I am a big believer in the fact that children retain information better if they can experience something. This is particularly true for my youngest – J is a very tactile learner and will remember information much better if she can touch it!
So today we went to the British Schools Museum in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. It’s only a half an hour from us and the entrance fee is very low – for one adult and two children we paid £8.50. The museum is open very limited days and relies on volunteers, but I think this adds to its charm. When we arrived we jumped into a tour group that was about to set off and were guided around the museum by a very knowledgable guide.
The four classrooms took us on a tour of the different periods in time when the school was used. There was a Victorian schoolroom, which would have sat over 300 boys for lessons, a monitorial classroom for smaller (100ish!) groups to be taught by a monitor, assistant teacher or older student, an Edwardian classroom and a WWII class.
We loved the fact that the sessions in the classrooms were interactive. We got a chance to write in a sand board (for early letter forming!), on a slate with a pencil and with a pen dipped in an ink pot. I was surprised by how neatly the girls both wrote with the ink pen – perhaps we will be trying a fountain pen for best writing soon!
Some boys in our group were called on for fidgeting while in the schoolroom and made to wear a label showing that they were not concentrating in class. This illustrated the way the school was run in Victorian times – with children being motivated by humiliation and reward, rather than punishment. Everyone in our group agreed that they would rather have one punishment than a day of humiliation!
We were also able to look around the Headmaster’s cottage and spent time in the Discovery Room, which has lots of Victorian period toys and objects that can be touched and played with.
Our busy morning was followed by lunch on the river and a wander around Hitchin Market. K is on the look-our for a storage box for her loom bands but we didn’t manage to find any here, unfortunately.
We popped home to drop off the lunch things and headed straight out to the library for some new books and audiobooks which are proving very popular at the moment. We ran into another Home Ed family in the park next to the library and spent an hour with them enjoying the sunshine.
Our day was finished with a fire in our new fire pit in the garden. Well, it’s going to rain tomorrow so we have to grab the opportunity! And the day ended well – a perfect loom band storage box has been found and ordered from eBay. K has gone to bed happy!