Learning on the road

In addition to working with the movable alphabet and those blends (we're up to -ill, -ing, -ack), we were fortunate enough to take a trip to Pennsylvania to see some extended family. Some of our pre-trip planning included some writing (less we forget how-to on a week and half-long trip).


But, really, the whole trip was one big homeschooling adventure. We saw the leaves change (a little), we visited two cousins' working dairy farms, the Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC and Mount Vernon. And, they watched a little bit of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood when the driving got too rough for the little one.

We got to go apple picking at a local orchard. We also learned that we would like to visit PA a few weeks later next time since the only apples available were red and golden delicious. Although, I must admit that they were much better right off the tree than trucked 1,000 miles to Florida.


We also visited the cows. Sweet creatures…and LOTS of calves. (The farm is a few hours west of the apple orchard). Adorable calves, really. And, no, they don't feed them by baby bottle…this was only for our benefit. They were hardy little creatures and the boys (and I) really have a whole new perspective on a dairy farm. The calves were super sweet and enjoyed being petted and liked to gnaw on your hand.


But, of course, for my tractor-loving boys…this was the best part of these two farms. Tractor rides! Seriously, Joe's relatives were so generous with their limited time and were so very wonderful with my kids. We also got a nice visit in with Great-Grandma — and we all enjoyed that.



As if that wasn't full of learning – we headed down to Washington, DC with many grand plans (a number of museums, ride around the city). As this was at the tail end of our trip, we realized that, after wrangling a 2-year-old around the Air and Space Museum for 3 hours, perhaps, we might cut out some of those proposed museums. And, so we did. Ronan was most excited about the Air and Space Museum because of his keen interest in all things space-related. We saw the recreation of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's walk on the moon, the Spirit of St. Louis (Lindbergh's plane) and we saw the original 1903 Wright Flyer. The Wright Brothers are quite popular with my eldest son at the moment. We have been reading and re-reading the book, First to Fly, a pretty complicated book for an almost-six-year-old. But, he loves it. And, probably understands it better than I do.


We made that our only museum destination and got a much-needed rest that evening. Visiting with all of those relatives can really take it out of you. We finished up our journey with a visit to Mount Vernon. This year, Ronan had been very interested in George Washington and so we had read some books on him and they mentioned Mount Vernon. (His favorite was A Picture Book of George Washington). We also have the book, George Washington's Cows, which takes place there. He was very excited about seeing the house because he had read so much about it. We enjoyed seeing it through his eyes. And, it took us a bit by surprise, but we found that we got a lot out of our visit as well. Gardens. I'm not quite sure if the garden looked this way during his tenure (the location was the same), but as suburban gardeners, we were impressed with the integration of fruit trees, veggie beds and herbs in such a small space.




We did little "formal" schooling, but we did look for letters and recognizable words while driving. However, I think the personal lessons on George Washington, the Wright brothers and a working dairy farm were far more valuable to my young kindergartner. I know I learned a lot.