Saturday, November 8, 2008

Learning and Field Trips

I feel very grateful to have such a hands-on husband who is such a great father, too.

You know, funny story. When Mark and I started dating as freshmen in college, we quickly figured out how nerdy we both were (are) and that while we both really enjoy English and Music and the Arts and History, Mark does better with Maths and Sciences than I do.

Well, being me, my mouth often gets ahead of my mind. (Seriously, there's no filter. It's a blessing and a curse.). Anyway, one night, I off-handedly remarked out loud, "Great! I can teach our kids English and history and you can teach them math and science!" I couldn't believe those words had come out of my mouth! I shocked myself. My eyes widened as I looked to see if I'd freaked Mark out with my comment. I don't remember much else after that other than the fact that I got really embarrassed. I might've even said something like, "I can't believe I just said that."

Anyway, we've laughed about it for years. And it's even more ironic given that we homeschool and Mark really DOES teach the kids math and science! :P I'm very grateful for all he does to help make our home a house of learning.

Here are Mark and Thing 2 looking up info for a great lapbook (I'll be doing a post on these soon, too). Reptiles and Amphibians!

Putting together the lapbook. Thing 2 loves crafts.

All About Coal and Energy

Our homeschool group has a wonderful field trip coordinator who does such a great job lining up great places for us to visit every month. She does it with a committee of kids who help arrange the field trips, making phone calls, sending out emails, etc. This field trip was no exception. It was really neat how the 3 places we visited all went together so nicely.

Part 1
We went into a coal mine and also on a train trip along the side of a mountain.

Into the dark, cold mine (seriously, this is NOT for the claustrophobic). I had to not think about the fact that we were DEEP inside a mountain. I kept thinking about the book How Green Was My Valley during our trip to the mine and the miner's village. It made me incredibly grateful for all the advantages we've been given by our ancestors, parents, etc. to help us get educated and not have to work jobs like this. Coal miners work REALLY hard and it's NOT easy. And they don't get paid near enough.

Getting ready to enter the mine

In the mine--our tour was lead by a miner with a very thick regional accent. He told us so much about the work, the mines, the lifestyle. It was fascinating. He also turned off the lights so we could see how dark it was in there. It was REALLY dark!!

Explaining about "Robbing the Pillars" and how mines are set up.

Checking out the mine and learning A LOT!

Then we enjoyed a train ride along the side of the mountain. The trees were just beginning to change colors. It's looking even more beautiful now. We took this field trip earlier in the month of October. The beauty of this state never ceases to amaze me.

Part 2
We visited a coal-powered energy plant!

This was a fascinating tour as well. There were safety signs EVERYWHERE. It was amazing to see what goes into us having electricity in our homes. Ever since this trip, the kids are even more energy conscious and are constantly turning off lights and making sure to not have the fridge open for very long and they keep reminding us about saving electricity!

This field trip and our trips this past year to the landfill and water treatment facility have been especially eye opening for me. I love learning about all that goes into things we tend to take for granted. Everyone should visit their landfill to fully appreciate how we handle our trash.

What a cute husband and kids I have!

Hard hats and safety goggles and ear plugs required

Learning on the tour--we got the plant manager as our tour guide. He was really nice and very informative.

He even took us up on the roof--what a view!

Our group congregated outside after our tours (they put us into several small groups for safety)

Part 3
Visiting a Miner's Village

This place was also very interesting! We started out watching a film in the auditorium of the visitor's center and there was TONS of memorabilia and displays about the time period. It was so interesting to see their tools, toys, wedding dresses, etc.

Then we were lead around the village by a tour guide.

We started in the Catholic Church

We walked around the village and saw the houses. Some people still live there. It felt so isolated and lonesome to me.

Whenever we visit places like this, I can't help but think how COLD it must've been for them! Brrrrrrr!

This was a movie prop at the village--it's huge. They filmed the movie The Molly Maguires there. It stars Sean Connery and other big names.

Mark sitting on the country doctor's porch

These field trips are so much fun. I love that we get to pick where and when we go and that we get to set up and enjoy such fascinating places that go along with things we're studying. Our state and surrounding states have SO MUCH to see and enjoy. We love it. It's beautiful and educational and we really love where we live.


emily said...

that view really IS amazing. looks like fun!

Lena said...

What a great field trip!!
-I just obtained a copy of How Green Was My Valley but I'm only on the 1st chapter. Is it good??

J Fo said...

What a great way to learn! Actually getting to see all of the steps and seeing it so hands on? What a great region to live in and have such great resources!

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

This is SO cool! Your children will remember these trips for their entire lives... what a WONDERFUL way to learn! SOOOO much better than just reading about it in a book!

(And boy, I too am UBER-thankful that I don't have to work in a coal mine. I would cry ever day if I had to do that....!)

Really cool post - thoroughly enjoyed it!

(And yes, your husband is adorable - and it's very cool that he's such a "hands on" Dad and a full partner in the learning experience!)

Take care!

Dr. Mark said...

I really do enjoy being a part of it all. I like learning, too! I don't know if I'd choose the word "adorable" to describe myself, but thanks. Describing the kids as "cute," however, is right on the money!

D'Arcy said...

How Green Was My VAlley, perhaps one of my favorite books. The description of Bronwyn first coming into play, her basket on her hip, walking over the hill....I love it, it takes my breath away every time.

PA has so many amazingly historic sites! I want to come and join your school, I'll teach Drama, Creative Writing, and Coach Mock Trial!!!

Jill O said...

There is no way I would ever in 40 million years go down in a coal mine. Way to be a better mom than I ever could. =)

You live in such a beautiful place!

Lena said...

Okay- I am not too far into the book (where Huw stood up for the girl in the church) and it is fabulous! The writing is simply mesmerizing and I know this will be a book I will be sad to finish. I just LOVED the paragraph in which Huw described how silly it felt to cheer when you are the only person in a room laying on a bed. Totally cracked me up.

Boquinha said...

Lena, it's a beautiful book. One that lingers with you. A favorite of our book club's. I'm so glad you're enjoying it!

This really is such a great region and so so beautiful.

Thanks, HWHL. :)

Yes, D'Arcy, please do come! We're staring a theater group after the holidays and we could use a Drama Coach/Director! And we do debates and these kids LOVE to write. Please come! :)

Jill, soooooo claustrophobic, I'm telling you!