When I asked the kids at the beginning of the school year what they'd like me to do more of they quickly answered, "More field trips!" I promised I would but then life happened and consequently our first real field trip was on May 1st. We went to a Civil War Reenactment down in Cape Girardeau. When I emailed the leader he told me friday would be a school day with activities for the kids to do. He told me to try to be there by 9. Seeing as how that was 2.5 hours from us and I was traveling with 6 kids (we adopted a friend's daughter for the day!) that didn't seem very likely that we'd be leaving by 6:30 am. Keep in mind that what I was expecting was a huge festival where people are milling around all day (like the Mideavil festival in Wentzville) when you read the rest of the story.
When we got there at 10:20 people were already well underway. There were only about 30 people in attendance total. As we crested the top of the hill everyone stopped and looked at us. The leader who was speaking to a group of kids stopped his talk and yelled, "Are you the homeschoolers?" I'm pretty sure a few in the audience gasped at the question.
"Yes," I replied sheepishly. I don't get embarrased easily but I'm sure I was blushing at this point. I had hoped to slip in unnoticed but since we were the only kids not in school uniforms and I had a baby and toddler in attendance we pretty much caused the who affair to screech to a halt.
"Well, just join a class or walk around and observe."
"Okay." We started at the first tent that had a lady with a very pretty hoop skirt in it. "Are you the homeschoolers?" she asked.
"Yes," I gulped this time, really not liking the fact that I was being asked this...again.
"We are too."
I breathed a sigh of relief. It turns out that they started this to get their kids more into history. The sold things like old toys, and clothing articles. I loved the silk hairnet but it was $14 dollars. Oh well, maybe someday.
We skipped the tent with the sullen teen sitting in it not facing anyone. WE then went to the ammunition tent where the guy was explaining how to make bullets and pack gunpowder. He made a point to stop his talk to goo at Gavin. All the teenager students looked at me like what was I doing there. Oh well, at least Gavin was not crying.
The next tent had three women in it cooking over a campfire and explaining what it took to cook for the men. When they described hardtack Dylan wrinkled up his nose in disgust.
Next were the horses. Liam refused to pet them but they were very sweet and well behaved. We decided to step away when they shot off the cannon and the gun for us. I didn't want Nelly to get skittish and kick us!
Then the program was over. WE'd only been there an hour and had only gone to half the stations. When I asked the leader about it he said it was closed and everyone was taking a break because there was another school group coming soon. "That's why I told you to be here at 9!" He admonished. Hmmm, he really didn't emphasize the fact that he would be ending at a definite time! Uggh! 2.5 hours in the car for 1 hour of presentation.
I decided to make it up to the kids by going to Taco Bell for lunch. I then decided to make a detour to the Trail of Tears park. The sign said it was only 11 miles away. What it didn't say was that it was 11 miles of windy back roads. The kids were almost sick with hunger and motion sickness by the time we went there. We spread a blanket out on the grass in front of the visitor center to eat. Gavin was so happy to be out of that car seat and suck on my car keys.
After we ate we ran around and played catch with napkins we balled up. We went to the visitor center and found a nice older lady that told us lots of things about the Trail of Tears. It's a very sad chapter in our history. Then we looked at the animal and Indian displays. Gavin decided the Indian maniquin was horrible and started crying everytime we went by it. It was kind of funny.
On the way home the littles slept...not long enough. We passed through some thunderstorms and I had to stop for coffee. I had been up all night with Gavin the night before (had I mentioned that he was sick?).
We made a day of it and we had fun. We were all dissapointed that the Civil War demonstration wasn't longer but oh well, can't change that.
Here are some pictures of the cheesy toy Taco Bell gave us for Liam's lunch. It was called an ancient cave dwelling writing tool. Liam was very unimpressed!