Today we went to the Poppenhusen Institute with the homeschool group right here in Queens! It's where a prominent Queens man established a Town Hall, complete with a court, jails, a bank, and the first free Kindergarten in the United States back in the mid 1800s. It's a beautiful historic building. The tour included the history of the building, what the first Kindergarten there was like, trying out the jail cells, learning about the Native Americans from the area, and being part of an 1800s Kindergarten class. The area was mostly German immigrants and the Kindergarten teacher was Frauline Bertha, wonderfully portrayed by one of the workers there. She told all about how the children dressed, what they learned, and how it was learned. The kids learned some sign language and played a few circle games. In the Native American room, the kids got to grind corn, go in the big wigwam, touch all the animal skins, beaver skull, and tortoise shell, and match animal footprints to the animal who made them. The jail area (in the building's lower level, of course) was dark and creepy and the kids got to go inside with the cell door closed.
The group was split into 2 classes - the 8s and overs and the 7s and unders. Afterwards J told me she really loved it and learned a lot. I tagged along with the younger group and was so proud to see these 3-7 y/os paying attention, asking lots of questions, and really "getting it". The workers there said we were their first homeschool group and made several comments throughout the tour about how smart these kids were. W raises his hand a lot and always has a good question or comment lately at any place we go. Last year he just liked to raise his hand to get called on and then have nothing to say, lol. This year he has learned to pay attention and really take in what he sees and hears. He tends to charm the pants off people, too. That is a very good quality to have and could work for him, lol.
K went to her friend's house after school today and I picked her up after work. I took the younger 2 to the shopping area to get a birthday gift for one of J's friends. We got something from American Eagle Outfitters and a a couple of cutesy things from Claire's. Then we had a nice Japanese lunch. We stopped home quick for J to change, pack, wrap the gift, and then she went to a sleepover birthday party at 5pm with all her dance friends. Gotta love the social lives of homeschoolers!