Colonial Williamsburg: Field Trip

Colonial Williamsburg is one of the places I’ve been anxiously waiting to take the girls! I wanted them to be old enough to enjoy it and appreciate as much of the history as possible. Rose and Beth have experienced a lot of history already through Heart of Dakota and Grace is soaking in all that her sisters do. This year the homeschool days for Williamsburg seemed to line up perfectly with our schedule. My parents were able to tag along as well which was nice since they have season passes and could offer some advice about which areas the girls would enjoy the most.

The girls each had a colonial dress which was also fun! Beth’s was the last to get done. I didn’t make any of these and Rose and Grace’s were given to us. I found the one for Beth on e-bay. It was very nicely made, but needed some minor alterations including a rather large hem job! I thankfully have a good friend who comes and helps me with sewing projects if I get stuck and she was just so helpful!

I’ve also been reading the Felicity books to the girls in preparation of our trip. I was hoping to get through more than one book, but now we have first-hand experience in Williamsburg so I think they’ll really enjoy the books. Starting next week I’ll be doing activities with the girls each Friday along with these books. I’m really looking forward to this and can’t wait to share our experiences with you!

Her are some of the highlights of our few days away. I loved that so many of the reenactors took the time to actively engage the girls!

This is the print shop where the girls learned all about printing. They had a cute kitty there too! The paper had to be kept moist for the ink to set. They were surprised how wet it felt!

The Silversmith’s shop was LOUD! They said it wasn’t normally that loud, but on that particular day the things they were working on all needed hammering!

The nice lady at the apothacary offered to pull Beth’s loose tooth, but she politely declined with a, “No thank you!” 

We all enjoyed the music teacher! I guess this is what I would have looked like back then.

Whatever they did, I guess they were in on it together! Rose didn’t want any part of the stockades!

They really enjoyed the palace tour and seeing all the weapons in the armory. Grace loved the maze of bushes behind the palace!

My silly soldiers kept laughing and their sergeant was so gruff! Grace got tired of the soldiering after a while, but Rose and Beth were ready to go through training again! 
It really was a lot of walking for my girls in the 3 days we were there, but they really did well! Grace was carried quite a bit of the way, but the weather was cool enough and we had drinks all day long. 
I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the ladies dying the yarn and seeing the workings of the weaving shop. The girls were a bit grossed out by the fact that bugs were used to dye yarn. They were even more disgusted when they found out they still use them in some food dyes! 
I was really surprised how much they loved the model of Williamsburg in the visitors center. Every time we went there they wanted to stop and take a peek!
We all thoroughly enjoyed the tea house. We each had chocolate which needed quite a bit of cream and sugar to make it taste yummy. Next time we go I think I’ll try some tea. Grandma and Grandpa really like their coffee. 
I’m sad to say this is our one and only family picture! 
I’m usually really good about making sure we have a few family shots, but I just forgot this time. 
Here are some of the treasures the girls came back from Williamsburg with. Rose loves her quill pen and ink and Beth adores her coloring book of colonial fashion trends! Grace has a sweet little horse and lamb, but was adamant that they did not want their picture taken! 
I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse into our trip! The girls all asked, “When do we get to come back?” That tells me they had a really good time! 
Family Friendly: 10
Kids Engagement: 10 (This sort of depends on their ages!)
Likelihood to return: 10 

Field Trip: Museum of Life and Science Engineering Day

We had a fabulous time at our local children’s museum. There was a special day all about engineering and the girls had a blast! I love providing them with opportunities I can’t really give them at home. Building, constructing, problem solving…2 hours of pure educational fun!

Gumdrop Towers!
Rose gets a Tallest Tower height
Building boats and testing their weight capacity
Creating circuits
Lego machines!!!!!! Need I say more?

Constructing a remote control car
Driving her construction! And Grace is driving someone else’s!
Beth made it through the maze!

So far this summer…

I may or may not get around to documenting our summer field trips. We’ve had so many already! Here is a little peek into some of the fun we’ve had in just a few short weeks…

Great Wolf Lodge Mini-Vacation

Home Depot Project #2
Florida Aquarium

Glazer Children’s Museum

Lowery Park Zoo

We’ve also had a lot of fun around the house indoors and out…

New Pets

Craft Projects

Outdoor Fun

Field Trip: Home Depot Project

When free field trip opportunities come our way we jump at the chance. I’ve seen these projects at Home Depot advertised for a couple of years, but we hated to take one of the girls and not both. I thought this one looked like a lot of fun so my husband called to check on the ages and they said that even though there is a suggested age range, everyone is welcome! So we packed up the girls on this usually cook Saturday morning and ventured to our first Home Depot Kids Project Workshop!

The workshop area is set up outdoors, but is enclosed with an orange barrier and underneath the cover close to the store. I appreciate the care taken to make this as safe and enjoyable as possible. The only downside to the morning was the store had not received their order of kids’ aprons. Since this project involved painting that would have been really nice. We hope to get one next time!
The nice Home Depot employee gave the girls a variety of colors and our girls were thrilled to have their favorites as choices! Beth picked pink, Rose purple, and Grace blue. Beth liked painting, but did not appreciate the cold wind that was blowing. May is usually very warm in the south so we anticipate warmer weather next month.  She liked handling the screwdriver although she did need a little help from us to get it tight enough. She loved the color of pink paint and happily painted the back of her planter pink once she finished up with the screwdriver. 

Rose loves working with her hands and likes to make crafts. Before we even started she asked excitedly, “Can we come again next week!?!?” Her only frustration is she likes to do everything on her own and doesn’t always like to wait on help from one of us. She did quite well getting the screw in place for the project and only needed a bit of help getting it started. Her favorite part of the project was planting the flowers for the planter. 
Grace jumped into this project without any hesitation! She knew right away she wanted to paint it blue and went at it with gusto. She did want to mix the colors more than she wanted to paint at first though. I liked that the brushes the girls used were sponge brushes. They easily painted on the wood and did not give such a think coat that it took a long time to dry. Grace is still young enough she doesn’t mind extra help from her parents. She was younger than the target age, but had a lot of fun and did a great job! 
Finally the girls were ready to get flowers for their planters! 
Everyone was so kind and engaging with the girls. I can imagine there might be times when this could be a rather thankless job, but the employees were all very patient and pleasant, directly instructing the girls and allowing them to fully participate in every aspect of the project.
Grace wanted to add a lot of dirt! She was just tall enough to reach the into the cart and scoop out some dirt for her pots. 
Beth has always loved playing int he dirt and really enjoyed this part as well. I liked that the project included more than just the building and incorporated gardening as well.
The girls were allowed to pick which flowers they wanted in the planters. Each chose one red and one purple. We’ll make sure these get hung in a nice sunny spot outside! 
This is definitely a great way to give kids a hands-on project with no cost to your family! In addition to the project the kids each get a project apron (getting ours next time!) and a project pin to place on their apron. Collecting a variety of pins is just one more fun aspect to this outing! We look forward to participating each time one of these activities is available!
Family Friendly: 10
Kids Engagement: 10
Likelihood to return: 10 

Field Trip: Museum of Life and Science and Giveaway!

When I started homeschooling last year it wasn’t expected, I felt an incredible amount of pressure to get everything in, and all my glorious ideas of field trips flew out the window. I kept a mental list of field trips…the only thing is that nothing ever got checked off the list. Then I decided we’d do field trips on Fridays so we could have something to look forward to each week…which lasted one week. It isn’t that I didn’t like field trips, but things started coming up, or they came down with colds…I’m sure you understand and could probably add to the list!

One of the best ways I found to fit field trips in more frequently is by looking locally. No matter where you live there are opportunities for experiential learning through field trips. We are blessed to have a variety of museums close enough for a day-trip that doesn’t leave us completely wiped out. One of those is the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, NC, a hands-on science museum which explores mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry and so much more!

In all honesty hands-on doesn’t even begin to do it justice. I remember visiting this museum when I was a child and I loved it every time. Some of my favorite exhibits are even still there! Still, no matter how much I loved it as a kid, seeing this through the eyes of my children brings me joy in such a different way. Their wonderment of discovery seems even greater than my memories.

The aerospace and weather exhibits have been here for years. Instead of “hands” off signs, children are encouraged to touch and experience all they see. Even the space ship which Enos (the second chimpanzee in space) rode in is available for everyone to see and touch. The girls love this area and I love all the history from our own space program represented here.

Also located inside are wonderful exhibits of animals native to the area. The girls really enjoy the variety and I like that everything is behind glass!

Rose really enjoyed Flip It, Fold It, Figure It Out upstairs. Intricate examples of origami inspires visitors to try their own creations!

Also inside are examples of animal jaws along with a display of how a variety of animals eat. Grace really liked the shark jaw!

Outside are the barnyard animals, which I sadly have to avoid! My husband is used to this though due to my hay allergy. Still, the kids see goats, sheep, rabbits, donkeys, owls, and many more.

Just past the barnyard animals is the Insectarium and the Magic Wings Butterfly House. While I’m not a huge fan of the insectarium, I could stay in the butterfly house all day! The insecterium houses a variety of amazing insects, but again I’m thrilled they are behind glass…mostly! There is one particular spider which I was told did not stray from its habitat, usually. My husband likes it, but not me!

The butterfly house is amazing…unbelievably amazing! Butterflies are everywhere, filling the warm air with beauty you don’t usually see this up close. If you are fortunate, butterflies will land on you or your clothes. Young butterflies are released twice a day and kids can seen them up close as they flutter away. The variety of flowers and butterflies provide endless opportunities for photographers, experienced or just beginning like me! This is easily my favorite part of the museum.

Beth loves the Dinosaur Trail. Beautifully crafted dinosaur statues line a walkway. Kids can see, touch, and climb on life-size dinos!

Other things we didn’t experience because of time! Younger kids have an indoor play area, the outdoor playground provides endless amounts of fun, train rides occur every 30 minutes, when the warm weather comes Into the Mist is a great way to cool off, and special events run throughout the year! On April 20 the Shark Tooth Hunt begins!

You can bring your own lunch to enjoy in the picnic area, but you can also buy yummy treats at the Sprout Cafe. We all enjoyed the variety of food which was healthy, filling, and oh-so-good!

Sometimes field trips take a lot of planning and preparation. The Museum of Life and Science needs none of this. You can spend as much or as little time in whatever areas that interest you and your children more. We arranged our visit just as we finished up Rose’s astronomy unit. There is so much to see and experience a single day to visit may not cover everything. We ended our visit by purchasing a year-long pass!

Now for a give-away! The Museum of Life and Science has generously donated a 1-day-family pass for a giveaway! There are several ways to enter. Take time to visit their website and tell me your favorite exhibit!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Family Friendly: 10
Kids Engagement: 10
Likelihood to return: 10 (We may just come weekly!) 
We received admission for our family to The Museum of Life and Science in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. No other compensation was received. 

Field Trip: Bennett Place

My dad gave me my love for history. He told me stories that made history alive and gave me the desire to find out more. I had good teachers a long the way, but none could compare to the knowledge my dad gave me. When he called and told me he was going to be participating in a Civil War reenactment at Bennett Place, a Civil War historical site, I immediately made plans for the us all to go! 
This particular reenactment revolved around camp-life for the soldiers. Although I would be interested in seeing a battlefield reenactment one day I don’t feel the girls are at an appropriate age for this. The girls thought the tent my dad slept in the night before looked like a lot of fun! I’m not sure I agree, but it was interesting nonetheless. 
A good friend of my dad’s is the one who set this up for him. He frequently attends reenactment events. He helps provide period entertainment for the events on his banjo. Beth especially enjoyed this part of the day!

The girls also enjoyed the gentleman who brought toys from this period. They played all sorts of games. Some we already own and others were new. All were fun!

I enjoyed learning a colonial dance…much to my husband’s enjoyment! I don’t typically participate in a lot of the fun because I’m busy snapping pictures. When I was asked if I wanted to learn a colonial dance, my husband encouraged me to go have some fun, so I did!

Although this wasn’t a battle reenactment there was a drill demonstration. Beth and Grace did not like this part, so my sweet husband took photos for me while the younger girls and I stayed at a distance with their heads buried on either side of me. 

The gunfire was loud, but it was a lot of fun to watch the drill! I think my dad did quite a good job for his first time doing this!

The girls had so much fun dressing in their old-fashioned dresses, learning about history, and just experiencing something new. Historical sites hold events throughout the year which can greatly enrich your homeschool. I didn’t plan it this way, but we began a unit on the Civil War this week. It is a great way to make history come alive for your kids!

Family Friendly: 10
Kid’s Engagement: 10
Likelihood to return: 10 

Field Trip: Hollywood Fire Station

Are you looking for a fun, new experience for your kids to beat the winter blahs? I suggest the fire station! We have a good friend who attends my in-laws church and happily showed us around the busiest station in Hollywood, FL. Mark truly loves his job and he was such a great guide!

This station has an engine, a bucket truck, and an EMS truck as well as two back-up EMS trucks which are mostly used for events like football games. Mark currently works on the EMS truck.

Mark took time to show the girls what was in every compartment of the engine, explain all about the different hoses, show which tools were most important to the fire fighters, and answered all of our questions. The girls asked a lot about the different knobs and buttons they saw on the truck. We also found out that the most common calls the EMS truck gets are, “I’m not feeling well,” from the elderly.

The girls even got to try holding some of the equipment and were surprised just how heavy it was!

My husband also tried out some of the equipment. He commented how heavy it must be to carry just the air tank for a long time, let alone adding on everything else. The girls enjoyed watching Daddy get fitted for a tank!

One of Mark’s fireman friends, Emmanuel, put on all his gear and showed everything to the girls. He was so nice and Rose was fascinated, but Grace and Beth were a little intimidated. It was great for them to see and Mark made sure to tell them that if they were ever in a fire and saw someone dressed like this coming toward them not to run away because they were the good guys there to help them. I had never thought about it, but for a kid in trouble who is already scared, this would be pretty intimidating.

(Daddy got in this picture because of the nervous girls!)
Beth helped close one of the compartments on the truck. She was overwhelmed and didn’t ask as many questions as Rose, but she had a great time and enjoyed herself the whole time. 
We also saw where the rescue workers hang out and eat while not on a call…
where they do their laundry…
where they find their calls…
and where they hang their equipment!

This was not only an informative and very interesting field trip for the girls, it also helped them see rescue workers as real people and I hope would help them from being scared if they were ever in need of them. Everyone at the fire station took time to come over and meet us and say hello to my girls. I love that we were able to be shown around by a friend. It made everything more personal and memorable for all of us. 
Here’s a great big, “Thank You!” to Mark and all of the other rescue workers at Station 5 of the Hollywood Fire and Rescue Department!

Field Trip: The Seashore

No matter what we do when we go away we strive to give our girls opportunities to experience as much fun as possible!

We were blessed with extremely mild weather while visiting Hilton Head, South Carolina. I had already warned my girls that we could walk on the beach and see the ocean, but it was probably going to be too cold to do anything else. I am happy to be wrong! While my husband was in one of his meetings I took the girls and we bought sand pails and shovels…and a few other things!

Rose, Beth, and Grace desperately wanted to get in the water, but it was way too cold. I did allow them to dip their toes in (thinking in my motherly wisdom that the iciness would cure her curiosity), but unfortunately that just tempted my girls more!

My favorite moment was when Rose told her sisters they needed to back up from the waterline because the tide was going to be coming in soon. She explained that she had been watching the water and it would soon wash away their efforts. She also created a model of what the ocean floor looked like with seashells and water on top and explained to her sisters how the water as clear, not blue, like it appears. What a blessing to hear her teaching her sisters things she learned earlier this year as we studied the seashore. 

They also chased some gulls…

And I had the chance to read…

We want our girls to recognize God’s hand in their moments, enjoy life, see everything as a learning opportunity, and grow to become friends as well as sisters. The beach provided opportunity for all of those. 

Field Trip: Harbour Town Lighthouse

When I was anticipating the trip to Hilton Head Island, SC I immediately wanted to look for the nearest lighthouse. My husband and I have always been partial to lighthouses. We love the symbolic nature they have for us as Christians. When deciding on a name for our homeschool which is required by our state I emailed him a list of several options. Within just a few minutes he replied that Lighthouse Christian Academy was the winner.

The Harbour Town Lighthouse is smaller than others I have seen, but I love the beautiful pattern it is painted. As you make the trek up the 114 steps you are treated to a history of the island and lighthouse. There is a gift shop at the top with many collectibles.

Originally we planned on all making the trip to the top…but since I was still recovering from surgery I missed out on this one. I wasn’t sure how the girls would do on the way up, but my husband said they did fine. This entire post is from what I was told second hand about their adventure. I was shopping!

We made it!

The staff was extremely friendly and was kind enough to replace a ceramic ring we bought my daughter that she accidentally dropped outside on the concrete. My dear husband ran…he’s a marathon runner, so no big deal…to the top to purchase a replacement and they gave him one instead.

Back at the bottom

Although the girls enjoyed themselves, this was not their favorite outing. It did follow The Sandbox, they were tired after also playing on the beach that morning, but even without those things I wouldn’t say this was a highlight for them. My husband and I really like this kind of thing and I am disappointed I didn’t get to make the jaunt.

There are a few things to consider before taking young kids up to the top. Although 114 steps doesn’t seem too bad for a lighthouse, it is pretty tiring on little legs. Also, when you get to the top it opens right into the gift shop with lots of breakables, so be wary of little ones getting ahead of you!

Here are some views from the top…

I’m not really boat person, but these look so pretty in the harbor!
I would love to explore those islands sometime!
God blessed us with such beautiful weather during our visit!
This is my husband’s golf envy shot!

Field Trip Rating
Family Friendly: 7
Kids Engagement: 5
Likelihood to return: 3 (Unless the kids aren’t along)