Saturday, January 03, 2015

Trips and thoughts

We went to the ROM again today, for one more trip during the wonderful "Wild Creatures at the ROM" or whatever thing they were doing for the Christmas holidays. I went last week with Geoff's Mum and took the boys and our niece and nephew, but today we went as just our immediate family, and we had a wonderful time. They had all sorts of cool creatures scattered around, with volunteers and handlers. We got to the Byzantine and Egyptian and Sumerian/Persian sections, and also saw snakes and vampire and fruit bats and geckos.
Tiny pink Dalek on subway

I look alarmed and Geoff is skeptical
We're both really wiped out, but I'm glad we went. I think it's so tiring because our kids are all still so young that we're in a state of high alert the entire time we're there, even if no disaster strikes.

Byzantine icons
There was a beautiful set of silver chalices etc. for celebrating the Mass, but I can't find the picture. Maybe another time. I'm really going to miss all the little craft booths and comfortable couches they had scattered around. I want to start a petition to keep at least one comfy couch/video/craft area with volunteers permanently, so that we have a quiet and relaxing spot somewhere in the trip.
Carpet, blocks, couches, and a table with drawing stuff. Love it

Geoff enjoying his daughters right outside Ancient Egypt

Faustina the Younger looks grumpy
I'm trying to plot a more stable homeschool day, since we're sort of out of crisis mode and I'm hoping things will settle down, and I'm also hoping to restart recording what we did. Because even on the days I don't think we did anything, we generally did some reading and a lot of conversation. For instance, I just concisely defined 'lip-synching' for Nathaniel. Oh, and we watched a video about melting temperatures of sugar and watched someone making homemade cotton candy. Plus we talked about how our dinner yesterday was Persian with its roots in ancient Mesopotamia- we had pita, hummus, sharwarma, mouhammara, and roasted vegetables.

Making masks in the Ancient Rome

That's blood in the green saucer. Vampire bats
Geoff looked at the size of the vampire bats, and then at the size of the fruit bats, and surmised that blood is a less efficient fuel than fruit. Their handler agreed. And now I'm trying to remember if there are any other truly vampiric animals. Even mosquitoes only need it just before laying eggs.

A tiny boa (I think) from Iraq

I've been re-reading a bit of The Last Battle and when we were admiring the Persian armour I kept thinking, "Tash! Tash! The great God Tash! Inexorable Tash!"

Lion from the wall around a city ruled by Nebuchadnezzar II, I think 
I'm thinking we'll restart phonics with Thomas, since he's finally starting to show interest, and we keep plugging away in bits with Nat, doing math. Reading seems to take care of itself with him. He's just told us he wants to write and illustrate a book, so we'll go with that.

This is very meandering, because I'm really tired, but I am very grateful for the amazing resource we have in the local museum. There are still galleries that I haven't seen, and as we read more and more ancient history the areas the kids are interested in expand. And now Nathaniel wants to do some math, so I have to get off the computer...


Melanie Bettinelli said...

Ooh our MFA has one of the lions too!

I think it's wonderful that you go to the ROM so often. I think that's worth so much more than hours of sitting in a classroom. Even if they don't seem to appreciate it now, they're making connections that will bear fruit later. Oh I think Amy Welborn wrote something about that and traveling with kids. How things they saw but didn't take much note of become hooks on which to hang new information when they encounter it in books. Oh: yeah, we saw that! It makes the stuff in the book relevant to them and means they really absorb it.

lissla lissar said...

That's really cool! Melanie, I hope so. I am constantly pointing out connections- "Look, kids, it's pita! Pita's from the Middle East! Like Gilgamesh!" and just waiting for things to stick. It's hard for me to let go of wanting to MAKE THEM make the connections, but I hope we're just providing lots and lots of stuff and that things are sinking in regardless.

I envy your ability to sit and read aloud for hours every day. We manage at least a couple of books a day, but I'm not doing long read-alouds with anyone but Nat yet. It's one of my New Year Homeschool Resolutions to definitely read aloud for at least four stories' worth a day.

Melanie Bettinelli said...

You do have to work with your own strengths and the attention span of your kids. I'd go for a gradual buildup.

Today I read three picture books and then fell asleep while the kids sat around and waited for me to regain consciousness and finish out the reading. Anthony and Sophie wandered away but then I did wake up and called them back and read a couple of chapter books. Some days we manage more than others, but I think the key is Bella's phenomenal attention span, which has always been unusual, even when she was a toddler. I guess that's the plus side of the ADD spectrum, the hyperfocus. What's been amazing to me in the past year is seeing how without my every making it anything but optional for the younger ones, they've come to see it as a Thing We Do. Even though they are free to wander off and do something else, they seldom do, even when we hit the history text, which they all (except Bella) say is boring.