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It’s time for the big reveal!
This week over on our Facebook Page we played a little game of guess where we are! Well I’m sure the title of this post has given it a way! We took a short 5 day break to visit the beautiful land of Luxor!
It was epic!
The Purpose of Our Trip to Luxor
I’d like to say that we were planing an amazing historical field trip to the ancient Valley of The Kings. Or that we were heading for a closer look at one of Egypts largest agricultural hubs. Although we did get a glimpse of these things, I have to say our planned trip purely recreational. A hotel holiday with a great group of people and some of our closest friends.
I did pack a few books, M’s notebook and some pens but as far as educational materials and plans were concerned, I had none. I initially hadn’t even planned on writing about this trip. Yet, as always seems to happen when curiosity and a thirst for knowledge is at the heart of a homeschool family, the opportunities for learning just seemed to land in our laps!
Here is a brief overview of some of the things we discovered on our trip!
The City Of Luxor
When you’ve been living in a city with desert on one side and beaches on the other, the greener scenery of Luxor is refreshing!
Luxor is located on the banks of the river Nile. The boys and I studied this river on our virtual tour of Egypt earlier on in the year! This fresh water source makes it the perfect location for growing crops and rearing animals.
As soon as we entered Luxor we were greeted by views of scattered green fields, fruit trees and beautiful flowers. There were donkeys, horses, cows, buffalo’s, goats and a lot of interesting birds to be seen. Farming and nature seemed to be all around us!
One of the other aspects to Luxor that is worth noting is it’s ancient tombs and temples. We only had time to visit one during our trip; the temple of Karnak.
Here is a few interesting things we experienced and learnt during our time in Luxor!
We actually stayed on a island in the middle of The Nile in a hotel.! It was beautiful. Our room was very close to the river and we were surrounded by fruit trees and birds at every turn.
The hotel grows a portion of the food it provides for its guests on its grounds so the boys and I actually did get some first hand glimpses of several farming practices and we continued to discuss these for several days after.
The boys were both excited to see bright red tractors clearing the fields. It also gave them a giggle to watch the egrets chasing the tractors as they worked.
We watched a farmer using flood irrigation to prepare a field for his crops. He first dug out channels around square sections of the field and then only opened each channel once the section before it was full of water.
Date Palm Care
A and I got an explanation from one of the hotel staff members about how they care for the date palm trees. We watched the hotel gardeners search for signs of Red Weevil , remove dead leaves, apply treatments and even pollinate the female date trees by hand! When we caught up with M of course we were sure to tell him all about it!
Organic Vegetable Farming
On one of our walks around the island we came across a little garden of cabbages, spring onions, lettuces, coriander and possibly some other veg we didn’t identify. The gentleman working in the field picked and gave to us some samples to try. I don’t think I have ever seen such fresh and healthy looking produce! We later discovered that all of the fruit and veg grown on the hotel is organic and free of chemicals! This prompted M to ask what the term organic meant which of course prompted further discussions.
Using The Inaturalist app
A friend of ours used the app on her phone to help the children identify some corn crops in a field. The boys and their friend then sat and watched a YouTube video about how corn is farmed.
Visiting the Petting Zoo
We took a couple of trips to the small petting zoo in the hotel. There were plenty of different animals to see and M really enjoyed it. A was a little on the cautious side and after being nuzzled by a rather large horse, he didn’t like to hang around much longer! On our second visit the children got to feed some of the animals too!
Here we saw:
- Pigeons in a pigeon house
Faluca on The Nile
The moment M had been waiting for; getting up close and personal with The Nile!
We took a lovely sunset trip where the boys watched as the man set the sails and steer using the ’tiller’.
We learnt a little bit about the fishing practices of the local fishermen. As we passed the fishing boats our boat captain, took the time to explain that the fishermen bang the water to make the fish jump into the nets.
The boys even spent some time recognising their letters and attempting to read the name of the boat!
We only managed to make it outside of the hotel on one occasion but we certainly made the most of it!
We took a trip to the famous Karnak temple; the largest temple on earth. We observed and took photographs of the ancient hieroglyphics on sandstone pillars and pylons. We also studied up close the statues of Ramses, Osiris, Sphinxes and a rather large scarab beetle.
The boys were in awe of the sheer size of the place and I too was amazed at how well it had been preserved!
We also purchased a little information book about Luxor and The Valley of the Kings which we read a little bit together before bed one evening.
One final part of the boys learning this trip, which I almost overlooked, were the opportunities for character building and life skill practice.
The group we travelled with was made up of people from a variety of different age groups; spanning across three generations. The boys amazed me with their confidence and ability to converse, play and communicate with every member of the group.
Beyond the usual practising of ‘their’ pleases’s and ‘thank you’s’ their were other opportunities for the children to practice good manners. Learning to hold doors open for other hotel guests, ask people outside of the family for things that they wanted, taking turns with their friends and other basic concepts that as adults we often forget are learned behaviours.
Why and How to Tip
Before we left on our final day we let the children give tips directly to the people who had helped us through out the week. Our housekeeper, the gardeners, the staff at the petting zoo and the waiters and chefs that provided such amazing food and service for us throughout the week.
A friend of mine explained to the kids why we are giving members of staff extra money. We were also sure to thank individual staff members for the contribution they made to making our holiday so enjoyable.
Let The Learning Continue
Our trip was amazing and I don’t think any of us were quite ready for the holiday to end! Now that we are home and getting back back to our homeschool routine, I am looking for ways that we can continue our studies of Luxor and ancient Egypt! We even adapted our WriteShop lesson this week to include Animals we saw on our trip.
I’ll be using the photographs we took, the book we brought and the power of the internet, to fuel our studies. I am aiming to fit in a few crafts, writing s in hieroglyphics and maybe even another field trip to an ancient Egyptian site!
I think I am feeling an Ancient Egypt unit study coming on! I’ll be getting my hands on these History Notebooking pages and might even invest in the Notebooking Pages Membership to save us money and time in the long run!
I’ll be back to let you know how it goes over the next few weeks.