I’m starting off a blog series today for Geneabloggers’ daily prompt, Travel Tuesday, all about our family’s Indiana history field trips. As a homeschool mom, I have needed to work out both my parenting and an education philosophy for my children. One aspect of this philosophy has turned out to be simple: fostering experiences. I want my kids to experience the world around them. To see it with their own eyes, hear it with their own ears, dig in and get dirty and explore. Because of this, a big part of learning about their local history and family history is experiencing it through field trips. (Not only do they get to get their hands on history - experiencing it first hand helps them later write about it!)
We’ve had some great field trips in the past month. My daughter has become fascinated with pioneers, especially since we are descended from many Indiana pioneers. (She gets it from her mama.) And since I am also researching pioneer Indiana for a couple books I am writing, we decided to visit a pioneer village.
Jackson County History Center
So early one morning a couple weeks ago we headed south from our home in Indianapolis to Brownstown, Indiana to visit the Jackson County History Center. The Center is a perfect destination for a history nerd. Not only does it have a little pioneer village, it also has history museums and a genealogy library. We got to tour one museum and see all sorts of southern Indiana history. My personal favorite part was a photo collage of all of the Jackson County one-room schoolhouses. I asked our tour guide if any of them were still standing, and he gave his directions to one and we tracked it down later that day.
Then we headed out to the John Ketcham Pioneer Village, named after the pioneer who founded Brownstown. We went inside a log cabin and a log schoolhouse, where our tour guide told us about his days in a one-room schoolhouse and all the things the little boys did in those days to get in trouble. (Our kids got a kick out of this!) He also showed us the oldest building in the village, an old trading post that had been built in the mid 1800s and was moved from a nearby river. On school tours, our tour guide dresses up as a trader. (We’ll be back for this with our homeschool co-op at some point hopefully!)
We ended our tour of the village by visiting the cemetery across the street, which by looking at the date on the sign, was founded before Indiana even became a state. I don’t know about you, but I love old cemeteries and I think it’s important to teach kids to value them too.
Jackson County History Center is a great place to take kids who are learning about Indiana history. We didn’t get to experience everything they have to offer, and because our kids were getting antsy and wanting to explore more, I didn’t get to stop in the genealogy library. But we’ll be back!
Next Week’s History Field Trip
Check back for next week’s Travel Tuesday where I talk about our field trip to the “Grand Central Station of the Underground Railroad” – the Levi Coffin home in Fountain City, Indiana. We went there with our neighbors, who are now our homeschool history field trip buddies!
Where have you gone on a history field trip lately? What do you do to foster experiences for your children? Share with us in the comments!
P.S. I’m writing about our trips for Travel Tuesday to gear up for the release of my Guide to Pioneer Indiana Field Trips e-book this summer. Subscribe for updates, and our free e-book Writing Family History for Kids: A Workbook & Guide.