Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Who Knew?

We've decided to slow things down to a crawl this week with our home-schooling. My original plan had been to begin everything right after Labor Day, but I got pressured into starting early...... my kids just got too excited by all the piles of books, workbooks, etc. that had taken over my dining room table and den floor. While we had a great first week, I just never felt like I had a good plan in place...... we were just a little too loose for my type-A-control-freak liking. So for the past couple of days, we've done the bare bones: math, some grammar, Bible, and our Little House read-aloud time. For the remainder of the time, the kids could do pretty much what they wanted (within reason) as long as it didn't involve a screen (no TV, computer, or Nintendo) and as long as they didn't interrupt my working (unless someone was "bleeding from the ears") on organizing the rest of our school year. I am slowly but surely beginning to feel like I've got what I hope will be a flexible road map that we can follow. Flexible, because I love where those "detours" can take us, too. Take today, for instance........

Maggie asked if they could make Play-Doh to use while I was working this afternoon. The four of them organized all the ingredients, so all I had to do was supervise the boiling water and then mix the dough while it was still too hot for them to touch. They spread out wax paper, colored their portion of dough, and then had a blast playing for the next hour or so at the kitchen table. But because something has changed in the way my brain works now, I just HAD to do a little research to make even Play-Doh time a "teachable moment." Here's what we learned..........

The McVicker family owned a business that made soap and wallpaper cleaner. (Stick with me.... it gets better) One of the sons, Joe McVicker recognized the potential of the cleaner as a toy and removed the detergents. He and his uncle, Noah, applied for a patent in 1955 and formed their own company, Rainbow Crafts. After naming the product Play-doh, the two men tested it in select schools and began selling it. The first Play-Doh was off-white and sold in 1 1/2 pound cans, but in 1957, they introduced three more colors (yellow, red, and blue) and made smaller containers available. Unable to afford a national marketing campaign, Rainbow Crafts formed an informal deal with Bob Keeshan (Captain Kangaroo) to have Play-Doh featured on his show twice a week. In return, Bob's production company received a 2% cut of Play-Doh sales. Joe McVicker became a millionaire before his 27th birthday. Play-doh can now be found in more than 6000 retail outlets in the U.S., as well as 75 other countries and online markets. Factories in China make more than 95 million cans of Play-Doh a year!

I know first-hand that FBC, Tuscaloosa, AL, was a big consumer from 1967-1969. I know this because I was a big consumer...... literally. I ate more Play-Doh during those pre-school years than one could possibly imagine. I liked the salty taste. And I loved to wash it down with my Orange Hi-C...... but that's a story for another day. Here are a few pics of my kids enjoying their Play-Doh time today:

They're all laughing..... and had no idea I was taking a picture. Love that.

Reese DID know I was taking this one. He wanted me to document his "bowling."

"Strike!" (wonder if ate any of the pins when he was done?)