Friday, August 23, 2019

The Ancient Civilizations Camp in August

This was a two week long Summer Camp which included two field trips:
    a glass artist's studio in Week 1
    Chad G. Glassart (Carterville IL)

    an archaeological dig site in Week 2
    General John A. Logan Museum (Murphysboro IL)
I hadn't offered Ancient Civilizations as a summer camp topic since 2008, when Natalie was only 6, so this was really exciting and fun.

And Henry Smith Chapman actually has really nice after-chapter activity suggestions, including making a book about what you're learning about, so we used a lot of them. It's a great little vintage textbook (1929).


Monday Aug 12
The Greek Myths; The Great Gods; The Greek Heroes

Tuesday Aug 13
The Trojan War; The Wandering of Ulysses

Wednesday Aug 14
[ mythology Ancient India ]

Thursday Aug 15
[ mythology Ancient Persia ]

Friday Aug 16
How Men Got Fire, Food & Clothing; Men Build Houses and Learn to Write; Man Learns How to Live in Groups

  • Human Evolution Card Set from Montessori Third Great Lesson
  • tracing paper skulls & rice jars from Early Humans by Michelle Breyer
  • How Men Got Fire, Food & Clothing
  • tanned rabbit fur vs. untanned sheep hide, my flax plants all in bloom
  • build a fire in copper fire pit (which we lit on try #6)
  • lunch/recess
    cook lamb shanks over fire, eat outside, tree climbing & outdoor play
  • Men Build Houses and Learn to Write
    on my wishlist: Paleolithic Stone Tool Kit from Clocca Concepts
  • Man Learns How to Live in Groups
  • 1 pm - field trip - studio of glass artist Chad Goodpastor
  • "Hunters and Gatherers Simulation Game" from Early Humans by Michelle Breyer, pp.133-140


Monday Aug 19
The Story of Egypt

Tuesday Aug 20
The Land of the Two Rivers

Wednesday Aug 21
Hebrews and Phoenicians

Thursday Aug 22
The Story of Greece; What Life in Greece Was Like

Friday Aug 23
Rome, Mistress of the World; What We Owe to Rome

One of the most fun things we did throughout camp was the special foods.

For Week One, I had to search town for pomegranate seeds! Finally, I found them at Kroger. It's not the time of year for fresh pomegranates, of course. The Co-op had the wheat berries (soft white pastry) for grinding in the mortar and pestle, plus wildflower honey, Mt. Vikos sheep & goat's milk feta from Greece, and Divina organic olive assortments from Greece. The International Grocery Store had Marco Polo jarred sour cherries from Hungary, Buram honeycomb from Turkey, Attiki wild flora and thyme honey from Greece, and Ziyad rose water from Lebanon.

For Week Two, I got the hyssop herb and the ground sumac for Jacob's Lentil Stew from the Co-op, and Ziyad dried fava beans from the International Grocery Store. I had to order the lovage seeds for the Roman chicken dish from Amazon. We substituted anchovies for the garum in this dish, but if you want an authentic recipe for making your own fermented fish sauce in the sun, I have found one at Delishably! I mean, if you're really going to get into this hobby and you are going to go so far as to cook flamingo, dolphin, dormouse, or jellyfish, you may as well be making your own garum!

    Original Garum Recipe
    From Gargilius Martialis, De medicina et de virtute herbarum:

    Use fatty fish, like sardines, and a well-sealed (pitched) container with a 26-35 quart capacity.

    Add dried, aromatic herbs possessing a strong flavor—such as dill, coriander, fennel, celery, mint, oregano, and others—making a layer on the bottom of the container; then put down a layer of fish (if small, leave them whole; if large, use pieces), and over this, add a layer of salt two fingers high.

    Repeat these layers until the container is filled. Let it rest for seven days in the sun. Then mix the sauce daily for 20 days. After that, it becomes a liquid.

In Week Two, my family also decided to have our own little Mesopotamian Feast, including the bread we made in camp as well as a soup and a dessert. Due to food allergies and other restrictions (aka, I can't feed beer to camp kids!) these recipes wouldn't have worked for the camp. But as a family we heartily enjoyed attempting them:

    Ancient Mesopotamian Meal

  • Bread from Just a Pinch
  • Beet Broth from Leftovers: History of the World
  • Mersu from Pass the Flamingo: Ancient Food History and Recipes

In Grades 5 and 6, Waldorf children do entire main lesson blocks on Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. I'm really looking forward to teaching those when the time comes! Find lots of resources for teacher background reading at my previous post, A Huge Booklist for Ancient Civilizations.

This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Picnic & Play: The Muddy Farmyard

This time around we focused on Sensory Play. Zac has especially been enjoying all the new additions to our outdoor play kitchen area!

We did Circle Time and then followed it with different activities each day.

Circle Time

Saturday, August 17

Today I told the story "The Muddy Farmyard" from The Breathing Circle, pages 126-127. We used our rainsticks to make the sound of rain at the beginning and end of the story. For the set up I had our wooden stable, a green silk scarf with flowers embroidered on it (for the farmyard), and a deep brown play silk (for the mud). For the figures I had a wooden chicken, cow and calf, pig, and horse, as well as our tiny little green glass frog.

After the story we went outside for some sensory play at the mud kitchen. I gave Zac a large bag of (expired in 2012) ground flaxseed meal and he mixed it up with water to make wonderfully gelatinous mud! We rolled all of his little plastic animals in it and then he washed and scrubbed them clean. And played and played to his little heart's content.

Sensory play (in the great outdoors, in the bathtub, or in an indoor sensory bin) is the best thing around for when someone gives you little plastic animals, trucks and construction equipment, etc. It's also a wonderful use for a long-ago opened, forgotten about in the back of the pantry, and expired food ingredient which you don't want to just throw in the trash.

Sunday, August 18

Today we again did the story of "The Muddy Farmyard" from The Breathing Circle, pages 126-127. Nell Smyth talks about helping children develop flexible thinking by replacing some of the formed animals in the storytelling with more abstract representations (such as a feather, a stone, a pinecone, and so on). I replaced the little green glass frog with a marble. Zac had no trouble at all seeing it as a froggie.

We continued to use our rain sticks for the rain sounds, and also added in frog rasps for the frogs singing joyfully at the end of the story. I have four different sizes and each one makes a different sound!

For our sensory play activity today we made Chocolate Play Dough. This is my absolute favorite no-cook play dough recipe. It's quick and simple and smells amazing. Because you add boiling water to the dry ingredients, wait a few minutes before kneading it. You can spread a small amount of flour on the table and let the children draw pictures in it while they are waiting.

    Chocolate Play Dough

    1 1/2 cups water
    1 1/2 cups flour
    1/2 cup salt
    1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    2T cream of tartar
    2T vegetable oil

    Bring water to a boil. In a large bowl combine all remaining ingredients. Stir in boiling water and knead the dough until it is well mixed and no longer sticks to the bowl. Keep working at it and you should get a soft, squishy dough that smells terrific and doesn’t leave any mess behind. If it is too sticky, add a little extra flour. If it is too dry, add a little extra water.

And I've also typed up this play dough recipe as a printer-friendly PDF.

This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Picnic & Play: Clover Blossoms and Zinnia Blooms

It was so sweet to start doing Picnic & Play again to help Zac transition back into the school year. This weekend it was quiet, just him and me. He was bouncing with happiness, enjoying getting the Circle Time mat back out and pleased about knowing all of the words and movements to favorite verses.

We did Circle Time and then followed it with different activities each day.

Circle Time

Saturday, August 10

  • sing "Busy Bee" song from The Singing Year by Candy Verney, page 39, CD track 34
  • take yoga mats outside and place them by a clover patch
  • do Yoga Pretzels Deck cards (Gorilla, Cat, Rock, Bumblee Breath, Dragon, Tree, Bunny Breath)
  • read "Mother Earth and the Clover Children" from Summer Tales for Early Childhood by Suzanne Down, page 56
  • look for four leaf clovers
  • outdoor play at the new mud kitchen

We didn't do this but, if you're so inclined, Leda Meredith has this interesting recipe for Clover Soda Bread as well as one for Clover Blossom Spoonbread!

Sunday, August 11

  • do Yoga Pretzels Deck cards (Rock, Dancer, Airplane, Snake Breath, Jazzy Jamming: Rainstorm, Special Place)
  • sing "Busy Bee" song from The Singing Year by Candy Verney, page 39, CD track 34
  • take a field trip to the Pick-Your-Own Zinnias at Rendleman Orchards
  • cut flowers
  • watch all the butterflies and bees!
  • taste a piece of honeycomb once we get back home

The zinnia field was astonishing. It was so much more beautiful than I had imagined. Pictures really can't do justice to the experience of standing there in a field, thigh-deep in color, masses of flowers in every direction, and the air simply humming with the pollinators enjoying themselves immensely.

Zac and Bear-Bear
ready to go pick some zinnias!

this must be even more amazing
when you're only 40 inches tall...

Zac keeps finding "the most beautiful
one in the whole world"

This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!

Painting Norse Mythology

And here are the pictures from Ghent, New York!

I so love painting with Gail McManus and I highly recommend her workshops if you're interested in Gerard Wagner, with whom she studied in Dornach. In this style, EVERY painting is painted as a color story, regardless of whether it has form. The form arises from the living interaction between the colors.

The Individuality of Colour:
Contributions to a Methodical Schooling in Colour Experience

I will try to show some of the stages of each painting and I have notes. But the important thing is to look at the painting in front of you, not to follow step by step what someone else did in their own painting. The concentrated paints we had to use were lemon yellow, vermillion, carmine red, mauve, ultramarine blue, and prussian blue. She had us mix everything else.

dishes of dry concentrated paint are stored below
above you find:
small dishes for mixing colors
eyedropper with clear water for mixing colors
test paper for testing colors
paintbrush and rinse water jar

If you missed them, here are the notes from the last workshop I did with Gail, which was in 2016. That time I was preparing for the 3rd grade Old Testament Stories block. Some of those OT paintings could actually be used in the Norse Mythology block as well, like the day 4 Sun/Moon (in Norse, this would come at the beginning when they're talking about the wolves chasing the horses and chariots across the sky) and the day 3 Water/Land/Plants (in Norse, this would come at the end when the Earth is reborn after Ragnarok).

a new Earth
painted by my classmate

I did only three paintings during this four day workshop.  The first was the dwarves at the forge making the gifts (this is the brothers Ivaldi, who made Sif's golden hair, Gungnir, and Skidbladnir).  The second was the jotun Tjasse as an eagle carrying Loki away with his hands stuck to the stick.  The third was Muspelheim and Niflheim and Ginungagap... and this then gradually morphed into Yggdrasil, the World Tree.  Click on each photo to enlarge it.

You will be able to see from my notes why these paintings take a day or more to complete.  With children you would not do them so detailed, revisiting and strengthening colors over and over to bring the painting into balance so that no one portion predominates, but as an adult you have to work it through thoroughly on your own in preparation for the teaching of it.

a wash of violet
lemon yellow circle in center of violet

mix earthy brown (pale) with lemon yellow and violet
place brown at bottom
mix black with prussian and vermillion
paint black logs in fire
black cinders in brown ground
vermillion flames rising into the circle from logs
vermillion sparks in brown ground

two gnomes in profile with ultramarine
go over hat, coat, pants, boots again in ultramarine
add a bit of blue into the brown

mix orange and a warm yellow with lemon and vermillion
orange breathing out from fire
warm yellow breathing out from orange
a little vermillion into the dwarves
lemon yellow again into the sky, into ground under their feet

bring violet again
strengthen black - the fire has used up all of its fuel

red patches in purple background
walls of the cave, patches on the floor

add bellows in brown
strengthen violet in cave walls

where the red is stronger than the violet,
it is not invited in
where the red is weaker than the violet,
it is invited in

strengthen lemon yellow around them,
under their feet, into the violet

"It's primarily a color exercise.  If you're just going to 
illustrate it you could use crayons."

strengthen vermillion
under fire is not in balance with the rest of the painting
strengthen blue, brown, purple, yellow
add pale violet smoke into the yellow

bring more yellow onto the midground of the cave walls

the finished painting

ready for the next one!

a wash of ultramarine blue
mix a grayish ultramarine by adding a bit of black

rocky mountains not too high

mix broken blue with ultramarine to form a color
that can lift into the air

the eagle
thin brush for claws

thin brush for brown branch
not too dark, not too formed
(mine is both too dark and too formed)

weaker brown patches in mountains

using a dry brush to scrub some of the extra color
off that stick and mute it

can you see where I changed my mind about his tail
and the far left mountains

the things that you don't like, you just don't strengthen

vermillion Loki hanging from the branch

strengthen Loki
pale ultramarine air in sky
around and into bird
around and into mountains

gradually some air as strong as the other parts
of the painting

pull blue in the sky together in some places
to let the light show through

mix paler ultramarine for a breathing out
of the darker parts

vermillion in the sky
ultramarine in the sky pulling together, breathing out
strengthen mountains
strengthen Loki
vermillion patches in the sky and a bit in the bird

lemon yellow not too strong
in light patches in the sky

lemon in mountains, in the red areas a bit
making a bit of orange, green
go back to grayish blue
strengthen dark patches in the sky
a bit in the bird, mountains, Loki
yellow brighter around Loki

final painting
Muspelheim / Niflheim
vermillion and prussian blue

she does this as a series of three paintings
Muspelheim / Niflheim / Guningagap
Muspelheim / Niflheim / Ymir arises
Muspelheim / Niflheim / Yggdrasil arises

bring them towards each other

and a litlte bit into each other like a battle

red reaches into blue
blue reaches into red

to bring this into a painting of Yggdrasil,
let the red reaching and the blue reaching
begin to form branches and roots and a trunk

golden yellow into the ground
strong warm yellow growth around tree

violet in blue background
carmine in red background
violet into the carmine
carmine strengthen and into the prussian
strengthen prussian
lemon yellow into the green

I ran out of time to finish this one... you can see it's not in balance yet as much as the others.

My Portfolio

I'm adding the links to all of these paintings to my Norse Mythology page as well as my Norse Mythology Ruzuku course.

This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!