WOW! We went upstate to a fantastic colonial historic site today called Mt Gulian. The kids learned so much. They were told about Dutch trading and got to simulate real trading by running stores, selling things like hats, glasses, rum, and blankets in exchange for (small felt cutouts of) animal skins. They learned about the Algonquin Indians who lived right in that spot on the Hudson River. J ran one of the stores and had to figure the monetary value of the different skins - bear skins were worth 200 shillings, deer=100 shillings, squirrel=30 shillings, etc. After lunch in the 250-year-old barn, they made their own bows and arrows out of twigs and rope. They spent the rest of the time running around the grounds, trying out their bows and arrows, and spotting different animals and insects. It was a very cool experience.
Today was also K's first day volunteering at a local educational center. She took the bus down by herself and started working right away. She put away supplies, vacuumed one of the rooms, brought animals out to show the kids (ferrets, bunnies, guinea pig), and was the teacher's aide for an after-school preK class. Here she read stories, brought kids to the bathroom, helped wash hands, brought out animals again, cut out paper shapes, set up art/paint supplies, and help the kids with their projects. She loved it. It's something she was thinking about doing last year, but kept going back and forth about it. This year she feels more confident and independent - and she'll get credit for it for school. It's great - she'll be volunteering every Wednesday from 2-4:30pm.