Sunburst and I are thoroughly enjoying our study of Ancient India. I'm finding the Kovacs book, Ancient Mythologies, to be superb.
I like to start out each year with a symbolic marker. This year, since we were beginning with the destruction of Atlantis and Manu's voyage to India, I presented Sunburst with a few beans. Fifth grade is just brimming with new lands, new people, and new ideas. To me, they're like seeds. We plant them and see where they go.
She was a little bewildered when I told her to keep them safe, that she would need them. She pestered me on and off about them and was dying to know what they were for. Wait and see, I said.
And then we discovered Atlantis.
I had this rough idea for making a little Atlantis out of clay. I presented the vision of Atlantis, described by Plato as an island of concentric rings, and Sunburst just took off with it. She immersed herself fully in it and worked on it for a couple of days. It's regular pottery clay worked on the bottom of a pizza pan covered with parchment paper, and her creation far surpassed my expectations.
When she's ready we'll fill it with water, which will essentially destroy it... It seems a shame to trash something she took such care on, but isn't that kind of the crux of Atlantis itself? If it's true, it was supposedly an amazing, advanced civilization. In Kovacs' book he describes the Atlanteans as being capable of magic-- making cows small or men into giants. It seemed a bit far-fetched to me when I first read it, but the more I think about it, the more I wonder if he was referring to science. We're doing some pretty wacky magic these days ourselves-- cloning animals, putting fish genes into our tomatoes, and I'm sure we don't even know the half of it.
When I told how the god Brahma brought Manu out of the flood waters to India with the seeds he had saved from Atlantis, Sunburst was also given some soil. She planted three of her beans, and luckily, one of them sprouted. It doesn't matter how many times we plant seeds, its always feels miraculous to watch them grow. We'll be exploring botany in the spring, and watching this bean unfurl sort of sets the mood for that. And after a story of destruction, it seemed important to have something tangible begin growing out of that.