Building Block(s)

Ishaan is currently in the middle of a Shelters and Building block.  We are looking primarily at primitive dwellings around the world  and what factors influence how they are built.  We have so far studied igloos, adobe houses, and reed houses in Iraq.

Reed house

We are both loving this block and learning a ton! For instance, did you know that in parts of Eritrea they make “igloos” out of blocks of salt, and that in Niger they make houses very similar to the Adobe houses in south-western United States and Mexico? We are using a couple of books from our local library that I really like. One is Imagine a House: a Journey to Fascinating Houses Around the World by Angela Gustafson, and the other is Shelters: From Tepee to Igloo by Harvey Weiss.

Ishaan is also building his own shelter in the woods behind our house.  He is planning on sleeping out in it once he is finished with it. It is a fairly well-built shelter and all the layers of dry leaves will keep it warm inside, but I’m glad it’s not me sleeping out there in below freezing temperatures!

Ishaan's shelter

Ishaan's shelter

The most exciting part of the school block  is the major building project that is going on at our own house.  I was planning on a building project for the spring, such as a playhouse outside or a chicken house, but nature had other plans for us. During the hurricane/tropical storm Irene this summer, five tress on our property came down-  two of them landing on our house.

trees on the house

We were not at home and no one was hurt and the trees did not actually go through the roof and into the house, so we were very lucky.  However, there was enough damage to the roof and siding that they need replacing. The room the trees fell on is the two little ones’ bedroom but is really a small attic room with one very small window. We have been planning on putting a dormer on that room to add head room, windows, light, and usable floor space.  Since the roof needed to be replaced we decided it made sense to do the dormer project at the same time, and we decided to do it ourselves.

Room before demolition

Gutted room

gutted room

Books we found stuffed in the insulation! Tempestuous!

Books we found hidden in the insulation! Tempestuous!

Andy is a designer and he modeled the whole project in 3D.  He did tons of research to make sure it was structurally sound and followed all the building codes.  The plans look pretty awesome and totally daunting to me, but Andy was convinced that with his Dad’s help we could actually to this.  The project started with the demolition of the inside of the room on Monday. We pulled out the carpet, the walls, the ceiling and the insulation and set up the scaffolding outside. Tuesday our friend John came over and  they pulled of the roof shingles and the wet and rotten plywood and cut a giant hole in the roof.

Jungle Gym

Yesterday Andy, his dad Elihu, and John started the framing- assembling  and putting up the rafters and the wall studs.  This has all been a great learning experience  for Ishaan.   He got to see and be part of all the stages so far and there have been parts for him to help with too.  I got to drill some holes and do a little helping myself! Once the construction and framing is complete, we will get a professional to do the roofing and the siding. Then it is up to us to sheetrock, paint, and put a new floor inside.  We are hoping the project will be finished by Thanksgiving, but maybe that is a little too ambitious of us, maybe we’ll leave it up to this guy…….

Ready to help


One response to “Building Block(s)

  1. oh i love this! how brave of you guys. we keep talking about the projects we will do ourselves but we have yet to start on any of them. i can’t wait to see how it turns out. i’m going to show jack henry ishaan’s shelter too… he will be so impressed!

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