Then we had an unschooling day too terrific not to share. (And it didn't cost a dime, 'less you count the Internet connection for $24.99 a month...)
That led to a discussion of how long ago 1929 was, and animation in that time, all done by hand, and how people didn't have TV's but rather watched cartoons in the movie theaters. From there we clicked on another Silly Symphony cartoon, "Lullaby Land" from '33.
This video inspired a discussion of the artifacts of the 1930s: straight clothes pins, square folding diapers, long underwear, chamber pots, fountain pens and ink wells, straight razors, and straight can openers. Also, boogie men and the sand man make appearances, two folk figures we hadn't previously encountered.
Silly Symphony "Flowers and Trees" was next, with a brief commentary from me on the historic depiction of gender dynamics.
And finally, "Music Land," which Woody liked a lot because the instrument castles transformed into cannons in the Symphony Island vs. Jazz Island battle. He thought it was funny that the instruments communicated in music rather than speaking, and they wrote lines of musical notes instead of letters and words.
We watched a couple of others, too, but these four cartoons were the catalysts for an hour and a half worth of learning about the 1930's. It was fast learning, rapid-fire questions and answers short enough not to get in the way of the watching. I had to catch my breath when the boys finally moved on to something else.