September 7, 2010

Today we spent the afternoon at our local science museum. We began the day sleeping in, slow breakfast, playing in their self built fort then some basic book work. Spelling, math, grammar and handwriting, then we headed out for some afternoon fun.

The first day of school is always a great day to visit a museum as there are very few people there. We are able to move from exhibit to exhibit easily and be the only people at a particular location. The kids were in a great mood and took time at each location, actually taking the time to read what was written and even instructions for hands on activities.

Some of the highlights from the day were the brand new hydraulics lab where Ciaran had to try to figure out how to attach hoses and work various pistons etc to make water store up and then release to power lights.

He also really enjoyed the Ac circuit board exhibit where he had to learn to build functioning circuits and provide enough power and wire to keep the electricity flowing.  

Maria could have spent all day at the Science Buzz kiosks.  Everywhere we went she was looking for one of them.  At first I wanted her to get up and participate in some of the more hands on exhibits but I did not say anything.  Later in the day she told me, I love the science buzz can we get it at home?  She went and found a museum volunteer and had them walk her through how she could access it at home, through their website.  She asked me to write down a few concepts she wanted to later research herself.  At one point she told me that if it did not involve a computer or reading it was not fun for her because she realizes she learns best by reading.

Her favorite hands on exhibit was the pendulum harmonograph where she used a pendulum to create this photo.  She then found Ciaran and Sirah and helped them each draw pictures explaining how it worked.

Sirah's favorites were building a transformer and figuring out how to have enough power to provide light for a local area.  She had to try several different combinations and was very proud of herself when she finally found the brightest combination.  She also learned the value of looking at directions at this station. Her second favorite exhibit was the Scope on a Rope.  We sat at this station together for quite awhile comparing what our skin, hair, clothes, cheeks and various other things looked like.  

For me it was lovely to spend a quiet afternoon at the museum with just my kids without school groups.  I alternated between sitting right there with them and helping them at stations and standing back and just watching them figure it out themselves.

At times I probably looked like non-involved parent as I stood in the place near none of my kids where I could watch all three of them trying to figure out different things on their own.  At other times I looked very engaged and helpful to my kids.  In one of those moments where I could see someone looking at Sirah wondering where her parents were I thought to myself we only catch people in the moments we catch them in.  If you saw me yesterday at the museum in certain exhibits I probably looked like a bored disengaged parent on my cell phone.  What you would not have known was I was actually watching each of them and standing back so they could figure it out themselves.  I was also taking photos and some short notes for this blog. At other times I could have looked like I was doing everything for them at a station, not letting them figure it out themselves.  Overall the moment reminded me to not judge in the quick snapshot I catch a particular family and person in.

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