Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Hendersonville Field Trip

We ventured up the mountain and into North Carolina today for a fun outing with our home school friends.  Of course the spring like temperatures took a nose dive and reminded us that winter was not over just yet.  A blustery day in the mid 20s to begin with and a high of 31by afternoon!  We didn't let it stop us.

Our first stop was the Hendersonville Lapidary and Mineral Museum.  This little gem was very educational.  We had a docent led tour and they split our group into ten people each.

We learned about minerals and gems in general.  Then we learned about minerals and gems specific to North Carolina.

We learned what lapidary meant and saw many examples.  Lapidary is what someone does with rocks and minerals.  For example, making the stone into jewelry or art.


We learned the story behind the Hendersonville Meteorite rock and got to see it.

We learned about geodes and how they were formed.  We even got to see the docent crack open a geode.

We learned about fossils and saw many different types.

This was a great tour and piqued our interest even more into the subject of minerals and gems.

After the museum tour, we grabbed lunch at Mike's on Main.  It's a nice old fashion soda fountain with reasonably priced lunch options. 

Then we visited the Mast General Store.  It is always fun to walk through and look at all the different things inside.  Of course, the barrels of candy attracts the kiddos.

Finally, we made our way to TEAM ECCO Aquarium.  We love looking at salt-water aquarium fish.  Their displays are nice and have plenty of information about the fish in the tanks.

The kids loved the reptiles and amphibians in the aquarium, as well.

We got to see the shark and ray feeding.  The lady doing the feeding provided plenty of background information about the sharks and ray, as she feed them.  The kids were entertained greatly by Charlotte the Ray.  She is quite the character!

This was a fun and informative day trip!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Tibetan Monks

Our library system hosted the Tibetan Monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery.  We were able to attend the opening ceremony and learn about the monks.

The ceremony consisted of the traditional chanting of the monks with each monk singing a full chord of three notes. The puja was accompanied by symbolic hand gestures, cymbals, drums, horns and flutes.

It was very interesting to see and hear the chanting.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Spring has Sprung ...

We took advantage of the weather and headed out on a Spring Nature hike with our home school friends.  We love exploring the USC-Upstate Palmetto Trail!

Small wildflowers were popping up from the leaf litter .  They were so delicate and added little splashes of color to the forest path.

We stumbled upon mating frogs in a muddy pool of water.  They were fascinating to watch! Many had already laid their eggs and the kids enjoyed looking at the sacs.

We found many tracks around the mud pools.  This one is definitely canine and probably a coyote.  We also saw deer tracks and racoon tracks.

 Enjoying the view of Lawson Fork Creek.

House of Flags Museum

The House of Flags in Columbus, NC happens to be a little known gem in our area.  It was created to install a sense of pride and respect for the history of the United States of America flag.  I uncovered this unique museum in a Google search and just had to create a field trip for our home school group.  I am so happy that I stumbled upon this museum!

Mr. Williamson was our tour's docent for the museum.  Mr. Williamson was incredibly knowledgeable of flag history, or as he told us, vexillology.  He alos mention to us that he was writing a book on the Presidential flag and it should hopefully go to print soon!  

We started the tour in the Defenders of Freedom room.  This room pays tribute to the different branches of military of the United States of America.  Mr. Williamson pointed out different flags and gave a brief background for each. 

Next, we made our way into the Birth of a Nation room.  Here we learned about the first flags of our great nation.  Mr. Williamson pointed out different flags from countries that explored the region and gave brief history lessons that aren't taught in schools and rarely are known by citizens.  It was quite intriguing.  

This is a Braille flag for those that are sight impaired.

We learned about the origin of the Don't Tread on Me flag and why it has a rattlesnake on it.  We noticed a strange red flag with a pattern on it that resembled a fish or bear claw.  Mr. Williamson gave the unique story of this flag of the flag and the romantic ending it created.  He bewildered us with a red hat on a wooden pole.  We didn't know what it was, but learned it was the Liberty Hat.  This was an interesting story.  I don't think any of us will forget about the Liberty Hat.  We learned that Betsy Ross was not the maker or designer of the first flag of the U.S.A.  We noticed that the stars on various flags of the U.S.A. had different numbers of points.  

 The Star Spangle Banner

We made our way into the Price of Liberty room and learned about flags flown from the War of 1812 to our current wars in Afghanistan.  Mr. Williamson pointed out the flags of the Confederacy. He explained that the flag so commonly referred to as the Confederate flag was actually the battle flag of the Tennessee Army. 

Finally, we entered the United States of America room.  All twenty-seven flags of the U.S.A. were displayed, from thirteen to fifty stars.  Under each of the U.S.A. flags were the accompanied States for each flag.  Also, in the room were territorial flags and the presidential flags.  Mr. Williamson explained in detail the presidential flag and how it is made.  This is also the topic of the book he is writing.  

Mr. Williamson explained we only heard stories of thirty of the three hundred flags in the museum.  We have at least two hundred seventy more flags to learn about!   We were extremely impressed by our visit to the House of Flags and plan on returning to learn much more!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Map Skills and GPS

More fun with Mr. Jack today!  A lesson on map skills and GPS was the topic.  He had the students recall latitude and longitude from a previous class.  They reviewed the terms and then he had them practice locating places on a map using the degrees of latitude and longitude.

After they became efficient at locating places on the map, he explained how GPS works.  They discussed homing beacons, triangulation and satellites.

In true Mr. Jack fashion, he had three students become 'satellite' beacons.  They were given little shakers to make noises for the blind folded student to use for reference.  The blind folded student had to figure out where the center of the room was and turn to face north based upon the 'satellites' noise.

Depending upon the 'satellite' beacon's position in the room the blind folded student had an easy or difficult time finding the center of the room.  There was discussion of how the satellite needed to be positioned and consistency in signal was important to find north.

We love learning things with Mr. Jack.