2014-15 School Year–Week Thirty-Two

Another school year is complete!

I’ll be honest…I kind of phoned it in this week. We had three field trips (St. Louis Zoo, Missouri Botanical Garden, and Eckert’s), only one of which was directly related to our lessons this year. They were all fun, though, and that’s all that matters at the end of the year, right?

Other than that, we did some religion, some math, some spelling, some writing, and some grammar. I think that’s about it. We finished the year strong, with everyone scoring 100% on their spelling tests today, which was nice. Today really was a great end to the school year in general, with a trip to Eckert’s to pick strawberries and visit the farm animals, and the assembly of our latest addition to our Lego Architecture collection–the Trevi Fountain.

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Overall, I think this was a great school year…sure, there were some bumps along the way, but we all learned a lot (even me!), and had fun doing it. We’re taking a break for a few week before we begin our Illinois state history summer school unit, and then we’ll be back in August, with two seventh graders (when did I get old enough to have students in Junior High?!?), and a third grader!

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Today we went strawberry picking at Eckert’s, and Dolly came along. She certainly fared better than Chickadee, who was quite stained by the time we were done! While we were there, we also walked around, and saw some animals…plus the Stl250 cake, which we were glad to see out and in good condition!

Maybe next month, Dolly will get to go blackberry picking with Chickadee!

A Field Trip to Willoughby Farm

Today I got to go on a field trip with Moose to a place I had never been before…Willoughby Farm in Collinsville.

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It was a really cool place! There were several barns:

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My favorite barn was the “baby barn,” which is currently housing two shoats, two lambs, and a calf:

There were more animals outside, including guinea fowl, which were new to me, but I kind of fell in love with!

There were tractors, and even a hay ride:

And an amazing garden, the proceeds of which go to a food pantry and nursing homes, which I think is amazing!

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The views (especially on the hike we took), were beautiful:

And I really love the old farmhouse…especially the kitchen and laundry room:

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This was a great place to visit, and I can’t wait to go back with the rest of the children!

Knowing When to Let Go

Today I went on a field trip with Moose and his class to Willoughby Farm.

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Back when he was four and five years old and in the Early Childhood class at his school, I went on field trips in the fall to one of our local apple orchards. It was a lot of fun, and I was glad I had the chance to go with him. I noticed, though, that he would only spend time with me on those trips, and not with his class.

Because of that, I made a hard decision when he was in kindergarten, first, and second grades not to go on any field trips with him. It was hard for two reasons. First, because his trips in those grades were to bigger, busier places like the St. Louis Zoo, and I was worried about everything…him getting lost, or being overwhelmed, or just being miserable. It was also hard because I wanted to be able to share those experiences with him. But, I thought it was best for him to go without me, to force him outside of his comfort zone, and make him spend time with other people. I had to let him go.

Now, though, after an especially successful field trip last year where he not only had fun, but also conquered a fear, I feel like I can go with him. And he specifically asked me to attend, so I happily told his teacher I would be there. And it was a lot of fun to spend the day with him, watch him learn, and see how he interacts with his peers.

There was a time when I needed to let him go, for his own good. But I’m very happy that time has passed, and I can be a fun field trip mom, and spend a day with him!

Henry Shaw’s Town House

I’ve shared pictures here and there of Henry Shaw’s beautiful country home, Tower Grove House, around which the Missouri Botanical Garden was built:

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But did you know that he also had a town house, originally located at the southwest corner of 7th and Locust in downtown St. Louis, designed by the same architect, George Barnett?

The house was dismantled following his death, according to instructions left in his will, and reassembled on the property of the Missouri Botanical Garden, where it is now home to the Garden’s administrative offices.

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It was built in the Victorian Renaissance Revival style, to resemble European palaces, and it shows. The large balcony facing Tower Grove Avenue is reminiscent of the setting from which you would expect to see a monarch and family appearing at a great national event.

The legacy which Henry Shaw left to St. Louis is extensive and amazing!