12 September 2008

Our *First* Field Trip

Today was our first official field trip since beginning homeschooling. We took a little drive north into Tennessee to visit the Shiloh National Military Park. I had been there once probably 15 years ago and only remembered a little about it. I've been wanting to visit it again ever since we moved to this region.

Having been the site of one of the Civil War's most bloody battles, it is now a quiet, picturesque, wooded military park. It's a beautiful place to visit. As we drove in we were first greeted by this lovely creature:
Then we checked out the Visitor Center where we inspected Civil War artifacts and watched a short film about the battle. I was a little worried how the kiddos may respond to the battle scenes in the film, but it was made years ago and had about as much blood as a John Wayne movie (no offense to the National Parks Service film department) and, frankly, I was relieved. I'd rather not see that horrible battle reenacted realistically anyway. (Although I am now, for the first time, actually interested in going to one of those Civil War reenactments sometime).
looking around the Visitor Center
The Princess looking at a patriotic display
some Civil War-era eating utensils and grooming aids
While at the Visitor Center I saw a brochure on something called *Junior Rangers*. I decided to ask about it, thinking it might be something fun for the kiddos. Turns out, it was! They gave each of them a booklet (think: workbook) to complete and promised them a certificate and their own park ranger badge when they returned to show their completed work. They were excited about the prospect of badges and I was excited about the additional help with our educational field trip! Obviously, Mr. B couldn't fill his out, so Mama & Daddy helped and we also helped The Princess along as she filled out hers. It worked like this: we drove through the park with the map and at each of the tour stops there were questions to answer. We had to find the answers by reading the sign markers throughout the park. It was probably designed for the slightly older student, but The Princess had a great time with it anyway. She was so adorable painstakingly filling in the blanks and searching for the answers at each tour stop. There were lots of other activities in the booklet, too, that she enjoyed. I had no idea that the NPS did things like that at their parks. From now on I'm going to be on the lookout! Here are some more pictures from our day:
on the Tennessee River where the Union soldiers landed
Civil War cannons
the Shiloh Church, after which the battle was named
Vince *preaching* in the Shiloh church
playing inside the log church was the kiddos' favorite thing
the only other surviving home from that time

the battlefield

The kiddos with their badges and certificates and the National Park Passports they got for souvenirs--each time they visit a park or site in the system they get a stamp in their passport.


KC said...

sounds like a really cool place for your 1st field trip. glad everyone had fun.

preppy little dress said...

wow, looks like fun!

Betsy said...

How fun is that!? :) Looks like a neat place....

Kari said...

I really do wish they'd had those when we were kids...just think of all the stamps we'd have! =) I'm really thinking about trying to compile the dates for one of my own. haha

Nancy said...

Looks like a great time! where was this park...Steve and I visited something similar near Pigeon Forge, TN (pre-kiddos).

Glad you guys had a great time!

Lora said...

This probably isn't the one you visited since it's west of Nashville. There's probably one closer to Pigeon Forge. You know there's a Civil War battlefield not too far south of you, too, at Pea Ridge, AR--it might be an hour and a half from you or so. And there's also one in the Fayetteville area at Prairie Grove. I'm hoping next spring we can go see a reenactment at one of those.

Anonymous said...

The picture of Vince "preaching" is cracking me up! Hannah has been in school now for 5 weeks and still hasnt taken a field trip :( Looks like ya'll had a blast! Love ya'll, Sarah C.