Friday, 17 September 2010

Waterways and Canal Museum

This week we went on 2 field trips with other homeschoolers. Home education is very different here then in the states. Field trips are arranged and posted to many different counties and every time you attend you will met a different set of home edders (as they call themselves here). While I love meeting different people it does make it some what difficult to get to know people well and form any kind of support circle. Also hard to have the kids make friends that they can see on a regular basis. The other issue, as there are not as many home edders, it is not uncommon for people to travel from their homes up to 2 hours to attend a field trip. I also find I schedule trips based on what is available versus on what we are studying at the time. And this week was no different. I always buy lots of resources so that I can go back and study the information at a later date.

Friday we attended a field trip at Stoke Bruerne Canal and Waterways Museum. It took about 90 minutes to get there. The town is very quaint and was built along the canal. The purpose of this trip was for the children to learn about how canals were built, how they are used and how they worked. About 50 children along with parents attend. This is a very busy canal so the kids got to see lots of narrow boats coming and going thru the locks. The boat owners were very appreciative of the kids enthusiasm to open the paddles:) of the locks.

Narrow boat entering the lock.

A second boat entering the lock. Notice there is not much room for mistakes.

Watching the boat owner opening the lock side paddles to allow water to enter the lock.

The children opening the large paddles of the lock gate to allow the boats to continue on their journeys. I think my kids did this 6 or 7 times. Most boat owners were fantastic in answering children's questions and allowing the kids to participate in the procedures. There is no lock operator all boat owners must do this by hand which is why you need a minimum of two people on the boat. One to remain on the boat to steer and one person on land to open the lock. Once the boat is through the second person hops back on the boat. Most of the people we saw were houseboat owners or vacations riding through the locks. In this case the boats were going up river:)

A boat exiting a lock going down river. The kids were excited to see the lock fill up or down with water. It only took about 5 minutes to fill up or empty a lock.

A dry lock. As you can see it is only about 4 feet deep and 8 feet across. Paddle door are made of iron but the sides are made of brick.

Here is some trivia for you:
Who invented the canals and locks?
What were canals and locks originally used for?
What mode of transportation replaced the canals?
What did they call the men who build the locks?
Answers at the end:)

Originally the canal boats were pulled by horses and looked like this. Everything on the horse had a very specific purpose. The lace covering around their head were to stop the flies from annoying the horse. The bucket around their nose was to stop the horse from nibbling on grass and trees while working. It was also used to feed the horse.

In this area most canal boats were decorated with a rose and castle theme somewhere on the boat. It was to symbolize what part of the country you
were from.

This picture is 99 years old and is of a family of boaters. There are a total of eight children. The oldest six walking along the canal and two younger ones on the boat with their mother. Children were sent off the boat during the day to work by age of three years.

My daughter and a friend dressed up as female boaters. I tried to get my son to dress up but he wouldn't have any part of it.

The only disappointment of the day was the boat ride. The children and adults all thought the boat was going to go thru a lock but alas we were told that would not be the case. It was a pleasant boat ride but we all really wanted to experience the lock. :(

Trivia answers:
1. Chinese
2. Move trade around the country
3. Locomotive
4. navvies short for navigators

We had such a good time I want to go back with my husband and walk the one and half mile path along the canal so we can observe the boats and wildlife of the canals. Maybe I can persuade a kind boater to take us through the lock up river:).


  1. Hi Anna-Marie!
    This was so interesting to read! Thanks for posting! I learned something new after reading this post and I'll have to get my kids to read your posts to have them learn the sites where you live :) The canal system looks very fun to watch.
    I just sent you an email and clicked a vote :)
    Have a good day!

  2. Hi Tracy,
    We had so much fun there. I definitely want to go back and explore some more. The kids really want to do a boat ride thru the lock itself.

  3. Looks like you had a wonderful time! I remember seeing a lock years ago, as a kid, and it was fascinating to watch it in action.

    I LOVE the term "home edders!" Haven't heard that one before. It's always interesting to hear how families homeschool in other parts of the world. What a great experience for your family!

    Thanks for stopping my my blog. I've been neglecting it for a while, but am hoping to get some photos and posts up soon!

  4. Thanks Sparklee for stopping by and commenting

  5. What a great field trip! we do the same thing re: scheduling what's available rather than what we're learning about.
    I can see the difficulties in having such a widely varied group of 'home edders' (what a quaint term, lol), but am just in awe of how MANY kids there were. That's so neat!!
    Thanks for sharing this experience :)

  6. Thanks h for stopping by and commenting.

  7. Hi Anna-Marie!
    Just dropping in to say Good Morning! Hope you are having a great day!
    Clicked a vote for you too (Monday):)

  8. Tracy sent you an email. I voted for you too. COngrats on being featured on Marie's blog

  9. Nice to meet you. What fantastic adventures you are having! It's making me want to travel again. :o)
    Thank you for your comment. I always enjoy hearing from my readers!

    Peace and Laughter,

  10. Hi Cristina
    Thanks for stopping by and commenting:)