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So I am still trying to figure out how to add this to my travelschooling tab, but I think posting it as a blog post is also beneficial. I am learning all the technical stuff as I go. Generally speaking Rick does all the boring stuff for Christopher Travel like figuring out technology so I feel like for Pencil Treks I owe him to try to figure some of it out so I beg your patience because, well, I hate boring stuff.

Anyway here is the Travelschooling Info for our Trail of Tears trip:

The Trail of Tears exemplifies the exploitation, suffering and ultimate survival of the Cherokee Nation during the time of Westward Expansion.  Following this route will give families an opportunity to learn about Native Americans and to discuss one of the most sorrowful events in our history.  Hiking along the route and learning how the tribes suffered, adapted and adjusted to the changing landscape teaches not only history, but also survival, resilience and empathy.   In addition to plenty of time to explore the great outdoors we recommend stops in Nashville and St. Louis to enjoy those cities a bit and round out the trip. 

There were actually several routes the Cherokee took on the Trail of Tears and you can easily pick any for a road trip.  Christopher Travel’s Trail of Tears Road Trip Itinerary though follows the northern route because we liked the wide variety of sites along the way.  This trip includes a lot of great places to hike and enjoy the outdoors.  You’ll see grave sites of Cherokee who passed away along the journey and visit memorials to those who died.  It’s also a fascinating look at the changing topography as your pass westward and cross the Mississippi River. 


  1. Explain the similarities and differences between the settlers and the Cherokee lifestyles and cultures. 
  2. Understand how/why Jackson justified the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and explain why the Cherokee were opposed. 
  3. Explain the Indian Removal Act of 1830 itself and describe the various ways the Cherokee fought against it. 
  4. Describe the Trail of Tears and explains some of the challenges the Cherokee faced along the way.  
  5. Describe the changing topography along the route of the trip and how the changing landscape required adaptations for survival. 
  6. Research the flora and fauna along the route. 
  7. Describe the importance of the Mississippi River on trade, survival, and ecology. 

Click here to purchase a pre-planned or semi-custom Trail of Tears Road Trip Itinerary or use the list of places below to get you started on planning  your own itinerary. 

Places to Visit:

Sequoyah Birthplace Museum

Cherokee Removal Memorial Park at Blythe Ferry

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage

Berry’s Ferry and Mantle Rock

Camp Ground Church

Trail of Tears State Forest

Trail of Tears State Park

History Museum on the Square

Merremac Springs Park

Museum of Native American History

Cherokee Heritage Center

Curriculum Ideas

Moving Beyond the Page has some great units directly related to this trip:

Concept 1: Interdependence (8-10)

Concept 3: Discovery and Survival (9-11)

Concept 1: Semester 1 (12-14)

For kids who love projects:

Explore Native American Cultures!

Better ideas for kids who love projects, but for parents who don’t 😊:

History Pockets: Native Americans Grades 1-3

History Pockets: Moving West Grades 4-6

Time Travelers History Study: The Early 19th Century

Interactive 3-D Maps: American History

For high school:

The Great Courses Plus offers many American History courses.  You can pick and choose individual lectures (from the American Presidents course for example) or use a whole course (The American West: History, Myth and Legacy). 

Joy Hakim’s A History of US is an excellent and very readable American history spine.  All the books in the series are fantastic.  It’s worth the investment to buy the entire series if you have several kids who will use it.  Or look for it used to get a better deal. 

Other Books:

Andrew Jackson: Young Patriot – eBook

American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House – eBook

Nellie the Brave: The Cherokee Trail of Tears – eBook

Sequoyah: The Cherokee Man Who Gave His People Writing

Contact me if you are interested in semi-custom or custom trip planning which includes travelschooling suggestions for curriculum and supplementary reading.

Next Reads:

About Mary

Mary Stephens is a long time homeschooling mother of four: two still at home, one in seminary and one graduated from college. Mary holds a degree in international affairs from Georgetown University and a Masters in Teaching from the American University. Passionate about both travel and education she offers homeschooling tips and tricks as well as free travelschooling units on her website Mary also owns Christopher Travel, a luxury travel company specializing in exquisite vacations around the globe.

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