One of the things I love about homeschooling are the opportunities to take field trips whenever it fits into what we are studying. We can often schedule them to avoid crowds and have frequently had whole museums to ourselves. This morning was not one of those times. We went down to the Art Institute for our history co-op class. The topic was art in the Enlightenment and the two girls presenting had prepared their class based on the holdings in the Art Institute. It was very crowded, both with school groups and large groups of adults with conference-type name badges. I'm not sure which groups were louder. But we had a nice time despite the crowds and the larger families having to become slightly nasty about exactly what a family pass means. (Note to the Art Institute of Chicago: You cannot call a free family pass a 'family pass' is you are then going to limit it to four children under 13 and no children over 13. Especially if you do not print any disclaimers on the pass itself.) It's not the actual raising of the large family that makes me weary, it's the constant defending of my family to others that is tiresome.
Afterward some of us picnicked in the park across the street and enjoyed the incredibly beautiful weather. I have to say, living where the weather is often not great, I think we appreciate nice days far more than others where the weather is often postcard perfect. M. and her friends stayed behind to see more of the museum and took the train home.
While our time with Enlightenment art was pretty quick, we will be solidifying everyone's knowledge of the major works in a couple of weeks. The last time we studied this time period, we resurrected the old pastime of putting on tableaux. For those who don't know, this was the practice, done for entertainment, of dressing up like famous paintings or important moments in history. It was always something I had read about and thought, "These people must really be needing something to do!" But, then we tried it. Each person or group of people chose a painting they wanted to portray and brought the correct costume pieces and props. They then posed and we took their pictures. It was really a lot of fun. The children all became very familiar with "their" paintings and loved comparing the real paintings with their own versions. It was so much fun, we are going to do it again, five years later.