Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Underground Railroad

We had a great week studying the Underground Railroad. Among the books we read were:

Wanted Dead or Alive: The True Story of Harriet Tubman
Follow the Drinking Gourd (with great FIAR lessons!)
Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt
The Drinking Gourd

That last one isn't the kind of book I would normally choose to read to my kids. In it, the child lies and his father, a deacon in the church(!) tells him that he's done a good job. I decided to go ahead and read it to see if they could spot "the end justifies the means" thinking and I was thankful that they could and that we could discuss it, since that thinking is so prevalent in our society today.

We listened to Follow the Drinking Gourd performed and explained.
We also listened to some great negro spirituals:
Go Down Moses, sung by Louis Armstrong, and
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, belted out by Etta James

And, of course, we looked up at the night sky to find the Big Dipper (the drinking gourd) and the North Star!

At the end of our week, we made the trek to Auburn, NY. It was well worth the drive! 

We visited the Harriet Tubman home and visitor center and received a great personal tour. Our tour guide was wonderfully knowledgeable and so passionate about her subject. Her enthusiasm was contagious.

We were also able to visit the Seward House, which was fascinating. Oh my. This family saved everything. I can't begin to tell you. They even saved the blood-stained, knife-slashed sheet from the assassination attempt on William Seward on the same night that Abraham Lincoln was shot. I SO wish I had been allowed to take pictures inside. The library was amazing! And the paintings! I'm so glad we went.

We crammed a lot into our day in Auburn but this post is getting quite long so I will wait to tell you about the Chapel completely decorated by Louis Comfort Tiffany but, rest assured, it was stunning!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Baseball Day

We all spent a wonderful day at the Baseball Hall of Fame last week. Highlights included:
  • a video conference with the Louisville Slugger Bat Factory. Did you know major league players have their own personal specifications for their bats? One player could even tell that the grips of his new bats weren't right - although it turned out they were 5 one thousandths of an inch off.
  • Science on the Sandlot - We learned why there's a sweet spot on a bat, how energy is transferred from the bat to the ball and how the ball actually squashes when it hits a wooden bat but not an aluminum bat.
  • Baseball Art - especially the Norman Rockwells!
  • A very old film of Babe Ruth "calling the shot."
  • Old footage of Abbot and Costello performing "Who's on First?"

And these two have been playing baseball in the side yard ever since. Bring on the season!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, Friends!

I thought I'd share some of our Easter projects with you tonight. We've been doing a Grapevine Bible study on The Last Supper and found this adorable craft to go with it:

The bowls hold some of the results of a wonderful tradition of getting together with our friends to color eggs every year. We've been doing it since our oldest God-daughter, Sarah, was 4 or 5 years old. This year, her new husband joined us!

And yes, we do blow out the eggs so that we can save them. A drill and a bicycle pump make that job a little easier!

Of course, we had to look at Leonardo DaVinci's Last Supper. This link will take you to a page where you can view it pre- and post-restoration. And here is a short video that discusses the painting.

Since we studied the artist Benjamin West last year, we took a look at his version of the Last Supper as well. It's very different, but you can see that he was influenced by DaVinci's painting.

This evening after dinner, we made these little empty tombs for tomorrow. The directions can be found here. They were so simple but the boys absolutely loved making them! Tomorrow, they will all have little "He is Risen!" banners. Before bed, we read a book that we just discovered and absolutely LOVE about a rooster that witnesses the crucifixion but rejoices in new life 3 days later.

Have a blessed Easter!