One of the great benefits to home-educating is the ability to take field trips in the off-season … when the weather cools a little, the crowds are smaller and the time is our own. We availed ourselves of this “perk” on Wednesday and Thursday … seems the Historic Triangle area was having homeschool days … special admission for Jamestown Settlement, Colonial Williamsburg and Yorktown Victory Center. In addition, Great Wolf Lodge, Williamsburg, was offering a special overnight package that made staying down there a great deal.

So, we loaded up the van, picked up one of Kit’s friends, and headed down to the first permanent British settlement in the New World, Jamestown!

The journey from England to the New World

The journey took 144 days with a crew of 53 and 51 “settlers” who came seeking riches of the New World. The three ships — the Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery — brought these men and boys who were ill-prepared for the life they would lead in the New World. Within a year of landing, more than half of the original group were dead.

A costumer interpreter explains compass reading and "watches"

This man was fascinating … a volunteer costumed-interpreter, he explained the “watches”, the “bells” on board and how a “traverse board” keeps a record of the voyage. I’m thinking I should have the kids make a traverse board — great lesson in geometry and navigation!

All of the men and boys had to be ready to fight the Indians and Spanish

The kids got to try on replicas of the armor the settlers would need to wear to defend the fort — heavy, metal helmets and breastplates that were pretty uncomfortable over t-shirt and shorts in the 90+ weather. I can’t imagine how they did it “back then” with full 17th century attire!

A knowledgable firearms interpreter showed us the flintlock being fired ...

… and explained where the expression “flash in the pan” comes from. [The picture is a bit blurry since the sound of the explosion scared the photographer a tad!]

Great Wolf Lodge water park

We then spent the rest of the day in our ov’nite digs — Great Wolf Lodge is an amazing hotel with an indoor waterpark. Here, the kids have just come down Howlin’ Tornado where they “drop into the 6-story funnel. … Repeatedly swish and swirl 30 feet up the sides of the funnel … before making a safe splash landing”. They survived that one and continued to enjoy all the slides, wave pool, and practicing knee-boarding.

Yep, they're not having any fun!

They slept well that night!
Thursday morning found us heading to Yorktown Victory Center — the site of the defeat of Cornwallis by Washington’s troop (aided by Rochambeau’s French troops). This is the smallest and least developed of the three sites, but we still learned a ton —

... met George Washington reviewing plans for the siege on Cornwallis' troops

... learned about preserving the foods of the harvest (salted meat can last 20 yrs!)


... enjoyed "imbibing" the cider

We headed to our very favoritest part of the Historic Triangle — Colonial Williamsburg. I went to grad school down at W&M, so know my way about pretty well. The kids and I have been down three or four times, so we didn’t do the tour but just enjoyed walking about on a beautiful September day … enjoying the costumed interpreters … the shops (indoor and out) and

Our Ent picture

posing in my favorite tree — a gnarled, Ent-like tree on one of the side streets. This tree has been split and continues to grow … I love this tree!

The cool thing is that altho Hambone is studying Ancient Greece/Rome this year, and Kit is doing the 18th-early20th centuries, (so therefore, only HotRod is “doing” American History), with homeschooling, you can all learn something together, making memories that will last a lifetime and making connections between the past and future. Real learning at its finest!

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