Here’s the song reference.
Our school year started last Monday, at the girls’ request. Once the shelves in the corner of the kitchen were taken over by the new school books, both Bugaboo and Beanie reminded me daily of the texts’ existence, and of their great and burning desire to explore and learn from them. After a month of furious lesson (over) planning, I acceded to their increasingly plaintive requests, and a new school year was born. Going forward, I think we’ll probably go year-round, with five-to-ten day breaks salted in. This summer and last taught me that a break of longer than two weeks’ duration is something they neither desire nor enjoy.
At any rate, our first science unit this year is the study of the food guide pyramid, which is timely because this has been the summer of explaining to Bugaboo that she cannot live on pasta and milk alone, and to Beanie that she cannot live on fruit and juice alone. Actually, our entire first-grade year in science is devoted to the miracle of our bodies and how we should care for its parts and for it as a whole. Food is a great starting point, partly because good nutrition plays such an important role in keeping all systems go, as it were, and partly because there are so many excellent tie-ins to math, history, and religion.
Yesterday, we took a stack of grocery ads and cut out pictures of various foods, then labeled the cells in a blank food pyramid and added one example of food from each group. This was actually a bit of a trial for Beanie, who likes to cut things out very precisely along their outlines, and the picture of strawberries she wanted to use had so very many berries that she became frustrated trying to cut out each one individually; we won’t talk about what happened when she tried to cut out each individual kernel of corn from a picture of corn on the cob. As it happened, her greatest lesson from yesterday’s exercise was that sometimes, we can lose sight of the larger picture because we become so focused on, and frustrated by, each tiny piece of it.
We also read the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand. Bugaboo was mightily impressed that the person who gave the food that started the miracle in motion was a child. We talked about how when we share the best we have to offer, the Lord multiplies it and uses it to feed many more people than we could have fed under our own power, and that this goes not only for loaves of bread and little fishes, but also for acts of kindness and prayers for help.
Today we’re going to cut out more food pictures, this time with the prices, and make a stack of meal planning cards by gluing them to cardboard we’ve reclaimed from cereal and pasta boxes. We’ll learn about how to estimate and round, because it’s quicker to figure the cost of five pounds of apples at about two dollars a pound than to calculate that same cost at $1.89 per pound, and we’ll learn that “lb.” is the abbreviation for pound. Mr. Man will probably receive his first pair of scissors that actually cut (I have them hidden in the family room), and be able to join in the fun. I’m grateful to our local Giant for being so generous with their sale ads!
Today’s prayer: Lord, thank You for the bounty of good things to eat in Your creation, and for providing for Your blessings, who have never known real physical hunger. Through teaching them how to be good stewards of their bodies, help me instill in them a desire to be good stewards of all You have given us, from the soil that grows the food to those who lack good food to eat. Please grant us all the grace of eyes that see the needs of our neighbors and hearts that long to fulfill those needs, not with our expired leftovers, but with our first and best fruits, as we would offer them to You. Please help us to not only be Your merciful face, but also to see Your glory in the faces of those who hunger and thirst, and to not become so frustrated with their numbers that we seek to send them away instead of coming to You, in faith, for help.