Our family has been a homeschooling family long before we became a nomadic family. We love homeschooling our children, and are thankful to be a part of their educational journey. Our homeschooling days look pretty much the same from day to day. It’s kept pretty structured. The lesson plans are ready, and up on the fridge Sunday to show the work for the upcoming week. I always encourage the boys to work ahead if they want, but they have to at least stay on the schedule set out for them. This works for our family, as most of our bunch thrives on structure. I bet you would have never guessed that a family that doesn’t stay anywhere long enough for the grass to grow under their feet actually would use the term “thrives on structure.” However, it is true.
On Sunday, Nov 1st, as usual, I had the lesson plans for the upcoming week ready to go. All boys had looked over their schedule, and they were ready for the upcoming week. Then, the unthinkable happened. Monday afternoon I told the boys…..we would be “blowing off school” for the rest of the week. We had a full week of temperatures in the 60’s ahead of us, and mostly sunny skies. With a New England winter looming over us, and plenty of time to be indoors on the horizon, I had to take advantage of the weather.
After some minor freaking out over the schedule being disrupted, and explaining we would really just be taking school on the road, and outside to enjoy the weather, all the boys were good to go. Getting out of the house last week to enjoy the beautiful weather allowed us to visit some great places.
We went to Groton, CT to visit Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park. Fort Griswold was captured by the British Forces (led by Benedict Arnold) in Sept 1861. Of the 165 defenders stationed there, the massacre would kill 88 of them. As well as the fort, there is the Groton Monument dedicated to the defenders who fell during the battle, the Monument Museum, and the Ebenezer Avery House that was used to shelter the wounded after battle. Even though the day was beautiful, it is still considered off season here, and that means some places will be closed down after Labor Day or Columbus Day; like museums, and visitor centers. The boys, and I enjoyed exploring around Fort Griswold though. It is an extremely well preserved battlefield, and a nice place to spend some time walking in history.
Another stop we had on our “Homeschool Days Out” was to Bluff Point Coastal Reserve; also located in Groton, CT. Bluff Point is a great place to spend an afternoon in nature. We enjoyed our time hiking on the wooded path; with a few breaks away for the boys to skip some rocks, and climb some trees. Bluff Point is a peninsula that runs along the CT coastline. It is one and a half miles long, and one mile wide, giving a 4.5 mile loop to enjoy. While we didn’t have the time to do the whole loop during this visit, I hope we’ll make it back to complete the entire hike soon. The water is clear, and lovely with fish literally jumping. The woods are full of large trees, and huge boulders; perfect for climbing around. Across the water is a small airport for private use. It can take away a little of the peace, and quiet with the planes coming, and going. It was no bother to us though. We enjoyed watching the planes take off, and land.
Our last major stop was New London, CT to Fort Trumbull State Park. Sadly, this one was all locked up for the season, too. We were able to walk around the outside, and read the information that was available, but touring the inside would have been really cool. Fort Trumbull has some pretty interesting history with both the Navy, and Coast Guard; which we were able to see boats in the water that belonged to both. That was neat. All in all, we had fun exploring around the fort, and walking the boardwalk. Having the place pretty much to ourselves, the boys really got into some parkour with all of the poles, benches, steps, etc. The outing quickly became a nice mixture of history, and physical education.
We ended our week with some homeschool ice skating. I hope you’ll read about that adventure here, if you haven’t already.
It’s not often that I throw caution to the wind, and break the mold of our regularly scheduled learning week. It’s also not something that I could handle doing all the time. Honestly, my kids couldn’t handle that either. Like I side earlier, “thrives on structure.” I have to say though, that it was exactly what the boys, and I needed. It’s always a refreshing reminder that learning can happen anywhere, anytime. Happy Trails!