Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Malibu No More

It’s no secret.  I declared it only a few weeks ago.  I am not crafty.  I can recreate some things I see but some I wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot glue stick.  If you have talked with me for five minutes about school this year, you know I am doing Ancient History.  Ugh.  No, double ugh.  I don’t even remotely like it.  I know what you are thinking-- her poor kids.  Exactly.  Our last three years of American History have been the highlight of our days at home “doing school”.  The stories in the picture books and small chapter books were captivating and even a little bit tangible for us in 2010.  The best ones upheld honor, integrity, courage, selflessness and all those things I need for my kids to see and hear again and again and again in forms that they cannot forget.  Bottom line, I miss it.  So much so, I find myself sitting in front of our bookshelves thumbing through my most favorite ones when I should be doing things like cooking or putting laundry away.  Wishing.......wishing I didn’t have to read one more book about a ginormous pyramid or a narcissistic pharaoh or some godless ritual or a mummified grasshopper.  So there.  I’ve said it.  It’s my least favorite part of our morning.  (Incidentally, my kids seem to be enjoying it, although neither one of them want to go upstairs by themselves anymore.......)

Back to my lack of enthusiasm for crafts--- In several (dry) Egypt books that we have read, the authors include in great detail the project of mummifying SOMETHING-- usually a chicken!!  A CHICKEN!  As I have read the steps, I have come to the following conclusions:  it sounds gross because of the smell AND dangerous because of the chances of contracting chicken germs AND too crafty because of all the steps AND baffling because of figuring out where in the world would I PUT 2 chickens for 40 days in their bed of salt in order to dry them out.  I had to come up with something simpler, something shorter, and definitely something that smelled better.  
Enter Ken and Barbie into my kitchen-- renamed Pharoah Menes and Queen Hatsheput (no relation, mind you, just what my kids chose)  

Now, that is just plain wierd, seeing THAT on my cookie rack on my kitchen counter.  I don’t have the guts to post the pictures of them cleaning the dolls with white wine (vinegar) or rubbing them with olive oil which caused a very familiar Malibu-ish effect on the former beach dwellers.  We used spices that smelled good, gobs of gauze from the medicine cabinet, flour and water for paste, and some of Julia’s one million plastic craft pieces for amulets.  Brighton had two favorite parts:  positioning the amulets in the just the right places.......(rolling my eyes) and covering Ken's, I mean, Pharaoh Menes' head and face.  When the mummy started looking spooky, B got more excited.  I could only find one empty shoe box for a sarcophagus so I had to draw a line down the middle so they could each decorate it with hieroglyphics.  Julia did pretty well using a stencil but Brighton's side looked more like hieroglyphics done Texas Ranger style with a few things that looked like scoreboards and stick people with bats. 

 We had a huge mess, but we were wrapping up the whole project in an hour and the kids thought it was the best day of school EVER.  Maybe the fact that Nana was a part of the mummifying might have had a little to do with that too.

For Egypt, that’s all I’ve got. 

Plea to educators:   If anyone has any great ideas how I can drag this out through Christmas, I am all ears.  BOOKS!!  I want good books.  


Alyssa said...

Way to go, Ms. Eygpt, I mean teacher! I'm so impressed! I made an Egyptian sphynx out of dough in sixth grade, but it came down with leprosy-type spots. I ended up having to make another one out of plaster of paris. So my mom feels the same way you do about Egyptian crafts!

Sarah said...

Oh my. I stay away from all crafts that involve more than paper, tape, and glue sticks. Once again, you are the home school mom of the year.

tanya said...

Wow! I'd love to see the unique sarcophagus!

Karen said...

Susan Wise Bauer has an amazing history curriculum- the Story of the World. I have always dreaded history and was scared to death of teaching Ancient History. Our family (kids and myself) have decided that this is out favorite subject by far. If you can find her book in the library give it a try. Make sure to pick up the acitivity book that goes with it... it has all kind of simple projects and read alouds to go with each chapter. So easy and enjoyable.

TJ Wilson said...

oh my gosh. to everything.