We started off on a Wild West Unit study, which quickly took a rabbit trail into a Native American Unit Study. That’s the beauty of homeschooling, right?
We learned about different tribes, their housing, food and famous chiefs. We also read about the Trail of Tears, The Long Walk and Wounded Knee. My girls are officially boo-ing the Calvary after all of that.
The girls and I learned about various weapons of the different tribes. We then set out to make what I considered one of the safer Native American weapons, the sling shot. I guess if you look at it from Goliath’s standpoint you know this is not the case, as I learned later as well, ahem.
While studying the Navajo, we delved into a little faux turquoise and silver jewelry. The “beads” are macaroni noodles. To color the uncooked noodles, put 2-3 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol in a zip lock back, then add several drops of food coloring and mix well. Dump in your desired amount of macaroni and move it around in the bag quickly. Place in a single layer on a cookie sheet to dry (and to lose the alcohol smell.) String the macaroni on heavy twine or yarn to make your necklace.
For the faux silver, take a piece of tinfoil, and wrap it around a piece of cardstock. Make sure the shiny side goes towards the cardboard. Tape the tinfoil onto the back of the cardboard. Draw a design onto a white piece of paper, then overlay the paper onto the tinfoil. Trace back over the design, pushing hard enough to transfer the pattern onto the tinfoil below.
We also revisited our Moccasin Making skills.
Finally, we finished off our study with some fry bread. This was a staple food for some Native American groups, and for my family when I was a child too. The girls enjoyed theirs with honey.
Books & Resources:
The Cherokee Nation and the Trail of Tears; by Theda Perdue and Michael D. Green
The Trail of Tears; by Peter Benoit
Wounded Knee: The Death of a Dream; by Laurie O’Neil
The Battle of Little Bighorn; by Micael V. Uschan
The Cherokee; by Cathryn J. Long
Saga of the Sioux; by Dwight Jon Zimmerman
The Apache; by Anne Ake
The Sioux; by Michelle Levine
The Navajos; by Liz Sonneborn
The Arapaho: Hunters of the Great Plains; by Karen Bush Gibson
The Shoshone; by Sarah De Capua
The Iroquois; by Charlotte Wilcox
The Greatest Indian Chiefs; by Jean Marcellin
Sitting Bull; by Herman J. Viola
A Boy Called Slow; by Joseph Bruchac
Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce; by Bill & Jan Moeller
Chief Crazy Horse – Following a Vision; by Larry Dane Brimner
Geronimo; by William Thompson
The Indian Wars; by Carol Behrman
Native American History Pockets; by Evan-Moore
American Indians Fandex; by Workman Publishing