helping haiti

sometimes it’s hard to find volunteer projects that allow young kids,
but when the folks from muslims without borders said kids are o.k.
we jumped at the opportunity to lend a helping hand
at their hygiene kit packaging event at the university of maryland, college park.
(this was even more of a treat because daddyTheMan came with us!)

it’s been about a year since an earthquake devastated haiti,
but they still need support.
besides hunger and poverty,
poor sanitation as a result of the earthquake has caused a huge cholera epidemic.

after listening to a short talk and watching a video about MWB’s efforts in haiti,
students of all ages, along with a few mothers and fathers
created a high-energy, fast-moving assembly line to pack hygiene kits
— ziplock bags of hand sanitizer, soap, sanitizing wipes, and sanitary napkins (for the women’s kits) —
to help combat the cholera outbreak in haiti.

our girls pumped up the volume, mashaAllah,
moving so quickly that others down the line had to double their work to keep up!
slow down sweetie. take a break.
never, auntie!
afterwards: “let’s do this every night!”, they said.

see child, there is more happiness in giving than in receiving.

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donate your efforts or funds to muslims without borders.

city by design

while the younger pair had beaucoup fun
building towers, playing construction worker dress-up,
and playing in a green playhouse
in the national building museum‘s building zone,

the older pair participated in a hands-on workshop
helping to design a model city
while considering the variety of forces that shape communities,
and the complex issues that cities face:
traffic, pollution, waste disposal and zoning issues.
they learned how they can contribute to improving the quality of life in their community
and left with a movie theater…

and apartment building to commemorate the occasion.

her other building was too big to carry home.

this course was called city by design
and was one of several homeschool programs offered by the national building museum.
homeschool groups can come together and take a course
or individual families can meet other homeschoolers
when NBM offer the same classes on homeschool days throughout the year.
(the next one is june 10, 2011.)
this program gets the good tree montessori homeschool recommendation
and we look forward to returning for other classes.
if you can’t make it to a homeschool day,
NBM’s educator resource packets are chock full of activities and reading recommendations.

marching through time

last april, we walked through time on the grounds of the Marietta House Museum
during the 19th Annual Multi-Period Living History Encampment.
from the romans and the early franks,
from english knights to soldiers from the civil war,
and farther on to 20th century warriors like the french foreign legion,
we took in the period clothing, ancient scripts & languages in books, foods,
crafts, furniture, handiwork, and entertainment.
talk about history coming alive!

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we heard the metallic clanking of a fully-armored knight as he emerged from his tent,
we gently moved our fingertips across the needle work
of a lady accompanying her lord to battle,
we smelled the smokey aroma of chickens roasting over a fire pit,
and we heard high-spirited irish tunes wafting from bagpipes.

as a hijabi-muslim, it was quite interesting to see how modesty
was the cultural norm and the fashion across Europe in the days of yore
(excluding the germans who apparently appreciate
the sight of plump bosoms all over deutschland).
considering all the drama behind muslims covering in france today,
it was very ironic how the women of france’s not too distant past
dressed as or more modestly than modern muslims today.
things that make me go hmmm?

it took a lot of time to absorb all the sensory stimulation we got
from going back in time.
next year, we’ll go both days to make sure we get it all in.
and did you know it was free, to boot?

History teaches everything, including the future
— Alphonse de Lamartine

hot air balloons!

last april’s home school day at the navy museum
we reviewed Bernoulli’s principal, Archimedes principle,
we talked about density some more,
we discovered the principles of gas and flight through stories and experiments,
blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada.

i don’t know what the older kids were doing,
but just imagine a couple of college interns giving a lecture to a group of preschoolers
on high & low pressure and its relationship to density.
signGirl decided to focus on which crayons she’d use for her hot air balloon coloring page.

what really brought all that jargon to life
— for us kids of all ages —
was making our own hot air balloon
and riding on a home-made hovercraft
made of just a couple pieces of fabric, a plywood circle, a chair and a vacuum cleaner!

with the help of the extremely patient staff and interns every family was able to construct their very own hot air balloon!

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science is SO cool!