One of my favorite things to do for “our school” is field trips. It’s been very hard the past few years between having 2 littles and the sky rocketing gas prices. I can usually find awesome free field trips, but the gas to get there was WAY too much. I guess having a 12 passenger van as my regular “car” doesn’t help! I’m trying to think more positively and just do it! I was motivated by a project that my oldest daughter was given in college- a history field trip! Yay! We picked a local historical house called the Riddick’s Folly house. (I will tell you a little bit about it since I would love to be a tour guide when I grow up.) The man who built this house in 1837, Mills Riddick, made is fortune making and selling wooden shingles. He had mills in the Great Dismal Swamp and used cypress. He built a huge house, one very elaborate for the time. That’s why it’s called his “folly”. There is so much history there.
Picture Credit: http://www.virginia.org
Our favorite part is one rooms upstairs. When renovating they found writing on the wall. It was Civil War soldiers who were there when the Union took over the house! They came in and used it as their headquarters! The family fled to Lynchburg (I think) until after the war. The house was not destroyed, but many things were taken. The museum has been able to acquire many period and family pieces. The curator of the museum has so patient with my younger children! The tour was just for us, so we could ask a lot of questions.
We live in such a great area for Civil War history, my kids tease me that the only history they have learned is Civil war and Ancient Egypt, lol! We have also found old writing on the wall in the old Gates County Court House. We have also toured a church in Smithfield that was used as a stable in the Civil War! See why we have studied this in depth! Everywhere we go here, there’s something awesome to learn!!!
One resource we use in planning local field trips is found on our local Girl Scout site. No matter how you feel about Girl Scouts, whoever wrote these badge requirements did a great job! There are ones for individual places and whole cities! They give you some basic info and a lot of great questions to learn the answers to. The requirements can be found on the Girl Scout Council of the Colonial Coast‘s website under additional girl awards. Each year this program has grown and we are always happy with what we have discovered!!