Tuesday, June 5, 2012

It Takes a Community

Our eclectic schooling year is drawing to a close. I have so many thoughts to share on the matter and will be spilling those out over several posts over the next few days/weeks.

Have we met our home school goal for the year? 100% YES! The goal was to give Iris a year off to re-group and be ready to head back to school for third grade. She is ready. Yesterday she declared that "private and public school is both better than home school". Of course, her exact reasoning yesterday was because then other kids would be there to answer the questions I ask, not just her. Ha! But honestly, in all ways, she is ready. She has grown so much this year, socially and emotionally.

I would probably be more sad about leaving home school behind, but honestly? It wasn't all it was cracked up to be and I am ready to be done. I do love almost all aspects of it, but I never found that elusive "community" in the home schooling world. I feel like dealing with the awful mess of being booted from the homeschooling group back in the Fall really shattered my spirit and eliminated any hopes I had of having people in the home school world really becoming our community. Our personal experience from participating in the handful of local home school events is just that people weren't necessarily that open or welcoming. I have enjoyed pretty much every part of schooling Iris, but I have felt like we existed in a bubble this year, and that just isn't that fun.

We did find a community this year, however, in the form of Eloise's public school. Just yesterday Iris and I participated in a fundraiser run at the school and it was really amazing to be a part of the community coming together and supporting each other. I especially love that Iris has been embraced as part of the school even though she isn't a student there (yet!). It has been difficult for me to find time to give to the school in ways that I would like to be able to and if/when Iris becomes a student there next year, I hope to have time to volunteer a lot more. I have to say, if Iris is forced to go to a different public school next year, it's going to be really, really hard to have to split my attention. It is amazing how much time and, well, money, we give to Eloise's school and to think I would have to do that times two is a little overwhelming. But, hey! Two communities is good! If the families and teachers at the new school are even half as awesome as the ones at the current school, we'll be doing just fine.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs

Yesterday Iris and I had the great fortune to be included in the CVA field trip to see the King Tut exhibit at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle. If I am being completely honest, I should mention that going in to this field trip I basically knew nothing about King Tut. It crossed my mind in the days leading up to the field trip that Iris and I should do some research on what we might see at the exhibit, but we didn't. We have been super busy with school (and play!) and I thought, you know, seeing all of this first hand will spark an interest to learn more when we are done. I think my tactic worked and we will be searching for books and movies to expand our knowledge of King Tut and Egyptian history.

The field trip was very well organized. We were sent tickets in the mail with our names on them and we had to line up outside the Science Center 15 minutes before our ticketing time. Then we shuffled in to the center, waited in line again, shuffled through that one and waited again before being let inside the little holding area for the exhibit. After a quick movie and a review of the do's and dont's of the exhibit we were let inside. The exhibit is divided in to rooms. I don't remember all of them, but the first several were about Egyptian history and the kings, their queens, where they lived, the artifacts and statues that have been discovered. Then we went in to a room that contained jewelry, which fascinated Iris quite a bit. After that it was time to make our way through the rooms of King Tut's tomb.

We walked through the exhibits of each separate room. We saw one objects such as one of King Tut's beds, a small wooden boat that was to become an actual sized boat in the after-life, gold finger and toe covers, and the burial mask that was placed over the mummy. There was an amazing video that showed the multiple layers of King Tut's coffin, as well. 

It was quite amazing to know that this was all thousands of years old and lost in a tomb until the 1920's. Of course, it's a wee bit creepy, as well, but I guess we're all voyeurs, right? 

After walking through the gift shop (King Tut masks anyone?) there was one more small room that held a replica of King Tut's body and some information about tests that were performed on the corpse in order to understand more about how he died . . . and how he might have lived. 

I would highly recommend this exhibit to anyone even remotely interested in King Tut and kids at least of reading age who don't get bored easily.