Redate: 4/18/08

Adri’s wonderful teacher made arrangements for the children to get to go to Mill Springs Cabin! And since it is right here in San Antonio – literally right down the street from our house – Claire and I were able to join them on the field trip. We weren’t able to stay all day because of Claire’s attention span – but I was super impressed with this field trip. First, the authenticity of this place is REMARKABLE. It is amazing!! I was so impressed. What a wonderful resource for San Antonio to have. I told the man in charge that I wished we had been able to tour Mill Springs Cabin when the children and I were reading through the Little House on the Prairie books!

AND – this was even more impressive!! Do you want to know who actually taught the 4th graders about pioneer living? Not teachers. But 7th grade students! And they were WONDERFUL!! For a few hours my fears about junior high were assuaged! The 7th graders were so mature and they were absolutely wonderful with the 4th graders. They handled the classes very well. I was impressed! And … the 4th graders were FANTASTIC! Delightful! So well behaved and respectful towards the 7th graders, the other chaperones, the teachers – the property – and even so sweet with Claire! Not a single one of Adri’s classmates made fun of him for having his baby sister tag along. I could tell Adri was kind of uncomfortable with the idea – like it wasn’t cool – until one little girl said, “Oh Adri – she’s so cute!!” And then he relaxed. And we had a great time.

Honestly now…I can’t remember when I went on a field trip that was this enjoyable! You, dear reader who knows how active I was as a home schooler and how many home school group field trips I participated in, can read into that sentence as much as you want. 🙂 But this field trip – it really was absolutely, in all ways, the best field trip I’ve ever been on!

Moving on now. Time for photos!!

Adri’s group trying on the clothes that a cowboy would wear – after going through an actual chuck wagon and seeing all the provisions that a cowboy would likely cart along on the range with his posse!

After each lesson, there was a game for the children to play that the cowboys or Indians or settlers might have played to pass the time away. I had to laugh at this one. I remember when my sister-in-law graduated from college…we went to Denton to celebrate with her – and Royce’s brother Shelby spent a good hour at the bar playing this same game. There’s a ring on the end of a chain and you have to toss the ring towards a hook that is sticking out of the side of the wall and try to “catch” the ring. I was giggling at the thought of all these 4th graders playing a drinking game…or all the drunks playing a kids’ game… LOL!!

The kids had to make their own adobe bricks! So, naturally, here is Adri – making everyone laugh, by pretending to eat the adobe. They actually did make a brick using an authentic brick form and laid it out to dry in the sun.

Claire and Adri sitting on the benches waiting to learn about Indian life! I am so sorry, Claire, that I forgot to pull your hair back for you! BAD MOMMY!!

An actual LIFE SIZED Indian Tee-Pee. It was really cool to walk inside of it and see what one looks like FOR REAL. This really is such a neat place!! The students taught us so much about Indian life in just the 15 minutes we spent with them.

Claire got to play the drums and the rain stick! She had a blast! The 7th graders were thrilled to have Claire be a part of the field trip!

TRICK ROPING!! Yes, Adri actually “caught it” with out any help!! He thought this was the coolest!

We gave Claire a little help though – but she didn’t mind. She thought she did a great job anyway – and she’s been going around the house “catching things with her cowboy rope” now for the past week!! So funny! (Her cowboy rope is a string of any kind.)

After this point, Claire and I left. Her interest had waned and we needed to get home for naps. Adri stayed and got to see a log cabin – much like what Laura Ingalls Wilder would have grown up in. I want to say that the cabin came from Kentucky, but I’m not sure… And his group visited another site and did rock paintings which he really thought was great. It was really a fantastic field trip all around.

Now there’s one more part! The school is in the process of completing The General Store. In the General Store you will not find ONE THING that was not available in 1902! It is 100% historically accurate. It is AMAZING. It is impeccable. The attention to detail is overwhelming! You could stay in there for hours looking at things!! Here are a few photos of the store – the children were not allowed in the store because it was not open “for business” yet. But the chaperones and teachers were allowed a preview!!

I took more photos but these were the most interesting! There’s also a little museum attached to the general store that is so wonderful. Bradley Middle School has made such a contribution to San Antonio and to the State of Texas.