No climbing on Natural Wonders of the World

April 28th, 2008

I have said before that homeschooling has allowed us to do amazing things. We have done some fantastic things as school when other students are sitting at their desks. We have flown out and cared for an ill relative for a month. We have visited a maple syrup farm and inner-tubed down snowy hills in New Hampshire. We have gone around the course of Epcot Center in Florida. We have seen that Mother Nature always wins by witnessing the new growth around Mt. St. Helens. We have had lobster bisque fresh from the ocean in Maine. We have climbed to the top of Palomar Mountain and looked over Mexico and San Diego.

My favorite trip was a few years back. My in-laws called saying that they had found a last minute cruise to the Yucatan Peninsula leaving the next day. Just $99 a person. Would my son and I like to go? With a bit of planning (and last minute packing), we were on the cruise ship heading towards Mexico. When other children were learning their times tables and taking their spelling tests, we were climbing to the top of the Mayan temple, Chichen Itza, in the Yucatan Peninsula. We had just learned about explorers in our homeschool. Now, we were in the midst of where the Mayan civilization lived. How cool is that?Chichen Itza

It was an amazing trip. Full of history, culture, and big iguanas. How many students wish that they could learn history by actually going to the sites where it happened? How many of us wish that we could see Pompeii, or Rome, or Athens, or Jamestown, etc.? We were actually seeing what we had been reading about.

Climbing to the top of the pyramid at Chichen Itza was amazing. As I am afraid of heights, it was quite a stressful hike to the top. Seeing the vast jungle all around the pyramid made the hike well worth the stress. How gorgeous it was! To realize that we were standing on a sacred place for a civilization. Just like the Parthenon, Great Pyramids, Sistine Chapel, or Vatacan….it was amazing.

Recently, our music teacher also visited Chichen Itza. Upon his return, he told us how sad it was that visitors were no longer to go on the pyramid. We were sad to hear the news. Did vandals think it was funny to desecrate history? I sure hope not. Was the structure falling apart? We didn’t know the reason for the ban on tourism at the pyramid. Whatever the reason, we felt that we had experienced something special.

My son is writing a report for spanish class on Mexico. He read today that Chichen Itza is now considered one of the “7 New Wonders of the World”. Wow! Not to say that this pyramid is “new”, but Wow! It is pretty cool to think that we saw something so special. Ah…how I love homeschooling.

7 Wonders of the Ancient World:

New 7 Wonders of the World:

  • Great Wall of China – China
  • Petra – Jordon
  • Christ the Redeemer (statue) – Brazil
  • Machu Picchu – Peru
  • Chichen Itza – Mexico
  • Colosseum – Italy
  • Taj Mahal – India
  • Great Pyramid (honorary) – Egypt

P.S. If you have ever been to the Grand Canyon, consider yourself part of the “been to a wonder of the world” attraction. The Canyon made the 7 Natural Wonders and USA Today 7 New Wonders of the World lists. Before I “kick the bucket”, I would love to see the Great Pyramids, Macchu Pichu, and Petra. So much to see, so little time and money.

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