Two Week Review, 11.19.10

Busy couple of weeks!  Our little cat Luna came home with a broken leg a couple of weeks ago and that has been taking up a lot of our time.  We’re also nursing a sick hen… when it rains, it pours!  But here’s a little taste of what we’ve been up to in our Native American block:

Still reading lots of stories and making illustrations:

Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back

Should be, "The First StrawberrIES"!

The turtle activity didn’t come out as I’d hoped.  The crumpled paper is supposed to give the illusion of water.  To me it just looks like, well… crumpled paper!

We also read about Sitting Bull:

Sitting Bull

And explored the world of Navajo blankets in conjunction with their weaving projects.  Peep #1 sketched out a design he’d like to try.  A bit advanced at the moment, but he’ll get there! 😉

Navajo Blanket Design

We’ve been reading/listening to Native American poetry:

From Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back

More Poems...


And for copywork writing about different culture areas:

Native Americans in the Northwest

Learned more about sage and its healing properties:

Sacred Sage

The Peeps also made wrapped feathers for smudging.  Plenty of chicken feathers in the hen house to choose from!  The ends were wrapped in leather cord:

Wrapped Feathers

We discovered the meaning of many of our local landmarks (streets, rivers, towns, etc) and learned a few words in the Pequot language.

Peep #2's Sun and Moon

Pumpkins and other squash were vital to Native American culture in our area (along with beans and corn), so Peep  #2 used pastels to draw a whimsical pumpkin patch in her art class this week:

Pumpkin Patch

On Thursday we went on a field trip to our local Native American Museum.  This is one of the best museums we’ve been to!  They have an entire Pequot village exhibit you can walk through and see every aspect of daily life while you listen to the audio guide (hand held) describe and explain each scene.  Unfortunately no photos were allowed inside the museum.  But we took a couple outside and from the observation tower.

Pequot Museum

On Friday we rose early to see the morning star, then read an Iroquois tale called “So Son Do Wah and the Morning Star”.  We discussed Venus as the morning and evening star,

Peep #1's Morning Star Illustration

We’ve also been listening to Native American music (drumming chants and flute primarily) whenever we’re in the car or doing quiet work and especially when they’re weaving.

Finally fished up our fall banner, too.  I really love the way this came out!  We’re going to do one for Yule as well.

Autumn Banner

This coming week is a short one for school, so I will probably combine it with next week’s report.   Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate!

Stylish Blogger Award

Wow!  A very big thankyou to Is over at Snowflakes in the Valley for sending me blog props in the form of the Stylish Blog award.  I’m extremely flattered!  Okay, so in accordance with award rules, here are seven things about me:

*I really dislike the word “crisp”

*Purple is my favorite color

*I once helped the director block a shot by standing in for Gillian Anderson on the X-Files set (we are the same height/size)

*I’m Pagan, but I love Christmas carols! LOL

*I have been known to laugh inappropriately at tender scenes in movies

*I am painfully shy

*I’m currently reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for the 5th time

And here are the blogs I’ve decided to pass on the Stylish award to, in no particular order.  I’ve found inspiration at each and every one of them, and hope you will too!

Blue Skies and Dragonflies

A Small Tribe

Lowercase Learning

Hawai’in Dreaming

The Angry Chicken

A Homeschool Story

The Magic Onions

Danielle’s Thinkwell

I’m Nobody!  Who Are You?

Now is the Best Time

Bright Sky Six

Schooling From the Heart

Ancient Hearth

Natural Suburbia

Tiny Owl Knits

Weekly Review 11.5.10

It was a lighter-than-usual week.  On Tuesday we took the day off as Peep #2 spent the day with her best friend who was celebrating her 12th birthday.  They went to the movies, out to lunch, for ice cream, and then enjoyed visiting before we had to rush home for karate.  Then, on Thursday, another of Peep #2’s friend’s mom needed help with child care so we had her for the day.  We did do a little work that morning though, and in the afternoon they had their monthly class on Ecosystems at our local nature center (science!).

Anyway, this week we started a new 3-week block on Native American culture.  I’m really excited about this block, though at the same time it’s a little overwhelming- there is SO much out there!  I’m taking a deep breath and trying to keep in mind the whole-to-parts philosophy of Waldorf educators.  We’ll learn about Native Americans by focusing on their stories, myths and legends, while also touching on the more specific aspects of daily life.  To that end, I’ve compiled a bunch of resources that I’ve found from book and internet sources.  Here’s a picture of some of the books we’ll be using:

Some of the Resources We're Using

In addition, we will be drawing on activities from these websites:  Native Tech, Teacher’s First, and this neat site.

We’ll be learning about Native Americans in a more general sense at first, and then during the second or third (and possibly fourth) weeks will focus on our local Native culture, which is fortunately rich in resources.  So, this week we did some map work concentrating on the overall picture of different tribes in the U.S. (I want to cover Mexico and Canada separately).


Map of Basic Classifications

Slightly More Detailed Map They Copied Into Their Books

Peep #2's Work in Progress

We compared different Native American dwellings, and spent a lot of time reading and illustrating stories and myths, for example, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky and Coyote and the Magic Words:

Coyote and the Magic Words

The Woman Who Fell From the Sky

Native American Dwellings

Some of the stories I chose are geared for children a little younger than my Peeps, but I decided to include them anyway for their simple  message and especially for the beautiful illustrations.  Conversely books like this one may be a tad advanced for Peep #2, but it’s good to have them stretch their minds a bit!

For activities we bought a loom from Magic Cabin and learned how to weave.  However, I didn’t anticipate needing two, so while Peep #2 got started on her tapestry, Peep #1 learned how to make a loom from cardboard.

Working the Loom

Warping a Cardboard Loom

The cardboard loom is definitely trickier to work than the “real” one; I may have to see if I can find another at one of the second hand stores.

We learned about Native American ceremonies and used a smudge stick.  The smudge stick itself wasn’t new to the Peeps as I make and use my own.  And last year, we experienced an authentic Native American burial ceremony when the husband of an acquaintance passed away.  It was very moving.  Smudging was a part of that ceremony too, and now we did some ourselves.

Using a Smudge Stick

Next week we’ll learn more about the herb sage, and it’s importance to many Native Americans.

We read some Native American poetry and for a copywork exercise they copied out one of the poems:

Tewa Poem & Story Narration (Osage)

(And yeah, we had a minor catastrophe and had to rip out a page here LOL  Unfortunately the glue from the maps made the pages really bumpy for writing and applying background color.)

Meanwhile, for Math they continued with Saxon 8 and Oak Meadow 5.  Peep #2 also created her own crossword puzzle in an activity from Real World Math, and since her OM lesson this week was about bar graphing, I had her make one of her Halloween candy!

Candy Bar Graph

Making a Crossword Puzzle

That’s all folks.  Have a good week!

Samhain 2010

Though we all love the hoopla surrounding Halloween, we also look forward to and enjoy our quiet Samhain (pronounced SOW-en for those who don’t know) rituals.  In the morning we took our yearly spin to the cemetery to visit the graves of loved ones who have passed on.  We always bring hand picked flowers, pine cones, acorns or special stones to lay on the headstones (we take a walk beforehand and gather what calls to us).  Our family also has a mausoleum and ever since the Peeps were little they’ve each claimed a lion to care for.  Some of the stones from past years are still laying there around them!

At home we lay flowers on the graves of our beloved family pets that are no longer with us.  For us that means a cat, a dog, a turtle, and two chickens reside in our “pet cemetery”.  🙂

After that, a little pumpkin carving with friends…

My favorite part of Samhain is setting up the Ancestor Table.  Pictures of family pets are also allowed, though strictly speaking they’re not our ancestors, we do miss them an awful lot. 😉  The candle is lit and stays burning until bedtime.  (We do extinguish it before trick or treating, then relight when we get back home.)

And speaking of trick or treat…at a friend’s house, ready to hit the trail:

A bunch of shady characters!

We usually go to a friends’ house for trick or treating (they have a “real” neighbor to go in) and then enjoy lots of good food afterward– including some cider and apple donuts from a local cider press.  Parents are hopeful some real food will be consumed before the process of candy trading begins!  We don’t usually do candy, so this is a special treat for my two.  (Sorry for the blurry photo; sugared up kids+low light=blur)

And finally, back at Casa de los Peeps…

I look forward to the trick or treat festivities as much as the Peeps, but I also enjoy that quiet time when we get back home, p.j.’s are donned, and I can sit and knit in peace while the really intense candy trading negotiations begin!