April 24, 2012

The second day of the school year went better than the first.  It was an "interrupted" day as the children all had dental appointments (the drawback to making appointments 6 months in advance are many) in the morning, but the afternoon we did our first fun history projects/hands-on learning.

In the pics below you can see some of the things we did.  The poster with "Nomadic" and "Agrarian" written on it was to help facilitate a discussion about the pros and cons of nomadic and agrarian lifestyles.  We discussed the two lifestyles and wrote our thoughts on the poster.  My kids usually do better with a "visual."  

On the poster you'll notice my hubby's bartering lesson.  He set it up with 6 labor specialties as 6 kids were participating.  Each envelope held the resources for one specialty.  The food producers had more resources than the others because we thought the brick mason and thatcher might charge more than one loaf of bread for their services.  They did not.  If they had been older, it probably would have occurred to them.

The goal was for each child to get the materials needed for a complete house, a goat for milk, wheat to feed the goat, and a loaf of bread to feed the people.  Each child had to barter with every other child to get all the things he/she needed.  It went really well--in a chaotic help-the-three-year-old-who-isn't-getting-this-but-is-still-having-a-good-time kind of way.

I highly recommend doing something like this if you are trying to teach the concept of division of labor.  If you are strictly trying to help your kids figure out what the word "barter" means, I recommend having a good old-fashioned trading session.  My family started doing this after I moved out, and recently they became nostalgic for it so they planned a trading session with all of us that live in the area (which translated to 20-odd grandkids plus all the adults).

It was hilarious.  My son traded Grandpa a pack of gum for a bow (as in bow and arrow).  My other son started out with pretty much nothing and wound up with a book and some trilobites to grow.  My one daughter only wanted the gigantic pixie stick Uncle Wyatt brought, and she got it.  She could scarcely contain her agony that another person might out-barter her.

This works as a casual family activity or homeschool lesson.  Everyone grab all the stuff you don't want and trade it!

My two oldest daughters, Miriam (8--almost 9) and Emeline (5).  Emeline officially started kindergarten this year.  Yeah!  Can we all consider this their first day of school pictures?  Yes?  No??  No???  Thanks a lot. 
The Ancient Historians.  Miriam, Ahnika, Emeline, Ty, Aunt Julie (she's actually my hubby's aunt, but my kids don't realize this), Eli, and Cowen.  Eli should, technically, have been taking a nap right then, but he so wanted in on the action that I let him stay up.  Then he fell asleep on the couch at 5:00.  Then he didn't go to sleep tonight until 9:30.  Grr.
Below you'll notice Miriam with her salt map of the Fertile Crescent.  The desert on the left, the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers down the center, and the Zagros Mountains on the far right.  Pretty snazzy.
Some students had a more . . . fluid . . . interpretation of the point of the activity and the geographical landmarks of the Fertile Crescent.  Julie and I are totally okay with fluid interpretations among the younger crowd.
Julie provided my kids with a Century Book.  I know this is a pretty common thing in the homeschooling community so it probably doesn't need to be referenced anymore, but I still feel bad that I don't know exactly where this idea originated.  Suffice it to say--it did not originate with me or Julie.  Charlotte Mason, maybe??

Since I am so very unlearned about ancient history (yes, I have an MA in history--no, I did not study anything but American history and that was pretty much limited to WWII and masculinity) I thought a Century Book would be a helpful way for me to "see" what was happening when and where.

On the front page of each piece of paper is a 100 year chunk of time--hence the term, Century Book.  On the back of each sheet of paper are 6 boxes--one for each area of the world we are studying throughout the year.  We're approaching our study geographically, rather than chronologically, so I'm hoping that filling in the boxes will help the kids see what was happening at the same time all over the world.

Miriam decided to use her barter house to show the shift from nomadic to agrarian living.  Clever girl.  The grid under the house is her fields--some rows are newly planted so you can see the seeds, other rows are blue because they are being irrigated.  The pink row I believe is beets and they are ready to be harvested.  Nice.

And that ends the Second Day.

1 comment:

  1. Love these details. SO helpful, and interesting. Sometime I want to know more about salt maps. (and yes, I just realized I could google it)