Saturday, April 28, 2012

Studying Labor

Studying the the sufferings of late 19th century and early 20th century factory workers and miners has made me feel rather decadent this week. And very, very fortunate. My kids have such a hazy concept of what work is like (Travis has not repeated his brief experiment with the "iDig") that I'm not sure they really appreciate the concept of laboring 60+ hours a week in horrendous conditions for starvation wages. Actually, my work experiences, though varied, did not include conditions where my co-workers and I were apt to be sucked into machinery and ground to bits, so maybe I am not much better.
 I remember my aunt and uncle, who homeschooled their four kids, saying that they sold their business and bought a farm partly so that their children could have the experience of farm work. At the time I thought it was a little extreme, but their kids turned out well, so maybe not. Anyway, Ed won't even let us keep chickens, so I don't suppose a farm is likely. We'll just have to keep using our imaginations, which, after all, is more comfortable and creates less laundry.

Along with suffering laborers, we've been listening to a Teaching Company CD series on Victorian Britain.

It is Very entertaining. Professor Allitt has a very cute accent, and is quite funny. We've watched enough British historical drama and read enough that the kids follow the lectures pretty well. Actually, they followed Lecture 7, on The Working Class Woman, rather too well. Turned out that Professor Allitt included "workers" of a sort I hadn't expected rather substantially in that lecture. It was Very educational. But the rest of the lectures, so far, have been appropriate and interesting.

I had quite a few videos earmarked to watch as part of our history studies this week, including Newsies, a documentary on Andrew Carnegie, and something else that escapes me. But instead we've been watching The Pickwick Papers. Very silly, and sometimes the accents are beyond us, but we're enjoying the series (and if it doesn't goes with Mother Jones and the rotten mine and factory owners, it does go with Victorian Britain). We have a few more weeks of Gilded Age misery to go, anyway, so we can catch up with Carnegie, J. Pierpont Morgan, the Orphan Trains, etc. later!

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