Friday, September 21, 2018

Jamestown Settlement Field Trip

Part of our desire as homeschool parents is to offer a variety of experiences for our children.  The husband and I are careful about not doing the same thing every year for vacation.  Sure, we've repeated favorites over the years, but we also look for new experiences.  There's just so much out there - so many museums, so many parks, so many beaches, so many famous attractions and hidden gems - our goal is to just expose them to as much as possible over the years, and hope they find a sense of wonder in the world.  This year, we took our vacation in Williamsburg, Virginia.  Husband loves history, and it was close enough to some beaches and museums that we could do quite a variety of things throughout the week.

The dates of our trip were carefully planned so that we would not miss any co-op days.  I don't like for the kids to miss unnecessarily, and as a teacher, I don't want to inconvenience others.  Initially, even though we intended to spend a day at Colonial Williamsburg, we changed our minds.  Their homeschool days began on our last full day in town, and tickets must be purchased ahead of time.  Since it was the first day, the actual homeschool events were limited, and nothing that especially appealed to us, and we didn't think a full day excursion in 90+ temps would go well with our younger crew.  Thus, we opted to focus on some other historical field trips, which could be done in half days and spread out a little more.

We chose Jamestown Settlement as our first historical field trip of the week.  They also offer special homeschool days during the same time as Colonial Williamsburg, but we took advantage of their regular homeschool discount and combo ticket (with the American Revolution Museum of Yorktown) earlier in the week.

They offer a nice museum, with a neat timeline feature, a film, artifacts and paintings and such.  (No photography allowed.)  Outdoors is a living history museum with three different areas.  We went outdoors thinking we would do that before it got too hot, but by the time we got indoors, the littles were drained, so we just kind of walked through the exhibits quickly.

Powhatan Village
The Powhatan Village showed us what the homes and daily life of the local tribe might have been like, based on archeological evidence and written records from the colonists.  There were only a couple of people milling about, one doing reenactments - making arrowheads, which Emory and Eleanor thought was cool.  It was mostly shaded, so a nice reprieve from the heat.

These were part of a ceremonial circle of carved posts.

There were several reed-covered houses for us to walk through.

Each was full of tools, hides, baskets, natural resources in baskets, and more!  Emory was fascinated.  

Outside, the kids could see other parts of everyday life.  They could grind corn . . .

 Or look at a burnt-out canoe. . .

We learned we should not have worn sandals here, because the the gravel and dirt got into our shoes of course.

Jamestown Settlement Ships 
Walking over to the pier, we could board recreations of the Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery, the three ships that brought the colonists over.

They each had one or more employees in period costume on board talking about the ships, the journey and the passengers.  It's interesting, if you like history.

You could go under on one of the ships and see even more of what their four month journey would have entailed!

You could sit on their beds, which were full of straw.

Or learn how they steered the ship.  This guy was very knowledgeable and patient with the kids!

We learned how they kept time on the boats too.

The pier offered pretty views too, but I'm not going to lie . . . the 3 year old peering over the edges made me nervous, because she's the type that would just dive over.

This was probably my favorite part, but Eleanor said "Mommy, did you expect me to like walking over a bridge with water where I could fall in?  I liked it [referring to Jamestown Settlement], but I didn't like the boats!"  She didn't like going up the ramp!

James Fort
James Fort is a recreation of the 1610-1614 fort.  We learned about the wattle and daub buildings and about their everyday life.

One of the first buildings we went in was ridiculously warm, with the fire on top of the 90 degree heat.  He was preparing foods as they would have been prepared then.  There was fish, I think some salted meats, maybe a pie?  I can't remember now what he had covered.

The church . . .

 She wanted a picture on the tree stump.  Can you see how hot we were already?  There wasn't much shade here.

Sleeping quarters . . .

And "feed me" faces!

 Momma, take my picture!

This gentleman also did a demonstration with a matchlock musket.  We stood back, because I knew the girls wouldn't like the sound.  

You can hear them in the video "cover your ears!" but here's part of his demonstration.  

From Jamestown Settlement, you could drive over to Historic Jamestowne, which is the site of the original Jamestowne Fort, with archeological discoveries and excavations, but we were already hot and tired and hungry.  (It was already 91 when we left at lunchtime!)

So we finished our morning with lunch at a little pizza and pie place, and enjoyed a quiet picnic in the shade, before going back to the resort to rest and swim.

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