Thursday, 21 June 2007

Summer Solstice and more on Slavery

What a glorious day it has been today, a true summers day (well a true British summers day - rather sunny but also periodically over cast with the odd brief shower thrown in for good measure). Very befitting for the Summer Solstice. I've managed to spend much of the day outdoors which has been lovely and I'm hoping to factor in a bit of solitary outside time too before the end of the day.

The day started with a bit of reading practice and some Horizon Maths. We haven't done any Horizon directly from the book for over a week. We've just been incorporating what we have done so far into games and the likes to reinforce what we have already learned. I see no point in whizzing through something just to finish it quickly but arriving at the end with no real understanding of what we've done.

When Miles went to sleep Hermione and I took a wander down to the Village cafe where we drank juice and had a good chat about life and the price of Oatibix of all things.

In the afternoon Hermione, Lily, Soo and Nana headed off to the Discovery Museum in Newcastle. Having seen on their website that they were hosting school assemblies to celebrate the anniversary of the abolition of slavery I rang them up and asked if we could go to one. The long shot was that we were not allowed (something to do with the schools rather than the museum from what I can understand) but an Education Officer offered to let us have a look at a handling box if we went along this afternoon.

We expected to see a couple of bits and pieces left in a box at the reception desk so we were very pleasantly surprised with what unfolded. The Education Officer guided them around the slavery exhibition which although was not very big was apparently very interesting. He then spent forty minutes with girls showing them all kinds of different things from his handling collection. They saw manillas, wrist shackles, leg shackles, neck shackles, cotton, string tobacco, a monkeys fist rope used to whip the slaves, sugar nippers and a tea block. He explained all of the objects to them and went on to explain how in rare circumstances slaves were able to buy their freedom with the money they made from market on their one day off a week. He went on to answer a few questions which they had.

There was a video display within the exhibition with a man re enacting life as a slave, talking about his life and conditions. The girls noticed a map within the exhibition and were able to discuss the triangular trade. I feel so pleased at times like this when I see that are our discussions are meaningful to them and don't simply wash over.

I must say I am extremely impressed. Whilst some organisations in this region are very accommodating of home edded families others are not. I never expected Tyne and Wear Museums to make an Education Officer available for the benefit of only two children (and they knew there were only two coming along to look at the handling box). I intend to write and let them know how impressed I am and how much the girls got out of their visit.

Back home and there was just an hour or so to play in the garden before getting ready to head off to the Faerie Summer Solstice Party. Here were the two faeries as they left. They're not back yet.




Miles has spent the day playing in his sand pit and drawing. I bought him some very nice chunky wax crayons which are rather natural and seemed ideal for him. He has other ideas. Try as I might he cannot be deterred from using Hermione's felt tips. He's into them in a big way. He managed to draw all over his clothes, legs, sandpit and wheel barrow today. When I came to undress him this evening I found he even had spotty soles!!! It's nothing contagious I assure you!!!

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Ohh--A Faerie party--what a great idea! Nice to 'meet' you! Elizabeth