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Sunday, July 6

Gettysburg (Brandos)

We drove to Gettysburg, site of one of a turning point in the Civil War.  First stop, the Gettysburg Heritage Center.  Though most exhibits are closed because they are currently under reconstruction, everything accessible was FREE! 
We saw a great battle reenactment in the giant movie theater and got to check out the wax museum.  Afterward, we hit the gift shop.  This deep into the trip, the boys are constantly bickering, so I bought one grey and one blue hat and told them to battle.  You know you're a homeschooling mom when you take the constant fighting and turn it into a lesson on the Civil War!
Once they calmed down from their 'battle,' we took a drive through the Gettysburg National Cemetery, the final resting place for Union soldiers killed during the 3-day battle.  This is where Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address.  Nearly all Confederate soldiers were moved to their home states.
From there, we headed to the Museum & Visitor Center, a huge building that features the soldiers' daily life as well as the many faces of Gettysburg.  The boys were still acting out their battle when we first arrived...
They completed the Junior Park Ranger requirements to earn Gettysburg patches.  This is a great teaching tool, and each park has it's own reward (Valley Forge used badges).  Before leaving, we had to stop for a photo-op with Abe Lincoln.
Dad was working late this day, and we didn't want to just sit around the hotel, so we detoured through Harrisburg, PA to visit the State History Museum.  It was a free trip, since they are on our ASTC list of free museums (SO worth that $65 for the annual pass...we've calculated that we've already saved nearly $500 on museum admission in less than 3 months).
Like the Grand Rapids museum, there was a re-creation of the old streets of Harrisburg.  We also stumbled upon a demonstration of muskets.  The other boys had never held a gun before, while my oldest remarked, "hmm, it's lighter than mine."  One of these things is not like the other....... 
They had five floors of exhibits, including dioramas & murals, an architectural model for Independence Hall, pioneer life, local Native American history, and regional wildlife.  The boys are raptor-crazy and require photos of all things raptor-related...thank you, Wild Kratts!  It was a busy, but memorable, day!

Gettysburg unit : 
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