Friday, February 27, 2009

Museum Days

Looking through my pictures last night from spending a day at the MOST in Syracuse with a group of area homeschooling families, I noticed something easy to miss. My kids are actually engaged in the whole learning at the museum. That’s not because they are brilliant or great or anything (which by the way they are)—but that isn’t the reason they are able to take in the learning so well.
Whenever we took kids to a museum for example in public school they kids were usually beyond hyper (and we teachers were secretly glancing at our watches wishing it all to be over and hoping no one goes missing in the next 4 hours). Why? Well in their minds they weren’t on their way to a hands-on learning expedition as the teachers thought they had planned or that their parents had paid for. No, they were going to anywhere that wasn’t a school building and wasn’t going to make them sit in a desk all day. They were going to socialize (homeschool humor). The kids felt free and they wanted to run around, hang out with their friends, chat, and the all important part of ANY school fieldtrip-eat lunch (because the lunch typically brought on a field trip usually far outweighs a school lunch any day). So these kids are so excited for one of the maybe 3 field trips they go on in a year that really any learning is way down on the list of things to do. So generally ask a public school kid after returning from a field trip how it was and I’ll bet you ten dollars the first thing you hear about is lunch followed by the bus ride.

Homeschooled kids, at least mine, go to the museum a lot. (We actually visit the MOST at least every three weeks) So the whole magic of being someplace new is dampened, leaving room for …learning. The don’t have to run quick and explore everything fast, they know the layout and they know we’ll be back soon. Each time we go, their little brain seems to circle in on a new exhibit. Michael remains a steadfast geologist—always finding some new part of the exhibit to be mesmerized with but took a real interest in sound waves today.

Today, Meagan took a real interest in blood clotting. She spent a lot of time at the lava-lamp like clotting module watching the little red gobbules wrestle their way through the artery without getting stuck.
Her Ba (grandma) had spent 7 days in ICU this summer with major blood clots in her lung and here was Meagan ’s first opportunity to really understand what had happened and how the doctors helped.


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