25 July 2013

The Coolest Kids

I have the coolest kids.

No, really, I do.

This week we've been attending presentations by Ohio Chautauqua, a troupe of actors who portray historical figures under a big, old-fashioned, red and white striped tent. To be boring for a moment, I'll define what this is a little better. The Ohio Humanities Council website defines it like this:

"A Chautauqua offers living history presented by scholar-actors who assume the role of historical characters."

The events are called Chautauqua after the lake in New York where they first became popular in the late 19th century (incidentally, the lake is gorgeous, especially when frozen and covered with snow). They were originally designed to be educational opportunities for adults to enrich their lives, but they now attract audience members from all age groups. Music, seminars, and live first person performances are featured. 

Two years ago, Ohio Chautauqua was in our town portraying Civil War figures who were either from Ohio or who had an influence on our state history. We got to see Harriet Tubman, and I learned so much! This year, the actors are portraying people who were part of our history when Ohio was the western frontier of America.  So far, we have heard from Chief John Logan, Oliver Hazard Perry, and Margaret Blennerhasset. Tomorrow, we will be missing the performance of Lewis and Clark expedition member, York, but we'll be back under the tent on Saturday to hear all about Johnny Appleseed. I think we're all the most excited about hearing from him!

Actually, if you're local and you're reading this, I can tell you the gentleman who portrays John Chapman has been making me laugh all week, and he hasn't even been portraying his character. If you haven't made it to the fairgrounds, go on Saturday and hear Johnny Appleseed!

Back to my point. I have the coolest kids. They love this.They are engaged in the performances each night, they come home discussing everything that they learned about each character and that period of history, and Ava even asked a question during the question and answer session one evening with a few hundred strangers watching because she was interested in what she was learning!  I don't think they even realize how much they're learning by participating in this.

It could be said that my kids are just used to this stuff. We took Lukas to Fort McHenry, where the Star Spangled Banner was penned, when he was 11 months old. Ava saw Valley Forge, Gettysburg, the Liberty Bell, and Independence Hall when she was a toddler. We study history through living, historical books. They've been to museums and monuments and even a castle.

The thing is that they love all those things.  And that's what makes them cool.

I have the coolest kids. For real.

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