Thanks to the kindness and generosity of a home ed mum who gave her time to organise a trip, we found ourselves off on an adventure to Norton Priory in Runcorn last week. Even with the typically British autumn rain, we thoroughly enjoyed the day and would recommend it to other home educators.
I know home education is really about the kids, but it is always extra special when I walk away having learnt something as well. On Monday my reading for pleasure met real life history. Being a huge fan of The Shardlake Series (6 Book Series) -historical fiction set in the 1500’s.
Henry VIII is king, and the political and religious landscape is tumultuous and ever changing.
The main character is the fictional Matthew Shardlake. A hunchback lawyer, who in the first book is sent to investigate monasteries. Later under the command of Oliver Cromwell, he becomes integral to their dissolution. A process that sends him on his own spiritual journey.
And thus, history meets fiction for me at Norton Priory, which unfortunately did not escape. The Abbey was dissolved in 1536. But even before and after the dissolution, the history here is rich. It is said to be the most excavated Monastic site in Europe.
While we did wander through the museum and the grounds, it was the beautiful walled garden where most of day took place. Our morning was spent with the incredibly enthusiastic staff whose mission was to educate us on bee keeping. And did they just! They were terrific.
We looked at ecosystems, species, their place in our world, the history of bee keeping, methods, equipment, conservation importance, how bees communicate, the workings of a hive and many other wonderful facts about these important insects.
A new fact for me, was learning about solitary bees. I didn’t know that there was such a thing. I assumed all bees lived in colonies. Oh the joy of home education, where you can learn along side your children. It really is delightful.
A home for solitary bees.
Later on, the children played a game where they had to pretend they were bees and collect the necessary items the hive needed. Such a simple activity that made learning fun. The staff had hidden coloured balls around the garden. Each colour represented an item, each team had it’s own colour.
Each team needed to communicate to the other ‘bees’ where to go to look for their item and then return the item to their hive (the coloured tubs).
The kids had a blast. Well at least my son did 😉
All in all it was a delightful day of learning, friendship and fun. The best kind in my books.