Man and Animal – Block 2

I have some more artwork to share: Our second Man and Animal block focused on the three parts of ourselves… the thinking (eagle) self, the feeling (lion) self, and the willing (cow/bull) self.

We spent the first week learning about the eagle. We read the eagle story from The Human Being and the Animal World by Charles Kovacs, drew an eagle and talked about how his flight is like our thinking.

“We can take our minds way up yonder, we can pounce on an idea and get excited, we can feel tiny thoughts coming and going all the time around the edges of our minds. We can grasp ideas with our strong thought-hands and tear apart concepts and we can take things way up high almost out of sight in our minds and come back to these ideas later.”
— Marsha Johnson

Marsha talks a great deal about the Man and Animal blocks in her file Hovering Between Heaven and Earth.doc in the Grade 4 files on her Waldorfhomeeducators Yahoo Group. A search of “Man and Animal” through the previous messages will also produce some gems.


Mom’s eagle….  I was a little disappointed in this one, as I do not feel I captured his eagle-ness very well.


4th Grader’s… Similar to mine. On the page with the verse, she opted to draw an eagle just about to dive for prey. The verse is from Tennyson, which I got from Live Ed.

For the lion, we followed the same pattern as the eagle; reading from the Charles Kovacs book, drawing, painting, and poetry. I did not have her write any compositions for these animals, as I felt we have done so much of that lately. We talked about the lion being a ‘feeling’ animal… did you ever notice that even a group of lions is named after a feeling (pride)? Wow! And look at the pictures of the lions in the books from the library. It is hard to imagine an animal as expressive as this one.


Mom’s Lion.

4th Grader’s Lion. Again, the verse is from Live Ed.

Our wet-on-wet watercolor paintings this week:


My female lion stalking prey. This painting idea came from Live Ed’s curriculum. First we painted a yellow wash and added some red streaks at the top of the page to indicate heat. After waiting a few minutes for the paper to dry a bit, we painted the lion in red. Next we added the blue to make the green grass. Finally we added some red grasses to hide the lion. When the paper was even more dry, we added a little more red to the  lion for eyes and a little shading and definition.


4th grader’s female lion stalking prey.


My daughter was inspired to do a dry watercolor painting on her own.

Our last animal of this block, the cow/bull/ox. Charles Kovacs does not talk about the cow in his book, unfortunately, so I told her about the cow using the description in the Live Ed book, “The World of Animals”. I like to get information about these animals from library books, Google, Wiki  (what did we do before Wikipedia?), as well as Waldorf resources before the lesson. I get a couple of books from the library with pictures of the animals we are studying and share those with the children at some point during the lesson. I don’t read from the books, but my daughter reads them to herself later.


Mom’s cow.


4th grader’s cow. The verse she wrote is from Live Ed, but after she wrote it I found a better verse in A Journey Through Time in Verse and Rhyme:

Ox and Cow by Margaret Morgan

Ox and Cow,
Behold them now;
Behold what work they do.

The cow, placid and gentle,
She chews the whole day through.
All day long she chews the cud,
Working miracles for mankind’s good.

Ox and Cow,
Behold them now;
Behold what work they do.

The ox is a beast of burden,
He toils the whole day through.
Pulling the plough as best he can;
Bearing heavy loads for man.

Ox and Cow behold them now,
Behold what work they do;
Each give their gifts to help mankind;
Such selfless work they do.

As Marsha Johnson suggested, we spent some time talking about what makes us different from the animals. How are we unique? Animals must use their limbs as very specialized tools… wings for flying, pads for walking, claws for climbing, and so on. Charles Kovacs also has a wonderful chapter in his book about limbs. So we come to the conclusion that we have the freedom to use our hands for doing useful and creative things! Best of all, for helping others.

We traced our hands and made lists of 15 things we like to do with our hands. My daughter put “Rub backs” on her list. I am a very lucky mom, indeed!

We capped off our block with a trip to the zoo. My children have not been to the zoo since they were very little (since I have mixed feelings about it). In fact, they did not even remember going to the zoo before. It was a lot of fun, with squeals of delight in watching the monkeys play! We were fortunate that when we came upon the lion’s home he decided to roar.  It was funny because everyone around the exhibit was chatting about the lion and his large paws, gorgeous mane and such, when he let his mighty voice soar. We all stood in such awe… not a single sound from our crowd of humbled gawkers.

I hope to post our artwork from our first Man and Animal block sometime soon!

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This entry was posted in Grade 4, Man and Animal / Zoology, Watercolor Painting. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Man and Animal – Block 2

  1. Kelly says:

    This is a beautiful post. I enjoyed t a lot as ths coming year I will be homeschooling my 4th grader 🙂

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