Friday, September 16, 2011

Colonial America

We are on to a Brave New World. I came across a notebook I had started for Jayden when we briefly studied the different explorers. Wow, I really wish we had a working printer- what cool pictures of people and things I had found. If anyone would like to buy us a printer, feel free :) We just received an out of control summer electric bill ( with the air at 82) and I am just over the heat. Anyways! Had I been a pilgrim, as we learned today, we would have had to deal with a whole "gaggle" of other issues, so thank you God for expensive air conditioning.

Our ant farm arrived yesterday but we will be without ants for a few more weeks, or atleast until the temperature drops to below 85 degrees. So maybe, just maybe by November they will arrive. We delved into plenty and I mean plenty of Colonial America books this morning. I love history! I pray that my kids will pick up on this passion as well and that I will aid in the making of it come alive for them. Today, however, my only goal was to play a lot of games ( accomplished) and read a LOT( also accomplished).

One of the books we read was all the foul and disgusting parts of being a colonist. I knew the kids, especially the boys would enjoy this one. To be honest, it was fascinating! We talked about their outhouses, dumping chamber pots in the streets ( and that the kids had the responsibility of this job), that they lived in dark 20x20 one room homes that smelled of stew, smoke and sweat. Sounds accommodating, doesn't it :)

This is what I LOVE about reading real books. The kids are not simply asked to read one paragraph about the colonist lives but rather, we have over 30 books ( we will NOT read all of them) on Indians and their point of view, Jamestown, Plymouth Rock, the Mayflower, Squanto, Pilgrims, hardships, their homes, the first Thanksgiving, well as our activities and field trips so that this learning experiences literally jumps off the page at them and becomes memorable. This is my prayer, atleast.

One book we read was called, "Little Wolf". It is a story about a young Indian and how their way of life was changed dramatically by the white man. It is a level three easy read so it made this very sad and complex issue very easy to understand, especially for Jayden. My goal in teaching history is not only to show the great things but also the unfair and hurtful things that humans inflict on other humans.

As I write our lesson plans for the next week, focusing on Jamestown, some of our activities include: discussing the Cavalier's clothing vs the workmen' clothing, drawing a picture of each and then watercoloring them, eating gruel, writing a newspaper article of life in Jamestown, making a wattle and daub wall and dressing like Indians and Pilgrims.

I decided not to wait until November to finish off our responsibility unit because then I would find myself competing with other patrons at the library for books on Pilgrims, Indians, Thanksgiving, etc. I would rather have all the books to myself and not have to return them early because " this book as been requested by another patron."

Here's to looking forward to six more great weeks of Settlers, Indians, History and Learning! " Land Ho!"

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