We had a wonderful week together and spent our time learning valuable lessons from God's word and all of our classes. I hope you have all enjoyed the pictures and updates periodically throughout the day through Class Dojo. I know we have loved the switch to this new system as it is user friendly and so quick to address points in the moment.
This week we worked through the theme of "Work" with the verse Colossians 3:23, "Whatever you do, work hard, as for the Lord and not for men." We talked about the value of doing work that doesn't just earn us Class Dojo points when someone is looking, but being responsible before the Lord to do good work all the time, because we are ultimately working to please him and make him proud. This year, students are learning that our verses and themes from week to week can overlap so much as we learn to value God's word. They are making connections to that are valuable and necessary as they continue to move forward as God's people.
Monday: Travellers Rest Field Trip
On Monday, we headed to Travellers Rest Plantation and Museum. Since returning, our class keeps calling it the “historical place” instead of Travellers Rest. Next week another class will travel to the same location for their field trip, so we will have even more students to discuss the field trip with.
Our field trip was broken into two parts at the same location. First, we visited the home of John Overton who was one of Tennessee’s most influential citizens during the late 1700s and into the 1830s. We toured his home, which was originally just four bedrooms, but still one of the largest and wealthiest homes of his time. We learned about how life worked for wealthy families in the 1700s and early 1800s. The most interesting thing that the students learned was that people only took baths once a week for the summer months and then not at all from mid-October until late May or early June. This was shocking, but there were several health related reasons for doing so. What people didn’t know at the time was that germs make people sick, not just the weather.
We also learned that Judge John Overton was a planter and had a 2,300 acre plantation. He was the owner of an average of 50 slaves who worked the plantation. Since our students have learned some of the harsh realities of slavery through Bible and Heroes of Faith classes, they began to question Judge Overton being a good man or not. They also learned that Andrew Jackson was John Overton’s best friend, which also led them to ask some of the same questions. We had some great discussions during wrap up on Monday about the type of people God uses and the type of people that do what they want in order to maintain power. Students were challenged to think through these ideas and ask a lot of questions. Our students were asked a lot of questions about US history and the Revolutionary War, which they could not answer, but I was proud of the way that they took the information they learned and could have a conversation about it and looked to God’s word for guidance.
The second half of our field trip was spent watching a slide show and looking at artifacts from the time of the Mississippi Mound Builders also known as the Stone Box Builders. We learned that these people were around long before John Overton and the Travellers Rest homestead. We learned that they were a settled people group who were also warriors. They students learned that much of their lives revolved around hunting for food and protecting their land from those who would come to take from them. Students learned about the daily activities and games of children, including many games that would help to prepare them for hunting and warring. We were given the opportunity to make gorgets, a Mississippian Mound Builders jewelry that was also used as armor to protect the throat or heart. I was thankful that we didn’t have enough time to make them at the site, but instead bring the materials back to school so we can use them to teach our students the lesson of peacemaking. After the second class attends the same field trip this week, we will take painting class on Thursday to turn our gorgets into symbols of peace as we are called to be peacemakers who represent God well.
After the field trip, our students had a lot of questions. Each question helped us to talk about the value of learning history and remembering it to the degree that we don’t repeat the same mistakes. We are learning from God’s word that he wants to liberate people from oppression and that he will not associate himself with violence. In a world where the discussion of war, slavery and violence is just something students learn about but don’t learn to critically think through, our students are learning something different. They are learning the value of the preservation of life and what it means to walk with God.
Picture Updates from Monday to Friday: (Click on each picture to read the captions.)