Studying Japan

In spite of a whole collection of challenges, this has been one of my very favorite weeks of homeschooling — studying Japan in all sorts of ways! We read “The Old Man Mad About Drawing,” a story about Hokusai the famous artist. We painted Japanese characters using a sumi-e ink block and learned to recognize a few symbols. We watched “My Neighbor Totoro” and a documentary about Japan. We read “The Big Wave” by Pearl S. Buck and ate sushi for dinner. Now if only we could squeeze in a little field trip to Japan . . .

Autumn Leaves

The first autumn leaves come inside
in baskets and pockets.
Handfuls of chestnuts, shiny brown and gold.
The smell of beeswax fills the house
as rain falls outside
and a chubby toddler brings fists-full
of dirty carrots, fresh from the garden,
inside to wash off
up at the sink.