Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Benjamin Banneker Day

Today we continued our studies on Black History Month and learned about the inventor/scientist Benjamin Banneker.  We read a short biography on him that came with a cloze activity from www.edhelper.com and talked about what it meant to be a slave and what it meant to be a free black man during the colonial time period.  Benjamin Banneker was known for his work in astronomy, for making a working wooden model of a clock that kept perfect time for 50 years, for his work in mathematics and for his almanac.  Dakota thought that the idea of writing the facts you have discovered in a book and asked for a new spiral notebook, on the front of which he wrote in big letters, Dakota's Almanac.  Then he went back to the chapter we read in Story of the World and pulled a few facts from there to start his book.  He enjoyed the chapter we did today on the Shang Dynasty and made some really interesting pictographs of his own.  Math went off without a hitch, as did literature and language arts. The only thing we didn't manage to get in was science.

This afternoon we met a few friends at the Benjamin Banneker Park and Museum in Oella, MD. This little gem is only about 15 minutes from our house and I have wanted to stop in for years.  When we arrived, we found many handouts and the lady behind the desk was more than happy to speak with us, put on an 11 minute video and show us around the grounds.  She took us to a little wooden house that was a replica of the house that burned down on the day Benjamin Banneker was buried.  Artifacts and the foundation from the house were discovered and they did a nice job with the re-creation.  The kids enjoyed seeing the root cellar, the ropes under the bed mattress that had to be pulled tight each morning and, therefore, the saying came about to "sleep tight" and the parts of musical instruments from the time period.  We got to see more artifacts and actual pages from his almanac inside, along with a quilt depicting all of the Banneker family interests.  We were only there a little over an hour, but it turned out to be a great educational field trip and Dakota told me how much he enjoyed it. Best of all, they are willing to do programs for us in the future.

To wrap up a very nice school day, we met up with our daughter when she came to pick up my granddaughter and had Sorrento's pizza and french fries with gravy.  I wish all our homeschooling days went as smoothly and were met with such approval from my "not always agreeable" eight year old.

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