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In the Schoolroom

In the Schoolroom: Hometown Tourism


A word to the wise: best-kept secrets can be in our home state, so don’t let these golden opportunities to explore and discover, pass you by.

Living as I do, right outside of Manhattan, I am often asked if I’ve seen the Empire State Building or been in the Statue of Liberty. The answer to both questions is yes, but I must admit, not since my seventh and eighth-grade field trips.

The fact is that most people rarely explore their town, city, or state unless forced to do so by the occasion of visiting relatives or grammar school teachers.

Spring is here, and with more temperate weather, I would like to encourage you to explore your hometown or home state. Those of you doing the fourth-grade state project might already be immersed in these trips, but it should not stop there.

My children, for this project, made big promotional posters extolling how wonderful a visit to New York City could be (this was a while ago) and the historic sites all over the state. The whole family can get involved.

A state study can become a family project, and like the fourth-grade assignment, help families become familiar with their own state’s history.

Explore the Opportunities

What a wonderful opportunity we have to learn firsthand about the place in which God planted us! Perhaps your family has a place in the history of your state or region.

When did your family settle there? What brought them there? Why did they stay? When I asked these questions, there were a few phone calls to relatives and a bit of online searching.

Have the children get creative with posters, scrapbooks, lapbooks, or writing an article for a local paper. Let them have fun with the project.

So get your wish list started on where you would like to go for a day trip or even longer holiday. There is no need to wait for a visiting relative to be the green flag to get this road trip started!

Some websites to help:




Editors Note: We include the websites in the box to start your search but do not necessarily endorse all content.

About Mary Ellen Barrett

Mother of seven children and two in heaven, Mary is wife to David and a lifelong New Yorker. She has homeschooled her children for eleven years using Seton and an enormous amount of books. She is a columnist for The Long Island Catholic and blogs here . Meet Mary Ellen.
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