Essen–Düsseldorf Ruhr Area Map

It gets them out of the house and they learn by having fun, rather than doing ”traditional” school work. They like to do things rather than just talk about, read about, or study it. Talking to the reenactors at Washington-on-the-Brazos is much more fun than just reading a few sentences about those events in the Texas Revolution.

One way to delve deeply into a subject while experiencing the excitement of travel is to take a literature-based road trip. Combining a unit study in which many disciplines are studied in an interrelated fashion with travel to sites mentioned in a blog provides a memorable approach to learning. Here are a few examples of these travel-infused unit studies:

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Mark Twain- While reading Tom Sawyer, complete unit study activities such as those suggested by Teresa Lilly in her Tom Sawyer Literature Novel Unit Study. Then trek to Mark Twain’s hometown of Hannibal, Missouri. En route, listen to Mark Twain: Words & Music, a CD telling the story of Twain’s life in both word and song and featuring celebrities like Jimmy Buffet, Clint Eastwood, and Brad Paisley. In Hannibal, visit the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum, explore Mark Twain Cave, pan for gemstones at Stick, Stones, and Bones, and camp out on the grounds.

Little House- Another popular travel unit study is based on the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Find a great unit study guide in Margie Gray’s The Prairie Primer. This unit study provides 48 weeks of lesson plans covering a wide range of academic interests, including science and cooking. Then take a long and winding tour of the sites in the Little House series: Rocky Ridge Farm in Mansfield, Missouri; the dugout on Plum Creek near Walnut Grove, Minnesota; a replica of the claim shanty in DeMet, South Dakota; the little house near Pepin, Wisconsin; and a replica of the Ingalls’ cabin near Independence, Kansas. Check out The Little House Guideblog for photos, directions, and tourist information on all the Little House sites.

Southern Authors- After older students read several works by great Southern authors, take them on a literary road trip across the South. In Mississippi, visit Eudora Welty’s home in Jackson and Faulkner’s Rowan Oak in Oxford. The Monroe County Heritage Museum in Monroeville, Alabama boasts exhibits on its famed authors, Harper Lee and Truman Capote. In Milledgeville, Georgia, visit Flannery O’Connor’s home- Andalusia- a 544-acre estate including a farm and peafowl aviary.

C.S. Lewis- With 2013 marking the 50th anniversary of The Chronicles of Narnia author C.S. Lewis’s death (though that date- November 22, 1963- is largely overshadowed by another famous death), it’s the perfect time to cross the pond and take a tour of the Inklings’ old stomping ground. Visit Magdalen College, Oxford, for a peak into the place where Lewis worked. Visit the pubs where the Inklings met for discussion- at the White Horse pub try some game pie (pheasant, duck, and venison) and scones with jam At the King’s Arms, which boasts of having the “highest IQ per square foot of anywhere in the world,” chow down on fish and chips or a brie and cranberry sandwich. Stay at the Eastgate Hotel, another spot where Lewis and Tolkien met to chat. Visit Lewis’ home, The Kilns, in Headington as well as his parish church, Holy Trinity Church, and gravesite.

For more educational destinations, check out the following U.S. sites- listed by geographical category.

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