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Homeschooling - Is It Revolutionary?

by Pam Owens

Red Coats, RAH! White Tories, RAH! Blue Rebels, RAH! These were the cries that could be heard when 28 Somis Home Study students took a “Walk Through the American Revolution,” a program offered through a southern California organization called California Weekly Explorer, Inc. Guided by their presenter C.J. Ryan, these homeschoolers ages 7 through 13 participated in a “play” about the occurrences leading up to the writing of the Declaration of Independence, the battles before and after this historical event, and the men and women who made it happen.

The two-and-a-half hour program was full of excitement as the three teams competed for points. Points were gained by team members portrayal of assigned characters. The students were encouraged to memorize their parts and come dressed as their character. Martha Washington, portrayed by Kathleen Vance, 12, came dressed in red with a white shawl. Thomas Jefferson, who was played by Lance Hunter, 11, had a three cornered hat and a white powdered wig.

Each student was also an expert on a term describing a group of people or a document and gained points for their team by reciting the meaning of the term from the expert chair. C.J. asked questions of the group and students were expected to answer in complete sentences. If they didn’t, they were squirted with “brain juice” (water in a plant sprayer). Of course correct answers that were expressed in complete sentences brought points for the team. Each time a team earned points, the whole team would stand up and yell out the name of their team and shout RAH!

C.J. brought a pile of props to liven up the learning experience. She decorated the room with early American Flags and the students marched into the room to music from a tape recorder. Parents were invited to come watch the festivities. Younger siblings strolled in and out of the activity area. The highlight of the afternoon was when C.J. would catch one of the students being an exceptionally good sport. She would play a silly musical jingle and tell the child to go for the glory. They would run over to the large relief map of California with lollipops sticking out from its’ borders. If they grabbed a lollipop that was plain, they yelled, “Oh, bummer”; but if they got one that had been dipped in gold, they clicked their heels and yelled “glory”.

Through all the fun and games, the underlying message was how important this decision was to become an independent country. The children learned by acting out just how long it took to load and reload a musket. They realized just how many people sacrificed their lives and their property for our freedom. They know now just how precious that freedom is and how important it is to protect it. The afternoon ended with participants and families singing the “Star Spangled Banner.”

Copyright © 2006 Modern Media