Monday, August 8, 2011

Explorers & Indians

Over the past 5 weeks we've been learning all about Explorers & Indians. We've learned a few really important things. In an attempt to teach "savages" to be more "gentlemanly" most "gentlemen" behaved like "savages". It was amazing how time after time we read how even honest men were turned by the greed of gold and treasure!

We spent most of our time learning about them from the Homeschool In The Woods Explorer Pack. There aren't as many hands on & crafts with this particular pack, but there are a lot of maps to make with it.

We also read from our copy of Around The World in A Hundred years. A book I purchased a few years ago but didn't end up reading to the kids. I'd heard mixed reviews after obtaining it.  Many people told me that the book had a bad slant towards Christianity and relgion. I disagree.

Simply put the book never once spoke ill of ANY particular relgion. It simply pointed out that each person {Kings, Queens, & Explorers} all felt their religion was the only way and they were willing to share it to convert "savages" even if meant sharing it forcibly. We actually found some of the accounts fascinating.

All the projects and main information came from the Homeschool In The Woods Explorer Pack, which was, as always, quite good. I must be completely honest though and admit that while I adore all the HSITW Time Traveler packs, I think Explorers is probably our least favorite. Don't get me wrong, it's still got plenty to do in it!

We all enjoyed Naya Nuki, all though there's very little dialogue in it and what dialogue is there is jilted. Even still it's a great read about a Shoshoni girl who was kidnapped by another tribe of indians. She plots and plans her escape from day one, and eventually jumps on the perfect oppertunity. The rest of the book is all about her journey across the prairie as she tries to return to her people. While one of the boys wasn't keen on the book at the start they were all ears as we finished the last two weeks worth of reading in an afternoon. The other two books pictures above were equally good reads.

After finishing the three books above we started on these four books. We've been learning about the various homes Indians lived in for many weeks and are now focusing in on each home. I'm telling you, those longhouses are amazing things! In fact, Morgan was so taken by the books that he was having a chat with a local shop owner all about the issues the tribes who resided in them had when it rained.  Jayden is especially taken with The New Americans, all though I think it may be due to many of the war type stories we're hearing about. That and he's desperate to find out of John Smith really took a bullet to protect an Indian or if that was just a "movie" thing.

We all ready owned Scholastic's Native American pockets and I pulled them out recently when Jayden had more questions about Indians then I could possibly begin to answer. He doesn't remember seeing any of them in full dress and doing their various dances at events we attended in the US, but he's in complete awe that he saw real Indians! Anyway, we've been matching up the pockets to the books we read. We did the Sioux pocket while reading Naya Nuki  & have been working on the Iroquois pocket while reading Sign Of The Beaver. We do not make the full size construction paper pockets as the instructions suggest.

Instead I take a piece of cardstock and have the boys select a piece of colored paper. We fold the colored paper in half and adhere it {tape usually} to the cardstock along the short sides. Sometimes we do 2 pieces of colored paper because we really love color around here, but I prefer the durability of the card stock. Sometimes you need to print the pocket label at a reduced size in order to fit it. In the above pockets I simply trimmed them down to size instead. The boys color the bits inside and the pocket labels as I read books to them. Coloring is top on the list these days..

We have a few outstanding projects from our Explorer Pack to finish up this week and then we're jumping in head first with Colonial Times. Between you and me, I can't wait! Explorers were a little too ruthless and gruesome for me.

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