Native American Main Lesson

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Dear Donna Simmons,

I wanted to let you know that we are having an excellent year, great curriculum. I wanted to share with you some of the wonderful things Tristan has been doing. We have both enjoyed the Native American block and have beautiful work and art to remember it from. I organised early last fall and Amerindian day with my homeschool co-op. Upon arrival they were greeted in “Abenaki”, the official language from the people who once lived in my area, then had a short dialogue about all the North American people and the climate and regions they lived in. All the children and adults were to arrive in costume. I had authentic Native music playing in the background and had four workshops organised that the children could come and go as they pleased, they were as follows; making a dreamcatcher, creating a totem pole, wampum necklaces and tipi making. Each workshop had a legend or a story related to the craft that an adult helper was to share with the kids. There was also two group activities scheduled in between workshops, one of them was to try and build a wigwam like the People of the Forest and the second was creating and baking bannique bread over a campfire. The day was a success. I’m sending you some photos of some of the crafts from that day, some from Tristan’s main lesson book.

We tried to make an iglu like you suggested, but it was too difficult so we kind of cheated by piling snow and then digging out the inside! He! He! Oops! I hope you enjoy the photos, sorry I could not add any from our Amerindian day ( I would need confirmation from every family).

Thanks again,
Stephanie Hamilton
Quebec, Canada

P.S. Here’s a description of what the photos are…


Longhouse: built with birch bark (found on a forest hike), branches and raffia

Tipi: made with heavy white canvas, branches tied with raffia, base modeled with self-hardenning clay, painted with acrylic paints (I don’t know if you noticed by the photo, it’s designed as an incense burner, to make it look like a campfire is burning inside)

Dreamcatcher: loop made from shoots, rolled into a circle, tape ends together and let it dry for a few days (willow would work),embroidery thread, wooden beads, leather strips wrapped around the wooden loop and feathers.




Here’s some more photos, these are from his Main Lesson book Native Americans.

    -The People of the Rain and Mist, drawing and summary

   – The People of the Ice and Snow, drawing and summary

and our own Iglu, Tristan is pictured with his little brother Evan.



Here’s the last of the series that I wanted to send you. Two are from Tristan’s Native American Main Lesson book, a poem from the Osages (beautiful words).

The other is of his snow stick and snow experiment we did by measuring 8″ of snow into a 2 L. juice container and then bringing it into melt. To his astonishment and also my own, it melted down to 1″ of water. I was very surprised how little amount of water was contained in snow. Thanks for all your great ideas, homeschooling wouldn’t be the same without your great insights!




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