Friday, May 20, 2011

A Busy Week of Homeschooling

We have been pretty busy the last few days. Starting with last Wednesday, we went to a Lenape Indian Village. It was a long hike up the hill to where the model village is located. First we sat while the tour guide showed us various tools that the Lenape would have used to garden.
The kids were especially interested in the Guardian of the Garden. If the guardian was a young girl, she would sit up in her shelter with a basket of rocks. If any animals came along trying to have a snack, she would throw rocks at the animal or bird to chase it away. If the guardian was a young boy, he would have his little bow and arrow and practice his hunting skills while he was protecting the garden. If he got lucky, he might bring home dinner as well as protecting his garden.

We went further up into the village where we learned how the Lenape built traps for fish. We saw the houses where they lived. We saw a sweat log where they would take the sick. And we saw how the women worked around the village.
The kids all played games that the Lenape children would have played. One of the games was similar to soccer. They called it football. The somewhat round ball was made of leather and stuffed with wool. They stood in a tight circle and kicked the ball around the circle. If someone missed the ball, everyone had to take a step backwards. They had a story about how the sasafras tree got it's name. Then everyone was given a piece of clay to create something with. Dakota made an arrowhead shaped piece that he wanted to turn into a necklace.

On Saturday we went to Cooper's Grist Mill to learn about sheep shearing.
She was practically laying on top of the sheep during part of the shearing. But he just lay there and let her work. He seemed so comfortable with the whole process. Of course the most exciting part for the kids was when he decided to poop. They were fascinated with that.
With the haircut all done, we walked around to see the other exhibits. One of the first places we went was to see the woman who was dying wool.She was using all natural materials to dye the wool. She used marigolds for yellow and onion skins for orange. She also had some beautiful purple that came from a tree in South America. Then we went to see how they washed the wool. The water was pretty cold. Put the kids still had fun playing in it. After that we watched them card the wool. The kids got to try their hand at carding.We watched the spinners as they spun the raw wool into yarn. And then the kids got to try their hand at weaving the yarn into cloth.It was a great day as we saw the wool come off the sheep and then follow the process through to see it become a beautiful cloth.

Today we visited the Israel Crane House. We learned a lot about what life was like in the late 1700's.They are having a beautiful quilt display right now. We loved all the wonderful handiwork.The best part of the whole day for the kids was the tour of the summer kitchen. She made biscuits and eggs with sausage. The kids were so excited about the sausage that they ate every bit of it before the eggs were even ready. She also had biscuits made from acorns.Everyone had to try their hand at making butter.And here it is all ready to eat. Sometimes they added salt to the butter but my son thought it was great without the salt. He informed me that this was the best butter he had ever eaten in his whole life. Now he thinks we should make our own butter at home.This was the old post office that Israel Crane had built in the General Store. Until he built this General Store, the closest store was seven miles away. That doesn't sound like much today. But if you were walking, that's a long way to go to buy something. With this new store, people could shop right in their own neighborhood.While at the General Store, everyone got to make a sachet. Dakota put his in his pj drawer.They also got to write a letter with a quill pen. Then they sealed it with wax and a special seal.I think it's fair to say that everyone had a great time today. As we were leaving I saw several families stop back by the summer kitchen for another tasty treat.

Tomorrow we are going to a class about building model rockets. Actually my husband is teaching this class. He's taught it before so this will be old hat to us. But it is another busy activity for the week.


  1. those look like really awesome field trips!

  2. What a great way to spend a school day! These are the things that make history come to life.