Tag Archives: homeschooling

Pharaoh, Pharaoh, Oh, Oh

A few weeks ago I actually managed to get the girls to the library. Yep, the same library we walk past three times a week. That week we actually managed to go inside. While browsing the shelves I saw a book about mummies and thought the girls might enjoy it (we also took out books about animals on the prairies, weather and seasons, valentines, mining, and sheep). It turns out the girls LOVED the mummy book. So we took out a few more books about mummies, pyramids, and the sphinx.

In the one book it briefly described how the ancient Egyptians made mummies. The girls were enthralled. After asking dozens of questions about the difference between Egyptian mummies and those made in bogs, we decided to make some mummies of our own. So we took some toilet paper…

Nevermind. We didn’t actually take toilet paper. Certainly the bandages on the Egyptian mummies are one major difference, but I felt there was much more to the whole process than just wrapping. I also thought my girls would understand a lot better if they actually made REAL mummies. So we went to the store and we looked at the chickens, and the ducks, I said no to the geese and the turkeys, and they settled on a game hen each. We also bought some salt, bandages, and some oil.


Each girl chose a couple spices to add to their jar of oil (to make the scented oils). Agatha chose allspice, cloves, and cinnamon. Ella wanted only anise. We added the chosen spices to the girls’ jars and capped them. We knew it would take a while to make the mummies so we thought the oils would have plenty of time to infuse. Each day we agitated the jars a bit to mix things up (the girls had a blast with that).

Then we prepped the hens. We washed them and pulled out the extra bits that were inside.

Then we filled them with salt, laid them on a bed of salt, and thoroughly covered them in more salt. Just a note for anyone thinking of doing this at home – you need ridiculous quantities of salt!

After the hens were completely covered we set them on the counter and left them there. For a very long time.

While we waited for the salt to work it’s magic we talked about what the salt was doing to the bodies, and did a quick demonstration with a bit of water and some salt. We then read a couple books about pyramids. And the girls tried there hand at building.

We determined tomb robbers might find a way into some pyramids easier than others.

After the hens sat on our counter smell free for a while (weeks) we removed all the old salt and replaced it with new salt. We really should have done this sooner, but time got away from me. Our hens were still very moist.

But a few weeks after that when we changed the salt again, things were looking much better. Then after roughly 40 days we removed the salt to see what our mummies looked like.

They were very dry and leathery. We opened our jars of scented oils and the girls rubbed the oils on the hens. Then they wrapped them in linen (gauze) bandages.

They were very proud of their handiwork and still have their mummies on our counter to show anyone who comes over.

We hoped to follow up the interest in mummies with the playmobil pyramid playset. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to save enough pennies before it was discontinued. So if anyone happens to have a pyramid playset around they’d be willing to part with, please let me know ­čÖé


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Our Decision To Homeschool

The decision to homeschool is an easy – and a hard – one to make. For us there weren’t many factors to consider. We don’t like the school system. And we can’t find an alternate school capable of providing what we think is a better option. However, everywhere we turn someone questions our choice. The funny thing is that not only do people question our choice, but they seem to take it as a personal affront.

The biggest argument against homeschooling is that children won’t be socialized properly. I can only shake my head and laugh at that. Though I can understand where the argument comes from. People believe that homeschooling is school at home. In the sense that mom or dad or both parents sit their child(ren) down at the table and teach them much the same as teachers in schools teach. I’m sure some people homeschool this way, but many don’t. Home-schoolers meet up with each other regularly and their children grow up with mostly the same group of children around them. The biggest difference is that the home schooled children have a wider variety of ages and abilities surrounding them.┬áBecause we aren’t tied to particular lessons or methods of learning we also have the opportunity to spend time socializing with random people in the neighbourhood. We can spend a larger period of time at the library, grocery store, museum, or any other place that catches our interest.

I’m happy to say we socialize so much we’ve worn ourselves out and needed to take a bit of a break from all our play-dates. The girls are learning which people they prefer playing with as well as how to play with them. Parents are always close at hand to help our children navigate the tricky social interactions.

The second biggest concern with homeschooling is how children learn X, Y, Z. It doesn’t matter whether the topic is reading, calculus, biology, or some other subject. Other people are always concerned that our children won’t learn.

I’m not concerned. After all, I never took calculus. It wasn’t necessary. I also don’t think it would really add anything to my current life so I don’t pursue it now either. I did learn world history, American history, and a pile of other stuff that I don’t recall. But that’s the point. I don’t recall it at all. All I know about the world is based on actively finding the information now. Being forced to bring newspaper articles to school (didn’t it ever occur to them that not everyone buys the paper?) never encouraged me to delve into current events.

Certainly there will be things our children don’t learn. They might never be interested in the Renaissance, American or Canadian history. They might never learn about sin or cosine waves. They may not learn how to write a chemical formula. Sending them to school won’t guarantee they learn that either. ┬áTeaching the information isn’t enough to make a student want to learn. Unless the desire is there, the information won’t stick.

If our children want to follow a path that requires they understand the finer details of the evolution of passerines, then they will find the information they need. We’ll help when necessary.

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