Friday, 14 February 2014

English Civil War Workshop in Oxford

Traipsing around Oxford in the pouring rain in the wettest
winter on record (almost), we met up with 11 other homeschoolers at the Museum of Oxford for a workshop on the English Civil War.

Flood Times in February
Our hands-on portion was led by Kate of the Education Department, and she had the children try on replica clothes and think about what it would be like if suddenly 6000 extra people were billeted in a city of 10,000.
Kate Dresses a Cavalier

This discussion session usually takes about 45 minutes (so we were told), yet you know what homeschoolers are like:

  • What do the beeswax candles smell like?
  • How tall were the pikes?
  • Did soldiers have to carry their blankets and food with them?
  • What would water taste like if you drank it out of a leather flagon?
  • Why would you even drink the water, if 6000 extra people were throwing their sewage into the Thames?

Look at all those raised hands!

So the 45-minute session turned in 1 1/2 hours, capped off by the chance to write with quill pens on parchment paper.

Getting the Knack with Quill and Ink
"Dear Mom, I gave my wife the
keys and she won't let me in
the house. Thanks."

The last part of the 2-hour workshop entailed some time in the museum collection, but unlike the previous incarnation of the museum, with lots of bits and bobs from the Civil War era, the current displays have very little to see of any era, and was very disappointing. Judging from the website, this is only temporary as the real galleries are due to open next month after refurbishment.

Killer in a Bowler

To me, the best part of these workshops are meeting other homeschoolers in the area. Today's group seemed especially wonderful, for some reason. Attentive and inquisitive, knowledgeable and keen, the kids seemed to get a lot out of it, and let others get a lot out of it, too (including the four mums and dads who stayed to join in).

A Mum Lurking for Her Turn
with the Quill Pen!

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