Home School Years

Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Cultural Study: India

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One of the things we learned during our cultural studies in India was the custom of creating an artistic welcome sign for the home (known as rangoli) by mothers and daughters in the southern region. They customarily clean the outside floor area by the front door at sunrise and draw a free-style symmetrical design with white powder or chalk. The design is done by drawing dots and connecting them with lines. On special occasions the designs are filled in with color. The rangoli is meant as an artistic symbol to welcome guests into the home. This is a great way to teach the concepts of symbolism, symmetry and cultural art.

We chose to create a lotus design because we really liked the symbolism behind the lotus flower. The lotus, which is the national flower in India, takes root and begins to grow in the muddy bottom of a pond, but as it grows, it rises and blooms into a beautiful flower above water. This process is used by Eastern philosophies as symbolic teaching to show why we ought to be like the lotus – so we can rise above the negativity, suffering and uncleanliness of circumstances in life and bloom; therefore, reaching our full potential and purpose in life.

Steps in making our lotus rangoli art project

Steps in making our lotus rangoli art project

Our lotus rangoli art project began as black and white so I could clearly show the line of symmetry and explain what an outline is (separates space with a line to show inner and outer space areas). Once my son understood both concepts, he chose to color his lotus rangoli. Since we had recently discussed warm colors and shades of color in other lessons, I decided to have him use those two things in his design. So my son colored the lotus using yellow, orange and red watercolors (all warm colors) but with a shading effect (from dark to light). Once he was done, we cut a few leaves from green construction paper to finish our lotus flower design. He was really proud of his artistic design and I loved that we were able to use so many different concepts on this project.

In addition to rangoli, we spent some time discussing the following themes during our India themed cultural studies:

  • Map: India is a subcontinent in southern Asia
  • The Taj Mahal
  • Bengal tigers and cobra snakes
  • Jade
  • The peacock – India’s national bird
  • The namaste greeting practice
  • Diwali – festival of lights symbolizing victory of good over evil, which begins next week (on Oct. 23) for this year
  • Spices
  • Vegetarian lifestyle
  • Differences between Asian and African elephants
  • Biographies on Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa
  • Character Development: Kindness and Caring

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