Sunday, March 14, 2010

S is for Spring

With one week to go, signs of spring abound and, by yet another sweet synchronicity, we began our letter S unit this week.  

We use Fry's 300 Instant Sight Words for our weekly words.  With a total of 30 S Words on the list, we decided to split it in half and give the letter S two weeks instead of one.  This week's words were: spring, said, see, she, so, stand, such, some, saw, say, school, seem, shall, should, soon, and sure.  Instead of a written spelling test this week, we elected for something more fun.  After singing all of the words all week, we had a family Spelling Bee on Saturday.  I'm proud to report that A. is becoming quite a fantastic little speller. 

Some of other S things we enjoyed this week were Spring's Sprung by Lynn Plourde, beautifully illustrated by Greg Couch, learning to play a Samba on piano, Book 10 in Scholastic's Planet Earth Phonics Reading Program - Snakes, and committing to memory eight math facts we called "sister sums" where we matched doubles (like 4+4 and 6+6) with other math facts (like 5+3 and 7+5).

Still, the highlights of our week were welcoming spring in our outdoor classroom.  We've been closely watching the trees in our area give birth to blossoms and baby leaves.  Our neighbor's Flowering Cherry is aflame with pink blossoms, our winter daphne is full and sweet smelling, the manzanita are covered in tiny white flowers, our snow peas are thriving, and our tomato and jalapeno seedlings are now three inches tall with water droplets always glistening on their primary leaves.

With the sun's return, and our studies turned to the letter S, it seemed like a perfect time for sun salutations... a moving prayer of gratitude to the life-giving energy of the sun.  Sun salutation, Surya Namaskar, links together twelve asanas in a dynamic flow.  Beginning the day with a set in each of the four cardinal directions wakes up our bodies, gets out the wiggles, and as Christopher Key Chapple, a professor of Indic and comparative theology at Loyola Marymout University says in this month's Yoga Journal, "calls us to stretch our minds and spirits to the corners of the universe, allowing us to feel the vast expanse of the cosmos within the movement of our bodies."

The ability to sense the cosmos within our body is something I hope my munchkin is cultivating through our at-home studies.  It comes when we slow down, when we put some space between our habitual responses and our actions, and when we take care to spend time with the natural world.  

Watching tiny blossoms sprout from barren winter branches reminds me that spring is a promise the earth keeps each year.  Sensing the birth of that promise within myself gives me a deep peace -- a trusting feeling in my heart.  There is a surrender, a certain acceptance, in this trusting... a calmness of spirit that informs each day with joy.

Tomorrow we'll begin eight more sister sums, fourteen new S words, sing a silly swan tongue twister, and continue seeking spring.  Tonight, I'm settling down with my family for a Sunday night in stillness.
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