Sunday, August 14, 2011

Summer School

Our summer abroad was a kaleidoscope of historical, geographical, theatrical, and economic education.  And not only for Kinley.  I learned more than I had anticipated, too. 

The Boyds in front of Hampton Court Palace
For example, I memorized the fates of Henry VIII's wives in order (divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived).  I learned that Great Britain, England, and the United Kingdom are not all names for the same place.  And unfortunately, I also learned what to do when you lose your 10-year-old on London's subway system, the Tube.

You'll have to wait for a future post to hear about that one.

At the end of the school year, I had written a menu of activities for my students to do over the summer.  I hate to require my students to engage in educational activities over the summer, but I want to reward those who do.  I assigned a Boyd Buck reward amount to each item on the menu.  Visiting a museum and writing a one-page summary earns you 100 Boyd Bucks, reading a Newbery book and writing a summary earns you 100, finishing any unfinished pages in your math workbooks earns you 300, etc.

I had brought Kinley's menu and math workbooks with me to London along with a few Newberys for her to read.  But every time Josh or I brought up the idea of her completing a menu activity, we were rewarded with sullen silence or whiny protests.

"How embarrassing," I thought.  "My own child is going to show up on the first day of school with ZERO activities completed.  Lovely.  What a fantastic example to set for the rest of the class."

After several frustrating attempts to convince Kinley to spend some time completing activities, I decided that I should just let it go.  If she wanted to be the only kid in her class to start off the year bankrupt, that would be her problem. 

Still, she'd be learning a lot just by museum-hopping all summer. And that was the ultimate goal, right?  A well-rounded, educated young lady? Yes, I assured myself.  She'd be fine, even if her Boyd Buck bank account were empty.

So we went to the royal palaces to walk where kings have trod.  We toured the Tower of London (four times) to gawk at the crown jewels and shudder at the setting of Anne Boleyn's execution.  We sang along with Shrek, Dorothy, and Simba as we watched musicals in the West End.  We admired the work of Monet, Caravaggio, and Stubbs in the National Gallery.  We joined a school group listening to a presentation on Tudor apparel at the National Portrait Gallery. We marveled at the Egyptian mummies and the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum.  We spent all day in the Cotswolds asking for directions and traipsing across private property on a quest to find an ancient Roman ruin in the middle of a wheat field.  We went on not one but two Harry Potter tours.  We learned the difference between the London Bridge and the Tower Bridge.  And so much more.

Kinley inspects an antique Thai coin at the British Museum.
Kinley learns about Victorian fashion at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Kinley helps Knox record observations in the Investigate Center at the Natural History Museum.

And all along the way, Josh and I quizzed Kinley to make sure she was taking something away from it all. 

"What country was once ruled by Peter the Great?" 
"Which castle was built by William the Conqueror?"
"Which river runs through London?"
"What is the name of the United Kingdom's current reigning monarch?"
"What museum has the largest art collection in the world?"
"What book did King James I order to be translated into English?"
"When it is 8:00 a.m. in Paris, what time is it in St. Petersburg?"
"How many dollars are equal to 10 pounds?"

And Kinley dutifully recited the correct answers.  Mostly. 

So I guess she learned something after all.  But I have to admit, I'm secretly looking forward to making a huge production of passing out those Boyd Bucks to my other students on the first day of school while casting a don't-come-whining-to-me-because-I-told-you-so look at my daughter across the room.


Renee said...

Kinley's lean in the first photo is 110% you circa...well, your whole life. that could so be 10-year-old you in a blond wig. :)

boyd2 said...

That is hilarious! I didn't even know I was a leaner! :)

Anonymous said...

I think that all the cultural imformation that Kinley experienced this summer should account for something. I am sure her classmates did not experience one tenth of what Kinley experienced. As far as her not doing the summer packet, the burden should be on her shoulders not yours Gina. Interesting topic though.