Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Old Florida Field Trip

Last week, we visited the Old Florida Historical Museum in St. Augustine, FL.  The day was filled with scheduled, lesson-filled events for home schoolers like ourselves.  Families were blocked together in order to go through four rotations.  These are pages that I created for the boys' school portfolios.

We started with Archaeology, which included a mock-dig. There are several archaeological sites around St. Augustine, and some of the real artifacts found were at the museum. The children were able to touch and inspect each if they chose to do so. They learned the difference between ecofacts and artifacts. Then each child was assigned a box to work in (as would be the case in a field-grid). They were given the proper tools turned loose to dig. Afterwards, they collected their findings and brought them back to the laboratory to be inspected and documented. These reports came home with us for the History Notebooks!

Then, we were sent to see Professor Snickelsnort at the pioneer-children's schoolhouse. Here, the children learned how different school was long ago, (not when I was a kid, as Spunk asked).  For example, in the early settlements, the only book they had to teach from was The Holy Bible, and The Lord's Prayer was recited daily by the children. They practiced the alphabet and spelling skills by using lacing boards. Boys and girls sat on separate sides of the schoolhouse (this was the most astonishing part to my kids), and teachers were usually retired military men.  Field Trip participants each got to write with quills, then go out for some real hard work. They planted beans, pumped water, washed Granny's dress, and ground corn into flour.
This was my favorite station of the day!
Next, we went to the Spanish Settlement area of the park.  Besides the brief history lesson, the kids spent some time inside of a Spanish house, think box.  Basically, its four walls, with a cooking are in the center, and one door.  Everyone lived, cooked, ate, slept, and used the potty in the one space!  We learned some of the games that the kids played, like pick up sticks and ring toss.  We also practiced grinding corn, weaving, drilling, and candle-dipping. 

Last stop, learning about Florida's Native Timuquan Tribe.  This was by far, my boys' favorite area of the day!  They got tattooed and war-painted, then got their hands on some replicated Timuquan tools, including spears, clubs, and arrow-heads.  Then they ran around the re-created outdoor space to play a game, work on hollowing out a log for a canoe, target practice, gardening, and again, grinding the corn. 
If you're ever in the St. Augustine area, I highly recommend touring the Fort Menendez Florida Historical Museum.  If you're local, think about the annual Home Schooler's Day!  We had a blast!!

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