We started out with a world geography review and then hit the Pacific Islands. We learned about the way many of them were formed (by volcanoes) and read books, both fiction and non-fiction, that describe life and culture in various people groups. It was neat to compare and contrast the tribes that live/lived right next to one another!
CULTURE! It's a strong thing! Culture is what we think, what we do, why we do it, and how we do it!
So last week, we went to...Australia...well, at least in our imaginations and books! The boys remembered many things about the animal life there from our biology units last year. We enjoyed pictures of the platypus and echidna, and we were awed by the Great Barrier Reef!
Did you know that many of the people that went to Australia were NOT just mere explorers or brave adventurers looking for a better or different life? No! These people were criminals...convicts from England...sent as punishment! Some of them committed murder. Some stole or couldn't pay their debts. But England was running out of room and didn't want to be bothered by taking care of their prisoners, so off they sent them. Most never saw their family members again!
And can you imagine being an Aborigine...a native Australian...trying to live your life on the land you have always known, and then a bunch of weird-looking people come onto your land and start changing things?
Oh...wait a second! That sounds a whole lot like what happened in America! Hmmm... Anyway, Australia has an interesting history!
For every country we study, we pick a project. For Australia we chose to paint Aboriginal art!
If you have never seen any examples, you should look it up. It is quite fascinating! Much of the art is filled with bright colors in dots, circles, zigzags, animals and figures. It's common for family members or a group to work on a giant canvas altogether.
So tonight...since Dad is out of town and I haven't felt the best, we put our hand to something CALM and tried our own painting! The boys opted to each paint their own picture, instead of working on one big one. The Aborigines would use their art to tell stories of their mythical ancestors and what happened on their land. Well, we don't believe that we (or the Aborigines) have mythical ancestors, but we don't see anything wrong with using art to tell stories. I told the boys to paint whatever they wanted. Here are the results:
Alex using Q-tips to make dots and designs
Garrison and Trey concentrating