The Nina and Pinta

4:51 PM

Every now and then we homeschoolers do something outside the house which ties nicely into what we're learning. AKA - field trip. Now if I were more social, I'd team up with other moms and their kids, but usually I take the loner approach and head out by myself. Well, me and the four kiddos. So I'm not really all that much alone, am I...

Here we are testing out a borrowed Boba carrier. Turns out I had it on inside out. Once I got it all put on correctly, it was really handy for carrying Wyeth around town. He loved it and it didn't hurt my back at all. 

This year, our homeschool curriculum is "Introduction to American History".
We have studied the earliest known civilizations up and down North and South America (Incans, Aztecs, Mayans, etc), the introduction of European cultures (Spanish, English, Portuguese, Dutch) and more recently, native American tribes in North America and their attempt to co-exist with European colonists.   

When I heard reproductions of the Nina and the Pinta would be docking downtown, it seemed like a great way to bring history to LIFE! We studied Columbus and his voyages during our first few weeks of school, and it was an eye opener.  From everything we learned, while he might have started out with good intentions ("might" being the operative word), he is a perfect example of pride and greed ruining a human being and wreaking havoc on thousands of other human beings in the process. Needless to say, on Columbus Day, we opted out of celebrating.  I really don't understand why he has a holiday at all.  He was NOT a good guy, and seriously, folks, did he ever realize he didn't land in the East Indies? Don't think so. So we set aside a day for a guy who bumbled his way to our continent, pretended he was a god and exploited the confusion of all the natives living on the land he "found."  Great idea. 

The one thing that is impressive is how he managed to get across the Atlantic Ocean on these tiny ships. They are itty. We're talking 50-56 feet long. The sailors slept on the deck because all the cargo and animals were below deck.  Tiny ships, people. Tiny.

Another Columbus factoid: On his initial voyage to the New World, he offered a reward of 10,000 maravedas to the first person to spot land. His crew was really starting to get antsy at this point in their journey. Land was spotted by a crew member, but wouldn't you know it? Columbus denied this guy the reward and said HE was actually the first person to spot land. He gave himself the reward. What a stinker.

We joined the other schools on field trips and listened to the various crew members giving the spiel on Columbus and his many voyages.

Given the small size of the ships, the tour didn't take long. 
But the kids were very interested in everything. Here's another factoid:
On a subsequent voyage from Spain in 1495, the Nina was accompanied by 17 other ships. At some point on the journey, there was a hurricane and all ships but the Nina were destroyed. Everyone who survived piled aboard the Nina. We're talking about 120 men on a ship meant for 20 people. It was a seriously tight squeeze. The Nina was the only ship in the West Indies to make it through that hurricane and it subsequently hauled all 120 men all the way back to Spain.

The "Loading" Zone.

After our exploration of the ships, we meandered our way down the River Trail, checking out the sculpture gardens and playgrounds. I asked Dorien to pose with this funny turkey guy!

This sculpture invited lots of play!

The Wysteria Grotto!

As our field trip wrapped up, we headed to one of my favorite spots, Kilwins....a lovely chocolate shop...and ended up getting to visit Kyle who was in the River Market for a workshop.
It was a great day for our school!

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