Monday, December 5, 2016

5th Grade Ancient Civilisation - The Life of Buddha (2 week block)

Since Mathilde had already done Grade 5 Ancient Civilisation with her sisters two years ago, I worked extra hard to make sure I could present her some new material. Enter this block. It's a long story, but since the twins started First Grade (at home, of course), it was impossible to keep her from her sisters's lesson, so she tagged along... until it became too hard and frustrating for her. This is why this year she is doing her "real" grade (5th Grade), while the twins are doing 7th Grade. So far, it is working really well!

For this block, I used This Free PDF Document on the Life of Buddha and this great Website for abstracts and inspiration for the drawings.

The first drawing from the Life of the Buddha serie Mathilde made was victim of a water spill... so here's the image we used as inspiration from the Website mentionned earlier. I will also copy the text (when I have it typed) that I had her write in her Main Lesson Book to make it easier for you if you want to use it in your homeschooling.

Text: One full moon night, sleeping in the palace, the queen had a vivid dream. She felt herself being carried away by four devas (spirits) to Lake Anota􀄴a in the Himalayas. A􀄞er bathing her in the lake, the devas clothed her in heavenly cloths, anointed her with perfumes, and bedecked her with divine flowers. Soon a􀄞er a white elephant, holding a white lotus flower in its trunk, appeared and went round her three times, entering her womb through her right side. Finally the elephant disappeared and the queen awoke, knowing she had been delivered an important message.

Text: When the Future Buddha was 29 years of age he went to the park and saw the Four Signs, namely, an old man, a sick man, a dead man and a monk, whom the higher gods had fashioned. At that very moment he received a message that a son had been born to him, but he was sad and depressed and decided to leave the palace on his horse. His sole desire was to become a Buddha and save the world of gods and men.

Text: The Future Buddha was sitting under the banyan tree. Sujata caught sight of him and, supposing him to be the tree-god offered him milk-porridge in a golden bowl that was worth a hundred thousand pieces of money. He proceeded to the banks of the Neranjara and ate the food. He took the bowl to the river bank and set it on the river saying, "If today I shall be able to became a Buddha, let this bowl go up stream". It floated up-stream!

Text: When King Suddhodana came to know that the Buddha was teaching in Rajagaha he sent nine messengers, one after the other, inviting him to come to Kapilavathu. All the messengers became monks. When the people of Kapilavathu discovered that the Buddha had come to their city they flocked to see him.

Text: After the meal there was great excitement in the palace and all but Princess Yasodhara came to pay their reverence to the Buddha. The Buddha handed His bowl to the King, and accompanied by His two chief disciples entered the chamber of Yasodhara and sat on the prepared seat, saying, "Let the King's daughter reverence as she likes". Swiftly she came, clasped His ankles, and placing her head on His feet, reverenced Him as she like.

Text: After the death of King Bimbisara, Devadatta made several attempts to kill the Buddha, but he was not successful. So he went to the elephant-keepers and said to them to carry his instructions. Nalagiri was a very ferocious elephant which used to gore men to death. When the elephant-keepers set the elephant in the direction of the Buddha, he simply stood where he was and sent out his thought of loving-kindness towards the elephant Nalagiri, which was running towards him to crush him down. When the elephant came near the Buddha, it stood quietly before Him listening to the words of advice uttered by Him.

Text: Gotami approached the Buddha many times and begged permission for women to be admitted into the Order as Nuns. The Buddha refused without giving her a reason. But Gotami was a determined woman. She had her hair cut off, put on yellow garments and with five hundred of Sakya women followed to Vaseli. She dared not enter the monastery grounds and stood outside the porch. Now the Venerable Ananda saw her standing there, and went to the Buddha and asked several times for permission to admit women into the Order as Nuns. At last, the Blessed One gave the permission and women were admitted to the Order.

Text: From His 35th year, the date of His Enlightenment, the Buddha's successful ministry lasted 45 years. When He attained His 80th year the Buddha had an attack of dysentery and lay down on a couch with its head to the north between twin sal-trees in the Sala Grove of Kusinara State. Men, higher and lower gods and monks were gathered, in large numbers, near the Blessed One in respectful adoration. The passing away, or the final nirvana of the Buddha, occurred in 534 BC on a full-moon day in the month of May, known in the Indian calendar as Vesak.

We also had big plans to do India-related crafts in the afternoon, but other than nature Mandalas and a major Pinterest fail with an Origami Lotus Flower, we didn't do much. I wanted us to try some indian miror embroidery, but could not find little round mirors, and pistachio shells lotus flowers.


Catherine said...

What beautiful work, Mathilde!

Catherine, when I was doing 5th grade I came across some really great books, particularly for Ancient Greece, that might help give your blocks a bit of a different feel to your first time around.

We read "Children of the Fox" by Jill Paton Walsh, which focuses on the story of Themistocles from the Battle of Salamis to his ostracism. It is told in story form from the perspective of four children and the author is an historian, so full of detail from the period. For example, the first story, told by a girl, covers the position of women in Greece and the differences between Spartan and Athenian women. If Mathilde has already been introduced to Ancient Greece via Kovacs, for example, this will deepen her knowledge but still be at the level of an 11-12 year old.

The other book we read was "Temple on a Hill - the building of the Parthenon" by Anne Rockwell. This covers the "Golden Age" of Pericles. I thought it got a bit too detailed at times but at the end of our block my son said the architecture was his favourite part, so I guess that was just me! Again, this book is told in narrative form and brings the various players to life.

Both books are out of print, but my library had one and I got the other from Better World Books.

We also spent a lot of time on Egypt which wasn't really covered well by our curriculum. I used "The Ancient Egyptians, Myths of the World" by Virginia Schomp from the library and it was excellent, much better (I thought) than Kovacs or Lancelyn Green.

I hope this helps (I know you didn't ask for help, so just ignore it if you like:-)). I imagine you will want to approach the material differently to keep your own interest too.

Catherine said...

Thanks soooo much for taking the time to write that! I found a used copy of Children of the Fox on Amazon and will look for the other books. That kind of information from moms in the trenches is priceless. That's why I publish this blog. Thanks a lot!