Grand Canyon, Deserts & Roxaboxen {FI♥AR}

We made a detour through the state of Arizona on our way home from California, so I brought along Roxaboxen to row!  We drove through the southern tip of the Mohave Desert, took a trip to the Grand Canyon, and drove through the Painted Desert.

We camped for two nights at the Grand Canyon with my husband's aunt and uncle and grandma. I did not expect it to be snowing when we arrived. It was gorgeous, but VERY cold and windy! We warmed up in the museums along the 25 mile route we drove along the canyon and learned lots of neat things about the canyon, the animals that live there, the ruins, and more.

The kids with Nanie, their great-grandma! ♥

Whose Tail on the Trail at the Grand Canyon was a fun book that I read that to the kids in the museum to learn about animals that live in the canyon. 

On our way home, we drove through the Painted Desert. 

We learned so much naturally that it didn't really feel like school! But, we followed up with a study on deserts when we got home.

We used the unit Exploring Desert Biomes from Visual Learning Systems (link to my review).

Topics covered included:
  • Geography of Deserts
  • Desert Climate 
  • Desert Soils
  • Desert Plants and Animals
  • Desert Reptiles and Invertebrates
Eliana did a lesson from Beginning Geography (link to my review). We are working through the landforms section of the book. 

Eliana illustrated 6 things from each season for another science lesson. (Printable from the FIAR Fold-n-Learn). 

And she drew her own Roxaboxen. When I told her we were done rowing it at the end of the week, she was sad because she didn't get to make a real Roxaboxen in the back yard (it was covered in snow when we got home), but since it has melted the kids have been making mini Roxaboxens in the back yard with dirt, rocks and sticks and Playmobil people. :) 

We found cactus in the cultural foods section at WalM@rt - and it was cheap. (Don't buy it on Amazon - I looked there thinking I wouldn't find it locally, but I did!)

FI♥AR Recipe: Cactus Chicken Salad

It looks good!

And it was edible, but. . . not really enjoyed - some family members wouldn't even try it. It was. . .  different! 

We did at least one lesson from each subject, so got all out subjects in, but many were oral lessons from the manual and conversations while on the road. So fun to actually be able to bring a row to life!

I had planned to follow this row up with The Gullywasher - I have it pulled and lessons ready to go, and we even read the book and tied our reading into an art lesson this week, but we started a boxed curriculum this week! I still plan to row here and there, but I was ready for the stability and routine of a boxed curriculum. It went really well and we were done an hour earlier each day so that we were able to finish well before lunch by the end of the week (even with the time change!), so we may add some more Five in a Row adventures to our afternoons if I have the energy!


  1. Beautiful pictures! What a great opportunity to explore and learn. What is the story behind the tower? Are some of the pictures inside of it? Looks so neat!

    1. Lisa, that is the Desert View Watchtower! "Recognized as a National Historic Landmark, the tower was constructed in 1932. Architect Mary Colter's design takes its influences from the architecture of the ancestral Puebloan people of the Colorado Plateau." It was really neat!

  2. What a wonderful opportunity. I love the pictures and the cactus chicken salad sounds really different. Now I really want to make it to the Grand Canyon ~ AWESOME.
    Blessings, Dawn

    1. Dawn, it was really... interesting, haha! The Grand Canyon is awesome - you should try to make it!

  3. You know, we lived in the Mojave for three years, and never made it down to the Grand Canyon. I hope we'll be able to get back out there at some point with the kids. It looks like you had an amazing time. Totally nosy, but are you doing Sonlight, or something new?

  4. I love your pictures but I had never thought about snow in the Grand Canyon. What a brilliant row. Roxaboxen was loved here although imagining a desert from England was challenging.

    1. Sarah, I was so shocked! I thought it would be hot like I remember from my childhood! I was also surprised the northern Arizona wasn't like a typical dessert like the book - we wanted to see a real cactus! So a little hard for us to imagine too in that sense!

  5. Wow, wow, wow! Now THAT is a field trip! I hope I can get there with my boys soon :)

  6. Funny about the cactus. I grew up eating it but fresh not jarred. Although now if I do eat it, it's jarred. My grandma had a cactus tree in CA.

    It was fun seeing you all at the same spots we were at about 8 months ago!

    1. Linda, is it better fresh? Jarred kind of reminded me of a pickle. :) Ah, wish we could have been there 8 months ago!!

  7. The best kind of learning is when you can see, touch, hear and feel and taste!