February 25, 2005

Police Unit Study

Well yesterday we had an impromptu unit study on police officers. We had to real encounters as well, one planned and one unplanned. We had a field trip scheduled for yesterday to a local police station for a tour with an officer. As we were getting ready to leave, Rhiannon accidentally locked Sirah inside our home alone! We were all getting ready and going in and out of our door into the garage loading the kids in the car, I turned around to get Sirah and realized the door was locked and my keys were in the house! Of course all the remaining doors and windows were locked as we were leaving. I ran over to a neighbor's and called Serona to head home and called the police because I did not know how long it would take Serona to get here and the thought of leaving Sirah (who is 18 months old) alone in the house was frightening.

Thankfully she was so upset that she stood by the door crying and screaming the entire time. Atleast this way I knew she was not wandering around the house getting into trouble and the area by our door is relatively safe. I felt terrible and kept trying to calm her down while also trying to get the door open. The police came, it took them longer than I thought it would but when the officer arrived he thought we had merely locked ourselves out of our home and seem to rush much more once he realized a toddler was locked alone inside the house. Thankfully one of our doors did not have the deadbolt engaged and he was able to pick the lock! We thanked him profusely and he was on his way. We thanked our neighbor who also headed back home. Serona arrived shortly after that. We had a chat with the kids again about touching doors and locks. We headed off to the field trip for which we were now late.

They had waited the tour for us. I apologized again and we thoroughly enjoyed the tour. The kids were very interested, in some things more than others but overall everyone was well behaved and interested. Rhiannon and Ciaran were inquisitive almost to a fault a few times I had to remind them to let him talk and at one point the officer joked with Rhia. She had been asking "What's that, What is it for on almost everything in the supply room." The officer was very patient and thorough in his explanations (I was also impressed at how he talked about some items and adapted it for a younger audience so they would not be scared or worried). But when he was putting the suitcase back on the shelf and Rhiannon asked again (this time out of habit more than anything) he chuckled and grabbed the box of tissues and said "This is for when we need to blow our nose!" It got a laugh and the message across in a gentle way.

We got to see and hear about the dispatch room, the police uniforms (old and current), police equipment, booking room, fingerprinting, detention cell and a few other details. They both enjoyed being in the jail cell. Rhia kept asking why the bed was so hard and there was no blanket. The officer reminded her "We don't want people to be comfortable here, to want to come back." Then he continued by explaining this was a holding facility and they typically can only hold people here for 4 hours and then they get moved downtown to the jail.

It was a very interesting field trip overall and I highly recommend it if you have not taken one with your family. The police officer we had was fantastic with children and made them interested but not afraid of police officers. He also did a good job reminding them that they are real people too, with homes and families who enjoy gardening and regular things. He laughed when Ciaran asked him "Do you sleep" and he rexplained that different people worked at different times.

After the police tour we headed over to the library. Where Ciaran played a computer game and Sirah played with puzzles and books on the shelf. Rhiannon learned to use the computer and found a book about police on there, wrote the number down herself and went to find it herself (with assistance). Then she and I sat on the floor and read together. I located a few storybooks that had police officers in them (with the librarian's assistance) and we headed home to read them. In case you are wondering, some books with police as characters include:

Make Way for Ducklings - Robert, McKlosky
Tuesday - David Weisner
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble - William Steig
Madeline series - Ludwig Behelems
Curious George - HA Rey

Today I will finish off with some coloring sheets and maybe some online activities about K-9 dogs.

I hesitate to call what we do unit studies because it is not as thorough as a unit study and they are much shorter. More what we do is base our lessons around a single theme and work that theme into what we do in our regular subjects. We still follow a more classical or Charlotte Mason approach but in a loose theme based approach.



  1. Wow. What an exciting day. Andrew locked himself in his own room once, and I had to remove the doorknob.

  2. I actually had to kick our bathroom door in once because the hinges are on the inside and it has a crazy old-fashioned doorknob and lock that I couldn't pick. Also the kid was really freaking out, on the verge of hysterics. That was Zeff, and up until that point I had never thought to check if I could unlock my bathroom! Amazingly, it never came up with the first kid.

  3. Oh my, what an adventure! I'll bet, though, that this is one topic which Rhiannon will become thoroughly zealous about! James sprayed John's head w/ 409 when John was 7mos. old- got it in his eyes. The eye flushing, the paramedics, and the trip to the ER left a much deeper impression on James than anything I could have said. He is our resident "chemical safety guy" (as a matter of fact, he won't even use Clorox wipes w/o wearing gloves!)

    {{hugs}} to you and your sweet little ones!