Thursday, May 31, 2012

Aionwahta wanders (and wampum)

In our story, Aionwahta wanders into the Mohawk camp, where The Peacemaker is waiting to meet and greet him. They exchange strings of wampum (which they both had been collecting along the way during their travels) and discuss their visions of peace, agreeing to work together to bring peace to all the people of the red earth. Both boys drew the exchange of wampum, J's above (a really cool conceptual drawing), and Zoo Boy's below (a bit more literal).

Above, J's story summary, below, Zoo Boy's.

After doing their drawings and writing their summaries for this story, I gave the boys small bowls of real shell wampum, which they immediately got busy stringing. Below are their resulting strings. Both boys were SO excited to be working with real wampum! (Which made the ridiculous price I paid for it worth it.)

spring show

Two weekends ago was the ballet school's spring show "Dynamic Directions" -- a WONDERFUL production! Above was the Modern piece J danced in, called "Once Upon a Time," part of a larger piece called "Story Book". J was one of many "cells" that came together to make a baby:

He was also a painter boy (below) in "Postcards From Paris," where he danced with two flirtatious girls vying for his attention. He was just marvelous, and quite the character!

A tip of the hat to the Map Man (below) who spent pretty much every spare moment the last two weeks before the show (and almost the entire two days of the show) caring for Rosebud in the general vicinity of where I was frantically sewing costumes:

Below, a celebration with Grandma and Grandpa at Friendly's after the final show. Whew! It'll be nice to have a "rest" this summer before Nutcracker chaos begins again in September!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Peacemaker: growing up

In this two-part story, we learn about how the Peacemaker grew up, at a faster rate than normal boys, and carved his stone canoe out of granite, then brought peace to the Huron village his grandmother was from, before leaving in his stone canoe to bring peace to the fiercest people of the red earth. Above, J drew The Peacemaker traveling in his stone canoe. Below, Zoo Boy shows him being tested by the Mohawk people -- he climbed a tall tree, and the Mohawks chopped it down to see if it would kill him. It did not, and they welcomed him into their village and let him teach them the old ways and the way of peace.

J's story summary, above, and Zoo Boy's below. Quite different, because Zoo Boy wanted to include the bit about the Mohawks testing him in his summary, and that hadn't been included in our initial summary.

black belt club

Zoo Boy joined the Black Belt Club at his karate dojo. This involved filling out several applications and sitting for an interview with the dojo's master. Now there are more opportunities available to him, including leadership training (which he very much wants -- being a Karate Instructor is currently his career goal), extra general training sessions, Family Tai Chi, special "just for fun" activities and events, and he gets to wear the special "blue" uniform with a "Black Belt Club" patch on it. Oh, and he joined the demonstration team. Oh, and he gets to start weapons training:

There he is, third kid from the left, during his first Bo Staff training class.

Life is good for the karate-obsessed Boy! And this adds a whole new level of chaos to our schedule, since he now needs to be at his far-distant dojo once or twice more a week than he was already there. Don't get me wrong, we are THRILLED that he's found his passion and will do everything in our power to make sure he attends everything he needs/wants to attend in association with this. But why oh why oh why did we decide to live so far away from everything our kids wound up wanting to do??

(The answer of course being that we never actually planned on having any kids, as much as that seems unfathomable now. This is a GREAT town for general living, and we love it and our farm. But if we could save just a fraction of the money we spend on gas and reclaim just an hour or two of the time we spend commuting...well, maybe we could have managed to live happily in a more centrally located area.)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

birth of The Peacemaker

We leave Aionwahta wandering the woods aimlessly in grief, and pick up the story of The Peacemaker, which actually predates Aionwahta's own story a bit. A woman from the Huron village fled into the woods to birth her daughter in peace. She raises her daughter in isolation and is horrified to discover that, as she reaches adulthood, she becomes pregnant. The woman does not believe that her daughter hasn't been with a man, and tries to kill the baby boy several times before she is visited by a vision telling her that he was sent from the Creator and cannot be killed. (This is the second time in the Haudenosaunee legends that a child was born without a father, not even counting the cloud man that fathered the sky woman's daughter's twins. Very interesting how that is such an enduring legend throughout so many cultures and religions!) Above is J's drawing of the woman trying to bury the baby in a pit, below is Zoo Boy's drawing of the woman burning him in a big fire.

Above is J's story summary, below is Zoo Boy's.


We're working on making a set of Haudenosaunee moccasins for each of the kids. It's quite the ongoing project, actually, we're finding the leather work fairly challenging (but rewarding -- look at those smiles!).


This tragic story has the very powerful Atotahrho resisting every attempt of Aionwahta's to implement his plan for peace, culminating in the death of Tonedawa and all seven of Aionwahta's daughters. This causes Aionwahta to forget his plan for peace and begin wandering aimlessly, wishing for his own death. Both boys chose to draw the evil Atotahrho, J (above) with him hiding on his island waiting to trick the Onondaga message carriers, and Zoo Boy (below) with him thinking about destroying Aionwahta.

J's story summary above, Zoo Boy's below.

It's a statement about the boys' maturity levels that they were able to handle this story without getting overly upset. Heck, *I* was upset at this story! We had an interesting discussion about how the stories (and books they are reading, too) are starting to not always have the ending we want them to, and how that is a part of growing up (and life in general). Good timing, really, because they have been asking to read some books that are a bit more intense (Harry Potter, etc), and I think they are now ready to handle some of that more "mature" content.

Friday, May 25, 2012

all this catching up...

Oy! I thought I would have been caught up by now, but am still a couple weeks behind! If only we weren't so busy! I do feel a compulsion to post as much as possible, though, because this is sort of my "official" record keeping scrapbook, and I'm worried I won't remember what we did if I don't put it down somewhere. So bear with me as I continue to post as many times a day as I am able. I am finding homeschooling with a baby fairly easy. I am finding blogging with a baby darned near impossible....

a vision of peace

One night Aionwahta was awakened by a dream voice telling him to run (as depicted by Zoo Boy below). He couldn't hear anything alarming, but he listened to the voice and awakened his family and took them to hide in the woods (depicted by J above). He woke the others in the other longhouses too, but when they didn't hear anything, they chose to go back to sleep rather than going to hide. While hiding in the woods playing his medicine drum, Aionwahta had a vision of a great peace, where all the tribes would live together as if in one Longhouse. When he returned to their village in the morning, he discovered that the village had been raided during the night and many warriors lost. Everyone agreed that they were tired of all the fighting and that Aionwahta's plan for peace sounded like a good one.

J's story summary above, Zoo Boy's below.

random cuteness

Some of the photos I've been posting on Facebook over the past month. Didn't want you guys to miss out on them!

peach pit story

In this story, Aionwahta tells his oldest daughter the story of the Teacher (in Zoo Boy's drawing, below). At a time when the old ways were forgotten and all the tribes were warring, The Teacher and 11 other boys were all born at the same time in different tribes, but came together to learn the old ways from The Teacher throughout their lives, bringing their learning back to their own tribes. (Above J draws them meeting in a clearing in the woods.) One of the final things The Teacher taught the others was how to play the Peach Pit Game to make big decisions.

J's story summary (above) and Zoo Boy's (below)

Then we made our own peach pit game (above,painting one side rather than charring), and played it with our friends (below).

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

painting workshop

I attended a Waldorf "Painting Through the Grades" workshop, geared towards leading paintings with 4th thru 8th grade students. It was a fabulous day, during which we did 2 4th grade paintings (Thor and a cow lying in a field), 2 5th grade paintings (Egyptian pyramids and parts of a flower), 2 6th grade paintings (a Greek temple and a Roman soldier), a 7th grade painting (a tall ship in rough seas), and an 8th grade painting (a skyline during the Industrial Revolution). I actually managed to complete all but the final painting, despite having baby Rosebud along for the day. (My paintings below.)The most important thing I came way from the workshop with was the reassurance that I'm doing a pretty good job leading the kids in their painting, and the confidence that I'll continue to do well with them despite my worry that I really don't know what the heck I'm doing. In the past I suffered from a fear of being "wrong" with painting, but I've become much more fearless about it in recent years and no longer am paralyzed by uncertainty. I think my children have benefited from watching me overcome my fear of painting, and they were obviously very proud of the paintings I brought home from the workshop.

marriage and daughters

Aionwahta learned the ways of the healer and made his medicine drum. A marriage was arranged for him and a woman of the Turtle Clan in another Onondaga village. The bride and her mother came to Aionwahta's village, and all the people celebrated their wedding (above, as depicted by J). Then Aionwahta followed his new mother-in-law and wife to his new Longhouse in his new village (depicted by Zoo Boy below). As time passed, they grew closer and started having daughters.

J's story summary (above) and Zoo Boy's (below).