Homeschool on Vacation

Homeschool on vacation has very little to do with books and considering our destination, it has a lot to do with history!

The first place we did a lot of sight-seeing was Savannah, GA.  We drove around some of the historic squares downtown.  It was difficult the first weekend because it also happened to be St. Patrick’s Day weekend and St. Patrick’s Day is a BIG party in Savannah.  This is Johnson Square.  I’m sad that we didn’t get to explore this one  because there was a lot to see here.  The bottom line for the boys was:  they wanted to see a place where General Marquis De Lafayette had been.  He was here in 1825, dedicating this monument to Nathaniel Greene.  (the boys loved Lafayette in our studies of the American and French Revolutions.)


We saw a live chameleon at Grandpa’s house in Savannah.  Yep…  lizards still give me the heebie jeebies!


Having to abandon our sight-seeing downtown the first weekend because of revelers, we ended up at Fort Pulaski.

I had found a lesson on Casimir Pulaski on  (the boys find colorful language very humorous and memorable.)  We read that on the trip because Pulaski’s time period coincides with our studies better than starting the Civil War, which is what was fought at Fort Pulaski.  We did learn a few things about the Civil War just by touring Pulaski and later Ft. Jackson.


While at Fort Pulaski, we learned how GINORMOUS cargo freight ships really are.  It’s shocking when one quietly sneaks up on you and towers over you for a few…


Fort Jackson was once described by the commanding officer as the “most putrid, marshy place on the Earth.”  (I’d have to agree with him.)  They kept losing soldiers to insect borne diseases.  They couldn’t keep the fort manned.  The sand gnats were brutal the day we were there, with bug repellent.


We did get to see something very cool at Fort Jackson, though.  We saw a real cannon being fired.  A young man in an authentic Civil War uniform, fired it.  He warned us to cover our ears, that it would be very loud.  We had no idea!  Earth shattering loud, it was!  And this was a small cannon.  I can’t imagine the noise that an active fort would have made, firing multiple BIG cannons!  The soldiers must have all been half deaf afterward…


We learned why we don’t have forts anymore and the reasons they became obsolete.  Damn technology!

From there, we traveled south to Woodbine, GA where my sister-in-law and family live.  We were joined by my mom-in-law and Grandpa too!  AND…  cousin Lauren flew in from TX too!  It was great to see them all again! 

My brother-in-law knew lots of fun historic places to show us too.  One of them was the Tabby Sugar Works Ruins in St. Mary’s GA, where we hiked around the ruins, took pictures and learned what tabby architecture is.  (building  material made from  lime, sand, water and crushed oyster shells.)


Another field trip that was very cool, and suggested by our Uncle Eric, was to The Oak Grove Cemetery in St. Mary’s, GA.  The picture below is the oldest headstone we could find.  We’re going to be doing research for school about what it would have been like to live during Sarah Stewart’s lifetime, what was going on, what life was like.  Sadly, I’ve not been able to find out anything about Sarah…  (I kinda thought I might be able to.)


We made time to take a picture with all of us! (That’s Uncle Eric, our tour guide, on the right.)


We went to Fernandina Beach and Tybee Beach, where we picked up sea shells, Uncle Eric found us a real shark’s tooth and we found out how to tell a live sand dollar from a dead one.



We climbed on a life-size replica of a real navy submarine at the Kingsland Naval Submarine Base!  (Thank you again, Eric!)


At River Street in Savannah, GA, we showed the boys the brick streets that were built by slaves and the buildings that are 200+ years old.  Scotty couldn’t believe they were the same buildings from 200 years ago!


We learned that Spanish Moss is a flowering plant.  NOT a fungus…


We learned about family history and the passing of time.  It was very sad to show the boys our first little house, in the mountains outside Asheville, NC because of the fact that it has been condemned and a giant, ugly gas station built in the front yard.  The mail boxes had been moved and there had been landscaping done.  Someone had cared for it after we left, but industry eventually won out…


On the way home we were able to traverse a small section of The Blue Ridge Parkway.  I don’t think the boys appreciated it.  Maybe it’s their age…  It was so beautiful to me.  I could have spent weeks there!  We visited a local art exhibit/shop while there too.

16691784767_8dc643f0b5_o Also, I found my dream home while we were driving on The Blue Ridge Parkway!  They even had a fire going for me!  The first picture is with my phone.  Then I got home and unloaded my dslr and could see the actual house!



We learned about marcescence and saw Oak and Beech trees everywhere with dead leaves hanging on.  How could it have taken me 48 years to learn this????  I’m so glad my boys don’t have to wait!


Early one morning in Kentucky, Will went for a walk with me.   It was almost too cool, which made it perfect!  We talked about nothing and everything…  I’ll remember it forever.


On the drive back, we Googled The Arch in St. Louis and found out that it was a tribute to Thomas Jefferson and his Western Expansion ideas.  (hence the name, Gateway to the West.)


We made sure the boys knew all the state capitals where we were traveling!  Will reminded me that he only missed one on his State Capitals test in the fourth grade!

The boys tried lots of new food:  shrimp, clams, crab cakes, hush puppies, butter cake.  (The only thing that wasn’t a hit was the clams.)

It was an awesome trip and I’m sure I’ll share more later.  I took tons of pictures and haven’t even had time to edit most of them that I took with my REAL camera. 

We’re all very happy to be home now too!  Just feels like….  well…  HOME.  Getting back into the comfort of our routines and loving it.


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