Friday, September 11, 2009

A Fair Is A Veritable Smorgasbord

I had to give this post that title up there because it comes from my favorite song in Charlotte's Web, but this post really isn't about that kind of fair and would be more aptly titled, "Evidence of Our Collective Nerdiness." Over the summer, my youngest son read #35 of Mary Pope Osborne's 7,000 Magic Tree House books. This one is Night of the New Magicians. In it, those

time travelling, clue finding siblings, Jack and Annie, travel to the Paris World's Fair of 1889. At the same time, I was reading Richard Peck's Fair Weather about the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 held in Chicago. I've been fascinated by that World's Fair ever since I first learned of it when my book club read Erik Larson's wonderful The Devil in the White City several years ago. Fair Weatheris written for a much younger audience. I'd say it is perfect for nine to twelve year olds and humorously tells the tale of a humble farming family who end up at the fair with their wealthy aunt.

So we've read some books about World's Fairs. That should be it. End of story. But not in this household! My six year old Ethan decided we needed to hold a Family Fair with exhibitions all over the house. Because they love anything that involves crafts and glue and headaches for me, the other two kids were all over that idea like white on rice. I eventually agreed and set some ground rules. The exhibits had to be contained in bedrooms and last no more than ten minutes. We had about three days to prepare and it turned out to be really fun. Inspired by the scientists at the Paris Fair, Ethan gave us a quasi-science/magic show. nine year old Hayden donned a kimono and put together an impressive origami display, and ten year old Aaron set up Matchbox track all over his bedroom and gave us all marbles to try out his ramps and then allowed us to build our own. My husband and I each put on lame little exhibits. The children appreciated the fact that we tried, but they clearly outdid us. I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun it all was, and that is as close as this house will ever get to homeschooling.

1 comment:

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

Oh, how I wish I were smart enough to homeschool. But alas, I can't even make an origami.