Thursday, May 24, 2012

Field Trips Galore

Did you think I fell off the face of the earth? I didn't, we've just been consumed by a week of field trips and I haven't even attempted to post anything. I'll probably do a catch-up wrap-up on Sunday, but in the meantime, here are highlights from some of our recent field trips:

Fort McHenry:  Note to self, I do not like school groups! At least not the particular ones who were at Fort McHenry the day we were, they were loud, unruly and . . . frustrating. Other then that, we had a great time! National Parks do seem to be shifting toward making the Junior Ranger books such that you have to do ALL the activities, instead of picking a certain number which frustrates me because it seems silly to me for my children to waste spend their time at a national park doing cross-word puzzles and word searches and other "busy work" that takes them quite abit of time (perhaps because they don't waste spend large parts of their "school days" doing these kinds of things? I still remember being SOO glad I'd opted to take a correspondence class in German as my high school foreign language instead of the Spanish taught at the school I attended, when I found out that a regular part of their homework was word searches HUH? How is that teaching a foreign language? I can do a word search in Swahili, assuming I have a word bank (they did), it might take me awhile, but I can do it, and still not have the foggiest idea what any of the words mean, what a waste!). ANYWAY . . . it was a beautiful day, the flag was flying over the fort, we snuck in with another school group (but this was high school age and actually followed instructions and listened quietly (or at least were quiet) so it worked out, never thought I'd see the day where I said I liked teenagers better than elementary kids, but there you have it!) and watched them fold (actually roll up, I guess it's too big to fold the "normal way") the huge flag and then we stayed on and asked the volunteer a few more questions. The ranger who gave the girls their badges is SO excited about the Junior Ranger program and that was fun to see too, she really got into it :)

Ferry Hill Plantation - they had a ribbon cutting ceremony there this weekend to celebrate completing a phase of restoration, or somesuch, and there was a passport stamp associated with it, so my parents wanted to go, and we tagged along. The boring long not-my-cup-of-tea speaches from area dignitaries, or in most cases, representatives of area dignitaries, was less than exciting, but again we had gorgeous weather and other then that, it was nice. There was a civil war era band that played period music, which was cool. Sassy has decided she wants to learn violin, so she was fascinated with watching the violins (or perhaps they were "fiddles"? I think which name you use depends on the style of music, not the instrument, which would probably make these fiddles, but whatever . . . ).

After the endless speeches were done, a "slave" who had lived on the plantation came and told stories of his life there. That was much more interesting than hearing how much Senator so-and-so wished s/eh could be there!!!

There were a couple women dressed in civil war style with a whole basket of civil war era toys. Sassy and MiniMe decided to try playing Graces but were struggling abit. The 2 women, first came and were playing next to the girls, so the girls could see how to do it w/o having to, you know, admit they needed to learn how to play and then the women offered to "trade" so each of the girls was playing with one of the women. That worked much better, and the girls had a blast! And when the women finally moved back to the shade, the girls had acquired enough skill to be able to play relatively well on their own. But they soon drifted over and spent the rest of the afternoon asking the women questions LOL. There were very few children there, so the women could answer the million and one questions without neglecting their duties.  Little Bit entertained herself walking on a stone wall for a good bit of the afternoon, then SHE wanted to learn to play Graces. She actually got pretty good at making the hoop fly into the air, which has a trick to it, so she was happy with her accomplishment.

On a fun side note, the place where Rodney and I spent our wedding night many moons ago was right across the river from Ferry Hill Plantation, so it was kind of fun to point that out to the girls, and daydream/reminisce abit while I waited for the dignitaries to stop talking.

The "family's" table, outside their cabin
 Claude Moore Colonial Farm and Market Fair This just might have been my favorite thing we did this trip. We visited Claude Moore a few times when we lived in MD and the girls enjoyed seeing the farm animals but the actual history of it was over their heads. I think we also came back and visited when we went through early American History when they were 5. That time, the fact that the people on the farm absolutely refuse to step out of character frustrated the girls, especially MiniMe, immensely.

Ever since we hit the colonial period this time through American history (late last fall), I've been wanting to go back to Claude Moore but we didn't get back to my parents' house before it was closed for the winter, sigh . . . SO, in planning this trip, I knew I wanted to include Claude Moore on our to do list.

Then I discovered that this weekend was their Market Fair, and that narrowed down WHEN we were going to go to Claude Moore. Woo-hoo!! How fun!!! The Farm itself opened an hour earlier than the Market Fair, so we got there soon after it opened, visited the farm, found it to be not very crowded, just as we were used to.

Sheep shearing
Then we headed on over to the Market Fair. There were MORE animals there, Little Bit really liked the sheep, the sheep did NOT like being sheared 1771-style. And in many ways it reminded me of a miniature Renaissance Faire, minus the story-line, and risque costumes  LOL. It was much smaller, and the clothes were colonial American, so much more modest than the popping-out-the-top styles that are so common at Ren Faires. There wasn't any jousting or anything, but there WAS fencing demonstrations, juggling, slack rope walking and other fun little "shows". And there were fun shops to look in and yummy, and unusual food to eat. It was another beautiful day and we had a great time. The highlight for Sassy and MiniMe was when we stopped to look at the colonial dresses for sale at one vendor, and the woman, after answering the girls' questions, saw them looking at the colonial "pockets" and told them they could each have one!!! They are SOO excited about it! MiniMe has been wearing hers, over her clothes since modern clothes aren't made to accomodate a colonial pocket, every day since. And of course, NEXT time we're down here, she'll have to make some modifications to the girls' "Williamsburg dresses" so that they can wear their pockets properly under them.

We still have 3 more field trips to talk about, but I think this post is getting long enough, so I shall stop for now, hopefully not forget to add the pictures to go with this one in the morning (when my phone isn't playing lullabies to put Little Bit to sleep) and get this posted, then I'll continue telling about the rest of our galavanting, hee hee.

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