Monday, December 29, 2008

Meet Kaya

Okay, I found something to add to the Native American Unit study we are doing and honestly, I am a little giddy about it. I never even thought to check out the American Girls series. Now, I had toyed with the idea of getting the girls one of the American Girls dolls for Christmas, but we had not ever read any of the books... so this is, .........perfect! A girl their age, ponies.... it can't get any better!

Friday, December 26, 2008

4 week Native American KONOS Unit Study

Okay, so.... after Posting about my halfway mark evaluation of what we have been doing, and thinking it over and chewing on it for a few days, I have gotten busy developing our next Unit Study on Native Americans using our KONOS book and some of my own resources. We won't start it until the second week of January. But I have already requested a thousand books from the library, the "c" shelf will be overflowing in a few days there, the librarians love me... So here is a rough outline of our plans.... If anyone has any good ideas I would LOVE them!

PS I use the terms Native American and Indian Interchangeably. Usually I try to use the term native American, but alot of the books I have included, or songs, or games, use the term Indian, so it became unavoidable.

Books I will read aloud to the kids...
  • The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich - Okay I have to stop to comment. Louise Erdrich is my all time favorite adult author. Her book Love Medicine changed my life and the way I viewed literature. She is a Native American and writes from that perspective. Her craftsmanship with words and phrases is beautiful, It makes me feel very quiet, as though I am viewing a sacred work of art. So I was SOOOOOOO excited to see that she had written a children's book, and on Native Americans no less!!!! I haven't read the books yet and so it will be as big of a surprise for me. But it will be WONDERFUL to be able to share my favorite author with my kiddos. There are currently three books in the series, and we will try to get to all of them for sure. They have been compared to the Little House series.
  • Hiawatha the traditional version by Longfellow
Easy Reader Books for the kids to read themselves....
  • Oscar otter
  • Paddle to the Sea
  • Red Fox and his Canoe
  • small wolf
  • thunderhead
  • Indian two feet and his eagle feather
  • Indian two feet and his horse
  • Indian two feet and the ABC moose
  • Indian two feet and the grizzly bear
  • Indian two feet and the wolf cubs
  • American Indian games and crafts
  • American Indian festivals
Reference Books for the unit....
  • Indian Picture Writing
  • Indian Sign Language
  • Indian Talk
  • Native American Cookbook
  • American Indian Foods
Unit Activities....
  • Choose an Indian tribe to report on for "Indian Night"
  • Host "Indian Night, or lunch" Where kids can present their report, eat a Native American menu.
  • Teach Fire safety and fire building
  • Have a "campout" talk about camp safety, follow a trail, work on an indian craft or game to play, observe wildlife and plants, set up an archery range and practice, build a fire.
  • Do hoop dancing with hula hoop
  • Choose Native American names
  • Have a classroom Pow Wow
  • Play Corn Cob Darts, Peach pit bowl catapult game, snake stick game
  • Ten Little Indians
  • I am a little Indian
  • A tee pee is my home
  • The brave little Indian finger play
  • Five little Indians
  • make a corn husk doll or place mat
  • make an Indian headdress
  • make and paint a pot
  • make a Navajo rug with weaving
  • Make Wampum out of beads, pasta, feathers, straw
  • make an Indian vest out of a brown paper sack
  • make drums rattles, and dance bells
  • make a teepee (miniature?)
  • make a sandpainting like the Navajo used to cure the sick
  • Using our loom, weave potholders
  • Dream catchers
  • Indian Characters from Wooden pegs
  • Birch Bark Canoe from Construction paper
  • Rainstick
  • Make totem pole from hand and foot tracings
  • Pocahontas cut out
Field Trip...
  • visit the Indian Reservation in Woodville, past Hunstville
  • Pocahontas
  • The Indian in the Cupboard
  • One Little Indian
  • The American Indian: A historical perspective
  • The American Indian: People and Cultures
  • Great Indian Leaders and nations
  • Exploring our past: Comparing native American Cultures
  • Native peoples of the great plains
  • Native peoples of the Nothwest
  • Native peopels of the Southwest
  • Native Peoples of the woodlands
  • A & E Biography: Pocahontas
  • Biography: Sitting Bull
  • Biography: Crazy Horse
  • Sacajewea, her true story

The Unit Study had included talking with kids about the trail of tears. But I am conflicted about that. While I want to, and absolutely plan to discuss with the kids honestly the unfairness of the way the Native Americans were treated at times, I wonder if that would be too intense for a first grader, kindergartner, and preschooler. I believe its an important event of historical, and moral importance, but I wonder if its too much too soon. I don't want to cheat them out of the historical lesson, but I don't want to overwhelm them either? Any Advice?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Halfway Mark Evaluation

Hmmmmm, well, its the halfway mark for the year and I figured it was about time I evaluate what we are doing. We took most of the month of December off, but since we had schooled all through the summer that's not a problem.

I feel like I am still trying to find my way. I could do any one of these things one at a time, but it has been hard for me to find a balance between what I need to do to maintain the house and the business end of our life, the husband, the cooking and shopping and errands, having some kind of time for my self AND homeschooling. I think later in life, I might become a juggler..... so far I think I have done "okay", not stellar, but "okay". Usually its the house that loses in the battle for my time, which tends to drives me a little crazy.

We have managed to always get the basics done... reading, math, phonics, but getting to the extra classes has been a challenge. Now don't get me wrong, the kids are doing marvelously, and Emma is far ahead of traditional school, most of her work is at a 2nd grade level now. It had crossed my mind that we are probably doing more than I am giving us credit for, but I am not counting it because its not a part of the written curriculum. For example, when we cook in the kitchen together, I'm not counting that as math or science, but both are involved. But I'm not counting it because it wasn't on my lesson plan sheet, or all the hours Emma spends reading on her own, or reading with me during free time.

So, my goals for this next semester are to try to get a better grip on our time. To incorporate more of the extra classes and the KONOS curriculum that we LOVE. I am hoping that this blog will help me to do that, and help me to plan and track what we are doing.

I have identified this past semester the tools that I personally need to make things easier. I plan to use them a whole lot more this semester.
  • The crockpot: "Oh look the crackpot is using the crockpot!" has helped me a bunch in this department, just having the main course settled on and already cooked has made a huge difference to how smoothly things run. I do not know how I lived before
  • The Laptop: I discovered this late in the semester, when I inherited Brian's laptop. Having the laptop instead of the computer that only stays in one room means that I can pick up and do research, lesson plan, request a thousand library books (thats right, we are "those" coppocks if you happen to go to the same library we do, we take up an entire shelf!) etc for what we are studying for ANYWHERE. when Brian's old on gave out, we decided it was so valuable we had to replace it.
  • Google Documents: I am horrible with paper trails. I am bad with filing and organizing them, google documents are my new bestest friend. I now do all my lists and menus, and now I am going to be doing all my lesson plans on google documents. What I love about them is I can share them with other people (especially Brian) easily and get their input.

Okay so, thats it for the halway year checkup. Hopefully we will continue to learn and grow through this whole homeschooling experiment. Stay tuned, I plan to try to post as close to daily as I can to detail our schooling journey! Comments are SOOOO welcome!

What we hope to accomplish ......

If we have done our jobs as parents, then hopefully we will have taught you all of these points.

1. Authenticity: The ability for you to hear your own innervoice, recognize what it is saying to you, and have the courage to follow it, even if its not the current popular trendy thing to do. I don't want to raise little copies of myself, or of anyone else, I want you to be complete individuals.

2. Cultural Transcendence: I want you to appreciate other cultures and to believe to the core of their being that people who may not look or act or believe exactly the way we do, are still our brothers and sisters.

3. FIND YOUR BLISS!!!! Find what YOU love(I have promised to try very very hard to never act shocked or appalled), and then let us help you equip yourself for doing it, even if its not what I or your father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle etc. would choose.

4. Appreciation: Life is short and precious, find the good, find your inner gratitude, and find your way to experience G-d.

5. Acceptance: Its important to me that you accept your self, don't get angry with yourself over your limits, find your aptitudes and accept them too. Most of all, try to live in a way that is able to accept others limits and aptitudes.

6. Needs: (btw, this will become important if you have children, or when you are caring for me in my old age ;) care for you body, for its needs, eat, sleep, drink, take your vitamins, value yourself in such a way that you would never risk your own safety.

7. enlighten your consciousness: appreciate art, and beauty and all the good things nature and life have to offer.

8. Control: you will have to be the person in charge of your own life, in order to not fall into the victim role. You can't blame other people (especially not your mother ;) for the things that are wrong in your life, YOU have to change them. People who allow their control of their own life to be taken end up going nowhere fast. On the other hand, the only thing you control is yourself...

9. Problems: most are minor and fade fast, Get past them as quickly as possible, that way, you are free to deal with things like social injustice, poverty, human suffering.... you get the picture here im sure.

10. Choices: Make good, thoughtful, independent choices, that are YOURS (and don't let your mother talk you out of them!)