We have finally returned from a journey across Middle Earth with Bilbo and his companions. As with most of our school units, this one stemmed from Max's interest in the topic... namely, his third time through the book (second time listening to the audiobook). He knows the story better than I do, and I honestly have to ask him plot questions sometimes.
We checked out a book from the library that gave Max a taste for what the characters would look like in "real life", and he was off. Each day found him dressed as a different character from the book, and he now has a collection of drawings depicting everyone from Gandalf to Gollum. He and Lucian (Bilbo and Fili) went on a four-hour journey through our backyard, equipped with swords, provisions, rain gear... and even a maraca. Not sure about the usefulness of that, but I am sure they had something in mind.
As for school time, I found that the book is chock-full of learning opportunities even for a kindergartner! One day, inspired by Bilbo's interactions with Gollum, we practiced riddle writing. Another day we made clay maps of Middle Earth, tracing Bilbo's journey (or our closest approximation) in red paint. We learned about descriptive narrative by listening to Tolkein's introduction of different characters or places and attempting to accurately draw them. We talked about rhyme by reading the dwarf song Far Over the Misty Mountains, and we learned that it has basically the same format as the boys' other favorite poem, Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening, by Robert Frost.
Our unit concluded with a grand Hobbit Feast, shared with our friends John and Sara. We chose the menu based on the unexpected party in chapter 1, in which Gandalf and all of the dwarves appear on Bilbo's doorstep and raid his larders. I must say I'm pretty happy with how everything turned out, seeing as I have never made (or had any desire to make) pork pie before. The menu was as follows:
CheeseSalad with radish, cucumbers and hard boiled eggs
Scones with raspberry jam
Ale for Gandalf and Beorn (Paul and John)
Ginger ale for the moms and kids
Tea and coffee
It was a ton of fun to prepare and a ton of fun to eat! The boys made the seed cake almost entirely by themselves, and they helped as much as they could with the pork pie. Everyone enjoyed the meal, and Max got to discuss the intricacies of the book's plot with his friend Anna's dad, another rabid Tolkein fan.
Now on to the American Revolution, in preparation for our visit to Boston in May. Paul Revere, here we come!
|Bilbo's journey through Middle Earth|
|Seed cake is almost done!|
|Peeling potatoes for the pie|
|Pork Pie... mmmmm...|
|Chicken, cheese, salad and ALE!|