Little Log Cottage School

Ten Ways To Use Life As Your Curriculum- Vacation Edition


Living is Learning

We’re back in the Boro after our annual trip to the mountains.  And it was the best curriculum we’ve ever used.

I had the best time ever.  Mr. B. had the best time ever.  My kiddos had the best time ever.

Because I always add some kind of educational spin on anything we do, this trip was not only fun and relaxing, but tremendously productive.

Here’s how I used living as our homeschooling curriculum.

1. I bought and used “Scavenger Hike Adventures and Mountain Journal”.

Mr. B. and I love to hike.  Every fall we travel to the Smoky Mountains and spend a few days hiking and taking in the breathtakingly beautiful views.  This year the kids were old enough to go on some longer hikes.  We used this book to follow clues to many exciting discoveries.  Skills covered: Following Directions; Sequential Counting to 50

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Our first adventure began with the Noah “Bud” Ogle Trail

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2. We found a beautiful quartz rock.

Thanks to our handy scavenger hike book, we learned the Smoky Mountains are very rocky.  Our first object to hunt for was a quartz rock.  This was a perfect opportunity to compare a quartz rock to the slate rock that was next to it.  Skill covered: Describe rocks according to their origin, size, shape, texture, and color.

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3. We found an old rock wall built by the pioneers. 

This may not sound like anything special, but we learned so much about the pioneers and how they farmed on the mountain.  This rock wall was all over the middle of the forrest.  We learned that it was built to clear the land for crops, to build cabins, and to keep the cattle out of the gardens.  Seeing the huge forest and realizing that it was once a cow pasture was pretty magical! Skills covered: Compare physical features of the earth;  Compare ways individuals and groups in the state lived in the past to how they live today

4. We found a working water-powered grinding mill deep in the forrest.

Most of the time we only get to read about the evolution of technology in schools. When do we actually get to discover a 120 year old working water-powered mill in the forrest?  Now, that is my kind of history lesson!  Skill covered: understand the evolution of a technology over time.

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5.  See and explore a pioneer cabin and barn.

Again, we read all the time about one room cabins with four beds, but to see one?  This was so much fun.

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6.  We hiked at least two miles everyday.

Fresh mountain air, beautiful fall weather, and views worth the sweat.  That’s the kind of physical education I’m talking about!

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7. We found Blanket Mountain.

Everything we found in our Scavenger Hike book had a bit of historical information to go along with it.  “In 1802 surveyors were establishing the boundary line for a treaty with the Cherokee Indians.”  To mark the spot, they hung a brightly colored blanket on a tree on top of this mountain.  They now call this peak Blanket Mountain.   It’s important to learn the Cherokee lived along the Smoky Mountains long before the settlers arrived!   Skill covered:  Explain the connection between a series of events in United States history.

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8. We found Laurel Falls

We don’t get out much in the Boro.  Most of our walking is to the library and back.

To hike up a mountain to a waterfall was pretty amazing for the kids.

And a little scary.  This hike had some sheer drop offs.

Skill covered: USE COMMON SENSE WHEN DANGER IS NEAR! (I can’t find this one on Common Core.  It must be a mommy skill)

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9. Moms are cool

Being a homeschool mom can have it’s drawbacks.  Not only are you telling them to pick up their room you are also telling them to concentrate on their lessons.

Sometimes it can be hard to let your hair down when you are in charge of your kids all day.

Except when you are on vacation.

Let loose.

Be wild.

Let your kids think you are cool.

Skill covered: Know and understand your mom is a rockstar. Sing her praises to the world!

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10. We earned over 120 points and became Frontier Explorers!

For everything we found we earned 10 points.  My Princess was very quick to add these all up.  They were all excited to earn certificates from the book.

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This was one of the best learning experiences that we have ever had.

We will be back for more hiking adventures and we will continue to use life as our curriculum guide.

Thanks for following along with us!

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