Canadas Homeschool Alberta 8.1 Fall : Page 5

ON THE COVER Indiana Jones & I THE STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO by Anita Yasuda One of the hats I never expected to wear Homeschool Parent educating my daughter was archaeologist . If you were to look up the word “archaeologist” in a dictionary you would find a definition something like: “a person who studies prehistoric people and their culture .” If you were to look up the word “mom” in my dictionary it would say: “a person who who engages in a million tasks in a day .” Last summer my family began an ambitious renovation project of our 1867 farmhouse . At the time all I could see was months of dust, drywall and basic mess . I thought long and hard, determined to find some useful lessons out of the chaos . Math units were designed around wall construction . Social study classes were based on the various trades working on the house . But the best was to come when the pit for the new foundations was dug . After the crew left my 10-year old, Kaylee, asked for permission to poke around the pit . “I’m going to find treasure,” she said cheerfully . “Yes,” I said with a smile . Secretly thinking, “Treasure under our house?! I don’t think so…maybe a barrette or bottle cap at most .” But at least she was well occupied and I could get dinner started . “Can I have a bowl?” she asked a few minutes later, “I found some china .” “Sure,” I said, not really taking in what she had said . Ten minutes later my daughter brought in shards of pottery, china, and glass . I was amazed . Dinner could wait . Off I went to explore with her . Down in the layers of soil were square headed nails, shards from goblets, china doll cups all unearthed by the digger . But how did these objects come to be buried six feet under the ground? The answer is a midden! A “midden” is a heap of discarded materials . This garbage pit was used by the early occupants of our farm house . There was no curb side pickup or recycling programs in the 1800s . Pits were dug and waste (everything from broken HomeschoolersGuide.ca pottery to the bones from Sunday’s dinner) were tossed in and set on fire periodically . When public waste programs did begin, they were expensive and people continued to burn their own trash . As the workers had departed for a long weekend, Excavation! my budding archaeologist and I had time to explore . We made a plan like any good archaeologists would . We collected shovels, tooth brushes and paint brushes to carefully sweep off centuries of dirt . Containers were labeled for china, glass shards, metal objects and yes one for bones! If truth be told this latter category was the biggest sensation . Ted, our dog was more than eager to help being the best digger in the family . As this job required attention to detail he was sadly directed to a nearby apple tree . My niece and four-year-old nephew also joined in the dig . Each child was given an area to explore . Objects were carefully removed, placed in their corresponding container to be later cleaned and catalogued . By the end of the three days we had amassed close to one hundred objects . Looking at the clay marbles, turn of the century pottery, and glass stoppers, my daughter gave me a very knowing look and said simply, “I told you there was t re a s u re . ” Digging in the sandbox will never be the same again at this house! What did I learn? The best lessons really do begin at home . And I can now add ‘archaeologist’ to my definition of Treasure! “mom” . v FALL 2011 5

Indiana Jones & I

Anita Yasuda

One of the hats I never expected to wear educating my daughter was archaeologist. If you were to look up the word “archaeologist” in a dictionary you would find a definition something like: “a person who studies prehistoric people and their culture.” If you were to look up the word “mom” in my dictionary it would say: “a person who who engages in a million tasks in a day.”
Last summer my family began an ambitious renovation project of our 1867 farmhouse. At the time all I could see was months of dust, drywall and basic mess. I thought long and hard, determined to find some useful lessons out of the chaos. Math units were designed around wall construction. Social study classes were based on the various trades working on the house.
But the best was to come when the pit for the new foundations was dug. After the crew left my 10-year old, Kaylee, asked for permission to poke around the pit.
“I’m going to find treasure,” she said cheerfully.
“Yes,” I said with a smile. Secretly thinking, “Treasure under our house?! I don’t think so…maybe a barrette or bottle cap at most.” But at least she was well occupied and I could get dinner started.
“Can I have a bowl?” she asked a few minutes later, “I found some china.”
“Sure,” I said, not really taking in what she had said.
Ten minutes later my daughter brought in shards of pottery, china, and glass. I was amazed. Dinner could wait. Off I went to explore with her. Down in the layers of soil were square headed nails, shards from goblets, china doll cups all unearthed by the digger. But how did these objects come to be buried six feet under the ground?
The answer is a midden! A “midden” is a heap of discarded materials. This garbage pit was used by the early occupants of our farm house. There was no curb side pickup or recycling programs in the 1800s. Pits were dug and waste (everything from broken pottery to the bones from Sunday’s dinner) were tossed in and set on fire periodically. When public waste programs did begin, they were expensive and people continued to burn their own trash.
As the workers had departed for a long weekend, my budding archaeologist and I had time to explore. We made a plan like any good archaeologists would. We collected shovels, tooth brushes and paint brushes to carefully sweep off centuries of dirt. Containers were labeled for china, glass shards, metal objects and yes one for bones! If truth be told this latter category was the biggest sensation. Ted, our dog was more than eager to help being the best digger in the family. As this job required attention to detail he was sadly directed to a nearby apple tree. My niece and four-year-old nephew also joined in the dig. Each child was given an area to explore. Objects were carefully removed, placed in their corresponding container to be later cleaned and catalogued. By the end of the three days we had amassed close to one hundred objects.
Looking at the clay marbles, turn of the century pottery, and glass stoppers, my daughter gave me a very knowing look and said simply, “I told you there was treasure.” Digging in the sandbox will never be the same again at this house!
What did I learn? The best lessons really do begin at home. And I can now add ‘archaeologist’ to my definition of “mom”. v

Read the full article at http://bluetoad.com/article/Indiana+Jones+%26amp%3B+I/807944/78351/article.html.

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