Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Museum Homeschooling Series: #1: Discovery

I am not going to hand you one single formula that will always work for every museum you tour. This is not about extracting every ounce of learning to be had at each and every visit. I am not always that kind of homeschooler!  I will give you examples of different ways to approach a museum visit at a new venue each time.

                                              Charles, in a typhoon-wind-velocity simulator.
Museums can be wonderful places to learn and wonder. They can be both places to discover and to spark interest in learning more. You can take it to the next level with research and a plan in hand before leaving the house, you can explore every nook and cranny together, or you can grab your knitting and let them go (for those who are old enough not to touch what must not be touched) and let the discovery be self-led.

This week's museum was our local Putnam, a science and natural history museum. We specifically went to see the traveling Pirates and Shipwrecks, an exhibit that truly had something of interest for every single age group. The approach this time, was to go and discover together. We were all given free-reign, and called each other over to see what we had found of interest in one corner or another. It was fun, a lot of fun.

Yes, those are actually my off-spring:

The spots the boys called me to were mostly the truly gory ones; the skull hanging in iridescent blue spookiness, descriptions of pirates' lives, the weapons window with cutlasses and daggers.

I was more often reading them other historical items of interest; here are a few.

Each of the objects below is followed by the signage describing it, I love seeing the treasures brought up from the bottom of the sea.

We were all set to go home, when we made one last discovery: the museum had emptied itself of the dozens of bused-in school children, and the place was OURS. Instead of the two boys who were sooo ready to go home, I now had two young men eager to take advantage of every single one of their favorite spots, ie: (Lego station above with Hall of Mammals behind), while I knit and knit and took a break to participate in a car race or visit the submarine every hour or so. Paradise. 

Next up: mindful visit, after study of a period in history, to a giant of a museum; the National Mississippi River Museum.


  1. Jonathan would have loved the exhibitions about the ships and pirates! Looks like a child-friendly place.

  2. Hello Eva and Happy New Year! Thank you for stopping by!

  3. PS It is made for a family experience! It's always been my personal favorite here. They let us invade with our homeschool group all winter long; eat our sandwiches, run and play all over, it was great.


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