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This blog has been a work in progress. We are so eclectic in our homeschooling that it has been hard to pinpoint a focus for The Nature of Homeschooling. I have realized that the two emerging themes in our homeschooling approach are nature and traveling. I don’t mean those amazing around-the-world trips that homeschoolers like Tsh from the Art of Simple are lucky enough to be able to take. We are more into day-tripping and weekend field trips.
When we take a trip, I either plan it based on a current book we are reading or find a book to coincide with our trip. Although I have dreams of visiting England to go on an adventure with Enid Blyton or to visit a secret garden, most of our trips are within driving distance of our home in Central Virginia. And because we have so much fun exploring the places we read about in our books, I thought I would share them with all of you through my new series Books and Trips! You can read about our adventures here on the blog or you can follow us on Instagram or Facebook using #booksandtrips. And please share your own adventures as well – just make sure to include #booksandtrips! I am always looking for new ideas.
I’m going to kick off our new series with one of my favorite book-inspired adventures: Serafina and the Black Cloak and a trip to the Biltmore mansion! What makes this even more exciting is that the third book in the Serafina series was just released – Serafina and the Splintered Heart!
My son and I read the first two Serafina books together and we absolutely loved them! They were the perfect combination of mystery, nature, and fantasy. My son was captured by the fantastical villain, and I enjoyed the descriptions of the mountain and animal life in North Carolina. We were especially intrigued by the author’s descriptions of the twists and turns in the Biltmore mansion, where Serafina secretly lives. So, of course, we had to make a trip to Asheville!
We visited Biltmore last year during their homeschool festival. It is coming up again this year on September 21 and 22, 2017. Tickets to Biltmore are usually pretty pricey but homeschoolers get a nice discount during their homeschool event. The festival itself was nice but not as amazing as others I have attended at places like Monticello and the Frontier Culture Museum. However, the tour of the house is amazing! I highly recommend the kid-friendly audio tour narrated by Cedric, the Vanderbilts’ Saint Bernard.
The gardens and grounds were beautiful, and next time we go, I definitely want to explore them more. We spent a lot of time around the koi ponds and also investigating the different flowers and plants.
It was thrilling to be able to explore the same halls and rooms as Serafina. We will definitely go back in the near future. I really want to explore the forests and mountains described so beautifully in the second book.