Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summer School Adventures starting...

What do you do when the heat index passes 100? You take a field trip to a park and do some nature exploring, of course :o) Yes, I've been known to be a bit insane at times. Man, it was hot. It was beyond hot. Way off yonder on the other side of hot and muggy. Way. Off. Beyond.

I know -- I've been here in Mississippi for 4 years now, and we've made a few drives down the Natchez Trace, mostly as a by-pass kind of trip, but nothing really in-depth -- nothing you'd even call skimming the history even.

But, that's about to change for this homeschooling brood. We spent about an hour in the park, checking out the swings and playground fun, then walked around the 'lake' there and found all sorts of things...the sun-drenched playground, some hungry geese who thoroughly enjoyed our bread, a hidden Muscovey nest under the wooden band shell, lots of interesting tree shapes to add to our notebooks, even several trees with lines/rows of markings (wood peckers maybe? I'm not a nature person so maybe someone else knows what they are...lines and lines up the trunks as far as we could see, little tiny holes that don't realy go very deep), and the biggest bullfrog I've ever seen in my life. Maybe I just don't get out much, but that baby was huge, let me tell you. I had to sort of lean way over, hanging on a tree limb and squatting down and stretching out my cell phone to get his picture way up under the brush and tree swamp stuff.

And on the way home, we took The Trace (to by-pass Tupelo traffic really) and decided as we were already dripping with Mississippi summer heat, we might as well stop at a couple roadsides and check them out. We walked the trails around the Chickasaw Village site, and the Olde Town Lookout site. Then we pulled into the Visitor Center there at the Tupelo exit. Can't believe I've wasted 4 years not stopping in there! I could spend alot of time and several chunks of the school book budget in there. All manners of books covering the history of the area, the history of the Trace itself, tthe Indian tribes from the area, Civil War sites around, etc. Tons of stuff. I'm going to see what I can find online to get us started with the summer long unit study.

We may even join their Junior Rangers Program, and starting this weekend, we'll make the rounds with their Pioneer Day and their Dulcimer Day they offer each month. We are even taking our dulcimer along for some lessons. I'd like to take a trip and follow the entire 444 miles of The Trace, stopping at all the side areas along the route itself. For now, we will contend with looking through WebRangers and then see what we can gather this coming weekend at the Pioneer Day gathering.

I think we can even tie in our Trail Guide to U.S. Geography studies as well -- doing a virtual tour of the various National Parks online, and meeting up with online folks from those areas.

Of course, you know me...I like my curriculum...I found this the other day, and I would like to given it a try, too. Looks interesting. But...the last thing I need to is to be tossing another iron in my fire, heh? We'll have more than enough read-aloud material after visiting The Trace Visitor Center again this weekend! shhh...don't tell Dewey I'm adding even more curriculum...let's surprise him :o)


My Own Terms said...

Great post! Loved the pictures, and the description of your heat made me jealous. I know, "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence". We have yet to have a day out of the 70's, and we have had nearly triple the normal rainfall for this month. Six straight days this time.
I love the WebRangers link, and will definitely be doing this with my kids over the summer. If you ever need any info on NH, feel free to stop by my blog and give me a shout.

Michele said...

Lovely pics; nice to get out I'm sure. The heat is not my friend!

randy said...

Great article about the Natchez Trace Parkway. The Trace and the area it passes through is steeped in history. Another great source of information, pictures, and maps about the parkway can be found at NatchezTraceTravel.com


Jeremiah 6:16
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

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