Ancient Mythologies Block: India

I could have spent all year on India. I personally love contemporary Indian fiction, Indian food and Indian fashion. However, I feel like we did a lot in 3 weeks. During the first 2 weeks, we studied geography, religion and myth. The essential image I wanted Vincent to associate with Indian culture was the endless circle. We revisited the cyclical nature of the weather, the gods, reincarnation and karma throughout our study. I also tried to highlight the gesture away from the earth, with the repeated theme of people removing themselves from society to live unaccompanied in the forest or in the mountains. During the third week, we studied Indian festivals and cooking. That was really fun! We have an Indian feast planned, but we are still trying to pin down a date that works for 3 special friends to join in.

One thing I learned about myself during this block is that I am not a cartographer – this was no surprise. However, because I do think actively drawing something provides a different sense of space than passively looking at something, I am always trying to figure out how to do this when one’s drawing skills are such that India might turn out looking like a boiled ham hanging off the bottom of Asia. One way I have compensated for this in the past is through embroidery. The method I used for this block was to print out a map of India, carefully cut it out and then trace the outline onto a piece of paper. Vincent did the same for the map in his main lesson book. Cutting and tracing are both good ways to impart a sense of space into the body. The resulting drawing is accurate and clean; two details I think are important in studying geographical relationships.

Story Resources:

  • Ancient Mythologies, Charles Kovacs
  • Ancient Mythology: India, Persia, Babylon, Egypt, Donna Simmons

Projects:

  • Wet-on-wet watercolor painting of “Manu and the Flood”

Additional Resources:

  • Uncle Josh’s Outline Map Collection (This is a CD that I bought when I first started homeschooling. It is not Waldorf, but it is a great resource for all kinds of map work.)
  • Cooking the Indian Way, Vijay Madavan
  • The Multicultural Cookbook for Students, Carole Lisa Albyn and Lois Sinaiko Webb
  • Holidays of the World Cookbook for Students, Lois Sinaiko Webb
  • Haroun and the Sea of Stories and Luka and the Fire of Life, Salman Rushdie (These are children’s books by the famous author. I plan to use them as read alouds later in the year.)
  • A Journey Through Time in Verse and Rhyme, Heather Thomas (There are wonderful poems for all the ancient cultures in this book.)

Featured Recipe:

Chicken Curry (This is a regular lunch and/or dinner at our house. Somehow it turns out slightly different every time we make it. It has only been bad once. That was the time Vincent thought he would add a teaspoon of every type of curry we had in the spice drawer: eight different curries in one dish was NOT a good idea. (The original recipe comes from The Kids’ Multicultural Cookbook: Food and Fun Around the World by Deanna F. Cook)

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1-3 tablespoons curry powder (depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups canned coconut milk
  • Optional: raisins, chopped apple
  • Garnish: chopped nuts

Brown chicken and onion in oil for about 5-7 minutes. Remove from pan. Melt butter and add garlic and curry powder. Cook for about a minute. Add coconut milk and raisins or apples, if using. Return chicken to pan, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve over rice, garnished with chopped nuts, if desired. Serves 4.

14 thoughts on “Ancient Mythologies Block: India

  1. Looks like you guys has a lot of fun with this block!

    I just read somewhere that a use for some of the abstract wet on wet on watercolor paper could be origami.

    I just cut and pasted your curry recipe. We Are going to give that a try!

    Looks like things are going along lovely xox

  2. Hi Sheila! We are one week into our Ancient Mythologies block. I’m using the Christopherus book. I love India, too. Oh, the food, the food. I miss the authentic Indian food we ate in Georgia. Here, out west, the Indian food is not so much…lol. We read half of Donna Simmons’ version of the Mahabharata today and while doing the dishes later my fifth grader said she kept thinking that there was a book she wanted to keep reading, but then remembered it was that story and would have to wait until tomorrow. That made me happy. I think I’m going to try your lotus flowers. :)

    • Hey Rachel,
      The lotus flowers are so cool. The hardest part is cutting the rectangles accurately (always my challenge).

      Do you read the stories out loud or does your daughter read them to herself? I have read all the stories aloud so far, but I think I am going to give Vincent Gilgamesh to read on his own next week. If you have any thoughts on this, I would love to hear them.

      Well if you ever come east and visit Asheville, there are 3 really good Indian places. I would love to take you to dinner!!

      • Thank you for inviting me to dinner Sheila! That’s very kind of you and I would surely like to come some day!

        So far, I have read the main lesson stories aloud. I was thinking about having Emmeline read Gilgamesh alone, too, as her “assigned independent reading book” (I have both my kids read 30 minutes alone each day in a book that I assign – hoping to compliment or correspond to our main lessons if possible.) I don’t think we will have time to read Gilgamesh and complete other main lesson work. That being said, I guess it will be my assigned reading, too, so I can talk to her about it. :)

        Have a great day!

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