Roadschool – Yorktown and Jamestown

This past week was Homeschool Week at Yorktown and Jamestown. We’ve been before, but Ash was too young to remember, and you can always use a refresher course on historical events, right? We spent one day at Yorktown and the next day at Jamestown.

Reading the Declaration of Independence with General Washington Not so SAHM

Reading with General Washington

Jamestown Settlement Not so SAHM


The Yorktown Victory Center now consists of a middle-class-size colonial farm, a field camp to portray the revolutionary war events, and an indoor museum. It’s all very hands on!

Combing Cotton at Yorktown Victory Center Not So SAHM

Carding Cotton

Learning about flax at Yorktown Victory Center Not so SAHM

Flax – start to finish

Colonial gardening at Yorktown Victory Center

Colonial gardening

Colonial bread toaster Not so SAHM

What is it?!

One daughter took a class on “Colonial Life” and learned about the different chores, clothing, housing, etc of kids and adults back then. The other daughter took a class called “The Life of a Private” where she learned what it was like to be in General Washington’s army during the Revolutionary War. Later in the day we took a Guided Tour through all the facilities where we all learned about farm life and war life.

Revolutionary war camp at Yorktown Victory Center Not So SAHM

new conscripts

Revolutionary medicine at Yorktown Victory Center Not so SAHM

tooth ache?

The one thing we didn’t do this time was the driving tour around the expansive battlefield. There is a CD you can purchase and listen to as you drive that explain the different positions Washington’s and Cornwallis’ armies took.

The Jamestown Settlement is a living history museum in the outdoors and a very large indoor museum. Both are hands on. The actual historical site of Jamestown is down the road and there is still archaeological digging and research going on (there is a separate entrance fee). So much so, that whenever they find new information that differs from what they previously thought, they will tear down the “re-enactment” and rebuild it to be historically correct. We walked through an Indian village, a ship (so small!), and the reproduction Jamestown settlement.

Learning about the Jamestown Settlers at the Jamestown Settlement Not So SAHM

Learning about the Jamestown settlers

Learning how to clean a deer skin at Jamestown Settlement Not So SAHM

using every part of the deer

Making rope at Jamestown Settlement Not So SAHM

Twisting rope

Digging out a canoe at Jamestown Settlement Not So SAHM

Canoe making!

Reenactment ships at Jamestown

Ships at Jamestown

Using a Traverse Board at Jamestown Settlement Not So SAHM

learning how to plot navigation

Inside the Jamestown Settlement Not So SAHM

Inside the settlement

Instead of having the girls do their “regular” school work, I planned on doing several activities while we were there that would incorporate subjects like math, writing, reading, and science. Some were more successful than others.

SCIENCE: Reagan is studying birds in science right now (Apologia’s Zoology I) so I took my camera and a field guide with the intention of taking pictures of all the different birds we saw and looking them up in the field guide. Well, we saw very few birds, and they were mostly in mid-flight, so I didn’t get very many pictures. I was most successful in our grandparents’ backyard at the bird feeder. . . Also, we haven’t had a chance to look at the pictures yet. So we’ll have a bit of delayed gratification next week when I can pull up the pictures on a computer and they can flip through the field guide to identify the birds.

MATH: The Jamestown website has a lot of great curriculum ideas, and I printed out several of those to use. One of them incorporated math by discussing jettons, what they were and how they were used as counting tools. It was geared towards Ashlyn’s grade level (2nd), but Reagan (6th) still had fun figuring out the problems that were on the sheet. I had also planned to do some spontaneous math and ask Ashlyn to do some adding and subtracting with different dates and facts, but that never happened.

WRITING: I had wanted the girls to write down each day about the favorite thing they learned that day, their least favorite, etc. It’s hard, though, to get school done when you’re visiting relatives. After we left Yorktown we went to the grandparents’ house and not a single one of us thought about school until the next morning.

ART: See above.

There were several activities that I had printed out that we didn’t get to. I still want to do them so I plan on fitting them in next week. One that we did do, and I think the girls enjoyed, was the kids’ museum guide. We used the guide as we walked through the indoor museum to find objects and answer questions. That gave the girls an objective and helped them to feel like we weren’t going to be indoors all day.

And Ashlyn just reminded me, the cafe at the Jamestown Settlement was “the best she had ever been to”.

Williamsburg is just a couple miles down the road, but we were there recently so we didn’t go back during this visit. I met a family from Texas who was visiting the area for a week, and they were going to do all three (Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown) and then drive up to DC (about 3 to 10 hours away depending on traffic). If you’ve never been to the Historic Triangle this needs to be on your short list of places to visit.
   Not So SAHM

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One thought on “Roadschool – Yorktown and Jamestown

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