Thanksgiving School–Day Six

This is a short school week for us–only three days–but we still have some fun things planned. We’re taking a break from our regular Language Arts program (which we did use all of last week), but we’re still working on math review. We’re also still learning about the Pilgrims, Indians, and Thanksgiving traditions in America.

We started with the last of Kate Water’s books about life in colonial America: Tapenum’s Day. This is a fictional story of an Indian boy, who is trying to prove that he is a man. Turkey and Bunny were very interested in how an Indian boy might have spent his day (lots of hunting), and they were surprised (and kind of appalled) at how little supervision he had as he traveled around the area in which he lived.

We also read Native Homes, which is a really cool book about the different types of houses different Native American tribes used to live in. Of course there are the familiar teepees and wigwams, but also some less-known structures such as chickees. It was interesting to see the commonalities in many of the homes–for example, the shape of a wigwam is seen in other types of houses, even though different methods were used to construct them. Turkey and Bunny were also very curious about what would happen to the fire in most of the houses if it were to rain through the smoke vent (we did learn that at least some of the homes had special covers for the vent, but that meant that the house would fill with smoke).

No Native American craft for us, but I found directions for a traditional Native American “stick game” for us to play. I got the directions for making the playing pieces, plus the rules of the game from a really cool book called More Than Moccasins, which is part of an excellent series of craft/activity books called “A Kid’s Guide.” I used this book last year, too, and I got ideas for games (like the stick game, and another we played last year called hubbub), crafts (grocery sack Indian vests and Indian headbands), and food (last year we made Indian fry bread from scratch, and it was amazing!). There are tons of ideas in the book, and I’m sure we’ll keep using it until–well, I don’t even know. I can’t imagine a time we *wouldn’t* want to use it!

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