People often ask me after 15 years of homeschooling what I think is most
important to giving children a quality education. Although every family is
different, just as each child is an individual with specific needs and
ONE THING I HAVE FOUND TO BE TRUE WITHOUT EXCEPTION:
Give your children as many..."see it, touch it, smell it, taste it, breathe
it, live it" opportunities as possible!
They will always come away learning more than you could possibly pack into
a lesson plan or syllabus.
My older son asked me the other day how we have been able to travel to so
many places and take part in so many learning opportunities when we have
always been on a "tight" (read: shoestring) budget. Haha! I told him, "Son,
necessity is the mother of invention."
--We've had to be VERY inventive at times, but somehow we have managed to
travel to Williamsburg, Washington, DC, Charleston, St. Augustine, Utah,
Colorado and lots of places in between.
Of all the places we've travelled, however, the one that gets mentioned
over and over and over has been our trips every year for the last 5 years
to a little island off the Gulf Coast near Mobile, AL--called Dauphin
It's where some of our best and most memorable experiences have taken place.
Sure, I could fill a notebook with all the science experiences we have
participated in...like dissecting squid and finding a baby octopus inside a
horseshoe crab shell...or cruising on The Duke and pulling up all kinds of
interesting catch in our net, slogging through the marsh in mud up to
our...Ah hem. :-)
(Or realizing, one night, our kids had gone hunting for baby alligators at
the Audubon Bird Sanctuary---ok, whew, that's a story for another day! Haha)
Personally, I love it every year when the younger kids (on their own)
decide to build a Swiss family Robinson raft and accompanying shelter. Wow!
Talk about some elaborate creations!
---Anyway, it's honestly hard to quantify all the things we've experienced
over the years. You would just have to take my word for it....OR
EXPERIENCE IT WITH YOUR OWN CHILDREN AND SEE FOR YOURSELF!!
I'm so excited that my friend, Angela Broyles (home educator
extraordinaire) has put together an incredible opportunity to experience
some our FAVORITE things to do at one of our FAVORITE PLACES ON EARTH!
The BEST part is that she has already taken care of all the planning and
details!! Trust me, it's taken us years to do the trial and error and make
the necessary contacts to make this happen!
ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS SHOW UP AND HAVE A BLAST!!
Did I mention that Dauphin Island is one of the most economical trips we
have taken over the years?
---I LOVE the fact that the attraction on Dauphin Island is ---The Island!!
There are no go-cart tracks, roller coasters or arcades...and that's what
we LOVE about it!
We practically have the island to ourselves in November and the weather is
usually GORGEOUS! (gotta love homeschooling...off season rates, no
It's amazing how children will begin to relax and enjoy the beauty of
creation, and the fellowship of family and friends (old and new), when all
the "noise" and distractions are removed.
(If you MUST have a connection with the outside world, you can always take
an inexpensive ferry ride over to Gulf Shores.) ;-)
I would be so thrilled to see lots of other families have the opportunity
we have had over the years. It has been a big part - if not MOST) of our
Christmas gift to each other in recent years and worth far more than the
soon to be broken and forgotten toys and video games.
I highly recommend it!
Check out the AWESOME
We'll see you at the beach!
(I have attached the schedule if you want but I have also created a page
just for the schedule on the website and linked to it above)
*Dauphin Island Family Retreat - November 14 thru 16, 2012*
*Day 1 - Nov. 14*
Duke Cruise around Sand Island Lighthouse
"The Duke" is a 44 foot boat known as a Bonner. On it we will travel around
the Sand Island Lighthouse and hear of the landmark's history. On the
return trip we will drop a shrimp net and study the catch. In the past we
have caught everything from shrimp, to flounder and even squid. Pelicans
always follow the boat waiting on a treat. This is always a wonderful
experience for the children and the adults.
Lunch will be on board "The Duke". You will have a choice of turkey or ham
Subway sandwiches, chips and drinks for lunch on the boat.
Arrive back at the marina
History presentation of Dauphin Island followed by a walking history tour
of the island. History of Dauphin Island's early settlement to included
Native American History of the area.
Dinner at dorms
•Enjoy a walk on the beach, to the bird sanctuary, or to town or play
volleyball or basketball on the courts outside.
***** Parents must supervise their children at all times. *****
*Day 2 - Nov. 15*
Civil War historian Tim Kent will be the tour guide for both Fort Gaines
and Fort Morgan. He will discuss:
- the construction of both forts and why they were constructed the way
- the history of the forts and why they were important to guarding Mobile
- the Battle of Mobile Bay
- the position of the USS Tecumseh and its demise
- the different ships built in Mobile
Arrive at Fort Gaines
Fort Gaines class begins with a Fort Tour. Fort Gaines is one of the most
beautifully preserved forts in the south with incredible architectural
The Fort tour will include:
- History of the Civil War from Fort Gaines
- How the soldiers lived
- The artillery used at the fort
- Blacksmith class
- Were there women at Fort Gaines? If so what was life like for them?
- Who were some of the interesting soldiers at Fort Gaines?
- Famous prisoners held at the fort
The group will walk up to the ferry and have lunch on the water as we
travel across the bay to Fort Morgan. There will be a choice of turkey or
ham Subway sandwiches, chips and drinks for lunch.
****Parents must supervise students on the ferry. Bring extra bread to feed
the sea gulls, but please be extremely careful to make sure the birds do
not get the plastic bags or wrappers and that they don't fall into the
water. Plastic kills thousands or birds and sea turtles yearly.
Tour of Fort Morgan and museum
The fort tour will include:
- History of the Civil War from Fort Morgan
- Heroes of Fort Morgan
**The lens from the Sand Island Lighthouse is in the Fort Morgan Museum
Ferry Ride back to Dauphin Island
Dinner at the dorms
******Parents must supervise their children at all times.*****
*Day 3 Nov. 16*
Students 6th -- 12th grade arrive at Discovery Hall
Discovery Hall Program Productive Plankton
Students will play games and collect plankton to be viewed under a
microscope to learn of this extremely important part of the world's
*****This can be a wet or dry class so come prepared. Bring bathing suit or
other clothes that can get wet, old tennis shoes that can get wet -- no
sandals, and a towel.
Have your student be familiar with the following words so that they are
more prepared for the class:
Students K-5 arrive at the Bird sanctuary.
Audubon Bird Sanctuary
You and your students will tour the Bird Sanctuary and learn the details of
the birds, turtles, alligators and trees and plants of the island.
**You will want to bring binoculars everyday. But today is a must!
After the Bird Sanctuary tour you will go down to the beach and seine (a
method of fishing).
**We will need help from parents. Dress and prepare for the probability of
getting wet. Bring old shoes and a towel. This is always educational and
exciting. You never know what you may catch!
For more information on seine fishing go to:
Lunch at the cafeteria
Touch and explore class at the estuarium
The program will begin with a lecture to teach the students about marine
animals and conclude with students examining and touching many different
Words you will want your students to know in advance:
This program begins with a discussion of estuaries and their importance in
the food chain. Then the students will be introduced to the salt marsh, a
wetland habitat with both animal and plant life. The Discovery Hall bus
will transport the group to a salt marsh where the students will learn
about the life held within by dragging a siene net, sieve mudding and
scooping up animals.
****** Your student will get wet. Wear old clothes and old tennis shoes
that can be laced up as they will be walking in mud. Also be prepared with
sun protection and a water bottle.
Words you will want your student to know in advance:
• Food web
This is a wonderful time of the year to be at the beach and Dauphin Island
isn't just any beach. Dauphin Island is the best kept secret in the
Southeast! The cost for all three days filled with activities with meals
and lodging included is only:
$345.00 per person for the first 2 family members
$325.00 per person for the third or forth family members
$295.00 for additional family members
If you have children under school age, please contact us at *
firstname.lastname@example.org* for more information.
The price covers the dorm room for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights
as well as meals from Wednesday morning breakfast to lunch on Friday.
We will issue no refunds.
** A note to mom's: I have been on many trips like this and have found the
fact that meals are provided to be such a blessing. No preparing and
packing, no cooking. Just show up.
Parents should attend class with their student. If you have a student in
each age group please go with your younger student. We know your older
students should know how to behave and if there is any kind of a problem we
will bring them to you.
If you want to stay Friday night in order to go to the Fort Gaines Civil
War event on Saturday, the lodging cost would be an additional $35.00 per
night per person. This does not include dinner on Friday night or breakfast
on Saturday morning. ***Please see the *tab for Friday night
* in order to pay for Friday night. *
*Be prepared to wear layered clothing. Bring gear in case it is needed. *
*Classes will be held regardless of weather, however, the itinerary is
subject to change if weather conditions prevent classes as stated. *
*I agree to indemnify and hold harmless Historical Preservation LLC, its
associates and affiliates for any costs or liabilities which may incur as a
result of my family's participation in a Historical Truth 101 organized
history trip. Your payment for the tour constitutes your acknowledgement
and agreement to the above indemnity clause.*
*Please provide the following information to email@example.com: *
*Name of all family members attending *
*Mailing address *
*Phone number *
*Each child's age and grade level *
*Allergies, if any, for each person *
*Please specify any special needs your family has. We will do our best to
accommodate them. *