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Thursday, August 7, 2014

My Homeschool Bus: Branson

If you're not from Missouri, or the midwest, you may never have heard of Branson, MO. But, for those of us in Missouri, it is a vacation spot where many tourists visit to take in musical, comedy, and talent shows as well as go to Silver Dollar City to ride rides and watch crafters do their craft - Like glass blowing, soap making, etc.

For us, my homeschool bus ended up in Branson because every year my extended family has been meeting on the beach for a family reunion week. This year, however, my parents arranged a closer location  that was more convenient to them since they are getting older, and the beach is looking farther and farther away.

We arrived fully planning to take in Silver Dollar City and the works. What we discovered is that while Branson is touted to be family friendly, the price tag of most of the attractions are not friendly to the family's pocket book. So, we decided not to spend the $270 total to get us into the Silver Dollar City gates. Instead, we explored Branson on a dime.

My mother-in-law told us about this 5 and 10 store near the Branson Landing. We checked it out, and spent a lot of time shopping and looking and enjoying the old time store layout of an old-school dime store.

Then, we met my niece and her family for a musical water fountain show down on the Landing. This was really fun, even though it was short. We took in one show during the day that consisted of three songs - One or two songs were very patriotic. Then, we came back at night, and that show was spectacular.

Music 101

If nothing else, it was a great exposure to music while watching the fountains dance to the beat.

We enjoyed a nice night on the patio at a restaurant in between fountain music shows.

Then, the evening light show with the water fountains set to music began:

I loved how the paddle boat dinner cruise stopped to watch the show from the waterfront. Wish we could have been on that cruise.

PE 101

Back at the lodge, the girls enjoyed swimming, and my oldest daughter is still working on her underwater handstands.


The lodges where we stayed were at the bottom of a very steep hill. To get to the pool, we had to climb up the hill, which is a lot of physical education right there. However, on the way, there was plenty of science and nature to take in:

Thankfully, Branson on a dime had its highlights. My brother and his wife treated us to a night at the Dixie Stampede (which is not a low-cost event, but they got a group discount for taking the entire family).

I could not take pictures inside the Dixie Stampede, as per the facility's request. I didn't rebel.  But, we did get some pics outside with the horses.

We learned how the Dixie Stampede got its start and how it was handed down in the Parton family until Dolly Parton became the owner.

If I remember the history correctly, the whole thing began as a contest to see who had the best made carriage. The Motts Carriage Company had always won, until one year Lee Parton came out the winner. When she took off her hat, it was revealed that she was a female. She eventually married, and kept the competition style contest alive. This grew into what is known now as the show portion of the Dixie Stampede.


In the meantime, however, the first part of the show is a really incredible dramatic presentation rendition of our nation's heritage. And, the entire time you're eating and watching, you are engaged in a friendly rivalry between the north side of the stadium and the south side. One side comes out a winner by the end of the evening. It's a rendition of the war between the North and the South.


We also visited a huge dam while we were there. And, as I should know as a homeschooler, I guess I didn't take full charge of this particular lesson on the road. But, there is a dam near Branson, and here is how it looked:

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