When we first decided to travel to everyplace on the National Parks Monopoly board we had a few objectives. First is to experience the diversity of this country and expose our children to the wide variety of landscapes, history, and cultures the exist or have existed. Second is the help all of us to learn first hand about the things taught in school. Things that we have read or heard about. Seeing the Grand Canyon and learning how it was formed or witnessing the exact location of the Boston Massacre while seeing it with your own eyes teaches us more than we could ever learn from a few lectures in school. It is possible that we could have accomplished this without the Monopoly Board but that would have likely restricted us to our past experiences and places we’ve either been to before or heard about and found intriguing. Using the board allows us to visit and learn about places we probably would have never thought about going to.
Each destination on the National Parks board serves as a catalyst to visit a particular area. Once we begin planning on traveling to a certain park we also do some research on what else is in that area that we would like to explore. This past summer we traveled to Maine to explore Acadia National Park. While in that area we also explored the Freedom Trail in Boston and other nearby places. A good portion of one day was spent touring the USS Constitution and learning about it’s place in history. Recently one of Lysa’s classes was learning about this time period in New England with Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and “Old Ironsides” (the USS Constitution). Once this subject began her ears perked up and she began listening very intently to what was being discussed with more interest because she has witnessed these locations first hand.
What was even more amazing to me is because of this experience she found things being taught that were incorrect and was able to explain what she saw. Later she came home, copied some of our photos from that part of the trip, and gave a presentation from her firsthand account of the Freedom Trail. One of the items that she explained as incorrect was about the construction of the USS Constitution and how it got it’s name “Old Ironsides” (one of the oldest commissioned ships in the world). Apparently the book was teaching that the ship was made from iron and covered in a wood skin to convince other ships it was a wood ship. This is not true as the ship’s sides are made entirely out of wood. The name actually comes from a battle in which the opposing ships cannonballs were bouncing off of the USS Constitution because the sides were so thick and hard the cannonballs could not penetrate it. For a more complete recap visit http://www.history.navy.mil/ussconstitution/history.html.
She was so excited to be able to provide more accurate information to her fellow classmates and teacher. Imagine how much more she has learned about this Revolutionary time period than if she had only read and heard about it in school. Planning and paying for these trips is not the easiest thing to do. In addition, while we are on these trips they often become exhausting and the kids become a little complacent as we are constantly on the go to take in as much as possible. I really enjoy preparing and planning for each destination as it is unique and offers new experiences. We are fortunate to be able to do this and Lysa’s excitement and knowing that she learned a lot prove to me that being a Monopoly Traveler is worth what we give up to do this.