September 8, 2004

Historic Farm

Today we went to a historic farm for a field trip. We participated in threshing wheat with a pretty old thresher - two horse power (literally) and helped harvest mangoes and carry water into the kitchen. The kids got to pet and be near a variety of farm animals. Rhiannon's favorite was the sheep and Ciaran really like following the rooster. We toured the barn, house, grounds and garden - helping out where we could and learning about how things worked in that time.

This was our second trip to this particular farm and both have been a grand success. It was fun to see how literature affects them at every turn. Today when they pet the horses Rhiannon said "She looks just like I picture Black Beauty" and Ciaran said "They are like Laura and Mary would have". Later he found a spider web and mentioned "Charlotte's Web" and Rhiannon mentioned Kirsten (from the American Girl collection) when she saw how some people were dressed. It was really nice to see them use literature to make sense of what they were seeing and to make the connections themselves. Later this evening Ciaran was looking at a book with me and saw a log cabin and said "That's what Laura lived in" - it is nice to know that the stories we read stick with them.

On the way to and from the farm (about 45 minutes each way) we listened to Aesop's Fables unabridged and in their entirety on CD. We paused between stories now and then to talk about the moral and whether or not we agreed with them. There were actually several that we did not agree were positive messages. It was nice to be able to use questions and have the kids come to the conclusions themselves. Rhiannon really enjoyed "The Dog and the Bone" and Ciaran enjoyed "The Ant and the Grasshopper" - I wonder why? He did catch three crickets at the farm and was sad to let them go. It is amazing how easily he can catch them now and how excited he gets over them.

I love visiting historical sites with the kids, they are so educational and the people who staff them are so helpful and friendly and they really are great places for homeschooling families to visit. This is even more so now that everyone else has gone back to school. It is nice to have places like the library, zoo, historical sites and other locations more to ourselves while other kids are at school. My kids are getting much better about answering the "So are you in school" questions. At first Rhiannon was timid about it but now she just smiles big and says "We're homeschooled!" in a very excited voice.


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