One of the great benefits of homeschooling is worldschooling, or learning by traveling the world. I love this idea, so when an opportunity came up to travel to Drumheller, Alberta to the Royal Tyrrell Museum homeschool day, I jumped at the chance.
Drumheller is one of my bucket list items for the dinosaurs, badlands and hoodoos. I’ve been wanting to visit since I was a child and as our trip approached I think I was way more excited than the kids.
The drive into Drumheller was amazing. The prairies just dropped off, giving way to the most intricate and amazing landscape I have ever seen. It was stunning! I knew instantly that this trip was not going to disappoint.
We arrived in the early evening and checked into our hotel which had a pool. This was a huge hit with the boys! We went swimming every day.
The next morning was the big homeschool day at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, but on the way we made a quick stop to climb the largest dinosaur in the world!
Sadly the weather was already turning on us and by the time we arrived at the museum it was rainy, windy and quite cold, but we weren’t going to let it ruin our day and other than the badlands hike, most of our activities were indoors.
We toured the museum on our own (admission was free after presenting proof of our homeschooling status), and attended two classes plus a guided badlands hike that were part of the homeschool day program. Jackson did a class on how to do excavations while Preston attended a dino picnic and learned about carnivores, omnivores and herbivores.
Then they took a class together on fossil casting where they got to keep their castings! It was really neat to learn about why the do castings and how to tell if you are looking at real fossils or castings. It made our second walk through the museum really interesting once we had that “insider” knowledge.
The lessons were all a combination of geology, Alberta history and paleontology. I wasn’t sure what to expect, so we took things as they came, but I think if we do it again I would plan a unit study around these concepts so the Museum courses reinforce things we are already studying.
I was like a kid in a candy store. You couldn’t take the grin off my face as I finally got to see everything offered at the museum.
After a very long day at the museum we went for dinner. Our big plan was to wake up early the next morning and go hiking at the hoodoos, but the weather was turning from blech to torrential downpours. The badlands have a very high concentration of clay and everywhere they had warnings about how slippery the ground gets when it rains. It looked like our hiking at the hoodoos was going to be canceled.
Then, after we had the kids tucked into bed, the sun came out. Derek jumped onto the computer and pulled up the weather maps. It looked like it would be clear for the next two hours. It was 9pm. I protested, it was too late and the kids were in their PJs, but all my boys wanted to help me mark off another bucket list item.
Ten minutes later we were driving out of Drumheller looking for the hoodoos. It was so worth it! The hoodoos at sunset were breathtaking.
I found myself a badlands throne to sit and just take in the awesomeness of the moment.
Even the boys were taken by the beauty of the badlands.
On the drive back I saw a sign for a suspension bridge I had seen promoted. At this point it was well after 10pm. The sun had set but it was still twilight. Throwing caution to the wind, we took the detour and walked across the suspension bridge.
It was a long but memorable day that has left us with memories we will treasure. I know we will definitely be back. As a family we love to hike and explore, and Drumheller is the perfect place for us. Plus, I’ve heard a rumor there is going to be a fall 2015 homeschool day because this first one was such a success!
Yeah for worldschooling!