Today we went to Giant City in the Shawnee National Forest of Southern Illinois. This is about 1.5 hrs from our home and a drive with pleasant views when we take my route. It is unfortunate that K (their mom) had morning sickness on the hills up and down as we traveled further south.
We took time to visit the park's nature center, where G and F performed rubbing of several different leaves that are indigenous to Illinois. There was a booklet there and I aksed the conservation officer if those were just for the table of resources to take with us. He kindly replied, "take them" and then brought out a huge supply of variable resources that we could take with us to use in our class studies.
While there we watched a movie about the park and it included some information about how the formations were made but the girls were more intereted in the man talking about the CCC. It clearly spoke of hand chiseling the stone that built the lodge and hand forging the handles to the doors and windows.
This picture, although fuzzy, is of the girls touching one of the corner stones he spoke about in the movie.
They were also exicted to see Native American items present and learned of the stone wall that is present within the park. It tells us that it is not actually a fort but the purpose is not known. I can tell you that the reason the purpose is not known is because it was probably a group of men that tried to figure it out and they did not have any little ones with them at the time. IF I was a Native American living in that time frame I would have had it built to block they unknowing, unaware or children when playing from the potential harm only feet away on the other side.
This picture is what is left of the stone wall.
And this is what is on the other side. In my opinion it is clear why it was put there.
So much more can be done about this trip in the class tomorrow. G was walking along a tree when she noticed it was crumbing, great opportunity to talk about decay and nurishment back to the earth.
I do not have to tell you all how rich this experience is going to be. I did these type of activities with my own children all the time. But to take these activities and make them even more purposeful than a family memory is priceless. This is our busy week for things to get more full blown. I am calling on the Lord to hold me up and support me as I go deeper into this experience.