America’s Founding Fathers Exhibit

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After leaving Wyoming we spent a month in Rapid City, South Dakota. Right down the road from the RV park we stayed in, is the America’s Founding Fathers Exhibit.

If the photo above looks familiar to you, it should. It is a copy of the famous Declaration of Independence painting, but in sculptures. It is absolutely stunning! When we walked into the room holding these sculptures I immediately began to cry. It was completely involuntary. My children looked at me in amazement not sure what to think of this outburst of emotion, but a lady clad in Colonial dress handed me a tissue as though she had expected me to burst into tears. She told me that I had walked straight to the artists viewpoint, where all the signers could be seen at once, and this perspective has brought many before me to tears.

Along the walls are pictures and short biographies of the signers. And while you gaze into the faces of these brave men you will hear a recording of stories of their involvement in the acts that brought our country to freedom.

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The link below will lead you to photos of the artists who brought this painting to life.

http://foundingfathersblackhills.com/photo-gallery/

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The building is a replica of Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

 

 

 

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Learning on the Road

One aspect of traveling that I truly appreciate is the influence it has on my children. There are so many people and places that have entered into their combined consciousness that it will be a source of nostalgia for them long after I am gone. And it is also a springboard for learning so many new things.

In Wyoming they met two of the most wonderful children; Aidan and his little sister Riley. I’ve never known any two children (other than my own of course :)) with more charisma than they possess. Aidan taught Oliver, Willow, and Ivy how to pan for gold.

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Willow panning They are learning first-hand about different cultures.

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Visiting historic sites.

Custer's Battlefield

Custer’s Battlefield.

So many things that I can not begin to list them all, but each new experience will add to their future selves.

What I Want To Be When I Grow Up

Growing Up Quote

When I was a child, I and all of my friends ‘knew’ what we were going to be when we grew up (at least for a few days before we changed our minds), but to my knowledge only one of us accomplished her childhood goals. She wanted to become a teacher and she did.

I haven’t seen her for years but she has often come to mind as I have spent the last fourteen years homeschooling my children. I would think, “What if my children knew exactly what they wanted to be; I could teach to that area and they would be way ahead of the game.” But this hopeful fantasy has yet to come true.

My eldest wanted to be a clown, a rock star, a chef, and a  policeman. Just when his father and I were sure that what he was really going to be was a permanent resident of his bedroom and semi-pro video game player he decided to become a Paramedic and is now only one year from attaining that goal.

I have all sorts of ideas as to what my children should be. I see them show interest in a particular area and I run with it, only to be bewildered and dismayed when they lose that interest and turn their attention to something else.

But I have learned that my childhood friend was the exception to reality. Most people don’t have a clear idea of what they are going to do with the rest of their lives when they are in elementary school, or middle school, or even high school. We as parents and educators can guide them, but we can’t force them. Once they are out of the proverbial nest it’s all in their hands.

There is a cliche’ that says Let Go and Let God. I never liked that because the one thing I like is to be in control. I hate to see my children make mistakes that could have been avoided if only they would have listened to me to begin with. But that isn’t freedom and what is more cherished than personal freedom; the chance to have our own failures as well as our own successes.

Yes, they are going to have some crazy ideas (like wanting to be a dinosaur) but they are usually just that, ideas, and they will eventually grow into the person they are intended to be; even if it’s not what you intended for them to be.

Whatever Strikes Your Fancy

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If you look really hard and maybe bring out a magnifying glass (or click on the photo to enlarge it) you will see Ivy there on the bank of the LLano river with a fishing pole in her hand. Not such an unusual sight you say. And you’re right. But this image is the epitome of what I imagined almost a year ago when we decided that we were going to take to the road.

You can’t see it but Chloe,Willow, Oliver and I are sitting under the shade of large oak tree with our school books spread out before us. Ivy had been in the process of identifying the subject and verb in her Grammar lesson when she decided that she wanted to go fishing. After considering that we had no place to go and all the time in the world I said, “Why not? Go right ahead.”

Homeschooling is fantastic but roadschooling is absolutely amazing. Without the pressures of having games and classes and meetings to drive to day in and day out you are enabled to slow down and chill out.  I’m most definitely not to the place I want to be, but my hope is to make our time of learning enjoyable again. A little freer. And my ultimate hope is that it might be a bit simpler as well. I would love to see my children enjoy learning instead of bemoaning it.

I think that taking a break for a little fishing or whatever strikes your fancy at the moment is a good place to start.