I met the most interesting strangers on an Amtrak train to Baltimore last weekend. Since it was a holiday and the train was crowded, the only available seat was at the end of the car where there were four seats facing each other.
I sat with a mom, her son, and his friend, who are possibly the coolest seventh-graders in Maine. They were off to Manhattan to see the sights and, in no time, we were chatting like we had known each other forever.
I shared all my NYC survival apps (my current faves are The Scoop and the Subway Map) and they told me about school, their aspirations to go to Julliard, and off-beat places to visit in Maine, like the 5th Maine Regiment (Civil War) Museum at Peaks Island. Since they seemed to like history, I suggested they visit the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side to learn about immigration and the Industrial Revolution.
As we were chatting away, I remembered an article I wrote at the end of last summer suggesting that parents look at the curriculum for the upcoming school year and plan excursions to preview the curriculum. A reader asked me to write about this again at the end of the school year, and this encounter served as my reminder to do it, so here you go.
The curriculum for each grade is usually somewhere on the school district’s website. You may have to dig a bit, but it’s there. For example, in the West Hartford Public School’s website, the Curriculum can be found under “offices” on the homepage. Once you find it, click on the grade your child will be in next year, and you will find information on the units of study and objectives for each subject. Once you have this information, you can plan activities to build a knowledge base for your child.
Here are some examples to get you started:
- Grade 1 Health — Making Healthy Eating Choices: Check out www.foodplay.com to find a show near you. Don’t forget to go into the section on Fun Nutrition Resources for games and downloads.
- Grade 2 Art History — Japanese Culture, Paul Klee, Claude Monet: Monet’s Garden, Exhibit at the New York Botanical Gardens, May 19-October 21.
- Grade 4 Science — Earth in the Solar System: The Children’s Museum of Connecticut Planetarium.
- Grade 5 Social Studies — Colonization, The Constitution, and Causes and Effects of the Revolutionary War: Road trip to the Philadelphia Constitution Museum!
- Grade 9 Reading — Romeo and Juliet: Shakespeare on the Sound’s Romeo and Juliet. June 26-July 29 (Greenwich and Rowayton). www.shakespeareonthesound.org
Have a fun and educational summer, and let me know what activities you come up with to prepare your child for the coming school year. And, to those boys I met on the train; remember how to get to Carnegie Hall … practice, practice, practice!