Are you looking for a way to sneak in a trip to the South Carolina coast with the kids, while also working in some educational content? Kidding Around’s Melanie is excited for all the opportunities homeschooling will offer her family, and she’s sharing her recent educational trip to Charleston, SC with others who might be venturing into this new homeschooling adventure, also.
Charleston is so rich with opportunities for learning. You, the parent might even learn some fun things along the way.
- Like did you know a famous poet called one of the barrier islands home for a short time, prior to his fame?
- You might know that the Civil War started in Charleston Harbor, but did you know what started it?
- Did you know that there is a certain behavior that the dolphin pods that reside in charleston harbor teach their young, that isn’t seen anywhere else?
See right there we covered language arts, history and science. That’s just a drop in the bucket of the things you can discover in Charleston, not to mention getting to relax in a beautiful setting.
For more things to see and do while in Charleston, check out our huge Guide To Charleston, SC.
Accommodations for this trip were generously provided by The Hotel Indigo Mount Pleasant. All opinions are my own, honest and genuine.
We here at Kidding Around have covered the back-to-school options extensively. My family is going to try this homeschooling thing out, and I get a little less worried about it as time passes. I’ve taken care of all the red tape, found a curriculum I love and made peace with my decision. I also realized the adventures we love going on,would be that much easier to facilitate, while taking Pandemic Travel Precautions of course.
Educational Things to Do in Charleston, SC
Here are some of the fun educational things we found in in Charleston, SC:
The Young Soldier Stationed At Fort Moultrie
Subjects: Language Arts and History
On May 26th a young man enlisted in the Army, unable to afford the last three years of university and left without options. He lied about his age and his name and after just two short years of a five year term, he “hired” someone to complete his term.
That young man’s name was Edgar Allen Poe, and evidence of his short stay on Sullivan’s Island is all around you when you visit. If you are very clever, you can slip some Poe related math into your lesson.
- Kid friendly Wiki-facts about Edgar Allen Poe can be used for all sorts of DIY lessons
- There are Edgar Allen Poe board books, for young children that you can inquire about at your local library. Better yet, you can visit the Edgar Allen Poe Library on Sullivan’s Island.
- Activity about “The Raven”, a famous poem of his. (2nd-4th grades)
- Reading and art activity based on “The Black Cat” (4th-8th grades)
- Writing activity based on “The Tell Tale Heart” (7th – 9th grades)
- A free 2 day, 14 question writing exercise based on “The Cask of Amontillado” (8th-11th grades)
- Poe was a huge fan of ciphers, and your kids probably will be too! The “Gold Bug” was inspired by his time on Sullivan’s Island and involves a treasure hunt.
The Ellis Island Of Slavery
Subject: History/Social Studies
While you’re visiting Sullivan’s Island and Fort Moultrie, go behind the visitors center. There you will find a small black bench. Have a seat. That bench was placed there as a place to memorialize the history of enslaved Africans, and a place for people to reflect. When seated on “The Bench By The Road”, the first of many to have been placed since 2008, you’ll be looking out onto the water where the majority of the enslaved people entered this country.
This provides you with a great opportunity to talk to children about what it must have felt like to be brought to a foreign land, and how they would feel.
- Explaning slavery to children (K4- 5th grade) (6th-8th grades) (9th-12th grades)
- Slavery in the South cut and paste activity (3rd – 5th grades)
- What was life like on an American Plantation (5th-11th grades)
- Video quiz about the Atlantic Slave Trade (9th – 12th grades)
There are endless opportunities around Charleston to learn about slavery. One of my favorite “hands-on” opportunities is on Philadelphia Alley in the historic district. You and your children can stroll this brick-paved alley and find the hand prints left behind by the slaves that formed the bricks at local plantations. Those bricks can also be found in the buildings at the local plantations, like Boone Hall Plantation.
The Unique Dolphins Of Charleston Harbor
There are so many different things that are different ecologically in the Low Country from what we have around us in the Upstate. I love that in just a few hours we can go from a mountain ecosystem to a coastal one. This provides our children with so many opportunities to learn about the environment!
As a volunteer with a research laboratory in Florida while in college, I sat next to a Loggerhead Sea Turtle nest as it unexpectedly erupted. If I could somehow provide everyone on the planet with that magical experience I would. The next best thing is learning about them from afar, and maybe if you time your trip to the coast right, you could have a once in a lifetime sea turtle experience, too.
A more common sight off the shores of Charleston are the pods of wild dolphins that call these waters home. But these aren’t just any dolphins, they are so unique that they have been the subject of research studies. No one knows why, but the dolphins that are native to this area do something called strand-feeding.
- Wondering what a strand feeding looks like? This Storyful video from July is a great view of a pod of dolphins strand feeding.
- Read all about strand-feeding along the South Carolina Coast.
- Kids can cut, paste & color a dolphin fact spinner. (elementary grades)
- Look up Dolphin Research resources.
There is a good deal of eco-tours that will take you around the harbor and some will even have an ecology expert on board. We recently took an eco-tour with Sandlapper Tours and would recommend it as a safe option to learn about the ecology of the coastal waters.
Another option for aquatic study while in Charleston is a visit to the South Carolina Aquarium. You can use a virtual aquarium field trip, or go in person and then do the activities found online. The Aquarium is a great way to learn about the ecology of our state!
Home Away From Homeschool
Hotel Indigo Mount Pleasant
The Hotel Indigo Mount Pleasant generously provided us with a home-away-from-homeschool for this article and we loved our time there. Schoolwork is hard work, and it’s nice to have a place you feel safe to kick back and relax afterward. The hotel has an on-site restaurant, a huge outdoor pool deck for social distancing, and heightened cleaning protocols. The hotel requires that guests wear masks in the common areas, and we are happy to report it was enforced.
We enjoyed eating our meals outside, instead of sitting on the bed in the room with takeout. Eliza’s Bar + Kitchen has a reduced menu right now due to COVID, however, there are still delicious options on it for any meal of the day. The kids loved having chocolate chip Belgian waffles for breakfast! My favorite was the wedge salad at dinner, make sure you get the ranch dressing.
The rooms also include a properly functioning mini-fridge. Something we find essential when traveling because there are always left-overs!
For those traveling with pets, The Hotel Indigo is pet-friendly too! There are several great travel packages that include meals, pet stays, and more on the Hotel Indigo Mount Pleasant website
We love staying in Mount Pleasant because it’s centrally located. The Hotel Indigo is just a short drive across the Ravenel bridge to the downtown area, and you don’t have to pay downtown parking prices, in fact, parking here is totally free!
Travel Times to Popular Destinations from Hotel Indigo Mount Pleasant :
- Patriots Point – 3 minutes
- The South Carolina Aquarium – 9 minutes
- Sullivan’s Island – 10 minutes
- Historic Charleston – 11 minutes
- Isle Of Palms – 14 minutes
- Folly Beach – 24 minutes
- Kiawah Island – 58 minutes
Have you found an awesome way to work homeschooling or an educational aspect into a trip to Charleston? We’d love to know in the comments!