February 9, 2011

Africa/Namibia: Day Two

Day Two was actually a night and the next morning. I wanted to prep my kids for their field trip, so we read a book called Namibia by DE Gould. It was way too long and detailed to read in its entirety to my children, but it was the only book the library had specifically about Namibia. It worked well enough for my purposes. We looked through all the pictures and talked about them. We saw pictures of members of the Himba tribe (the tribe featured in the Babies documentary). We found Namibia on a map and discussed it being a country that borders the ocean and also contains a lot of desert. Although not perfect, it worked.

Then we read Uncommon Traveler: Mary Kingsley in Africa by Don Brown. We've read this book before and I jumped at the chance to check it out again. We love it. She's one tough cookie. And brave. And awesome. And female. Fantastic. I would even go so far as to call this a GOLD STAR BOOK.

The book didn't have anything to do with our field trip, but I like it and wanted to read it. So I did. My children would have me read it every day, so they didn't complain.

And now the field trip.

On Friday, I drove the kids to Provo for a field trip. First stop was Aunt Kami's house to drop off the two youngest. Then Miriam, Cowen, and I went to BYU's anthropology department where we met up with another homeschool family (the mom of that family graduated with an anthropology degree from BYU and set this whole thing up--thanks Sarah!!) and a certain Dr. Crandall. Dr. Crandall has lived in Namibia and goes there on field studies often. We went to hear what he had to say about it.

Let's just say that I was a little puffed up with pride by the end. Dr. Crandall asked if anyone had questions and Cowen had a great question (do the people carry spears as they travel around?--answer is yes, they carry spears to protect themselves from lion attack). Then Dr. Crandall said his wife had a baby while they lived there and I asked about birthing facilities. He said that the cities are very modern and Miriam said: "Is that because of when the Germans took over?" She remembered that from the Namibia book. I didn't even remember that from the Namibia book. See, reading really does plant things in their brains that they can later use to make connections.

Then Cowen asked about killing elephants and protecting crops and he and Miriam both explained to Dr. Crandall that they knew all about migrating animals in Africa (thank you James Earl Jones). Basically, we had only spent two days on Africa but my kids made connections that surprised me and were able to sound intelligent while talking about it. Love it.

Now if only I could get Miriam to stop the dramatic sighing when she's bored, my kids' behavior would have been perfect. :)
PS--Do you know how strange it is to go to campus now that so many buildings look different??? Besides the fact that returning to campus with children in tow is weird. It is almost like I dreamed the whole four years up--or it was an Alice in Wonderland type of adventure. Sometimes, I feel old. :)

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