Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cave paintings and lizard soup

In history the girls and I are studying about ancient times, primarily the early nomadic people around Egypt and Mesopotamia before those places became Egypt and Mesopotamia. We've learned about the fertile crescent, how the people moved from place to place based on food sources, what they wore, how they hunted and gathered, what they ate(lizard soup anyone?), how they lived and how we know these things about them. Cave paintings, stories of their daily lives (which seem so much more interesting than mine!) recorded on walls of stone using fingers, leaves, sticks, and paints from plants and stones created thousands of years ago. I suspect, though I have no proof of this, they were compelled to make these rudimentary works of art not to record history for us thousands of years later but because they were moved to create and they created from what they knew, as simple as that. In examining cave paintings and then creating our own I found myself wondering if there was a designated "artist" in the community or anyone and everyone contributed when they felt so moved. Certainly there were those that had a natural talent for various arts but was it limited only to those that were declared masters and their students or was everyone welcome to dip into the thick and chunky paints they created turning their fingers orange as they smeared the goo on the cave walls. I have no idea but it's kind of fun to consider.

The girls made their own cave paintings. I like books, I love books and I can read history like it's a novel, completely fascinated by what people before us have done. This works for me. Not the girls so much. There are reasons to believe that if I want these lessons to stick with the girls we have to move beyond reading a book. So they create images of their own, in a sketch book, that reflects what we have learned, we call this "Waldorf Inspired." Vocabulary, dates, places, maps, and depictions are recorded there in their own hand sometimes following my lead in a crayon drawing, at other times creating their own original representation. Our cave painting experience went beyond our sketch books and onto several panels of dry wall left over and being tossed from our neighbor's post-Ike renovations. Set up in the "garage area" (just a small carport type thing), the girls used left over paints from the same renovation, leaves, sticks and their fingers to create paintings that depicted nomadic life in the crescent circle. They had a blast. There are now blue, red, rust, and orange-y paint smears on the grass in our backyard where they wiped their fingers clean and several sheets of dry wall leaning up against our house warping in the humidity making them even more cave like with their rough paintings of history. I'm not sure how much of this lesson will really stick but I know they won't forget cave painting or lizards soup- I know because that was part of their cave painting.

Pictures of our history lessons:


  1. Looks like so much fun! This is Tami, btw. I miss chatting with you more.

  2. Jessica,
    I really do enjoy the updates of your schooling. It takes me back to the fun learning events we did.
    Not to sure about the lizard soup but I would taste it!
    I love the pictures.
    I miss the girls so much!
    Enjoy this coming week of your birthday. The day our life and family was changed forever.
    You were born! Blessing my daughter.
    Mom, grandma, and thankful to be in your world of 7.

  3. Hey Jessica i admire you, i'm complaining about not having time to do anything with two kids and you have four and homeschooling and seem to be doing just fine.. gotta give me advice or secret, your stuff looks like fun... congrats for your upcoming birthday, (Chad's birthday is Monday)so, we r gonna be celebrating the same week.. happy birthday!!!