On our timeline, we spent about a week on Old Testament prophets and Israel's captivity. Very simple, just reading the Bible and coloring the pictures. Next up: "The Ancient Native Americans: c.3500-150 B.C." Um, that's a big topic. And I really didn't know where to start. When I was in 5th grade, the teacher had us do a huge unit on the Native Americans. I think it lasted half the year. While the other 5th grade class in the school was diagramming sentences and learning about government, our class was making bead looms, creating our own indian names, and preparing for an end of the year feast. I loved it. I felt a bit sorry for the other class. Because I remember really enjoying this topic, I didn't want to skimp on it with Miah and Larkin. So after doing a little research on the computer and gathering library books, I decided we'd start with the ice age and work our way through the various regions of Native Americans.
We browsed through a couple books that gave an overall view of all the ancient tribes, then read Life in the Great Ice Age. The first half of the book tells the story of a boy and his family living in the ice age. We enjoyed it, and I was really glad to have a good story from a Christian perspective. I did disagree with the reason given for the beetle-brow tribe's different looks. The book attributed it to rickets, which I suppose is a perfectly fine theory and it's not unbiblical. This is the explanation for neanderthal skeletons that have been found. An alternative theory is found in the book, Buried Alive, written by an orthodontist who studied the neanderthal bones. He says they are actually the bones of the people in ancient times who lived to be hundreds of years old, like Methuselah and others. I just discussed the idea of theories with the kids and how we can't know for sure how things were so long ago. The second half of the book explains various elements in the story. We didn't read that part - probably will when they're older.
One part of the story was a hunt for a cave bear and the following celebration. For fun, we reenacted the scene for ourselves.
I set up a piece of drywall outside for a cave wall. The kids mixed some water and charcoal to make black paint, and I gave them some red. Larkin used feathers to paint the great hunt. Miah used a charred stick.
The kids dressed up in old Thanksgiving costumes and gathered sticks for a fire.
Of course, we had to have some cave bear stew. The book said, "The cave bear stew was the tribe's favorite food. It contained bog beans, lake reeds, various root tubers, and a few beetles for seasoning." I already had some ribs cooking in the crockpot with some barbecue sauce, so I threw some of those in some beef broth with potatoes and mushrooms. Nobody really wanted to try beetles in the soup.
While I prepared the stew, the kids made marbles out of clay and played with them.
Dancing around the fire. See our cave bear skin draped over the stump?
I bet you didn't know they had marshmallows in the ice age.
Even Aescwine enjoyed the cave bear stew!
Later they colored some ice age pictures from the Dover Coloring Book, Indian Life in Pre-Columbian North America. Lots of fun, and now we're looking forward to learning about Native Americans in the arctic.