Tuesday, February 28, 2012

An Educational Tradition {or a late Winter Break or an early Spring Break}

A couple of years ago, “Museum Week” was birthed from, “I don’t think I can do school tomorrow........or really all week,” while whining to Jeff on the couch one Sunday night.  After staring at the pictures hanging on the wall, I said, “I think we will go to all the museums in town.”  I perked up, started clicking away on the computer and planned a really fun week.  It’s now, of course, survival an educational tradition.  Call it what you will.  Other than our long Christmas break, it is my favorite thing about home schooling flexibility.

I plan our break during our Science and History Museum’s Engineers Week because at least some different things are going on at a place our family frequents.  It’s also the only museum in town that is opened on Monday........except this year.  It fell on President’s Day and so at 7am Monday morning, I had to figure out a way to kick off Museum Week.  In a big way-- and quickly.  For the kids not to be disappointed about staying home all day knowing they had fallen asleep thinking we were headed to their favorite museum, my plan had to at least SOUND exciting.  I knew food would help so I promised sweets for breakfast.  

Complete with sprinkles.....  even math could be fun with sprinkles, yes?

Maybe not.

Now, what “museum-ish” could we do?

I grabbed some of our random art books, making sure I had some “boy” ones and decided to play the “stare” game seeing who could remember the most details after thirty seconds.  Brighton is always up for a contest even if it means looking at eight different art pieces.

I chose three poems that told a story from this book and read them intermittently through the morning and had them choose one to illustrate.  Brighton drew pictures about “The Ship that Never Returned” by Henry Clay Work and Julia illustrated “The Land of Our Pilgrim Fathers” by Felicia Dorothea Hemans.  I never tire of their pictures, especially the ones drawn with colored pencils.

In between “stare” competitions and poetry, we read a few of our most loved history picture books that touch on the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, Lindberg’s first flight and World War II.  These are great reminders when we’ve been stuck in the B.C. dates for 2 years in History.  American history has the BEST picture books.  I read them to the kids any chance I get and there are some that I can’t get through without the nagging lump in my throat.

Here’s what sealed the deal--for B, anyway-- the deal of having our first day of Museum week on our den floor.  I hooked my laptop up to the television and showed them almost every “forward” or interesting email I have received over the last six months.  We traveled through Viet Nam, Thailand, and Cambodia with my parents, watched a cat play with dolphins, saw a baby hummingbird nursed to maturity by a teenage boy, watched the kids of Yupiq Eskimo Village of Quinhagak, Alaska perform a creative rendition of Handel’s Messiah.  We watched an airplane being assembled for Boeing and a space shuttle launching at Cape Kennedy.  We saw pictures of Queen Elizabeth with eleven different U.S. Presidents and watched the progression of a hornero bird in Uruguay building its nest and wondered if it were really true that it worked every day but Sunday.  We saw snow moose {white} roaming in Michigan, icebergs in Antarctica, amazing rocks in deserts across the world, and photographs from a scanning electron microscope.  The grand finale was the UK's 24 Hours in Pictures.

Museum week is what I sometimes wish our summer days looked like....at least some of them.  My plans are grandiose and well-intended that first week of June and then I am not sure what happens.  The sun and water call us out to swim wherever we can and then I am debilitated by this summer malaise that gets me every year. It must be the combination of chlorine, self tanner {!!}, heat and sunscreen. I mean, I think for a while at least in July, I don’t even care if my kids know who Pierre Auguste Renoir is much less Robert Frost.

But that’s okay.

It returns every August with the NEED to sniff some No.2 pencils and plan weeks like this.

The rest of our week:


Sarah said...

You're such a good creative mom!

Alyssa said...

I think that creative idea that you came up with in no time on Monday takes the cake!

andrea said...

HAHAH! love the fork picture! you are very creative and who wouldn't love art, history, you name it with sprinkles! I am coming to your house so you can teach my kids. I also love your books, oh my! you have so many beautiful books