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!