Monday, August 31, 2009

Our Trip to the Historic Triangle

We had a great time on vacation last week! We saw Appomattox Courthouse, Jamestown, Yorktown, Williamsburg and Nauticus. We also spent a beautiful afternoon at Virginia Beach.

Several folks have asked us why we didn't do Busch Gardens. Well, besides the high price, our kids have never really enjoyed amusement park rides (though Terry and I enjoy them immensely), and Terry and I don't particularly enjoy standing in line. I guess Terry and I need to go by ourselves in the off-season or something.

My favorite things were listening to the reenactor at Appamatox Courthouse (he was really good, and at $8 for the whole family, this was the best bargain of the trip), Yorktown (where we ended the day with a free Air Force band concert), reading on the beach, and my date with Terry at Shield's Tavern in Williamsburg (where they served a Wildberry Crunch Pie that was too die for!). Our youngest boys really enjoyed the Nauticus museum in Norfolk, and the oldest kids liked Jamestown and Williamsburg best.

All of the Historic Triangle places were featuring games for the month of August. So our kids got to learn to play lots of games that were played by Indians and English Settlers from 1607-1776. Most involved gambling!

The kids enjoyed dressing up at Yorktown and Jamestown.

I'm going to post some more pictures on Facebook in the next day or two.

A special thanks to Mom and Dad for letting us have a week at their time-share!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Our First Notebooking

This year we are doing something different. We are spending one morning a week just creating notebook pages (think scrapbook page with a scholastic theme). My kids generally like to create, draw, arrange, etc. and I think this will give them a creative outlet and help them remember what they learn. It will also help use up all the scrapbooking supplies I have now that I have mostly converted to digital scrapbooking.

For now, I'm going to let them choose what to notebook about themselves- as long as it's something they've been learning about or reading (in other words, not just something about Star Wars!). Today, Noah chose to do some pages on Captain John Smith, who we've been studying about in preparation for our field trip (i.e. vacation) to Jamestown in two weeks. He's working on a time line. Here's what he's gotten so far:

From School Year 2009-2010

One interesting thing we learned about John Smith is that prior to the Civil War, he was much more of a national hero. During the war, an historian from the north (Henry Adams) wrote many things to undermine John Smith's reputation- it was pretty much war propaganda. Now the truth is coming out! Many sources (besides the writings of John Smith himself) now corraborate most of his stories. He was a true hero!

Caleb did a page on the 2009 Tour-de-France. We learned a lot about the race this year and watched most of the stages. Caleb even signed up to do his own "tour" online and mapped all the routes he takes around here. He rides quite often now - in fact, he rode twenty miles this afternoon!

From School Year 2009-2010

Nathan decided to do some book-report-style pages on Rakkety Tam, one of the Redwall books he read this summer. He has become a real fan of the series. Here's his first page:

From School Year 2009-2010

All in all, it's been a good first week of school. We have enjoyed learning about Jamestown, John Smith, and Pocahantas and are simultaneously learning about the Santa Fe Trail (Santa Fe was founded in the same year as Jamestown). The boys wrote stories about a buffalo hunt this week, and Nathan's made me laugh out loud! He wrote it from the point of view of a buffalo that took revenge on the Indians.