Native Americans

November 21st, 2014

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We have been studying about Native Americans.  To accompany our study we did following activities:

Kids made medicine bags with their grandmother.  They carried these bags during our trip to DC and enjoyed it so much that their grandmother made medicine bags for every kid that came to Kabir’s birthday party.  She actually single-handedly made more than 30 medicine bags!

My friend, Catherine Crews gave a tipi for my kids.  It is just perfect for us while studying about Native Americans.  They have been playing in there and sometimes, we read Native American stories inside the tipi.

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Kids made Native American symbols on the stones and used them for storytelling.  We got the idea for storytelling stones and Native American symbols online.

We visited Smithsonian National Museum of Native Americans in Washington DC for two days.  It was Kabir’s favorite museum in Washington DC.  At the museum, kids made dragon fly with corn husk and gold lockets.

Also, we visited Chickasaw Nation and learnt about Chickasaw Indians that lived in and near Tupelo.  This was our favorite field trip of the year!

We got a map of United States and Kabir marked all the Native American regions.  Then we made models of the houses of different Native American regions.

Plains Indians - lived in tipi.  We got the template for tipi online.

 North-eastern woodlands – there are many varieties of houses in this region. We chose to make models of only two – wigwam and longhouse.  We got the instructions for longhouse online.  Kids made wigwams entirely on their own while I was searching for instructions online.  So, wigwam is the most impressive model for me.

South-eastern stilt house - perfect for marshy lands and very hot weather.  Many Native Indian tribes, such as Chickasaw Indians in south-eastern region also made summer and winter houses with mud, clay and so on.  These summer and winter houses resemble wigwams and longhouses in appearance and so, we didn’t make them.

South-western adobe house – made with clay and water.  The houses were on heights and had windows, smoke hole but no doors to prevent the enemies from entering the house.  Used ladders to get inside and outside the house.

North-western Indians - made wooden plank houses with totem poles.  We got the instructions for totem poles from recyclables online.  Kabir and Arjun’s grandfather does whittling and so, he made wooden totem pole for both the kids.  Then, the kids painted their wooden totem poles.  We used our own idea to make a model of wooden plank house.

We watched following movies with Native American theme: Brother Bear I & II, and The Indian in the Cupboard.

We watched the following movies after reading the book and the movies were a bit of disappointment after book.  These were: Pocahontas I & II, Squanto: A Warrior’s Tale, and The Sign of the Beaver.

The finale for our Native American study was a Native American party at home when both the kids dressed up in Native American costume, presented all that they have learned and we ate Native American supper which included three sisters (beans, squash and corn) harvest stew, Native American fry bread, and pumpkin pie (made from the blue moon pumpkin that Kabir found when we visited Wise family farms).

This party was continued yesterday as we celebrated Thanksgiving with our homeschool friends.  Most kids dressed up as either Native American or Pilgrims.  Kabir and Arjun dressed up as Native American.  Both of them made pumpkin pie and three sisters harvest stew themselves, needing help for only things that an adult can do.  We literally ate a feast at this Thanksgiving party.  We also had a Thanksgiving tree where each one of us added a paper leaf on which we wrote down what are we thankful for.  Kids played as if there is no tomorrow (4 hours) – they hit each other with noodle, climbed trees, got completely soaked and muddy in the creek (Oh yes!) and so much of outdoor fun that can neither be captured in words nor photos.  You just have to witness something like this and it gets imprinted in your heart as a happy memory forever.

Capillary Action – Science Experiment

November 3rd, 2014

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Kabir and I read about capillary action and so, we bought a white flower and let it sit in blue water.  Gradually, the white flower had shades of blue as a result of capillary action.

Field Trips – Sept – Oct 2014

October 30th, 2014

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We have been super busy with field trips.  Here’s the list of field trips that we have attended with our homeschool groups in these last two months (sorry, I am not good at remembering to take photos and so, we don’t have that many photos but we did learn a lot):

Oren Dunn Museum – learnt about blacksmithing, history of Tupelo, Veteran’s museum and so much more.  If you live in Tupelo and have never been to this museum, I highly recommend it.  We actually celebrated Kabir’s birthday here and it was a big hit with all the kids.

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Renasant Center for Ideas – it was enlightening to learn how and where small businesses can get help and also, a brief idea about how to start a business.

Philips Day-Brite Factory Tour – here we had an intense lesson on physics.  They have an amazing model of eye.  We had no idea how much is going on within the factory.

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Brice’s Crossroads Visitor Center and Battlefield – we are reading American history and so, this field trip couldn’t have been at a better time.

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Chickasaw Nation Education – we are reading American Indian history and so, this was just perfect to accompany our studies.  This was one of those field trips that I’ll never forget.

Wise Family Farms – sunflower maze, picking cotton, learning about different varieties of pumpkin, wagon ride and finally, picking our pumpkin.  Kabir found blue moon pumpkin and my mother-in-law made delicious pumpkin vegetable.  We are supposed to make pumpkin pie with the leftover half of blue moon pumpkin.

WTVA – tour of local TV station and listening to our weatherman, Matt Laubhan, talk about weather and his career.

In September, we tagged along with Amit to Washington DC and spent a week of intense field trips in Washington DC.  We spent a day in each of the following Smithsonian museums.

National Museum of the American Indian – we spent two days here as this was Kabir’s favorite museum.

Kids with medicine bags

Kids with medicine bags

National Museum of Air and Space – in this museum we focused on hand-on interactive programs.  There are 3 different demonstrations each day and we attended all 3 of them.  We attended 1 program in the planetarium and watched 1 iMax movie.

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National Museum of Natural History – we spent the entire day here and Kabir could definitely spent another day here if we had more time.

National Zoo – this zoo is free and not too big and overwhelming.  So, we could visit the entire zoo in a day.  It was fun!

Also, we spent about 2-3 hours at Lincoln Memorial.  We did visit the White House from outside.

The White House

The White House

 

The Quiltmaker’s Gift, A House for Hermit Crab

October 27th, 2014

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We enjoyed reading one of my favorite books, The Quiltmaker’s Gift and each day we read the book, Arjun added a paper patch to his paper quilt.  We did try to convince him that each time he is good and kind, his grandmother will add a “good behavior patch” to his quilt and make him a real quilt.  It worked for maybe 2 patches and then he decided that he doesn’t need a quilt at all.  I was so disappointed as I really thought it to be a great idea but it didn’t work with him.  We did eat berries and honey like the bear in the book.

After this book, we enjoyed reading A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle.  Kids made crabs and then we went to PetSmart to look at the real hermit crab.  I got the idea for paper plate crab from the Internet.

We used this story to learn the names of the months and also, we tried to memorize the sequence of the story.

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I downloaded the House for Hermit Crab printable and we worked with most of them.  Arjun loves working with worksheets.

Board Game – Lego Quest October 2014

October 27th, 2014

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I am behind with my posts.  Our Lego quest for the month of October was to create a board game with Legos.  Kids did great job.  The best part of this quest was when few kids stayed back for about an hour or so and played couple of board games they had created.  It made it all worth while.  It’s almost time for our November quest!