Armed with our newly received Metrocards, we headed into Manhattan to the American Museum of Natural History. We met up with some of our best friends (another homeschool family) and boarded the subway. In a short while we were there and the first thing I wanted to do was find all the stuff from the Night at the Museum movie we watched last week!
We spent most of our day on the first floor and then the fourth floor (where the dinosaurs are). Today the kids favorites were the Hall of Biodiversity and the Hall of Planet Earth. In the latter, they watched the earthquake screen - it showed all the earthquakes happening at that moment (and those that occurred yesterday, within 2 weeks, and within the past 5 years). You wouldn't believe how many that is. There were a few workers, older women, at a cart where they talked about the wide arrangement of rocks they had. The kids were amazing. They asked and answered questions, came up with ideas about everything, and were so truly interested and engrossed in that rock moment. W's power light seemed to go on here. He was fascinated by the different textures and colors and how old some of the rocks were. One of the women asked where they went to school. W said, "I don't go to school". She looked at me and laughed and I said, "No, he really doesn't. We homeschool". I got the usual "Ohhhhh. Okaaaaaaaaaaay". You know, with that oddly fixed smile. A few minutes later she asked me privately, "If they don't go to school, umm, how do they know so much about rocks?".
Heh heh. I love these moments. I casually explained that homeschooled kids are a whole 'nother breed and tend to learn and retain more than their schooled counterparts since most of their studies come without any pressure, stress, or anxiety and are usually focused around what they're interested in. Turns out she taught elementary school for years and was full of "how is it done" questions. And although I'm usually always in the mood to discuss homeschooling til the cows come home, she seemed insatiable and I eventually had to cut her off with, "if you Google homeschooling, you'll see what I'm talking about. Have a great day".
We found a new room today called The Discovery Room that's just for kids to touch and play with everything. They put together a giant praying mantis, crawled into a baobab tree, constructed a 4 foot tall totem pole, and excavated fossils out of a sand pit. The older kids, including J, got to go upstairs to see more stuff. A staff member was showing them a live Madagascar hissing cockroach. That was my cue to head back downstairs to the little kids - and no live stuff. It was a great day and we want to go back in a few months.