For second grade I've divided our year into month long blocks. We focus on a primary subject each month, plus do festivals/holidays, music, form drawing, clay work, painting, cooking and etc. Of course all the subjects seem to get covered - which is a good thing.
For the month of September we're focusing on natural science, specifically the topic of harvest. We've been reading books on harvesting and storing food, Nightowl is attending a class on Permaculture, and we're doing a bit of our own harvesting.
We started with apples. During our first visit to the orchard we got the fever and came home with a bushel of apples. Really, it didn't look like that many apples when we were in the orchard, so we also brought home peaches, plums, cider and squash. Whew. Once at home Nightowl said" "Mommy, this is a lot of apples." And how. So, we decided to learn how to can applesauce. A perfect harvest lesson. We went to our local hardware store and stocked up. Cans - check. Peeler- check. Water bath canner - check. Let's go.
At first it all went well and was very serene. Nightowl liked working the peeler. Bearcub was munching on spiral cut apples, the sauce was bubbling. Then, blam, everything changed. You know how it is with little ones, something just snaps. Suddenly Bearcub was screaming and hitting her sister, Nightowl was demanding justice, I glanced at the clock: "11:30 already! It can't be, it's time for lunch." I shooed them out of the way and tried to quickly finish paring a last batch of fruit, when it happened. My knife slipped and I cut, quite deeply into the fleshy part of my thumb.
Now either I came very close to a nerve or I'm just a big weenie cause I hollered. Blood was flowing down my arm and onto the floor. I grabbed a towel and rushed upstairs. My first thought was to clean the wound. When I did this my head started to spin and my vision began to darken. Not good. I put pressure on my thumb and put my head between my knees.
As my head cleared I could hear Nightowl crying: "Mommy what's wrong? There's blood on the floor."
I went back down to the children and was trying to keep pressure on my thumb when, again, I felt my head spin and my vision started to darken. Not good. I lay down on the floor and put my hand up all the while murmuring reassurances to the girls. I asked Nightowl to bring me the phone (which she did) but I couldn't remember a single number. I broke out in a sweat and everything was tilting; I needed help.
Calmly and firmly I asked Nightowl to please run across the street to our neighbor and tell her that I'd cut my finger and needed some help. Quickly now, Mommy's about to pass out.
She tried. She opened the door. She even went outside. But she couldn't do it. Nightowl has a big personality and lots of confidence - unless she is asked to interact with semi-strangers (for example our neighbors with whom we speak daily and attend the same church- I don't really get this) or do something that puts her in the spotlight (such as knocking on a door). She doesn't even like to knock on the doors of folks we know.
As I lay there with blood oozing out of the cloth, drenched in cold sweat Nightowl came back in, crying. "I can't Mommy. I can't do it." I think I might have asked her again - I don't really remember - but in the end I simply said: "It's ok, honey. Mommy will be alright." What else could I say? And then the adrenaline kicked in, my heart slowed down, my vision cleared and I stopped shivering. Eventually I could sit up. I bandaged my finger. I took several deep breaths. I calmed my kids. I made lunch. I finished the sauce.
Everything turned out ok. My thumb has pretty much healed (I didn't even need stitches, guess I am a weenie). The applesauce and plumb butter are quite tastey. And Nightowl and I learned that emergency plans are necessary. We now have a list of names and numbers near the phone, that she can read and is comfortable dialing. We've spoken with our neighbors and she's practicing asking for help. Eventually we'll practice ringing doorbells. All in all, we learned way more than I ever imagined.