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Like all of you, I'm a number of things to a number of people...Navy wife, homeschooling mama, educated woman and aspiring writer. Read my thoughts on all of it here. Please feel free to leave your thoughts on all of it too!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween (and more) Unit Review

Yesterday was Halloween!  We took a break before the end of our Simple Machines Unit to have some fun with and learn about Halloween.  And, as it turns out, there are a few other holidays that fall right around now that are part of other cultures that we're not.  We talked about them too! 

That's our homemade scarecrow.  Scott says he's not all that scary.  Probably true, but he was a lot of work.  We didn't use straw or corn stalks.  He's stuffed with weeds from the back yard.  When I brought them into the basement there might have been some spiders that came along for the ride.  That meant screaming and jumping.  Craziness!  But we succeeded in working together to make a fun decoration.  That's what it's all about in the end.

(Just a note about the pictures: You'll notice that Jace is in his pajamas and Gracie's in a dress.  This is typical.  Gracie likes to "look cute all the time" and Jace will stay in his PJ's until he has to change into clothes!  They keep me smiling!)

We read a book called Ghost Wings, by Barbara M. Joosse, that talked about Day of the Dead, or El Dia de Los Muertos, from the library.   In our culture talking about those that have gone before us can be taboo.  I know I've gotten a little flack for taking our kids to funerals, even though Scott and I felt it appropriate.  Day of the Dead is a holiday that celebrates the people who have died.  Family and friends remember them, talk about them, eat their favorite foods, play music they enjoyed, and they may even do all of this at their grave.  I got a special kick out of that twist!  When I was younger my mother mowed the church cemetery and at times i had to go along with her.  I used to play among the stones and practice my flute there.  It's a peaceful and pleasant memory for me, although it raises some eyebrows when I share it.  Perhaps if I were in Mexico people wouldn't think twice! 

A friend loaned me a book, Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions, by Joyce and River Higginbotham.  It talked a little about Samhain.  This festival celebrates the end of summer and the change into winter along with honoring the dead.  I'm sure there's more to it, but that's as far as we went into it.  We talked a lot, with both of these holidays, about the concept of remembering people who have died before us.  Fortunately, the kids haven't lost anyone they've been close to.  They remember bits and pieces about great grandparents that have died, but mostly we ended up talking about pets.  That works too.  Right?

We also covered All Saint's Day, from what I remembered.  Sadly, I'm sure they didn't take as much from that discussion.  Although, Gracie did ask if I was a saint because "making something for dinner that everyone likes is like a miracle, right?"  I smiled and truly appreciated that she recognized that!  I told her we'd have to wait until I died to find out, but that I probably wouldn't be a saint in anyone's eyes but hers.  Love her!

And, of course, Halloween.  We read several fun books from the library.  I've already taken them back, sorry!  But I know there was an alphabet one, one of poems (Hallowilloween, Calef Brown), and a few others.  We also read about the history of trick or treating, jack-o-lanterns, and dressing up on a few websites.  (History of Halloween and Halloween History)

We had a fun time with all this, at least I did!

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