Thursday, October 4, 2012

Historical Schooling

        When I woke up this morning my boys were already up and downstairs.  While there was some bickering they were working really hard on putting a puzzle together of the world map.  They had started the puzzle yesterday afternoon and really wanted to finish it.  Ian happened to notice me watching them and asked if they were working on problem solving skills.  I told him that he was and he replied "oh good, so we're working on school stuff then."  I just had to laugh and I reassured him that while puzzles were great for problem skills they were also working on geography skills since it was the world map and they were reading the names of all the continents and oceans.  It was a great reassurance to me, who was once again feeling like we just haven't been doing enough with this unschooling path we've chosen to use for homeschooling.  I was all geared up to start a bunch of projects for them and here they were showing me that they're always learning and eager to do so. 

        A while back I had signed us up for a tour of the Prudence Crandall Museum.  I wanted the boys to at least know why this was considered a historical site before we showed up there today so I read to them from this site.  We learned that she risked her own safety to open the first private school for African- American women in her home state.  It tied in rather nicely with our study of the underground railroad so we also read the book Underground; Finding our Light to Freedom that the boys asked me to check out of the library yesterday.   The book reminds us of the ideals circulating at the time Prudence Crandall was trying to start up her school and just how hard it could be.  I find history is the hardest subject for me to teach.  It was always one of my least favorite subjects in school because I found it to be a boring list of names and dates.  I'm trying very hard to make history as "hands- on" as I can in the hopes of making it more exciting for my boys but I wonder if my feelings toward history are rubbing off on the boys because they weren't thrilled with the idea of this field trip since they thought it would be boring.   Luckily, the speaker we had showing us around the museum was wonderful and really told the stories in a way all the kids could relate to.  The total tour only lasted an hour and I think the boys got a lot out of it.  We learned much about her life and the school. 

        We only had a few hours at home this morning so I didn't want to get involved in anything too elaborate.  We chose to read a few books; S is for Sunshine and L is for Last Frontier to finish up (for real this time!) the state study of these two states.  I had them each work on a math page from their books while Evan did another dot to dot page.  By that time we had to leave for the museum tour.  We brought some books on CD in the car to keep us occupied on our drive as well as a picnic lunch.  Even though it was raining I hoped to find someplace we could stop and eat since we had our trampoline class this afternoon and I wasn't coming home in between the tour and the class.  I packed our chapter book too and read a loud a few chapters while we ate lunch.   All in all I felt pretty good that we managed to do lots of reading, math, history and geography today in just a little bit of time. 

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