Thursday, February 05, 2009

Teaching the Odyssey to Children: Weaving like Penelope

Every day Penelope worked on her tapestry, and every night she picked out the stitches. She promised the suitors that she would marry one of them just as soon as she got done with the tapestry, but she never got done!

It's very easy for children to weave on a simple loom that you can construct out of cardboard or plastic. For a rectangular piece, notch the top and bottom of the rectangle. Set up the loom by starting the yarn at the bottom, then going up to the first notch on top, over one notch, back down, over one, back up, etc. until you get to the end. Wrap the end around the last notch, put a yarn needle on the leftover yarn, and you're ready to start weaving! Do a few rows on each loom to get the kids going and give them an idea over over-under-over-under, and make sure they know that the stitches alternate by rows. So if you went over it last time, you're going under it this time.

You can also make a circular loom -- we used empty soup containers -- or a loom that goes on the back and front of a rectangle at the same time by winding the yarn over the back side too.

Here is a page with really great instructions on making homemade looms out of recycled materials.

And here are some pictures of our Penelopes. They enjoyed the project very much and it even spilled over into lunch time:

This activity was planned and executed at our homeschool co-op, Homeschool Out of the Box, for my elementary literature class on The Odyssey. For more of my Odyssey ideas and plans, click on the Odyssey tag at the bottom of the post.

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