It happens. I pick a craft to do that I think will be manageable for everyone with a little help and it becomes completely overwhelming. Such was the story of the Viking long boat.
We have been learning about the Vikings and their forays into France and North America. The Vikings have been a saga all fall homeschooling-wise. Pardon the pun. First there was our attempt at a lunchtime read aloud book, Viking Adventure by Clyde Robert Bulla. I hadn't heard of the book before, but it was published by Sonlight and received some really glowing reviews on Amazon. It seemed like a pretty good bet. Then I began reading it out loud. It was not what I expected. The book had short sentences. The book did not use a lot of pronouns. The book had a very simple sentence style. The book was not fun to read. The book was not fun to listen to. If you read the book for very long, you started to talk in very simple sentences. The children did not like it. Well, you get the idea. We lasted exactly two chapters before none of us could take it any longer and set the book aside.
I had given up finding a chapter book to read about the Vikings when I happened to be flipping through the Daedalus catalogue. (You do know about Daedalus and their online store salebooks.com, right? Really, if you love books, you need to know about it.) I came across a description of a book that sounded really interesting about the Vikings and was $1.98, hardcover. At that price, I sort of felt morally obligated to buy it, so I did. We haven't made it very far, but we are enjoying it. It's The Sea Singer by Craig Moodie. I'll tell you if we end up liking the whole thing.
Then yesterday, we made an attempt at creating Viking long boats out of recycled materials. It looked so promising on the web site where I found the instructions. If I had only 11 year olds and up, it would have been fine, but it would have taken longer than the two hours I allotted for the activity. With a lot of younger people? Well, we ended up modifying the craft a lot and TM, D. and P. were really good about pitching in and making the younger people's boats. We did end up with boats.
But, my goodness, it was not one of our more relaxing crafting mornings.