__________November 02, 2015__________

Our Adventures:  Civil War Muster (and vent)!

I’ve had a horrible time with field trips, this year, already.

Last year, we belonged to a local homeschooling group that had once-a-month trips that we could go on.  But this year got REALLY convoluted.  First of all, the group split in two: two locations, two FB pages.  They said you had to pick one of the two to be your group.  Then they said that even if you pick, you can’t be on that group’s FB page until you go to one of their meetings – it’s all locked up.

Anyhow, the first meeting for my group was on the first day of swim lessons for my FOUR sons… who didn’t know where they were going, didn’t know how to go about doing things… I had to choose between the group meeting or my CHILDREN.  (Do you see something *wrong* with this?  A homeschool group, making me choose between them and my children’s need.  Seriously?)  Naturally I went with the kids… and asked for the field trip information for September, explaining my situation.  It’s not like I haven’t been to a meeting before, almost a dozen field trips, and posted stuff to the old FB page.  They knew of me, at the least.  But y’know what these kind, understanding, godly women said?  “No.  You don’t come to our meeting, you don’t get to be a part of our stuff.”  Fine… okay, whatever.  But wOw.

By the October meeting, my boys were comfortable with swim, and I could go to the meeting, but I was cantankerous about it.  Mostly because it felt like it was about power plays, and I didn’t LIKE that.  That’s not what it should be, IMHO.  But I went.  Then they had to INVITE you to join their FB page, and you had to ACCEPT said invitation, and then they had to APPROVE your ACCEPTANCE of their invitation, and… I’m sorry, but there are serious control issues, there.  These are moms, hello.  All they want is to make friends, take field trips and (some of them) get advice.  That’s all….

And after all that?  There aren’t any viable field trips.

Yeah, you read that right.  First, the September field trip (they wouldn’t give me access to) was to a place I vowed never to go.  I met the man – had to be at a business meeting with him, once – who owned the place, and I would never support his business in a million years.  He was a terrible person, greedy and rude and chauvinistic and belligerent.  (Felt better, knowing that’s what I missed.)  The October field trip was to an old time village, but there were only 50 openings.  There are NINETY women in the two groups – not including the children.  And the other group (not mine) got offered the openings, first.  So not a single mom in the second group had a chance of going on the field trip.  The leaders came, they said, “Here’s what it was, so very sorry, tough luck.”  (!!!)  The November field trip?  It’s making shoe boxes for Samaritan’s Purse, to give to missions.  Twenty bucks per child, to buy the box, your share of things to put in it, and shipping.  That’d be $100 for my family, and we don’t believe in missions.  And um… that’s not a field trip!  The December field trip?  It’s the same as last year’s – to see *half* of ‘The Nutcracker’, along with every public school child (unsupervised, as the teachers chat in the aisle) in the city.  Half of a show, for five dollars per person.  Um… no.

So!  It has fallen to me to find field trips for my family.  I’m up for the challenge!  And actually, we’ve been very active and involved with other activities, through several different venues already, this year.  FREE ones, I might add.  We went to a Chihuly art presentation and tried our hand at making ‘glass flowers’.  We went to a duct tape event, a Snap Circuit event, a presentation on the experimental creations of DaVinci, and did a food experiments event.

I’ve also done field trips in spite of the group.  We did ArtPrize as our October family field trip – oh, no!  I’d best put that up, here, too!  And come to think of it, in September, we took a Train adventure (should post that, as well, I suppose!)…

This weekend, we went to the first of our two November field trips:  a Civil War muster!  It took place only 10 minutes or so from my house, at a historical site (where my brother was married, actually).  It’s their cider time festival, on top of it, and they have a water-wheel powered mill in which they make cider in the old crank presses.  They have a historical village with demonstrators showing spinning, weaving, woodwork, blacksmithing, soap-making, cornmeal grinding and more.  There was also a civil war encampment set up, and all of the ladies were in their fancy dresses.  There were free horse-drawn wagon rides and ‘mountain men’ singers… so we had a wonderful time.

Here, let me show you:

IMG_0080 (555x416)Ladies in the civil war encampment

IMG_0081 (555x432)The historical mill where the Civil War Muster took place.

IMG_0091 (446x555)One of the men came ’round and told us that we were in a small village in Arkansas, nine months after Bobby Lee (General Robert E., to us!) had surrendered.  The news hadn’t reached these folks, and the Union soldiers were coming to fill them in… and it was going to be a very messy situation.

IMG_0118 (555x278)The Confederates, aware that Yankee soldiers were in the area.

IMG_0122 (555x401)… and here they come…

IMG_0130 (412x555)“All right, boys, let’s show ’em what we’re made of!”

IMG_0142 (555x311)Fun little story:  We were standing next to a guy with this honkin’ HUGE camera.  He was making a big deal out of getting in different positions, adjusting his view, checking his pictures… and he exulted that he got the ‘fire’ of the cannon.  It was so fast, you could hardly SEE it.  So that was like a challenge to me!  And lookie what I managed, with my 13yo camera?  (Yes, I squealed in excitement.)

IMG_0150 (555x416)Hoisting a white flag, and calling for ‘parlay’, the soldiers deliver the news.

IMG_0171 (416x555)Taking down the confederate flag, and putting up the American one.

IMG_0174 (555x416)All of the players, lined up for presentation.

We had a good afternoon.  The kids learned a lot about how it actually was, during the war.  They watched people ‘fake’ die, people get ‘fake’ wounded, and the cannons and guns were *LOUD*.  So exciting!  Even better, it was the last day, so all children were free!  It ended up being more than half price, for us.  So I successfully replaced the old-time town field trip people weren’t able to go on!

And I’m pretty durn convinced that we’ll have just as much fun at our next one, too.  🙂  Which happens to be a WHOLE play at $5 each.  I’m tickled pink that I’m going to be able to do this, on my own, and have it work out even better.  🙂

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