Saturday, May 23, 2009

Time for Battle

It is that time of year - the last few weeks of school for public school kids everywhere. I remember when I was a student how the end of the year would be full of out-of-the-routine type fun and field trips. Yes, you're right if you are saying to yourself right now "doesn't Jessie home school her kids...?" I do home school, but my mother-in-law is a fifth grade teacher in the public school system and she is in the trenches on this her last year of teaching.

Almost every year her grade level and her school would hook up with a group of Civil War reenactors and learn hands-on what life was like for a soldier in battle. They learn so many things and go to different learning centers throughout the day and top it all off with a war reenactment of their own complete with uniforms, wooden guns, a role playing. We look forward to visiting grandma on that day of school every spring and this year's was the biggest and best ever.

For the past several years it was only Gloria's school that participated in this one-day event. But this year two other schools contacted her and wanted to join in the ranks. They recruited a few more reenactors, met on another schools property that morning and then after lunch they drove another 15 minutes down the road to a neighboring town and held the war on an actual historic civil war battlefield. Of course we had to drop by and check it out.

We went to the school that morning (but I forgot my camera!) but we helped grandma for a little bit with her stomp rocket station. The kids enjoyed trying to figure out the right firepower/trijectory combination needed to bomb the cardboard fort up ahead. And in between group rotations all 4 of the kids got a chance to man their own stations and give the stomp rockets a go - ok, so really all Lillie did was knock over the stand and chew on the rockets, but she still had fun.

We pulled ourselves away so that I could do a few errands and get the kids some lunch and then we hooked back up with them at the historic battlefield in Centralia, MO. (It's really not but 5-10 miles from our new house!) And this time I remembered the camera!!

Here we are with Gloria as we had arrived. It's really dark, but at least it shows us together!

It was such a pretty place. It has a wooded picnic area right alongside a small creek. Such a nice place for the kids to sit and learn from the experts how the soldiers battled in the 1860s.

As you got further into the picnic area you crossed over a little foot bridge to another nice large area of the park. All along this part they had a flags erected and information booths set up where students could go and learn a bit more about the weapons, the medical conditions and army triage of the time, and also talk to Abraham Lincoln himself (well not the actual Abraham Lincoln of course, but you knew that...)

The medical information booth was packed with girls dressed as their role of nurse. The guy giving the presentation sure held their attention and every once in awhile the crowd would let out a loud, "ewwwww" - Isaiah though that was really funny.

The boys really enjoyed the weapons station. The man giving us the information was so knowledgeable and he let the boys try to lift some of the guns and sabers he had on hand. They were so heavy! He showed us the process involved with loading the guns and even fired one for us without a cartridge intact - it was very loud and he said that if it had been loaded it would have been even louder - it would have sounded like a canon.

When he was done I thanked him for all of the great information and he said, "thank you for teaching them. so many people have no idea what our history is all about."

Avery met Abraham Lincoln while he was hanging out with grandma - he called him the "hat man" and good ol' Abe told Avery that the penny should actually be called a "cent" - I wasn't there to hear why, but that night Avery kept telling Steven, "the hat guy said it a cent"

We then saw the cavalry - folks decked out in full costume on beautiful horses. We were able to pet the horses and they were so sweet. In the close up picture I tried to capture how Avery would pet the brown horses' nose (Ulysses) and he would just get so quiet and close his eyes - a total state of horse relaxation. Avery had just put his hand down when I took this picture.

The park then opened up to a large field where the Centralia Massacre of 1864 actually took place. Here is the marker that informs us as to what transpired that day... or you could click here for more information if you're interested...

At this point the younger two were getting a bit restless so we headed back to the shady picnic area. There we watched the kids practice their marching and preperations for the battle

and this is also where I handed Isaiah and Huston over to grandma so that they could stay and watch the battle that would take place later that afternoon. I took the babies home for some rest. As soon as we got out of the drive this is what Avery looked like...

Isaiah and Huston didn't return home until later that evening. They got to ride the school bus back with grandma and hung out with her and her students for the afternoon. They loved it. They also wore themselves out - but as you can see, the whole busy day was worth it to Isaiah most definitely... this is how I found him that evening when I went to check on him before I went to bed.

A really fun day. I'm kinda sad that Gloria won't be involved next year too - we'll have to make her go back and visit her co-workers on that day so we can go and watch again! :0)

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