Homeschooling: It's not what we do, it's how we live.

Magical Monday

Monday is generally not my favorite day of the week, but as Mondays go, this one started out much better than anticipated. We got up pretty early – our plans would keep us out for most of the morning, so I wanted some time to check my email and stuff before we left. Okay, I confess, the real reason was because I created a Facebook page for my blog since all the cool kids were doing it for theirs (and if you haven’t yet, you should totally “like” it and subscribe to my blog – go ahead! There’s a box in the sidebar!!) and wanted to see who my ‘real’ friends are… {shame} yes, my vanity knows no bounds. {/shame}

Moving on…

The McFaddin Ward House is a former private residence turned museum that has really impressed me with their offerings of kid-friendly activity this summer. I don’t know if I just never saw any of their summer programs or if the inclusion of kids in the activity lineup is something new – whatever the case, they’ve had some really interesting and educational offerings that we have taken full advantage of in the past few weeks. There are still several things happening this Summer and Fall that we’re going to do, including a day-camp for kids 8-12 that explores life in the 1940’s. If you’re local to Southeast Texas, I’d recommend bookmarking their site and checking back in the Spring to see what they have planned for next Summer. I heard something about the theme being ‘behind the curtain’, dealing with seeing how the servants contributed to the household and featuring Mary Poppins… definitely something fun to plan on.

This week’s feature was a screening of Disney’s Bedknobs and Broomsticks. We’ve been reading the books by Mary Norton with the intention of finishing them before the movie, but time got away from us so our discussion on the differences between the original story and the adaptation will have to wait. I’d never been to the Visitor’s Center – in fact, had never realized that the McFaddin-Ward Complex was so big. Spanning 2 full city blocks, with at least 5 buildings, it’s quite a large estate for being in the middle of downtown. It took us a couple of tries to get to the right spot, but when we got there we were greeted warmly and ushered right into the screening room. We were a wee bit late, so the movie was already started by the time we got there. The kids settled in and I went to sign in; when I did, one of the ladies said that I could pick the kids up at 12:15…

I have a mini-rant here. I don’t see the value in drop-offs that are only an hour or two. Maybe I’m crazy, but the point of summer ‘stuff to do’ from my perspective is so that we can do them together. It bugs me that moms with little kids – oh, they weren’t babies or anything; probably around the same ages as my kids – but it bothers me that the mom can’t even take a couple of hours out of her busy schedule to stay and watch a movie with them. Not only that, but who leaves their kids with strangers?? Not that the ladies that work and volunteer with MFW are suspect or anything, but your kids don’t know them, and they don’t really know your kids. It’s such a common practice here. Almost everything is a ‘drop off’ event. I don’t usually leave my kids and am always either the only parent, or one of a couple… it’s quite odd to me. Whatever. As my mom says, “You screw your kids up your way, and I’ll screw my kids up my way.”

In any case, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the movie, and I’d forgotten how many educational discussion opportunities are brought up in such a relatively short time span.

The kids even got to be in the “Seen” section of a local paper:


“Bedknobs and Broomsticks” at the McFaddin-Ward House Visitor Center

The children in the film were evacuated from London during the Blitz bombings during World War II. As a homeschooling parent, if you can’t find at least 3 points of discussion in that sentence, then shame on you! We talked about children being orphaned, foster families and adoption (social studies), WWII & The Blitz (history) and where London and England are (geography).

It rained again today, ruining our plans to hit the post office to send out our next Postcrossing cards, so we came back home with the intent of furthering the English flair our day had taken on (after all, Professor Brown does talk about doing things ‘with flair’ in the film) with a lunch of Bangers and Mash, Texas style. We had sliced jalapeño sausage links and loaded mashed potatoes with apples and oranges. We’re Southern, and it’s deep into Summertime here, so we replaced hot tea with sweet tea over ice, naturally.

We also had to read about why plain old sausages are called ‘bangers’…apparently, the sausages made during WWII rationing had a tendency to explode when cooked on high heat, hence ‘bangers’. ‘Mash’ was easy – they’re mashed potatoes.

After lunch, we threw in a couple of quick science experiments – ‘acid egg bath’ and ‘sparkling star dip’ from Super Science Concoctions. I know I said it before, but seriously – if you’re homeschooling, this is a ‘must have’ book! The acid egg bath is basically a hard-boiled egg in vinegar for a few hours. Fred read the directions while I washed dishes and though she swears that she did say “hard-boiled egg’, I don’t remember hearing that part – so the kids will have a different result than the one explained in the book. We’ve been working under the assertion that ‘In Science, there are no experiments that are done “wrong”. If the experiment yields data, then it was a success.”  Tomorrow, before we leave, we’ll put a hard-boiled egg in vinegar to process and compare the two when we get home.

The star dip solution is just Borax dissolved into boiling water until the water is super-saturated, then you suspend a pipe cleaner shape in a jar filled with the solution. As it cools, the Borax will crystallize on the pipe cleaners. I’m excited about seeing the results of this one in the morning!

It’s really rewarding that as we’ve checked the progress of these experiments this afternoon and evening, the kids have all asked intelligent questions and made good observations. I know that it probably has nothing to do with ‘me’, per se, but having them really be mentally present as we’re doing things like makes me feel like we’re doing something ‘right’. That’s a huge boost to my confidence that, “I can do this. I AM doing this!”

After our mad scientist phase wore off, we got to play White Knight to my friend SFK’s Damsel in Distress. She found an awesome slate chalkboard that someone was getting rid of and sent out a distress call for assistance wrestling the great behemoth into the back of her truck. The size of this monstrosity was evidently misrepresented. However much of a pain it was for two delicate flowers such as we to move, it’s a total homeschooling score and if I wasn’t sporting lovely slate chalk boards of my own, I would have been completely jealous (though hers is a lovely gray that I like better than the tan/brown color of my own…).

Since we were out and about again, we did end up hitting the post office after all and got cards off to Pittsburgh, PA and China (more geography). We did get our first postcard in the mail this past week – from Miami. The card was a Disney Villains card, and it came from a teacher. Since beginning Postcrossing, I find that we are in need of a good-sized world map that we can tack up on the wall. That’s definitely in my shopping plans for next week.

All in all, I’d say that today was a fantabulous start to our week! Tomorrow’s plans include a movie with no educational value whatsoever, the library and possibly a cameo on a locally filmed television show. Stay tuned!

Warmly,

~h

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3 responses

  1. Rhonda

    I didnt find the facebook “like” button, sorry. I am going to order that science book, seems like a great find. Thanks!

    June 30, 2010 at 7:46 pm

  2. Rhonda

    Found the button. The link above didnt work but the one that came in my email did, hmm weird. Love your blog!

    June 30, 2010 at 7:50 pm

  3. Thanks!! I’m enjoying writing a lot more than I had anticipated.

    As for the subscription errors, I’m not terribly versed in wordpress technical difficulties, or I’d have a suggestion for you 😦

    The book is awesome – you won’t be disappointed!
    ~h

    June 30, 2010 at 9:45 pm

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