For a very long time I have considered home schooling, as an alternative to public school. These days we have so many options available to assist. There is an online home school academy, online home school groups to join and sites to assist in testing. Whether the choice is made to home school or continue in public school, there are still many tools available to strengthen and enrich every student's life. With a little searching, a parent or student can quickly find online tutors or services available like http://thewritingfaculty.com, to bring in that extra little bit of help needed for fine tuning academic skills, like writing.
Let's not forget one of the best and most proven ways to enrich and excite the learning experience for minds of all ages, museums! How easily it is to forget these old favorite that have been around long before the computer or internet. Sometimes it takes a little nagging like "When are we going to the Dinosaur museum, huh? When, when, when? Tell me, tell me, tell me! When?"
"OK! Momma, just stop nagging and we'll go!"
So close and yet so far...so far we had not ever taken the kids to the Smithsonian Museum of Nature History or what is known in this family as the "Dinosaur Museum."
This is the name decided on by all three kids, that have already declared their major to be paleontology before finishing elementary school, well one is not even in school yet. I look at them and shake my head, at that age I was trying to decide if throwing mud pies at my brother was a risk worth taking, (I decided it was, I regretted that decision ) not deciding my future career. Perhaps they have decided early because they can see the clear result of choosing to throw the mud pie and not planning better! But any way...
...off we went.
|Smithsonian Station, Metro tunnel|
First stop the Metro.
"Ooooh, are we underground with the worms now?," My son asked.
Half hour later we climb out of the worm tunnel and for the first time the kids see the Washington Monument.
"Wow! Wow and wow!", they said.
"Is that where we are going? Oh, I hope so! I hope so! There maybe be fairies and princesses and dungeons and moats and..."
I broke the bad news, "No, not going there."
"We are going here!" I point them the other way.
They glance over their shoulder at the castle and back again, a little disappointed. They are still just kids, maybe the mud pies are still am option!
Then they spot the petrified wood, with squeals of delight off they run...
...this is the biggest fossil they have ever seen! They explain to me what time period this came from and what was or was not living at the time. Good grief, I try to remember if they said Devonian or maybe Cambrian period, maybe Jurassic..."Oh no!"... I think I have totally missed it and I start to panic..." they will test me later!"...I decide to fake it, so I just smile and nod my head like I know it all and look at them like 'I'm am glad you got that right finally.' This works very well for me when out gunned!
After ten minutes with the tree, they sigh and look like they have just experienced the best and the day has ended very well indeed! There is more we explain and they are finally convinced that this is not the highlight of the visit, there is more to see, but we need to go inside.
Only slightly impressed, it still has skin and flesh, not a fossil. They are also worried that this is the elephant from the zoo and that someone killed it to put in the museum. They look at me with sudden panic in their eyes and say we have to leave for the zoo now and check on all the animals, someone maybe taking them and killing them for the museum. Some quick and unexpected damage control is needed and we move quickly out of that room.
Finally we get to the good stuff and all that is said is...
Notice how their vocabulary shrunk with the more they saw? I think I even saw one of them give me the 'Just nod your head and pretend you know what you are looking at', face!
"Under water fossils too?!"
Sharks too! This is just icing on the cake!
I loved it! The kids said, "That was really exciting and a whole lot scary!" At one point I had a person climbing onto each of my shoulders at the same time.
62 foot 3D T-Rex jumping at you with surround sound roars was a bit much for some, but the Dad said he would recover, eventually!
We ended with a last look to the Capital.
My oldest was not impressed, "Oh, that is just where all those politicians that have no clue make laws for us."
I was not sure how to respond to that.
My youngest said, "Let's walk back to Virginia now. This has been a very long walk, in a big long day!"
As we rode the worm train back to our car he asked, "What will we do tomorrow?"
I said, "Maybe we will make mud pies."