It has been an interesting time here at Travelling History Company. Over recent weeks we have been providing humanities home tutoring which was a first for us and great fun. We also had the pleasure of being invited to deliver talks on historical astronomy at Red Maids' school as part of their annual astronomy evening, an amazing event despite the clouds. And then the virus arrived!
All our school and outdoor learning is of course on hold but another first is that we have been teaching humanities online which has gone much better than expected. We have got to grips with the technology for live lessons and are creating some "mini histories" for our home educators. These are short but quite fun interactive (in a manner of speaking) "Prezi" presentations.
If there can be anything good to be said about the past week it has to be the weather and successive fabulous moonless clear skies over Bristol. We have been testing our pop up observatory that was due to be unleashed on our spring retreats that will now hopefully become autumn retreats. This makes quite a big difference to the observing experience, somewhere cosy to sit, blankets keeping the damp ground at bay and shelter from the wind.
For four nights we (the family, well, me and my daughter when she could be coaxed out with a bar of chocolate) spent the evenings exploring the sky with our fabulous Celestron C8, which is celebrating its 29th birthday this year (a couple of Travelling History blog subscribers will remember this telescope when it first arrived in Spain all those years ago). This is completely manual astronomy, no auto alignments to go wrong, no batteries to run out, no wires trip over; astronomy is one of its purest forms. We even had some music, although how impressed my daughter was with the soporific sounds of Tangerine Dream is questionable.
This inspired our mini astronomies, the idea being we take a single star visible from your garden, or maybe just a window, and learn both how to find it and a little bit about its history. You can find our first efforts about the amazing Delta Cephei and Algol here.
With the Easter holidays upon us we are now busy planning both for online lessons next term and for plenty of outdoor learning once we are all allowed out again.
For the home educators in Gloucester we look forward to reconvening our current sessions and then moving on to summer field trips and our 5th home learning series. In Bristol we hope to organise more summer activity at the Blaise estate. We recently had a little run of enquiries about other bespoke history sessions, do keep in touch with us.
We also have plans for more geophysics and excavation in the Forest of Dean and another archaeology outreach project in Guernsey.