Ancient Echos field trip

Did you know homeschoolers do field trips too?
In reality most homeschooling families whole lives are a series of field trips since kids are being educated where ever the family happens to go.   I've noticed our own family has made this slight shift in how we do learning, family time, and life.  They are all mixed in together instead of compartmentalized into time slots. We start to see everything in life as a part of learning and an opportunity to educate little minds.
I did decide I wanted to be intentional this spring about doing some educational trips to nearby sites.  

This morning we enjoyed a gorgeous sunny day by touring a near by ravine that is filled with historical and archaeological points of interest.  There is also a little museum dedicated to the ancient  history of the area.  

There were no other school groups booked for tours that day so we were the only ones visiting.   We received our own personal tour and hike through the ravine.

As we hiked through the natural prairie (never been cultivated) we examined all kinds of wild  flowers, cactus, grasses, and lichens.

Can you spot the wagon trail?
This is part of the Red River wagon trail (I could be wrong on the name..I was busy keeping Silas from skipping off down the hill).  This trail runs from the United states all the way up to Fort Carlton Saskatchewan.  This was a route that serviced the fur trapping and supply trade between the Metis people , the Hudson Bay company and the English settlers.   Being that I was carrying one of the descendants of this aboriginal group on my back it makes the history lessons that much more interesting. 

We learned about the herds of  Bison (Buffalo) that used to roam the prairie.  We listened to stories of the plains Grizzly bear that were big enough to take down a Bison, and the Blackfoot aboriginal people who lived off the land.
We looked at different plants and learned how they were used for nutritional and medicinal purposes.

The above photo is of a "Buffalo jump" spot.   The aborigional people would run the Bison up the side and then chase them off the edge.  Nearby they have uncovered the processing site full of the discarded bones.  

Below is an ancient petroglyph.  A stone carved by prehistoric  people for some significant purpose.  You can't see the lines and circles very clearly in the photo. 


Our tour guide was great.  He was so good with the kids and answered all their questions.  Even questions from a 4 yr old mind.

There were quite a few different stone formations that we looked at.  Some were used by the aboriginal people as birthing locations,  coming of age ceremony spots, or as messages and markers. 

The rock below was used by the Buffalo as a rubbing rock.  It is a large rough rock that has been rubbed smooth as glass on the edges.  Around the rock a fairly deep rut has been trampled.  
The kids had themselves a good rub...and then climbed up for a picture.

Our tour guide told the kids to close their eyes and  imagine that they were the rocks and that could  see and hear all the years of history.  He told a little story, which was basically a little history overview from the view point of an ancient rocks.  

Inside the museum were a lot of stone tool artifacts, fossils, and even shark teeth.
 Prehistoric sea creatures, fossilized coral and other marine life have been found in these hills.  

Part way through the little museum tour I took Silas and Cece out into the hallway for some grapes and juice boxes.  They were tired and hungry by the time we got back from our hike.  Aili and Roman enjoyed the rest of the history lessons.  
Our tour was slightly shorter than the usual school tours because we  had young children along, and we were only staying for the morning.

As far as a teeny tiny village literally in the middle of nowhere museum goes , it was pretty great.  
Silas, my boy who never naps, is now konked out on the couch.  
Maybe I should take him for hikes more often.


Jenn said...

Awesome field trip! I love that aspect of homeschooling and being able to tie in the local things to schooling. Thanks for sharing. :)

Laura said...

Looks like a really neat field trip! I think one of the greatest things about homeschooling is that the parents can help the kids to learn from so many different experiences. Learning in a classroom environment can be so structured and I think little minds need some room to explore and learn. Of course classroom learning can be great too but I just think it's so important for the parents to take the time to also teach the children life lessons outside of the classroom as well.