The Family

The Family

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Exploring Our State

One of the things Jack and I will be doing this year is learning about the states. We are starting with our own, Alabama, and will continue in alphabetical order.

My fourth and eighth grade history classes are a blur because I hated studying Alabama history. American and World History fascinated me - they still do -  but I tuned everything out when it came to my own state.

I think I've mentioned before that I don't do curriculum. I focus instead on books that I think contain valuable information. Our local library is a great resource, and we picked up a number of books from the children's section a few weeks ago.

I was stunned to realize how many places in Alabama I am unfamiliar with. Reading the books with Jack, I actually found myself interested and excited about these cool places in our state.

1. Dismal Canyons - I've asked almost everyone in my family, and a few friends, if they had ever heard of this forest in the northwest part of the state and no one said yes. When I checked out the website for it I was amazed. So much so that we will be going to visit and stay a few nights at this park in a few weeks!

2. Desoto Caverns - This is one place I visited often as a child. My brownie troup even spent the night in the cavern when I was in the first grade. Jack keeps asking me about it, and I'm thinking about mentioning it to the director of  our homeschool cover school to include as a field trip in the spring.

3. Mt. Cheaha - This place I know about as well because it is only minutes from where I grew up. It is the highest peak in Alabama and is beautiful in the fall. I remember another Girl Scout sleep over as well as picnics and hikes throughout childhood. My cousin was married at the lodge there a few years ago. It was a July wedding, but the altitude made it incredibly comfortable for an outdoor wedding. When Mattie was a baby we spent a night there. Matt's dad has a camper, and he and his wife were there for a few days in October that year. Jack still remembers telling scary stories by the campfire.

4. Bellingrath Gardens - Another place I never knew existed is this home and gardens in the town of Theodore (no clue where it is). This is going on my list of places to visit.  I enjoy touring old homes and can spend hours wandering around on the property surrounding them.

5. The Space and Rocket Center - While I've heard of it and even think I went there once, I can't remember anything beyond it having a cool space camp that children and adults can attend.  I've been telling Jack for years that we are going to do that when he gets bigger. Besides space camp, anyone can go for a visit. This may be a good winter destination. My grandmother lives in Decatur, which is a short distance from where the Space and Rocket Center is located in Huntsville.

6. Dauphin Island - In the 10th grade our biology teacher took a group of students to Dauphin Island. Sadly, I opted out of the trip. For years I wish I would have gone. Reading about it now makes me want to plan a visit so we can get a first-hand glimpse of the marine life.

7. Ave Maria Grotto - Only one of the books we checked out mentions this site located in Cullman. A Benedictine monk worked for 40 years building miniature reproductions of famous churches, shrines and buildings. This is something worth seeing.

8. The Alabama Shakespeare Festival - OK, so this wasn't mentioned in any of the books, but I thought I should give it a plug. Located in Montgomery, it showcases wonderful plays year round. I've been several times and even took Jack a few years ago to see a Winnie the Pooh play.

9. The Civil Rights Museum - . Birmingham has an extraordinary Civil Rights Museum. I'd like to wait until the children are older in hopes they might understand more about the history and struggles of civil rights.

10. The McWane Center - Like the Space and Rocket Center, I don't know why we haven't been here yet. It's only two hours away, in Birmingham, and includes so much to see and do.

11. Helen Keller's Childhood Home - Hellen Keller is one of our most famous citizens. Her childhood home, known as Ivy Green, is located in Tuscumbia and will be a real history lesson in and of itself.

12. Sequoyah Caverns - This would be another great day trip and a fun way to explore the natural and historical aspects of our state.

No comments:

Post a Comment