Still on chapter one, volume one of Story of the World! We actually haven't studied in Story of the World in a while--we were doing Disney crafts, and writing Martin Luther King Jr.'s biography, and goofing around outside instead. However, the girls are fanatically fond of their monthly online Magic Tree House Club meeting (as they are of Magic Tree House and Story of the World audiobooks, in general, even if we aren't "studying" them--so much for the necessity of formal history study!), and since September's book was Sunset of the Sabertooth, I thought it was an excellent opportunity to jump back into the time period, complete one last study from it, and then wrap it up to move on.
To prepare for Magic Tree House Club, the girls listened to Sunset of the Sabertooth and read Sabertooths and the Ice Age, the Magic Tree House Research Guide associated with the book. The Magic Tree House Club meetings are fabulous--Willow loves the leader, who keeps the kids focused and engaged, leads them through some very difficult reading comprehension quizzes (on which Willow always does MUCH better than I do!), offers a ton of contextual information on the topic, teaches them appropriate online etiquette, and presents a fun hands-on craft or two associated with each book.
The craft for this book was clay pinch pots. I bought some air-dry clay (if we'd been back at my childhood home down South, I would have known the perfect place to dig for red clay, but I don't know a good spot here--hence the store-bought clay), showed the girls a video on hand-building with clay--
--laid down some newspaper, and let them go!
The girls had a fabulous time, completely immersed in their project. They each started off with a pinch pot, sure, but I was amused to see that Willow also created for herself a long-stemmed wine glass out of the clay, and Sydney made herself an entire dinner set--bowl, plate, cup, AND fork and spoon.
Even though I KNOW how important sensorial work is for kids, and how drawn they are to it, I was surprised at how much the girls loved playing with clay. We always have a ton of play dough, since I'm always making custom orders of it for my pumpkin+bear etsy shop, and the kids go off and on it, but never anymore with the level of passion that I saw here. I wonder if it has to do with density? One of the reasons why play dough is so good for little kids is that manipulating it strengthens their little fingers and hands--it still feels good to older kids, sure, but it's no longer a challenge to their muscles. Clay, however, is dense! It was certainly challenging for my kiddos to manipulate, and I wonder if that was part of the appeal?
A local artist offers homeschool ceramics classes, which so far I've never considered, since I like to encourage the girls to instead do activities that we can't do at home--gymnastics, ice skating, ballet, etc. Better value for the money, don't you know? I'm thinking now, though, that a session of ceramics from a local artist might be something that would really strike their fancy. Of course, it will have to wait until spring, since I just moved our half-day volunteer gig to the day that the ceramics class meets to accommodate Willow's ice skating classes, and I can't shift it again because Will also does running club three times a week to train for a 5K next month, and after that the girls and I are going on another long road trip, anyway...
Guess I'm going to pick up another tub of clay from the store today!
Here are the other resources that we used to study Ice Age animals: