Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Educational Summer Vacation: Studying Hungary

Every summer, I pretend to take my kids on a trip around the world using books, recipes, music, and whatever crafts I can get my hands on.

Is it work? Absolutely. But it gives the kids something to do other than laze around in their pajamas reading. Now they laze around in their pajamas learning about countries, which is a little bit of an improvement, I guess.

The kids chose Hungary for this week, probably because we did Turkey last week and they're hilarious like that.

(You're welcome to follow along and use our ideas at home. Links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that if you buy anything using them I get a cut at no extra cost to you.)

Monday


After researching for a bit, I knew that the first thing we had to do is figure out why Hungary is called that. Did you know that Hungarians actually call their country Magyarország? Not similar at all.

We watched this video by way of explanation, and then this video of singing Hungarian provinces just for fun and to hear and see the Hungarian (or Magyar) language.

Hungarians actually call their country Magyarország... and other facts you didn't know about Hungary. Free links, resources, and printables are here!  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Then we turned to the map to find Hungary and fill out our passport pages. These pages are free to download and print: you can make a fancy cover and binding, or you can just staple them together in the corner like I did this year.


Download the Passport Pages

The kids designed and colored the Hungarian flag while I read to them from some books on Hungary I'd checked out sight unseen online from the library.

The problem with reserving books online is that you can't see what year they're written. Actually, that's not true. I think you can, but I didn't pay attention, and ended up with Take a Trip to Hungary which was written in 1986. 

Hungary was still communist then, meaning that almost none of the information was still accurate. But thanks goodness we still learned a lot from Hungary: A Portrait of the Country through its Festivals and Traditions.

We talked about St. Stephen's Day (which is only a few weeks away on August 20th) and the fact that for Christmas Hungarian kids hang a boot in the window on December 6th (which is the name day of St. Mikulás, the Hungarian Santa.)

We decided to try our hand at making Beigli, a very pretty New Year's Eve roll that is constructed sort of similar to a cinnamon roll.

Hungarians actually call their country Magyarország... and other facts you didn't know about Hungary. Free links, resources, and printables are here!  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

As you can see, my Beigli turned out beautifully and the filling definitely did not ooze out in the oven and come out looking like something from Ghostbusters.

Hungarians actually call their country Magyarország... and other facts you didn't know about Hungary. Free links, resources, and printables are here!  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Not ectoplasm. Probably.
After they were cut, they looked slightly better. Still not beautiful, but presentable.

Hungarians actually call their country Magyarország... and other facts you didn't know about Hungary. Free links, resources, and printables are here!  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
A marginal improvement.

At least they tasted good.

Tuesday


Hungarian is one of the hardest languages to learn, which fascinated my 14-year-old because she loves languages and she loves a challenge. I knew today would be right up her alley.

We read 13 Fascinating Facts about the Hungarian Language and then explored some Hungarian grammar basics and why Hungarian isn't remotely related to any of the nearby European languages:


Of course most of this video went right over the heads of my younger children (frankly, I had to watch it a few times before I understood it all,) but it was only 6 minutes long.

We then learned how to say 'yes,' 'no,' 'please,' and 'thank you' here, and practiced counting to ten in Hungarian here.

Then we watched an animated, singing Hungarian alphabet video (Magyar ábécé) and I asked the kids, "Did you notice anything about the Hungarian alphabet?


The answer is that it has a billion letters and goes on forever. (It's actually only 44, but it felt like a billion. By the end the song was starting to sound like the Lambchop's "This Is the Song That Doesn't End," which you'll be singing all day now if you were born before 1990.)

Hungarian also glues letters together to form other letters, meaning that you've got some crazy-looking letters like 'dsz.' That one is still taking me a while to wrap my head around.

I tasked the kids with writing the Hungarian letters on paper strips (I gave them a modern alphabet to copy and also an alphabet of old Hungarian runes just for fun) and then we put them all in order to make a 6-foot long paper chain.

Hungarians actually call their country Magyarország... and other facts you didn't know about Hungary. Free links, resources, and printables are here!  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

While we were busy doing that, my 2- and 4-year-old were sitting on the table writing "letters" of their own:

Hungarians actually call their country Magyarország... and other facts you didn't know about Hungary. Free links, resources, and printables are here!  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Hungarians actually call their country Magyarország... and other facts you didn't know about Hungary. Free links, resources, and printables are here!  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

I told the kids they could play around on this online Hungarian learning site, which they will take me up on only if I tell them it's their only option for screen time for the rest of the day. 

Except my 14-year-old, of course.

For dinner I made Gulyásleves (i.e: goulash) using this recipe. When I sat down to write this post, I couldn't figure out why I didn't have a picture of it, but then I remembered that was the day that I was simultaneously cooking a goulash on the stove, mowing the lawn, and keeping 6 kids alive. 

The goulash even turned out well and everybody liked it. You may kiss my ring now.

Wednesday


Ahead of time I'd research famous Hungarians and chose four to focus on. I gave my four oldest kids a biography to read (we used these books on Joseph PulitzerHarry Houdini, and Erno Rubik: Rubik's Cube Creator, plus Google to learn about Franz Liszt) and set a timer for 20 minutes.

When time was up, I gave them 10 more minutes to compose their thoughts and dress up like their assigned person. They were going to introduce themselves, and they were going to do it in character.

They were all hilarious, creative, and very informative. My 14-year-old is possibly too old for this but she was a good sport and her presentation was seriously awesome.

Thursday


After watching a 30-minute Rick Steves' Budapest: The Best of Hungary on YouTube, we watched a short video about the underground caves below the thermal baths dotting Budapest.

We read a nonficiton book about caves called, creatively enough, Cave, and then I tasked the kids with making a cave out of couch cushions.

I wasn't sure quite what they were going to do since our cushions are part of a fort more often than they are part of our sofas and I thought they'd exhausted all their architectural ideas, but they figured out something pretty cool involving draping a sheet in a doorway that all of them could fit in at once.

Until it fell down and 15 minutes of screaming ensued.

Hungarians actually call their country Magyarország... and other facts you didn't know about Hungary. Free links, resources, and printables are here!  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

I was impressed with their ingenuity, although my favorite cave they've ever made has to be this one.

Friday


We briefly discussed the history of Hungary, at least from WWII onward.

If I were trying to pretend like I had it all together this week, I'd tell you we read Peter in Peril: Courage and Hope in World War Two, a graphic novel telling the true story of a Jewish boy in Hungary during the Nazi occupation.

If I were honest, I'd tell you I lost the book and that part never happened. I know it's here somewhere because I had it yesterday, though, and I'm so annoyed because it looked like a such a good book! I did tell the kids that whoever finds it gets a popsicle, though, so it should turn up soon.

Then we talked briefly about the Soviet occupation that followed immediately after WWII. Hungary has not had an easy time. We reviewed what we knew about communism from studying communist countries like China and North Korea, and then we watched a slideshow of photos from the seige of Budapest.

During the communist years religion was discouraged, but today Hungary is mostly Christian (2/3 Catholic and 25% Calvinist.) We reviewed the basics of Catholicism with the help of this video and introduced Calvinism to the kids with this Minute Faith video. Both led to a great discussion of our differences and similarities with other faiths and what the kids' thoughts are on our beliefs. I admit that's kind of one of my favorite parts of doing these pretend trips around the world.

I made Főzelék for dinner (Hungarian lentil stew) and it was a little boring. Maybe next time I'll add a little more salt.

Hungarians actually call their country Magyarország... and other facts you didn't know about Hungary. Free links, resources, and printables are here!  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Some of our kids aren't crazy about lentils so there were some full bowls still left, but it was healthy and it's a traditional New Year's meal in Hungary for good luck in the coming year. So joke's on the kids who didn't eat it.

This week we listened to the following music:


and read the following books whenever the mood struck us:


Pretending to visit Hungary for a week was entertaining and educational. My favorite part was learning about the language and the kids' favorite part was the Beigli rolls (I didn't ask them but I think it's safe to assume.) Thanks for following along with us!


Hungarians actually call their country Magyarország... and other facts you didn't know about Hungary. Free links, resources, and printables are here!  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}


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3 comments:

  1. Those beigli look so yummy! Even if they didn't turn out like the picture, I'm sure it didn't affect the taste in any way ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ok, I'm in Firefox.
    Loved everything about this week!! Cave is my favorite!!
    And your kids are the hilariousest!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad Firefox worked for you. Computers are weird.

      Delete