Saturday, 15 April 2017

School-Holidays Homeschooling

I am becoming a half-term/school holiday blogger!  Since Tiger started school and I started full-time work, our time together has been limited to weekends and school holidays, much like most families.  While I miss certain aspects of our homeschooling life, such as having control over our own time and working to our own schedules, I am happy to report that Tiger has settled very well in school and has made a number of good friends.

Tiger has three weeks off school for the Easter break, so between my husband and I, we managed to cover the half-term child care arrangements using a combination of sleepovers for Tiger, alternate days off and working from home.

I feel as though I dropped back into my homeschooling mode on my days off, taking Tiger to various activities and field trips.  He spent a few days climbing, playing table tennis, and practising archery.

When we were still homeschooling last year, Tiger became very interested in the study of geology, specially fossils.  We had planned to visit the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences but somehow never got round to it, but we finally made it there during this holiday.

While we were back in the swing of 'half-term homeschooling', and looking at fossils and prehistoric life, we went to Cromer,

near West Runton where a very exciting prehistoric Rhino skull has been found recently.

We were there to see the collection in Cromer Museum.

We also went along to the Lynn Museum to look at a significant Bronze Age monument,

the Seahenge.

The Lynn Museum is quite a remarkable little museum.  Not only does it house the Seahenge, which can be considered a water-based, timber version of the Stonehenge, the museum also holds an impressive collection of artefacts from prehistoric times through to the 20th century, including the skeleton of a Anglo Saxon warrior who was buried with his shield boss and spearhead.

When we studied Victorian Britain, and especially of Charles Dickens and Oliver Twist, we looked briefly into the workhouse system and peeped through the gates of a disused workhouse building in London near Dickens' residence.  While in Norfolk, we finally went inside an actual workhouse that is now the Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse Museum.

While previously we were under the impression that the workhouse was a unanimously oppresive place,

our visit to the Gressenhall Workhouse Museum has changed our minds somewhat, as we read accounts of a few previous inhabitants who were given help at the workhouse that they would not have had otherwise.  For example, young children in the workhouse were given lessons who would otherwise have had to find work as chimney sweeps or who would end up as street urchins.  There was also the account of a boy who had lost his legs due to an accident and who was given artificial limbs at the workhouse, and was given lessons such that he went on to become a teacher's assistant, got married and had a family of his own.

Of couse, I realise that such success stories are few and far between.  For 99% of the workhouse population, entering the workhouse is very similar to being given a life sentence where one is stripped of one's freedom and dignity.

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