March 28, 2013

Portraits of Child Labor

I told them to look miserable.  Haven is the only one who pulled it off!
It's Culture Club day!  Somehow we always end up presenting on something that's not exactly a culture, but we kind of contort it into one.  We're studying the Industrial Revolution right now, so we decided to present on "the former culture of child labor in America."  How's that for cultural studies?

Haven has been way into coal mining stuff ever since my mom bought him a miner's helmet form the Mining Museum in Park City.  For Christmas, she added a set of coveralls to complete the look.  So he was super excited to find a book all about child coal miners during the Industrial Age because it gives him an excuse to wear his whole outfit out in public.  Last week he wore his coveralls to gymnastics and I didn't realize until we were out, that without the helmet, it pretty much looks like a little inmate outfit.  Nice!

Hunter loved the movie Newsies, so he's going as a newsboy who gambles away his earnings behind a bar in New York, and who drinks beer and smokes cigarettes.  Before you hate my guts for letting my 7 year old pretend to be a smoking drinker, pause, and consider that that's exactly what 7 year old news boys did back in the day.  Orphan kids, sleeping on the street, trying to look tough so that no one messed with's all in the presentation.  So don't hate on me.  If we're going to study history, we've gotta be real about it.  Ya know?  And he was actually appalled to see pictures of little boys smoking.  He yelled, "Why on earth!  They're going to get cancer!  Where are their parents?"  But it's always the most shocking aspects of a culture that make the cut for Culture Club.

And Hannah Jane kills me with how much she looks the part of a poor factory girl.  She got pretty into Samuel Slater, so of course, she has to be a kid in one of his mills.  She tries to fake an accent, but she's so shy that it's killing her to make every 20th word have a twang to it.  Every now and then she breaks out in a Whoo-Wee!  And then she has to pause her presentation to giggle.  It's adorable!

Well, I'm off the grid for the next 4 days!  Off to a women's retreat in Idaho with my dearest gal pal while Joe takes off to watch the kids.  How lucky am I?  But it's my first time leaving the kids for a solo trip, so I'm kind of sad too.  We'll see how it goes!  Wish me luck!


  1. I love your family so much! And I am in awe of your teaching skills. My maternal Grandfather started working in the Pennsylvania coal mines beside his dad when he was 12. They would arrive at the mine before the other miners who paid them to "shoot coal" (blast with TNT) in their respective consignments. That way, when they arrived, it was ready for digging and they could load their required "16-tons". By grandfather got real good with dynamite. He put a basement under his own house that way.

  2. Wow, Darrell! I'm going to share that with Haven. He'll love to hear about it. That's about the scariest coal mining job I've heard of! And at 12? It's amazing the kinds of things people have had to do just to get by. Makes us realize how truly blessed we are. Thanks for sharing that!


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