grass and two children chose the evergreen leaves of the magnolia tree.

The children sat in the warm sunshine by their nature inspiration and mixed greens until they were satisfied with the color they had achieved, then painted their "grass" or "magnolia leaf" green onto their paper.

We enjoyed the familiarity of the Root Children Circle story and movement this week, but I chose to end the two week session with a very sweet story about tulips. I had deliberately purchased tightly closed tulips earlier in the week so that the children could watch them slowly open. After our story, I placed the pots of flowers on the floor and let them gently peek inside.

Today, of course, was also a Fruit Salad day. Here was our list of group contributions this week:

frozen peaches macerated with a bit of sugar

spontaneous drawing during indoor play time

practicing folding and cutting along an axis

the big kids take advantage of the mats out on the floor
they want to do yoga too!

carefully threading the needle through the base of the flower

demonstrating how to mix a green

carefully propping his painting board up against the tree trunk
like an easel

mixing different colors

a grass green

a magnolia leaf green

looking up at the color of the leaves

here are all four of the greens they mixed

doing a Gallery Walk to look at friends' work

our delicious fruit salad

outdoor play in the garden

our Dish Gardens are beginning to sprout!

This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!