My inspiration for this block came from a brief paragraph by Eugene Schwartz on his millennial child website. I wanted Pintail to learn to identify the seven major grains on their stalks, and also learn about their relationship to the area in which they are grown. What water needs do the grains have? Do they tolerate heat? Etc. I also wanted him to taste each grain, study it, and handle it.
I probably could have traveled around trying to find grains on their stalks in the area, but to save myself the run around I ordered several grains on their stalks online. It wasn’t very cost effective, and when the grains arrived from a city just THIRTY minutes from my home, I felt quite silly.
We learned two songs during this short block. Mother Earth by Eileen Hutchins and I Saw a Farmer Plough the Field by Christof-Andreas Lindenberg. The latter is in Music Through the Grades by Diane Barnes and is included on the CD in the book.
The poem we used was Harvest by Molly de Havas from the Waldorf Book of Poetry.
We also began reading “Farmer Boy” (I still can’t figure out how to underline on WordPress) by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Pintail and I LOVED this book, but it did take a long time to read it, stretching into subsequent blocks.
Here are excerpts from Pintail’s Main Lesson Book:
We tried recipes for each grain – although some came after the block.
Here’s a family favorite for barley:
Beef Barley Stew
1 Tablespoon butter
1 onion chopped
4 cups beef broth
4 cups water
2 cups chopped cooked beef
1/2 cup carrots diced
1/2 cup celery diced
14.5 oz. diced tomatoes
1 cup pearled barley
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 cup frozen corn
Sautee onion in butter until tender. Add remaining ingredients and bring soup to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour.
The highlight of this block was near the end when we went to the pet store and the kids noticed that the budgies were eating millet from stalks suspended in their cages! Perfect!