Wednesday, 21 May 2008

School outing

Phew! Here we arrive at the Museum of Media!

The first thing we notice, apart from the weathergirl, is that there are plenty of school trips here today.

In the school parties, the kids do a lot of queuing up, standing, waiting, and then a lot of running about because they have twenty minutes in the gallery. Twenty minutes! roars the woman with the scarlet face who looks like an off-duty bouncer. She is strangely rectangular shaped, like she has grown accustomed to standing in doorways.

The large group of 11-year olds under her charge tear about the gallery, banging on buttons as they pass. Most don't wait to see the effect of the button pressing because there is no time and no-one can explain anything anyway. They have to be at the next gallery in fifteen minutes because the buses leave at half-past two and they must be at the gift shop at two sharp otherwise there will be no sweets shaped like bullets to fire at the back of Spotso Harry's head.

The teachers, who are all carrying clipboards, are busy ticking away at various boxes on printed sheets, probably something like Developing awareness of animation techniques. Tick! The teachers can tell which targets have been delivered because occasionally the museum offers little Key Stage instructions in small print underneath the button that Shazza just bashed with the palm of her hand as she was running past.

In the home ed world, we are privileged, bar having to eat cornflakes with forks again this morning because Mummy Grit has forgotten to bring spoons. Anyway, that is home life. But now we are doing school. And this is what we do.

Shark, Squirrel and Tiger spend as long as they like on each exhibit. They have two grown up teachers with them today to help read any panel, explain any idea, wait patiently until the penny drops, and generally facilitate access to equipment, exhibits, tours, talks and the buttons on the camera. And we all had a great time and stayed until we got thrown out.

Well I know that is not like the real school experience, so just to cover myself for that short fall, here are some made up teaching goals:

1) Introduce the children to British cultural reference points.

Squirrel: What is it?
Mummy Grit: It is a Dalek! Quick! Hide! It will exterminate us!
Squirrel: What is it going to do?
Mummy Grit: It is going to fire a deathly radar out of that sink plunger or the egg whisk and make us go all red and wobbly and then it will take over planet Earth.
Squirrel: Is it really?
Mummy Grit: No.

2) Operate a big old camera for forty minutes. (Or until it is taken off you because quite frankly, you are hogging it, and there is a little kid here, waiting. Her mother is starting to glower at me.)

Shark: Is it on?
Daddy Dig: Have you pressed the button?
Shark: I cannot see anything.
Daddy Dig: Have you pressed the button?
Shark: What is supposed to happen?
Daddy Dig: Have you pressed the button?
Shark: What do I do now?
Daddy Dig: Have you pressed the button?
(Mummy Grit wanders off until she returns to suggest an activity somewhere else.)

3) Become technologically aware. (Use a green screen.)

Swim Shark! Swim!

4) Become a newsreader. (Or, make a terrible job of reading the news but look quite cute on TV.)

Six hours later, we reflect on the success of these, and all the other teaching goals. In fact I can boast that something must have worked because Shark says when she is a marine biologist she would like to help make films explaining what it is like to live at sea; Tiger insists she wants to be a film director because she likes telling everyone what to do; and Squirrel explains that she cannot wait to get her hands on some yellow plasticine to make a dancing house.

And if we did have a set of boxes, I am sure I could tick them.


Brad said...

Hurumph, 11 year olds have all the fun.

sharon said...

How well I remember the boys' comments on school excursions. The elder would complain about not enough time in the Shop and totally ignore whatever it was he went to see and the younger would complain that he didn't have time to read/do everything. We used to supplement these outings by taking them ourselves. I always seemed to end up with Son 2 and would trail into the Shop hours later where Dad and Son 1 were (im)patiently waiting - as were assorted cleaning staff etc. The Maritime Museum in Greenwich and the Natural History Museum in London were the favourites for Son 2. As long as he got to Shop, Son 1 didn't care where he went although I think MOMO was his favourite place as he actually enjoyed the exhibits there. Yes, the stereotype held true in his case, he is gay and heavily involved in the Art/Fashion world now.

I think your day out was great, wish i could have been there too.

Minnie said...

In my senior school years I spent many a happy Sunday afternoon at Bradford Ice Skating Rink:o)

Did you go near Todmordon? Used to be lots of UFO goings on there.....apparently.

sharon said...

Ooops I think that should be MOMA - Museum of Moving Arts (was on the South Bank but husband thinks he read somewhere recently that it had been re-located)

Casdok said...

Sounds like a good time was had by all!!

Potty Mummy said...

Any chance of your starting courses to teach the rest of us too?

Allie said...

I remember that museum from nearly twenty years ago. It was great even back then. And why haven't your children met a Dalek before? Are you the only home ed family in the country who don't watch Doctor Who? ;-)

Frog in the Field said...

Ha HA!!
Very, very funny.
Have you pressed the button? Ha HAA!!
Sounds like our sort of day out,I always wonder why half the parent are there with the children, they look at nothing with them and explain nothing, then feed them fried rubbish from the cafe and shout when they are a bit hyped up!
Am I a bit grouchy this morning?

Maggie May said...

I have been one of those rectangular ladies with the red face bawling out "Twenty minutes"! I have been on many a trip out with Holiday Schemes in my younger days! Counting heads & trying to keep the kids from offending passengers (as we had to use public transport.) Happy days!

Grit said...

hello folks, perhaps we should all have a virtual trip out to a museum of choice. where should we go?

Frog in the Field said...

I sometimes think we this place should be in a science museum, always some unexplained phemomenamamomna going on here. come and visit your own peril of course!

sharon said...

Is there a Museum of Chocolate and Wine? If not, why not?

Grit said...

oooh what a great idea, sharon. there is the cadbury's tour... and i guess we could hit the cellars in france and leave the kids tied up outside until we surface...