Thursday, March 11, 2010

Homeschool Field Trip To The Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

On Thursday I took the kids to Baker City and met up with six other homeschooling families (there were about 20 of us all together). We drove to Baker City to see the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. It is free to homeschoolers (public classes, too), which makes it worth the drive. It is by far the best Interpretive Center I've seen when it comes to the Oregon Trail. They really make history come alive.

Hailey was facinated with the "Wailing Woman" who just lost her little boy when he accidently fell out of the wagon. You have to click on this link to read my sister's "Wailing Woman" story. Well worth your time. Quite funny. Anyway, the "people" look amazing. They are covered in dust, their hair is dirty and they are sunburnt. You can really picture what it must have been like for them. The animals they use are all stuffed, but they look so real. They even have flies on their eyes and poo on their rears. How's that for real? They teach you all kinds of little factoids "along the way". All Hailey wanted to do was climb on everything, so it was a bit stressful and Josiah (extremely tired from AWANAS the previous night) was being a turkey at times, too. Their redhead personalities were shining brightly that day. But all in all, they had good time and didn't want to go home. I guess that is a good sign. Josiah and Hailey in the wagon encampment.The kids' favorite part was the children's room. They played in here for a good hour, loading and unloading the wagon, dressing up, playing games, etc. Our kids got so noisy, we got in trouble from the museum administrator. She was nice about it,  but tell me why you would put the kids' play room right next to the admin. offices? Didn't make sense to me, but oh well. Three families (including us) stayed a little longer and actually walked the trail for a bit. It always gives me chills to walk along any part of the Oregon Trail. This is Josiah's friend, Mason. Those boys ran so far ahead, I was worried they wouldn't see hear us when it was time to leave. Luckily the chilly wind was blowing in their direction and they just barely heard us. The kids had a great time playing with their friends. It is awesome to see these kids developing friendships, even at such a young age. Josiah had been saving his money and I let him pick out something from the gift shop. He picked a quill pin and ink well set with parchment paper. He was super exctied about writing his name "the old fashioned way". Notice he's wearing a black shirt? I figured it would be safe if he got ink on it.

One thing I found funny is when we got there the museum director asked what our plan was. You know what we (as a group) were going to do with the information. I just looked at her and said sweetly, "We're homeschoolers. We all have different plans". The other question I always get when I put together a homeschool field trip is "What age group are we talking about?" Again, we're homeschoolers, we've got every age group :) I love going on field trips with other homeschoolers because we can be all over a museum and let the kids go at their own pace. There is always a mom somewhere to make sure the kids aren't touching the exhibits, etc. Or if you have to take a toddler to the bathroom, you can ask another mom to keep an eye on your other kid(s) for you. Such a blessing! If you ever are passing through Baker City, this place is worth the stop.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Love and Blessings,


Anonymous said...

That was a great over view, that was one spot we didn't stop at on our trip, as it was day one and we wanted to get some miles under the tires. We really need to take our children on a regional vacation to visit some of these spots. It won't happen this year though we've already planned out Hubby's vacation time, one week for Bible Camp (at Warm Beach Christian camp which is pretty close) and another week to Creation music festival, it got moved from the Gorge in Eastern WA to the fair grounds in Enumclaw (near Mt Ranier) this will be our first year going as a family, our oldest has been a couple times. Both are church related and we will have good times, we just won't be seeing "the sights".

Anonymous said...

We homeschool too.I absolutely love a good field trip.:)It would be so much fun to visit a place like that as my boys love anything about the Oregon Trail.My daughters would like it too I am sure.I doubt we will ever be in the area as our vacations usually take us to Tn to see Grandparents etc.We have gone on some neat field trips down there though.My kids enjoyed the Sergeant York museum/homestead.We hope to take a trip to the Creation museum in Kentucky sometime too.Keep up with the field trips as they pick up so much being hands on.

The Real Me! said...

OH I wish we lived closer together. LOL! I'd love to have other homeschoolers to do field trips with.
I love the picture of the kids on the trial. What a fun time. We are reading about Cowboys right now and the hardships they endured back in the day!
Have a great weekend.

Amy said...

This sounds like a great trip. I am very interested in the Oregon Trail. I am a history buff.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Have a blessed day.

He & Me + 3 said...

That seriously looks like the best field trip. How fun and yet so much learning going on. Loved the pictures too. AWEsome.

La Familia Garcia said...

Cool I like the ink set and pen. That'd be a great learning experience!

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

I can't wait to go back there with you. maybe next time we come up? The children's room looks amazing!

I also want to be able to walk on those tracks.

Tell Josiah, I can't wait to see his ink set. My kids are going to love it!

Camille said...

How cool!! My kids would love that! I think it's great to have been able to walk some of the trail. What a neat experience. :)

I'll have to look it up for a journey south sometime.

Oh...and too funny that the kids were being too loud in the PLAY room!! Why do they have it there then??


Connie said...

What a wonderful outing. That piece of history is amazing. They certainly had a lot harder life than most of us know.

Lisa said...

Sounds like so much fun! That era in time really is so intriguing to me. Not that I'd want to live it or anything, but I do find it very interesting!

Glad y'all had fun and hope you have a wonderful weekend!


Mich said...

how neat. I admire all of you who homeschool.

Anonymous said...

Homeschool field trips are such a ministry! LOL It is really a way to share with the world, our HAPPY children. I wish we lived closer to the Oregan Trail...but Texas is a little too far.:)))

RaD said...

I'm glad you have an "excuse" for your children being rascally, what's mine? HA!

I love the interpretive center too and so did our children when we took them the summer before last. Bethany was trying to climb on everything though, so it got a little frustrating at times, but still enjoyable. It was too hot the day we went so we didn't make it to the actually trails, but we did see the mines! Next time hopefully.

Freckles and Frogs said...

Cool! I bet they loved it! I havn't been in the "children's room", is that for the "school tours"? Looks like a great day! Glad you were able to walk along the trail too.

We did a melting rainbow experiement this week. Cool, but uses quite a bit of oil. I think next time I'll do one or two ice-cube in a smaller glass jar. It's posted on the blog. In case you homeschoolers are interested!

Tonya @ Live the Adventure said...

Sounds like a great field trip! I'll certainly jot this down in my notebook so when we're in the area we can stop too!

I took your advice and visited your sister's blog too. I just had to read the Wailing Woman story. Oh my! I laughed so much! What a day!


OurLilFullFam said...

I love homeschool trips too. The museum here once let us in a section they never let any kids in because the kids were so interested in what they were saying and not just happy they didn't have school that day like some school groups that come through!

I am so happy to have the boys look so alike, when I just had 2 girls they looked so different and people would always ask us if they were both ours "together" It drove me crazy. Now, people assume we must be a blended family because of our size or we are just crazy :)

I just told Stacie I think Lily is starting to look like Josiah!


OurLilFullFam said...

I was going to say too we just watched the story of the Seager children on the movie Seven Alone, I think you would like it if you haven't seen it.


...they call me mommy... said...

Looks like a VERY neat place! :) Thanks for sharing, Jackie!

Sarah said...

Looks like a very interesting field trip Jackie! I loved Josiah's ink cool! I also popped over to read Stacies hilarious story! Lol!

God Bless

christy rose said...

What an awesome field trip! I mean it sounds like you had such a great time and everyone learned so much too!

Grandma Becky said...

This is an awesome place. We were there years ago and we loved it. Of course it was a field trip for us as well, we homeschooled. i think that was the same trip where we were in down town Pendelton and went thru the underground, which my daughter still talks about as her favorite memory of that trip.

I remember when I got the Oregon Trail game on the computer, I ran over my husband's leg with the wagon train and he died, on tha game. He's never let me live it down!! :0) I actually like the older version better than the new one cuz you could go back to places where new one you can't.

I visited Stacie's post about her trip a few yeara ago to the museum,,,,oh my and thanks again for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Caligraphy is a lot like writing "the old fashioned way" and from my experience it helps improve handwriting by breaking down letter formation.

How amazing to walk part of the Oregon trail! I would so love that! I remember my older boys loving to play the computer Oregon Trail game. I really enjoyed playing it, too, when they let me!

When we homeschooled our boys, I always loved the group activities. One time we went to a Menonite farm and milked cows and watched how they made Maple Syrup!

We're reconsidering our options over the next few years. said...

I thought you might like to know about a children's e-book about the Oregon Trail entitled West to Oregon with Ollie Ox! 

It's a great book for kids. My kids loved it and it really pulled them into the whole trail experience.

It is accurate while being fun.

You can check it out at:


Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Thanks, Mike! I'll have to check that out. Sounds great :)


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