Homeschool Trip 2014: Canyonlands

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Our next stop was Canyonlands.  Honestly, by this point in our trip we were starting to get a little worn.  We’d been on the move the whole time and we were moving a bit slower each morning.  This year was the 75th anniversary for Canyonlands so it was quite a popular place to be.  As a result, our hotel was a little over an hour away.

This was really cool to see.  The rocks were green!  This was on the drive into Canyonlands.  We found out from the ranger its the same rusting process that changes the rocks red but for these there was no oxygen.  So instead of red they turn green.  How cool is that!  Another great science lesson.


We were also stopped by these rocks.  I mean really the rocks around here are pretty amazing.  I love all the different textures, shapes and colors.  These also had the added benefit of having a helicopter on top.  These rocks reminded me of a rock monster.  I was expecting them to come alive and start moving any minute!


We finally wound our way to the top of this “Island in the Sky.”



The kids got started on their Junior Ranger books right away.




This was pretty much how we all felt as we listened to yet another “millions/billions/trillions” lecture.  It was getting a bit old.  The rangers would throw it in even when it had nothing to do with their talk.  So, no, we don’t believe in millions of years.  We believe in a created earth as described in the Bible.


We didn’t do much hiking in this area.  Its a large park and most of the trails are long.   We found a great spot to eat lunch and work on the kids’ books but no one was excited for a hike.  So, we did a car tour and headed back to the hotel.


Homeschool Trip 2014: Zion National Park

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Zion was the first stop in our journey this year.  It was beautiful!  We had planned two days to explore.



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We were eager to ditch the car and hit the trails.  It was stunning to be walking down the canyon and looking up to these.  Seeing all the various colors of rock.  You had to remind yourself to watch where you were going so you didn’t trip!_MG_5019-3 _MG_5034-6

We hopped on the bus ride to get a general lay of the land and see the park as a whole first.  Ezekiel became known as Hawk-eye.  He had a knack for being the first always to spot wildlife.  To which everyone on the bus would whip out their cameras. _MG_5089-13

Charlotte was very happy to NOT have to be in her carseat._MG_5091-14 _MG_5092-15

Our first day ended with a downpour.  We were on the bus headed to a trail and it just dumped.  We decided not to venture out.  Initially we were quite bummed by all the rain.  And although this rain was nothing like here in the northwest I wanted to be hiking.  But, as a bus driver pointed out, we were witness to something most people never see.  Waterfalls in Zion.  We watched the canyon walls as we witnessed the birth of many waterfalls.  It was a site to be seen.


Our day ended with a drive through the rains.  To see what that was like take a look at Greg’s GoPro video.  We also kept getting notices like this on our phone.  So, we left. 🙂



Day 2 started a little sketchy.  The rains created a flash floods in the areas south of us.  Roads had been washed out, houses flooded.  Watching the news in the hotel the kids were quite surprised to find out the rain we were in the previous day had played a part in what we saw.  Flash floods were the science lesson of the day.


When we arrived at Zion (an hour drive from our hotel) we discovered all but one of the trails (a bike trail) had been closed due to the flooding.  We headed in and decided to eat lunch and then get on our bikes.  That may have been it for the day but we would get the most from it.  This bike ride earned Oliver the nickname “Rooster.”  He never saw a red mud puddle he didn’t want to ride through and as a result had the longest streak of red up his back and sweatshirt hood.  The ‘rooster tail’



What started as a questionable day in Zion ended quite rewarding.  Many people had been told Zion was closed.  Others left when they found out most of the trails were closed. As a result the park was fairly empty.  The updates were all very minute to minute.  Just was we were about to leave we were ease dropping on some Rangers and heard that all trails except the Narrows had been opened!  We quickly hit the trails again but were cautioned as many places were still very slick with mud.  Our first hike was to Weeping Rock._MG_5129-17 _MG_5126-16 _MG_5132-19 _MG_5133-20

One water fall still flowed the remains of the previous day._MG_5135-21

The blue sky from the previous day was missed but the cooler weather made for some great hikes._MG_4975-2

The ‘rain’ you see here is the water ‘weeping’ out of the solid rock.  _MG_5136-22 _MG_5087-12

The last hike we did was the 2 mile Riverwalk.  It was a beautiful hike with new views of the canyon, vegetation and wildlife._MG_5164-23  _MG_5292-24 DCIM100GOPRO

One of the things I enjoyed most about Zion was the variety of the trails.  Each trail provided a glimpse of something new.  A feature of the canyon you can’t see from anywhere else.  This is one place I can see visiting again and discovering new areas.  _MG_5025-5

Why do a homeschool road trip?

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I have often been asked why we choose to do a road trip with our kids. And since we are currently on one right now I thought I would share why. Since we are all sitting here.


I truly believe that we as parents are call by The God of the Universe, and his son Jesus the Christ to teach our children in all phases of their lives. And one of the way we have chosen to do so is to take our kids into the world to teach. I am not saying that you couldn’t do this from the comforts of your home, but I am saying that we have been blessed with the passion, time and money to do so and have seen this experience to be the best teacher for our kids.


Yes, there are hard times, like yesterday we were on a bus tour of zion national park when there was a flash flood warning for the park area and with a full bus load of people trying to escape the down pour and get back to their shelters. Our youngest, Charlotte started to scream almost uncontrollably. It was a very uncomfortable to say the least but our children got to show the love of Christ to the on lookers, as they gave us “that” look. It was pretty awesome to see. And they got to see water falls that are rarely seen in the park, since Utah is the 2nd driest state in the union. The rain bought a new way to look at Noah’s flood. When we could see these waterfalls and pools start from now where. When was the last time or the first time you got to see a waterfall start?


We also use our trips as a teaching tool for the rest of the year, drawing our little students minds back to a trip, hike, hardship, joys or triumph to teach a subject or concept. For example, this year Zoe is going to learn about power and wonder of water. So to see the rain shape the land in real time, I believe this trips memories will last a life time, and you can’t get that from your kitchen table.



So I would like to ask why not take your kids on a “homeschool” trip! Yes, it has a cost but the reward far out weights to it. So with a little planning anyone can do it.

The Newest Addition…..

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Declaimer First:  I, Greg T., don’t often enter a entry into the family blog but since Merriann is still recovering from the hard work of Labor. I thought I would try my best.  Since many people in which this blog was created for are looking for baby pictures, I am “maning” up.  So please enjoy the “non” professional pictures.  Merriann will return soon to give you what you have all come to expect.

We have a new addition to our family….

Charlotte Hadassah

  Charlotte Hadassah Thames

She was born on Jan. 31, 2014 @ 6:01 am.  She was 6lb 15 oz and 20 inches long.

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This was a first “relative” home birth experience. The reason I say relative is because it was at some friends of ours home.  And not ours.  We wanted to have a home birth but the distance from our house and the hospital had our midwife’s a little concerned when playing the what if games.  So when relating this concern to our friends they said, “Use our house!”  It was such a blessing.  God has a amazing way of working things out.

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These are our Midwives, Dr. Kim, and Dr. Tamar.  They are both naturopathic doctors and midwifes.  They are awesome.  I must say they brought more to the table than I originally thought.  They were informative, to the point, funny, and just good people.  A-plus

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And since we had the birth of Charlotte at a friends house and the stomach flu hit our house (that is a whole other story) there were a few days between the kids meeting their little sister.

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Zoe and Oliver were so excited to meet her.  Zeke was a little less sure about the whole thing. But he wants to play with her now and I am not sure he gets why he has to be so gentle with her.

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Our Newest Family Picture, and look Merriann I even smiled for you!

Christmas Cookies 2013

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As some of you know I (Greg) am learning the fine art of motion video.  Yes it is true, and with that said I have been doing some small projects to better learn the craft.  Well, today Merriann, the kids and some of our friends came over to make Christmas cookies.  So I saw a chance to do a little video and get some practice.  So here is a little short video.  I hope you enjoy.