Back Home to Texas
Last week our family enjoyed a homeschool road trip across Texas. It’s been twelve years since I moved away from Dallas. And it’s been seven years since I last visited the state I grew up in.
Business meetings lured me back. I don’t like to be away from my family so I took them with me. We left days in advance of my meetings so we could take our time driving and enjoy the beaches along the way. In between meetings, we drove up and down Texas eating barbeque.
Jack and Eli are good travelers, yet a seventeen hour road trip did require some entertainment. We bought each of the boys their own personal video player and hit the library just before take-off to load up on movies. We found the coolest travel Spirograph for some smooth-road crafting. And we found Minecraft Activity Book 3! Sweet.
However, the coolest car game we found was so simple, yet the boys LOVED it. Travel Scavenger Hunt for Kids. I mean we always play I-Spy and the license plate game, but there was something about this cute little $7.25 card set that had the boys asking for it almost every leg of the trip.
Huh, who knew?
We stopped at Gulf Shores, Alabama for the first leg of the trip. My husband found a nice little Microtel near the beach. The boys woke early to find it raining outside. No matter. The Microtel serves free waffles for breakfast. Who can be upset when your belly is full of waffles?
The rain continued and we decided to go for it. We were the only souls romping in the ocean that day. A steady bit of cold rain fell from the sky. We didn’t care. It was glorious to run across the soft white sand into warm, clear blue water. Which surprised me! I didn’t think you got clear blue water on the Gulf, but we did. Jack and I stayed in the longest. We liked the huge waves that hit us as we tried to remain standing.
That same afternoon, we headed over to the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial. The ship is amazing. The boys didn’t quite grasp the gravity of the whole thing, but I sure did. As we climbed farther and farther down into the belly of the ship, I became light headed at the thought of living down there, let alone surviving a war. The ship is quite interactive and the boys were able to lie down in bunks made from chain and steel pipe, pull out a swivel stool to “eat” in the galley, and jump behind bars in the brig.
Next came a long, and exhausting drive to Dallas. We spent the first couple of days visiting family. Scott had scoped out some history attractions so we spent a ridiculous amount of money to go up inside Reunion Tower. Scott didn’t tell me how much it cost until after the tour was over. I almost died. However, it did have this great interactive computer that the boys could manipulate to learn about the various historical sites and landmarks around the city. That was cool. Jack experimented with it for some time. Eli preferred to play with the interactive light show where he could make the lights of Reunion Arena change colors, lol.
I wasn’t sure if they were ready for it, but we also walked over to Dealey Plaza where the boys learned about President John F. Kennedy. It was sobering to share that point in history and actually stand on the grassy knoll.
It was also hotter than heck so we left in favor of eating…more BBQ
The coup de grace in Dallas was Dave and Busters. Growing up in Dallas, Dave and Busters was a pretty standard thing for a kid to do. Jack and Eli went nuts. Of course, grandparents, aunts and uncles were on hand to keep their game card filled with tokens. We played until we all lost our minds.
Our next stop was Austin. Scott navigated us to Fossil Rim Wildlife Park on the way. For me, this was the highlight of the trip. Feeding zebras and giraffe right out of your hand is pretty darn cool.
In Austin, we decided to check out Innerspace Caverns. On the outside, it appears way too touristy. Yet, it was delightfully educational and informative. Jack and Eli were the only kids on the tour and they loved it. Of course, they kept asking the tour guide if they could possibly try to mine any ores (Minecraft style, of course), but she was wise to the ways of Minecraft and instead chatted intelligently to them about their favorite game. I have never seen cuter bats in my life, btw. Wow, the tiny 3 inch bats are like fuzzy, upside down hamsters and when they fly you think you’re seeing a hummingbird.
Last on our list was Houston. Short, but sweet Houston was a blast. After some confusion over which hotel we had actually booked (who knew there are THAT many Sheraton’s located close together?), we got ourselves settled. The boys played in the swimming pool while I took an Uber to my morning meeting. There was no way I wanted to drive in Houston traffic. Geez.
Then we set off for the Houston Space Center. Jack was in heaven. He’s a big space nut and the kid literally read every sign and placard in the place. He also volunteered to be the test astronaut on the space station. That was cute. He got to experience sleeping vertically, the tight quarters of a toilet, and keeping food Velcroed to his leg. Pretty cool.
Happy kids means happy homeschooling and I wouldn’t mind another homeschooling road trip soon. The boys were excited each and every day, they cooperated swimmingly, I got to do my work in the car using my cell phone as a hot spot, which meant loads of mommy time to enjoy with Jack and Eli. I feel like an Airstream may be in our future…
How do you homeschool on the road? Leave a tip or comment below so we can all learn from each other!
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