I’m happy to be back to blogging after a little vacation. I really needed some time off over the holidays. I am sure that you other parents, especially those who homeschool, can empathize with that. I didn’t get a break from my normal mothering duties but I did get a break from my teaching duties which was very nice. The kids really enjoyed their time off as well. We had a chance to travel across country to visit my family. And we got to play in the snow!
My kids, especially T, are very close with their Grandmother despite the fact that they only see her twice a year. We try to make each of those visits about a week or two long so it makes up a bit for how infrequent they are. We also got to visit with my sister and her family. My sister homeschools her three girls, the oldest of which is T’s age, and they have another little girl on the way. I was thrilled with how well all of the children got along this year, especially the two oldest. They have grown up so much in the last year, I can see how they have both made it to the second plane of development.
One of our favorite things to do when visiting other cities is to explore the local museums. We visited two of the local museums last year on our visit but we weren’t able to explore them entirely. We stopped by the natural history museum this time and took a few hours to look in areas of interest at the moment. This museum had some wonderful exhibits that corresponded with the 3rd and 4th Great Lessons which we are between at the moment.
A comparison of the Human skeleton, Gorilla skeleton and Chimpanzee skeleton.
A comparison between the Neanderthal (L) and Cro-Magnon (R) head/face.
Checking out some hand tools from early humans.
Lots of actual fossils of prehistoric animals. He loved the Smilodon.
There was an awesome area showing a rainforest including a research area with beautiful drawers of collected specimens.
B loved opening and closing the flaps, especially when her brother was trying to read what was under them.
The Age of Mammals display
Checking out dinosaur bones full size and up close.
It is easier to look a T Rex in the eye when his head is at your level.
This is the one exhibit from my childhood that I will NEVER forget! I always loved it, especially the sound effects (sorry I couldn’t get video). I was a little worried that B (almost 2 at the time) would be afraid but she loved it, she didn’t want to leave.
Some fossils categorized by period.
We moved on to the mummy area, which T was most excited about. They had a mummy of a man who’s job it was to wash bodies of those who had died. It was interesting to learn that they did not only mummify royal or “important” people, but most people were mummified.
I was so proud of T, he walked up to the man who was working in the mummy area and asked him all his questions. They had a lovely conversation about mummies and we learned about the man’s trip to Egypt. I feel like the Montessori education, and also homeschooling in general, really helps children learn to use other resources for information. I did not have the answers to his questions, the information on the exhibit did not give him all the info he wanted either, so he decided to seek this information somewhere else.
They even mummified many animals like the birds shown here.
The Rosetta Stone! I loved seeing this because T has not seen it yet. We are about to do the 4th Great Lesson, the History of Writing. This stone has everything written in three languages, Greek, Egyptian and hieroglyphics. I am hoping to either find a replica or a book with a nice picture so we can take a longer look at it.
This museum has an awesome exhibit on early cultures around the world. It actually takes up an entire floor (this museum has 3 floors of exhibits). We did not make it through most of these this time (the toddler was ready for a nap). We did explore most of this floor last year when we visited.
And more early human comparisons including skulls, tools and evolution of man in general.
One of the kids favorite parts of the museum was a butterfly room with tons of live butterflies. The butterflies actually landed on their fingers, heads, and shoulders. Please ignore B’s hair from here forward…she loves to pull her hair rubber bands out of her hair and makes it look wild.
The chrysalis chamber.
And the part of the museum that I was most excited about was the visual Tree of Life. We did the 2nd Great Lesson: the Coming of Life really helped T understand this. It was beautiful.
Near the Tree of Life there was a fun section with hands on activities.
Lots of specimens to explore
Taxonomy of a Snake. There were a few of these but he enjoyed the snake the most. They had 3 snakes that were similar except the color. He had to go through several steps to determine if the snakes were the same species.
Checking out some Geology samples
Using a microscope is always exciting to T. I actually don’t remember what he was looking at but he sure had fun.
B was loving the sensory experience of the shells on this large sedimentary rock.
We are all excited to do the next Great Lesson now. I am hoping to present it next week. T has already been exploring the ancient civilizations because he is fascinated with them.