So we finally got to some GOOD STUFF in Social Studies this week, leaving behind those nebulous nomads and "early farmers" and Fertile Crescent stuff. Bleh- who needs those guys?
This week we arrived at EGYPT! Exciting stuff! We went to the library on Tuesday and got out an armload of books. Oh, I was in heaven! Pyramids! Mummies! Sphinxes! Pharoahs! Turns out the - friendly- librarian has taught using "Story of the World" curriculum that we are using. We had fun talking about projects. I had been trying to make friends with the librarians and now I feel like I have something in common with ONE of them at least. Anyway- A and I lay on the bed after lunch and read about Egypt. He enjoyed it as much as I did. It was absolutely delightful. One of the books I got was a book about crafts and projects. He wanted to build a cardboard pyramid. Sure! Let's do it! It was amazing how that was an incentive to get his other work done the next day: we're going to make a pyramid after lunch! It was a pretty small thing - five inches tall, made out of cardstock, but it was like we were creating a masterpiece. He was looking at the book, and noticing how there were paintings and carvings on the inside of the pyramids and he asked if we could decorate the inside of ours! So - on the reverse side of the card stock - the part that ended up being the inside when we glued it all together- we drew some Egyptian type figures. I should say- I drew them, and he colored them. He even talked about gluing it to a base and hiding some little toys ( ones that no one cared about anymore, he was careful to specify) inside, as he remembered talking about how the ancient Egyptians included things inside of the pyramids to take to the afterlife. I was so impressed with this original idea and even though we didn't actually do it, the fact that he thought of it makes me so proud of him. This kind of thing makes all the whining and grunt work in phonics and math seem worthwhile.
And then there's the reading. After lunch, when I'm feeding J, and W is taking her nap, I read aloud to him. We finished the Borrowers, and now we're reading Mr. Popper's Penguins. Sometimes it's the best time of the day. He doesn't want me to stop reading, and neither do I, most of the time.
In other news, W cut her hair this week. I found her in the pantry, looking guilty, with scissors and curls on the floor around her. Oh my word. Thankfully, her finished hair cut the next day, left her looking adorable. Much tidier, and curly, kind of like a couple years ago when she was a toddler. I miss her ponytails but this is cute too.
Today we had our first field trip! We went to Nash Farms; this weekend marks the 150th anniversary of the battle fought there during the Civil War and there is going to be a re-enactment there either tomorrow or Sunday. But today there were all sorts of little exhibits and people dressed up in Civil War uniforms etc. We went with Kristi & Connor ( and Cody and Christopher) and Jenny & Anna Boyd ( and her other kids). It was fun but it was HOT and A was not in the mood to listen to a bunch of adults droning on about artillery or whatnot. ( I'm starrrving! Can we eat yet? I want to go play...!) I felt like an annoying mother, telling him to LISTEN! LOOK AT THAT! BE STILL! But we had a chance to play and eat lunch together at the end and he seemed to enjoy himself. Oh those poor people wearing heavy woolen uniforms etc. They probably lost ten pounds today, just sweating. I remember dreaming about having a job where I could dress up in period costume and get into character but I didn't factor in the necessity of A/C in my dream. That heat today was enough to kill an ox. My eyelids were sticky from sweat.
There was a lot that I learned - everything from how a cannon was fired - eight guys working together - and all the little pieces of equipment that make it work. And then there was the museum which gave us a chance to get cooled off and had some really interesting stuff, like the little Bible carried by a soldier in his pocket, which stopped a bullet and saved his life. And the black mourning dress, with veil, worn for up to two years after the husband or son was lost. It was a fearsome looking thing. And the shells and cannonballs and bayonets... talk about fearsome. They fired off the cannon a couple times while we were there and it was bone shattering just to HEAR a blank. I cannot imagine the confusion and terror of multiple cannon on the battlefield. The thought of this kind of destruction, even for a good cause, seemed horrifying and surreal, especially in the presence of children. "Let me put hand sanitizer on you, dear. Oh, look over there at the implements of death and dismemberment that were used at this place 150 years ago." As a mother, touring a battlefield made me feel and think things that I have never experienced before. Oh, the preciousness of each life. The unbearable sacrifices.
And seeing things from a Confederate perspective is a new thing for me too. I am a Yankee, and there's no way to change that, but having lived here in the South for nearly ten years, I have come to appreciate the Southern perspective and things are not as black and white as they used to be for me, in terms of the Civil War. Made me really think - what are we to take away from this? Why are we here, seeing these things? What are we celebrating? What is the value of learning about these things? I'm glad we went - it gave me much food for thought.
There was a man there who was a direct descendant of a man who fought at Nash Farm - a confederate who was captured and sent to a prison camp. He had a picture of his great grandfather that he held up. It was fascinating to hear him tell his story.
Well...I could go on...but that's enough for now.