a day at fort osage
So far the children and I have read some great books on American History (America the Beautiful, volumes 1 & 2) and World History (A Little History of the World and A Child's History of the World) for schooling. It's amazing the great books available, and as an adult I enjoyed these reads myself.
For this school year, I thought it would be great to focus on Missouri history. We are not using one textbook, but instead following a timeline of historical events that took place in Missouri and using library books to expand on those events, topics and characters. The children are creating their own Missouri history timeline and making drawing of characters and events. Since we live in Northwest Missouri near the Missouri River and the city of Independence (and our home is along the Santa Fe Trail) we are taking advantage of the many museums and events hosted that highlight Missouri History.
Fort Osage was established on the bluffs of the Missouri River by William Clark (of Lewis and Clark fame) to build friendship and trade with the Osage. Although the original fort was dismantled after closing, it has since been rebuilt and frequently stages events. This past Saturday it hosted the Chez Les Canses showing life of French settlers at the fort during the 1700's. Since the children and I are just at that moment of history in our reading it was a great fit. All of the events we attend won't line up so perfectly.
My husband was the only one of our family who had been to the fort, and that was almost thirty years ago, so we all really enjoyed our time, experience and the views. The country drive to the location, including a detour due to a small town parade, was a plus too. An education center has recently been built complete with a historical timeline of characters and events surrounding the fort, and geographical information of the area. I was impressed with how user friendly both the fort and center were for use.
Reading about history is interesting, but then when a student (be he a child or adult) can make connections to the actual area one is reading about - what a gift! I'm excited to continue to make these connections as events are available in our area. We might even need to take a few road trips around the state to expand our learning even more.