Sunday, June 3, 2012

Yes, We Want to Be Explorers

As a way to clue in my dancing-in-the-freedom-of-Summer son that we have entered a new fun unit study, we read So You Want to Be an Explorer by Judith St. George and David Small, while tucked away in his tent (I think he's trying to tell me he wants to go camping).

Anyway, the book exposed us to a long list of explorers and their respective character traits: their pluck, their bravery, their thrill for adventure... (insert elbow-nudging here). Okay, eventually he realized we're focusing on Adventureland this month. We talked about it awhile, and I asked him to help me collect some of his Adventureland-related movies (movies about "the wild" and/or movies where a character goes exploring or enters a new world).

We made a huge pile, but he held up An American Tail and, in the sweetest voice, asked if we could cuddle up and watch it now (even though I had completely created on my own  prepared a "Am I in The Lion King or What Animals Live in Africa? worksheet). I couldn't turn down that face.

As we watched, we talked all the way through it. We commented on the snowflakes falling in the opening scene.

"Why do snowflakes melt when they fall on my hand?" he asked, remembering our trip to Lake Tahoe.

We proceeded to talk about body heat.

"Why do some people like to catch snowflakes on their tongues?" he asked, remembering Lucy from the Charlie Brown Christmas special.

We proceeded to talk about yummy shaved ice and how Gramma used to suck on ice cubes.

When the town is beseiged by people setting fire to it, Aidyn asked, "Why are they doing that?"

"I dunno. Let me Google it," I answered, followed by an age-appropriate explanation of the persecution of Jews in 1885 Russia.

We watched the rest of the movie, sharing in this way, and consulting his map to trace their journey. At the end, he asked, "Why is the Statue of Liberty brown in this movie but now it's green?" I consulted the website for the Statue of Liberty (he also asked if we could live there), and explained that copper rusts to green when exposed to the elements long enough. I suggested we pluck a penny from his savings jar and let it sit outside for awhile and see what happens.

After the film, we played all the games that were so lovingly included on the DVD. We counted with Digit, sung off-key with Fievel and Tanya, and found "duos" with Tiger and Fievel. We then sung this song that still makes me cry.

Fine way to start off Adventureland.

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