Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Jamestown: History is Fun

Trying out the heavy armor 
We are visiting the Williamsburg, VA area this week. In preparation for our visit, I checked out some books from the library on Williamsburg and Jamestown. We got to know a bit about Captain John Smith and Pocahontas and talked about the importance of the Jamestown Colony as the first successful English colony in America. According to a family historian, we are descended from Pocahontas and her husband Thomas Rolfe. While this connection is not 100% confirmed, it makes learning about this part of history even more interesting for us.

On Sunday, we went to the Jamestown Settlement - a living history sight complete with fort and indian village. We enjoyed exploring indian houses and the fort buildings, but I think our favorite thing was walking around on full-scale, ocean going replicas of the three ships that brought the first settlers to Jamestown in 1607 - the Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery.

Inside a fort residence
With one of the fort soldiers
Jonah holding a replica sword (it was nice and blunt!)
Indian Village
Interior of the Indian Hut
Below deck of the Susan Constant
Aboard the Godspeed
Waving from the Susan Constant
Next, we went to Historic Jamestowne - the National Park that contains the actual site of the original Jamestown Fort and subsequent town. About 15 years ago the foundations of the actual fort were identified by archaeologists. Archaeologists continue to study findings at the site and recently, the Jamestown Colony has been in the news due to the discovery of forensic evidence indicating cannibalism during the first few years of the colony.

With statue of Pocahontas
Statue of John Smith with historic church and fort palisades in background
Later in the week, we stopped at the glassblowers area. We learned a bit about this historic trade as we watched the glass makers create vases.

If you are considering a stop in Jamestown or just want to learn about it at home, there are some great kids books out there to help give context and educate kids and adults alike. Here are just a few:

John Smith Escapes Again!
You Wouldn't Want to Be a Civil War Soldier! - My 6 yr old son loves this series
The Doctors: Colonial Americans
The Glassmakers (Colonial Craftsmen)
Explore Colonial Jamestown with Elaine Landau (Explore Colonial America with Elaine Landau)
DK Readers: Pocahontas

Related articles:

  • Cannibalism evidence found at Jamestown settlement (cbsnews.com)
  • Homeschooling from the Heart with Help from Lewis and Clark (shannafern.com)
  • Monday, May 20, 2013

    Virginia Living Museum

    We are vacationing a few days at a timeshare in Virginia this week, compliments of my parents. Due to our membership at the Durham Museum of Life and Sciences, we were able to visit the Virginia Living Museum today free of charge. It was a great diversion for me and the kids on this rainy day.

    While there we saw a fox, a coyote, red wolves, a bobcat, a pair of beaver and one very playful otter. If it were dryer, we would have spent more time in the outdoor playground where we found this lovely little hobbit hole.
    Related Posts:

    Wednesday, May 15, 2013

    Pirate Princess Night

    The kids had a great time with their friend Jubilee during Pirate
    Princess Night at Chickfila last evening. They made pirate hats and
    princess crowns, got a tattoo and free ice cream sundaes.

    Friday, May 03, 2013

    Dreary Day Distractions

    We are housesitting on the coast and the weather is cold and dreary. Since the beach and pool weren't viable options today, we went to the mall.

    Jonah managed to squeeze in this buggy - it may be the last time.  It's too bad, as it really helps to contain the chaos while I shop.   

     Today's entertainment splurge was the hurricane simulator.  Check it out.

    Wednesday, May 01, 2013

    Jonah: Then and Now

    September 2007

    April 2013 
    He's growing up so fast.  I guess we'll just have to keep finding him a bigger box.