Backyard Battleground 

For a Searsport woman, teaching her home-schooled kids about history meant more than just reading to them from a book.This week, her backyard becomes a battleground, and the soldiers can’t wait for their lessons.”Union, forward. March!””Basically,” says one young participant, “it’s just doing the Civil War all over again.”The Battle of Bull Run is just one lesson in a week-long program. Kathy Strickland came up with the idea 15 years ago.”I started home schooling my kids and I wanted my kids to be able to experience something more hands-on,” Strickland says.Now, dozens of home-schooled kids in Waldo County take part. They cook, make crafts, write letters and learn lots about different time periods.”We’re learning how to make tents and stuff like that,” says participant Emily Edgerly.”What kind of tools and guns and cannons they used,” says another participant.”One of the fun parts,” says helper Lillian Nowell, “was we did was spy codes, and they learned how to do spy codes and spelling it out and journaling.”They say it helps children better relate to history and appreciate what they have today.”They’ve seen what our forefathers have gone through and what they’ve fought for, for the country we live in and the freedoms to do what we do,” says leader Michelle Small.”We’re going to do the Battle of Bull Run again,” announces Steven Kostusyk, “also known in the South as the Battle of Manassas.”Kostusyk, whose mother is one of the leaders, helps lead battles when he’s home from college. “We have Civil War books, and I review the battles and pick key points and sum the battle up into one small segment we can do,” he says.The program is about 60 dollars, to cover costs for the week. Leaders say the kids have so much fun, they hope to offer more sessions during school vacations, so kids who aren’t home schooled can take part.”It helps them get a better understanding of our nation’s history.”The programs are offered a couple of times a year and cover different periods in history. For more information, you can contact Michelle Small at 338-6334.