Knowing our time in Europe is coming to a close we have closed up our books and packed our bags. As Doctor Who and Harry Potter Fans, the first place we wanted to check out this year was London. We were familiar with some of the scenes and occasionally the kids would ask me about London and if it really was like the way it is in the shows. I thought visiting the city would be a great way to put it all in context for us. I was worried that our visit to the Harry Potter studios was a huge risk. Considering that a year ago I broke the news to them about the Tooth Fairy and Santa Clause, I was concerned that perhaps I was destroying what remained of the “magical world” for them.
I am happy to say I was wrong!
Everyone loved seeing how the movie magic came together to produce the special effects that we see on screen. Lil Man in particular asked questions about what was real and why we pretend some things are real. I listened to the twin girls explain that it was fun to imagine it was real. Lil Man seemed to weigh their answer and we talked a bit more about it, as we moved along to the next display in awe. Looking back I like to think that this experience helped us have an honest discussion about reality and fantasy, with a cool demonstration of the art and science behind it.
Of course it was not all about exploring London based on our favorite shows. We actually used this time to get to know London better. One of the things I struggled with in school was understanding the relevancy of other countries in the world. Living overseas has really opened my eyes and hopefully the kids will remember our experiences and keep it with them for the rest of their lives. So the question before us is to discover, what London is all about? Four days was not enough but it was a good start.
Since London was one of the major European cities of culture, science, and technology (among other things). I figured the Science Museum would be a good place to start. There was no way to see it all in one day, but we tried. We learned about the evolution of flying machines, how suspension bridges work, and we explored a whole floor on climate change. On one of the floors, we played games that challenged us to reroute power and trains to help the city function efficiently. Of course the book shop had a good mix of souvenirs and high quality science books I would have liked to own. How can I choose only one? Next door we viewed the impressive collection at the V & A Museum. A couple of us were enthralled with the Princess Diana Fashion exhibit at Kensington Palace.
Seeing and doing too many things can overwhelm the hungriest of minds, so I found myself scaling back from my ambitious list and deciding on the iconic Tower of London. I figured that if would come up from time to time but I wasn’t prepared for the engaging and informative fun we found there!
Taking a trip to London was a great way for us to get to know the city. Especially since it will come up again as the kids dig into their Horrible History books. If you are considering visiting and you have the opportunity to do it, I highly recommend it.
In the meantime here are a few resources to keep handy;
Homeschooling without Books
- The Museum of London has an excellent selection of learning resources available online for you to explore!
- Activity Village has a brief history of London to get an outline of the important events. They also have neat crafts and printable activities for you to use.
I plan to update this post from time to time. Do you have a favorite resource for learning more about London? How are you learning about world history in your homeschool?