Did you know that it was 100 years ago yesterday that the unsinkable Titanic hit it’s iceberg and as of 2:20 AM this morning the tradgedy culminated with it’s sinking? Well, if you didn’t, don’t feel bad, I might not have either if it wasn’t for my five-year-old.
Yes, Mr. Titanic himself reminded me during our homeschool studies that this week was the big 100 year anniversary.
Now what, you might ask, is a five-year-old doing with that tid-bit of knowledge rolling around in his little brain?
Well, let me tell you, he not only knows the date but also can spell the ship’s name, tell you whether it hit the iceberg on the bow or stern, tell you about how many people were on the ship and how many survived, how many dogs were on the ship, how many smoke stacks it had, what colors it was, why they didn’t have enough life boats, and a million other facts that would have slipped my mind long ago.
It all started a couple of years ago with his big brother’s fascination with the movie soundtrack and the creation of a “garage band” of several four to nine-year-old cousins who aptly named their band “The Titanic”. The adults who were subjected to their performances couldn’t have been happier than when the act prophetically sunk. But the fascination must have floated around in their minds because the Titanic was the first thing they wanted to visit on our trip back East.
Visit the Titanic, you might ask? Well, yes, sort of.
You see in February one of our first stops on our big trip to the Mid-Atlantic States was in Pigeon Forge for the city’s “Saddle Up” event. The folks there at the City of Pigeon Forge treated us with VIP passes to the gigantic Titanic Museum/Exhibit that really looks like the ship, complete with iceberg. After spending an afternoon as four of her passengers (complete with their names and histories) we were submerged in little known facts, overwhelmed with actual artifacts retrieved from the ship’s underwater grave, and drowned by the sheer magnitude of the tragedy. Ethan on the other hand became obsessed; the character he played not only survived but exploded in his mind, carrying him into a world of over-sized ships, Captains, Skippers, ice-bergs, and sunken treasure.
After leaving Pigeon Forge, TN we traveled east to South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia where we got to spend an afternoon on the beach at the Atlantic Ocean. Wouldn’t you know it, as we were about to leave, none other than the USS Enterprise cruised by as she departed for her final voyage before retirement. I was pretty excited to be able to say we were there, but for Ethan it was a true miracle. For him, seeing that big aircraft carrier (the first and largest nuclear powered one of its kind) on its final voyage was just about as good as it gets and I think that cinched the deal. From then on all we have heard about is the Titanic.
I was naive enough to think his obsession might dwindle over the trip, but no, while we were in Williamsburg, VA for the Williamsburg Film Festival he purchased an old black & white 1940’s movie “The Titanic” that was made in Germany during the war and is all in German with sub-titles. Do you know that although he can’t read, he has watched the movie no less than two dozen times? His enthusiasm even rubbed off on his little 4 year old friend who, to his mother’s surprise, sat and watched the entire movie with him last night even when they were given the chance to watch Tin Tin instead!
So the final blow came with the April issues of National Geographic and National Geographic for Kids… both featured articles on the ship which have now been read, analyzed, and believe it or not, disputed by my boys. With R.W.’s help they have even created a cardboard model of the ship – which they hope to one day float with full knowledge that being made of cardboard ensures that it will sink!
There really isn’t much point to this story except to say that I am really glad we are homeschooling this year so that these little minds can absorb such things as the fact that today was the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.
It is exciting watching our boys learn and share with others things that they find interesting, even though it may be somewhat unique and obscure. And, I am hoping that after today, Mr. Titanic will find something new that sparks his imagination and we can enthusiastically embark on another voyage into history that we might otherwise never take.