A family on the road living fulltime in an RV.

Tag: Homeschooling

RVing Full Time with Kids: What homeschool (roadschool) curriculum do you use?

Any homeschooling parent knows the thrill (or dread) of choosing curriculum. Some of us feel like a kid making a Christmas list, spending hours pouring over the hundreds of choices….

Homeschooling Books2

Any homeschooling parent knows the thrill (or dread) of choosing curriculum.

Some of us feel like a kid making a Christmas list, spending hours pouring over the hundreds of choices. Others of us approach the task with terror as if the wrong curriculum will somehow land our precious ones in jail.

Choosing curriculum can be overwhelming to say the least.

For me, there used to be an underlying pressure to choose the “best” curriculum similar to researching and picking the safest car or best vacuum. (<== OCD much?) I may have traded a few months of my life researching curriculum when we first started homeschooling 6 years ago. It seemed like, if I just read every. single. review. and every thread on every homeschooling message board on the entire internet I would find that perfect curriculum and my kids would be on their way to Harvard before their 13th birthdays.

But you know what I’ve learned?

Curriculum does’t really matter all that much.

Whaaat?

Yeah, curriculum really doesn’t’ matter all that much.

Seriously. Homeschooling is about so much more than stuffing our kids with “the right” facts and formulas and meeting “standards”. Who cares if my kid goes to an Ivy League or any school for that matter if he (or me) is a punk or unhappy or sees learning as a chore.

Homeschooling is about developing character.

Homeschooling is about connecting and growing relationships with family and the community.

Homeschooling is about really getting to know your kids…the lovely and not so lovely parts.

Homeschooling about finding and nourishing strengths and addressing weaknesses.

Homeschooling is about learning to love learning.

Homeschooling is about cultivating curiosity.

Homeschooling is about learning to be a self motivated learner instead of spoon-fed.

Homeschooling is about meeting the needs of your child and your family.

Homeschooling is about so much more than curriculum.

That said, one of the questions I get asked most often is, “What curriculum do you use?”

So here it goes… Remember this is what worked for our family in each particular season of life.

Our Homeschool and Roadschool Curriculum List

(The older grade is followed by the younger grade. If only one publisher is listed it means I used it for both boys. For math and grammar I often used the same publisher but different grade levels, i.e. Level 1 and Level 4, but I only listed the one publisher.)

Year 1 – Grades 4 and 1

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After months of research, we decided we wanted to follow the Classical model of eduction. In the beginning, we were going to follow the classical model of education to a T. It would only be a few short years until my kids were reading the Odyssey in Latin. Reality check! It didn’t take long for me to realize that wasn’t going to happen. For the most part, we have stuck with the history cycle and somewhat with the stages of learning but realized we couldn’t, or rather didn’t want to, “do it all”.

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Like falling in love, our first year of homeschooling was a mix giddy excitement and weighing self-doubt.

History/English

Tapestry of Grace

Math

Singapore

Science

Apologia Elementary Series

Grammar (Thing 1 only)

Rod and Staff

Spelling (Thing 1 only)

I cannot remember what we used this year!

Phonics (Thing 2 only)

Hooked on Phonics

Explode the Code

(To this day, teaching Thing 2 to read has been of my most satisfying and rewarding experiences. I’ll never forget those mornings snuggled together on the couch listening to him slowly sound out words and watching the joy on his face when he would get them on his own. He still loves to read and we can’t keep his Kindle filled!)

Handwriting

A Reason For Handwriting

Handwriting without Tears

Co-op

We also joined a homeschool co-op this year and took a mix of classes to compliment what we were learning at home.

Year 2 – Grades 5 and 2

PicMonkey Collage Beacon Hill CA

Our second year of homeschooling, we enrolled the boys in a new a hybrid classical school. It was a fantastic year blending the best of both worlds. The boys were home with us four days a week and went to school three days a week. They got the benefits of a classroom setting, like positive peer pressure (and a teacher who could keep up with Latin) and I got a break. Since I didn’t need to create schedules, choose curriculum, and find social opportunities our homeschool days were even more relaxed. The one thing I would have changed about this year was math. At the time, the school used Saxton which turned out to be a poor fit for both boys. Not only was it boring but it was less advanced than their previous curriculum. When we went back to homeschooling the following year we had to go back a year in Singapore.

Year 3 – Grades 6 and 3

English Ship Replicas Jamestown Settlement Jamestown Settlement Armor

Year 3 was our first year of roadschooling. Like watching a 3D movie for the first time, this was the year where learning came to life as we visited battlefields, swam with manatees, explored cities, experienced caves, imagined life as an American colonial , hiked mountains, stayed on a farm, canoed with alligators, and experienced more in one year than many people experience in a lifetime.

Thing One Port CharlotteFamily Statue of Liberty NYC

We started with the curriculum below but after about six months gave “unschooling” a try before going back to a more scheduled approach. I’m glad we tried unschooling but it didn’t work for us at that point in our lives or perhaps I just didn’t give it time. Another post all together. After our failed unschooling attempt, I added an additional writing program because I wasn’t thrilled with Sonlight or Rod and Staff’s writing components.

Stocks Williamsburg VA

I should add that although we do subjects like spelling and grammar, I consider them “throw away” subjects. (Don’t hate, you grammar Nazis.)  We do enough to understand the concepts but we don’t waste time with unnecessary drilling and extra practice. We would rather the boys spend the time reading or exploring.

Thing 2 Cannon Chickamauga GA

This year we also abandoned book science and took a hands on approach by taking advantage of our travels to national parks and museums. The boys earned over 50 Junior Ranger badges that year. It was also an amazing year for history as we read books like Johnny Tremain, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and Moccasin Trail and then visited the places in the stories.

Family at Capital Washington DC

History/English

Sonlight

Math

Singapore

Science

National Park Tour, Junior Ranger Programs, and many museums

Grammar

Rod and Staff

Handwriting

Handwriting without Tears (Thing 2 only)

Spelling

Phonetic Zoo by Institute for Excellence in Writing

Writing

Institute for Excellence in Writing

Year 4 – Grades 7 and 4

Junior Rangers Olympic NP WA 1

Our second year of roadschooling was similar to our first year as we continued to explore the United States with the exception of Thing 1’s work. His work was more challenging than the previous year and we began to do some testing. I did not do standardized testing but subject testing so he would learn test taking skills should he need them later down the road. 

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After many years of Singapore math I realized I couldn’t keep up with Thing 1 so began the search for a new math curriculum that required less parental involvement. We tried the Art of Problem Solving which would be amazing for the right kind of kid. It was a horrible fit for us. After a few more weeks of research, I narrowed math down to Math-U-See, Teaching Textbooks, and Life of Fred. Thing 1 looked them over and chose which one he wanted to study. He chose Life of Fred and after two years I can’t say enough good things about it. (The Kahn Academy was used as a supplemental resource for extra practice when needed and not as a stand-alone program.)

Family by Yelllowstone Sign

We decided to start Latin this year but abandoned it about 6 months later. 

Noah and the boys Breck Ski School

A huge highlight of the year was four months in snowboard school at Breckinridge Ski Resort where the boys went from falling down the mountain to riding black diamonds.

History/English

Sonlight

Math

Life of Fred

Singapore

Kahn Academy (Thing 1 and 2)

Science

Apologia General Science

Apologia Elementary Series

Grammar

Rod and Staff

Writing

Institute of Excellence in Writing

Handwriting

Handwriting without Tears (Thing 2)

Spelling

Phonetic Zoo by Institute for Excellence in Writing (Thing 2)

Latin

Getting Started with Latin

Year 5 – Grades 8 and 5

Family 2 Denali The Mountain Alaska

 

Thing 2 Glacier Cruise AlaskaThing 1 Exit Glacier Alaska

The focus for our third year of roadschooling was preparing Thing 1 for high school level work and continue to make learning as fun as possible for Thing 2. Of course, as we traveled we continued to learn through experiences.

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The highlight of our travels this year was visiting our 49th state, Alaska! During the long drive through Canada and Alaska, we listened to many audiobooks like Call of the Wild, White Fang, Hatchet, and Jason’s Gold as we drove through and visited many of the places in the stories. Thing 2 also developed a fascination with gold panning so he spent many hours reading about gold panning and then gave it a try himself near Girdwood and Chicken, Alaska. Roadschooling at its best!!!

History/English

Story of the World

A Variety of Historical Fiction

(I picked books based on the time period we were studying or the places we visited.)

Math

Life of Fred

Singapore

Kahn (Thing 1 and 2)

Science

Apologia Physical Science

Apologia Elementary Series

Grammar

Rod and Staff

Spelling

Phonetic Zoo by Institute for Excellence in Writing (Thing 2 only)

Year 6 – Grades 9 and 6

I can’t believe I’m a mother of a high schooler and we’ve been on this homeschooling journey for six years!

Thing 1 Eagle Falls Tahoe CA

Our fourth year of roadschooling has been a big year for Thing 1. Per his request he wanted a challenging curriculum because wanted to make sure he is “keeping up with school kids”. It has been a struggle for me because, frankly, I see much (not all) of traditional school as a lot of nonsense and wasted time. While we’ve kept up with the core subjects, we’ve allowed plenty of room for freedom to explore, create, and have avoided traditional textbooks and boring assignments. Brent and I have encouraged the boys to think out of box and question the status quo.

Telescopes Egle Bay CA

However, Thing 1 is getting older and we wanted to respect his desire for a more traditional course of study. He has expressed that he wants to go to college and hopefully receive some scholarship money. That means “the game” of test scores and graduation requirements needs to be played to a certain extent. We know there are untraditional ways to gain entrance into college and receive scholarships but we do want to keep as many paths open as possible for him.

Reluctantly, we arranged his course of study to meet traditional future college entrance requirements and enrolled him in a virtual school for a few classes. It was tough transition. First, it was our first experience with the Common Core math standards. As you know, I question any sort of blanket “standards” and the status quo. However, after a year I think the new standards are beneficial in helping kids gain a true understanding of math instead of relying on memorizing formulas. The virtual school math has also been very challenging because, although he has a teacher he “can” go to with questions, he has been responsible for learning the concepts himself and he has had to be accountable to someone other than me. A good thing! For the most part, it has been a valuable experience as he has learned the hard way to manage his time and seek out resources on his own to help him understand concepts. (Unfortunately, his algebra teacher were less than helpful.)

Brothers Snowboard RV 3 CO

As for Thing 2, the goal has continued to be keep learning as fun and interesting as possible. He reads, reads, and reads. He isn’t crazy about math but I’ve insisted that he keep up with “requirements” because math is one subject that is hard to catch up should we decide to stop homeschooling. He, too, enrolled in a virtual school math class and also received an A both semesters. The biggest change for him was more independent learning. The previous 5 years I was more hands on but with Thing 3 in the picture it became increasingly difficult. Thing 2 really stepped up and took initiative to complete assignments on his own.

History/English/Bible

My Father’s World Ancient History and Literature

Mystery of History

Math

Florida Virtual School – Honors Algebra and 6th grade math

Kahn

Science

Tried Florida Virtual School but switched to Apologia Biology

Finished the Apologia Elementary Series
(Thing 2 read every book over the years except Chemistry.)

Grammar

Rod and Staff (Thing 2 only)

Intro to Technology

Florida Virtual School (Thing 1)

Honors Web Design

Florida Virtual School (Thing 1)

Guitar

Florida Virtual School (Thing 2)

So there it is…our curriculum choices over the last 6 years. 

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How I miss our early years of cuddling on the couch while reading stories about pharaohs and pioneers. Even though I tried to be intentional and savor the moments with them, it has all gone by too fast. I wouldn’t trade our early years of homeschooling or the adventures of road schooling for anything. The only thing I would do differently is start homeschooling sooner and not worry so much about picking “the right” curriculum in the beginning because homeschooling is about so much more!

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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Throwback Thursday – Valley Forge, PA

Bear with me as we hitch up our time machine and head back in time for Throwback Thursday. The amount of pictures we take borders on absurdity and it’s impossible…

Bear with me as we hitch up our time machine and head back in time for Throwback Thursday. The amount of pictures we take borders on absurdity and it’s impossible for me to keep up without an assistant. So until the boys can be trusted to pick the best pictures of me, I’ll have to do all the photo management which could be a full time job in and of itself.

Anyway back to Valley Forge.

Valley Forge PA

Thing One Valley Forge

National Memorial Arch Valley Forge PA

Soldier Quarters Valley Forge

 

Peeking In Washingtons Headquarters

Valley Forge National Historic Park  was the Revolutionary War encampment where the continental army lead by George Washington survived the long winter of 1777-1778. By the end of the winter, nearly 2500 soldiers had died from exposure, sickness, and starvation.  And we felt like we “survived” the winter in Breckenridge in our RV.

Little Washington Valley ForgePretending to be a solider Valley Forge

Visitor Center Valley Forge

The visitor center, like most national park visitor centers, was filled with information and hands on exhibits. We learned about the sacrifices and hardships the soldiers of the Continental Army endured in their fight for our country’s independence.

In the Mirror Valley Forge

And away we go!

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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A Memorable Memorial Weekend

Manassas National Battlefield Park, Virginia We began our  four day Memorial Day memorial tour on a Friday at Manassas National Battlefield Park. This was where the first major land battle…

Manassas National Battlefield Park, Virginia

We began our  four day Memorial Day memorial tour on a Friday at Manassas National Battlefield Park. This was where the first major land battle of the American Civil War, most commonly referred to as the First Battle of Bull Run, took place. On July 21, 1861 the two armies converged on the rolling hills near Centreville, Virginia. Spectators came from Washington expecting an easy victory for the North to bring a swift end to the Southern rebellion. The battle seesawed throughout the day but in the end it was a Southern Victory. It was also the place where the legendary Southern general “Stonewall Jackson” received his famous nickname. It was the beginning of a war that would almost destroy a nation and eventually claim more than 600,000 lives.

Harpers Ferry, National Historical Park, West Virginia

Saturday, we visited Harpers Ferry in West Virginia. A visit to Harper’s Ferry is like stepping into the past. Historical reenactors and musuems bring the history of Harpers Ferry to life! It has a multi-faceted history being the place of the first interchanable manufacture, location of John Brown’s raid against slavery (a catalyst for the Civil War), a civil war battleground, and home to one of the first integrated schools, Storer College, dedicated to educating former slaves in higher education.

If history isn’t your thing Harper’s Ferry is beautiful. It sits nestled between hills at the convergence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers. Thomas Jefferson is quoted as saying, “The passage of the Patowmac through the Blue Ridge is perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in Nature.” There is even a rock named after him, Jerfferson Rock, where he took in the view above lower Harper’s Ferry and said, “this scene is worth a voyage across the Atlantic”.

Antietam National Battlefield, Maryland

Sunday after a stopping in Shepherdstown West Virginia for a farmers market (Sheperherdstown is such a COOL little town), we headed over to Antietam National Battlefield. The Battle of Antietam is also know as the battle of Sharpsburg. The North tended to name battles after the closest creeks, rivers, or streams and the South often used names of towns or railroad junctions. Antietam was the bloodiest one day battle in American history with over 22,000 casualties.

This was our third battlefield in three days and, to be honest, Thing One was…Over. It. I kinda don’t blame him it was a sweltering hot weekend and after awhile all the battles start to run together with the same tragic theme. However, Thing Two couldn’t get enough if you can’t tell from the pictures! He loves history, war history in particular. This was his opportunity to wear his kepi in the correct time period. (God only knows how he feels about that!) After completing the Jr Ranger program, we took the self-guided tour through the battlefield and then ended our day at an old fashioned ice cream parlor, Nutter’s, for some crazy good ice cream. In fact, I’m still thinking about it!

Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania

It seemed fitting that we finished our Memorial Day memorial tour on Monday with a visit to Gettysburg National Military Park. While Anitiem was the bloodiest one day battle, Gettysburg was the bloodiest overall battle with over 51,000 casualties over a three day period. It was also a major turning point in the Civil War and the place where President Lincoln made his famous Gettysburg Address.

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” – Abraham Lincoln

It was an unforgettable Memorial Weekend and to any who serve or who have served and their loved ones, thank you.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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The Third Branch is a Charm

Too be honest I am a little DC-ed out. I am now. I was then. But there is so much to see and learn in Washington D.C. And what kind…

Too be honest I am a little DC-ed out. I am now. I was then.

But there is so much to see and learn in Washington D.C.

Outside Supreme Court DC

Supreme Court DC

And what kind of homeschooling parent would I be if I took the boys to see the legislative branch and the executive branch but skipped the judicial branch.

Inside Supreme Court DC

We couldn’t just miss the Supreme Court.

Library of CongressLibrary of Congress Statues Inside Library of Congress DC

Or the Library of Congress to see a copy of the Gutenberg Bible and the room where they filmed a scene for National Treasure 2. 😉

That’s it. This was our last day in the National Mall.

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Frozen Yogurt DC

And it ended with frozen yogurt.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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First President and Fortune Teller? – George Washington Birthplace National Monument

Brent has been working a lot lately. This is good. Very good. Unfortunately, it means he misses out on a lot of places and I’m left to wrangle these guys…

Brent has been working a lot lately. This is good. Very good.

Unfortunately, it means he misses out on a lot of places and I’m left to wrangle these guys myself.

On our way to our new campsite at Colonial Beach, we passed George Washington Birthplace National Monument. This isn’t the first time we have stumbled upon a National Park.

George Washington Birthplace National Monument was only a few miles from our campsite and a perfect place to spend an afternoon learning about the first president’s early years. George Washington spent the first three years of his life here at the plantation at Popes Creek before his family moved to Ferry Farm near Fredericksburg, Virginia. During his lifetime Washington made many trips back to Popes Creek to visit family and friends. The farm stayed in the Washington family until it passed to the government for preservation.

Thing One was disappointed to find out that this wasn’t the real house where George Washington was born.

However, he was thrilled that the ranger let him play the harpsichord and the ranger was quite impressed with his playing.

The foundation of the actual house where George Washington was born sits a few feet away from the restored brick house.

As a teenager George Washington studied the trade of land surveying. One of the activities in the Jr. Ranger book was to “survey” the foundation of his birth home.

Most of the afternoon we just walked the grounds and took in the beauty.

The Washington family burial ground is also on the property. Although, Washington isn’t buried there. He is buried at Mount Vernon.

At the end of the day the boys took their Jr. Ranger pledge.

Lastly with all the mudslinging going back and forth between parties, which only promises to get worse as we close in on election, I found this quote from George Washington’s Farewell Address quite timely.

“However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.” – George Washington, Farewell Address September 17th, 1796.

Perhaps he should have gone into fortune telling instead of politics.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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Hard Tack and Ticks at Yorktown National Battlefield and Victory Center

It was a perfect spring day when I took the boys to Yorktown, the last stop of the historic triangle. Like Historic Jamestown and Jamestown Settlement there are two sites…

It was a perfect spring day when I took the boys to Yorktown, the last stop of the historic triangle. Like Historic Jamestown and Jamestown Settlement there are two sites to visit, Yorktown National Battlefield and Yorktown Victory Center. Unlike Jamestown Settlement you don’t need a full day to visit Yorktown Victory Center and admission doesn’t cost you your right arm like Colonial Williamsburg.

The Yorktown Victory Center is hands-on. There is a museum, a Continental Army encampment and a 1780’s farm where historical interpreters describe and depict life of the soldiers and civilians of that time.

The boys, of course, liked the war camp.

The equivalent to a light bulb.

The equivalent to a smart phone.

Yeah, I prefer my maps app. I won’t even talk about what we learned in the medical tent.

Thankfully there was era appropriate wear to try on in the officer’s tent. Lord only knows how much Thing Two loves to be historically accurate.

The battle at Yorktown was the last major battle of the Revolutionary War and Yorktown National Battlefield is a place to ponder the events that sealed America’s victory.

We stopped along the 7 Mile Battlefield Tour Road to explore the earthworks.

And look at the artillery.

Heading back to the truck after one of our stops we discovered something terrible.

A tick on Thing Two.

Then as we buckled up, I saw one crawling up my thigh. You would have thought I had found a stowaway cobra.

After sweaters were shaken out and bodies checked, we headed to our last stop on the 7 Mile Battlefield Road, Surrender Field, where British troops laid down their arms. I don’t know if it was the ticks, the setting sun, or PMS but, I’ll admit, I got teary-eyed looking across the field and then annoyed when all the boys could do was talk about ticks falling from the trees like paratroopers.

Maybe I should have listened to them because on the way home we found no less than 8 more stowaway ticks looking for a free meal. I think my skin may have thickened (no pun intended) at the medical tent talk because I ordered, “flick those intruders out the window” and I focused on one thing, getting this beast of a truck safely back to our campsite where I could collapse in Brent’s arms and cry about the ticks.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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Tragedy and the Tricorne at Colonial Williamsburng

Thing Two was mad at me. This is not unusual. Everyday, it seems one of my kids is mad at me for some reason or other. Mad because I “make”…

Thing Two was mad at me.

This is not unusual. Everyday, it seems one of my kids is mad at me for some reason or other. Mad because I “make” them do school. Mad because I ask them to wash four dishes. Mad because I won’t let them play on their devices all day. Mad because I make them wear sunscreen and try vegetables. I’m a terrible mother, I tell you.

Today, Thing Two was mad at me because I wouldn’t let him spent the rest of his money on an overpriced tricorne hat, the triangle shaped hats associated with American Revolution, we saw in a shop the other day. Now he was going to “have” to wear his blue Civil War kepi to Colonial Williamsburg.

In 1699, the capital of  colonial Virginia moved from Jamestown to Williamsburg and remained the capital until 1780. Today, you can visit Colonial Williamsburg and experience for yourself what life as a colonist during the Revolution might have been like and if you are unlucky enough to have a mother like me you will “have” to wear your Civil War kepi while everyone else wears tricornes. Homeschooler problems.

Once we got there and sorted out the tickets—They offer two different homeschooling rates one for the kids through the group sales and one for the educator through the main ticket booth.—we had a fun time learning about life in Colonial Williamsburg. We toured the governor’s mansion, talked to various “tradesmen”, pet horses, admired sheep, and visited the art gallery.

We were having a great time. Thing Two even forgot he was wearing a kepi.

That was until a colonist taught them to bow and said to Thing Two, “You’re about a hundred years too late with your hat.”

Thanks Mr. Colonist.

It was over. I was the terrible mother. With tears in his eyes, Thing Two asked if he could spend the rest of the day without his hat. For the record, I never made him wear his kepi. I only require them to wear hats, any hat, when we are going to be in the sun all day and he wanted to wear something “old fashioned”. It just wasn’t old fashioned enough.

I packed the hat in the backpack and we enjoyed the rest of our day at Colonial Williamsburg where Thing Two watched wistfully as soldier boys walked by in their tricornes.

A few days later, I found a reasonable priced tricorne and bought it for Thing Two.

But the next time there is back-talking about dishes, school, or hats I thinking this may do.  Maybe one of these will fit on the back of the RV.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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Historic Jamestown

Historic Jamestown, located a few miles from Jamestown Settlement, is the location of the original Jamestown colony. There isn’t as much to do at the Historic Jamestown as there is…

Historic Jamestown, located a few miles from Jamestown Settlement, is the location of the original Jamestown colony.

There isn’t as much to do at the Historic Jamestown as there is at Jamestown Settlement. There aren’t any boats to climb on. There aren’t any Indian huts to explore. The fort is a little more than an outline on the ground.

But…

You can look out at river, the former lifeline to England, and imagine what it would have been like to be John Smith waiting for supplies to arrive.

You can see the spot where Pocahontas and John Rolfe where most likely married.

You can see graves of the early settlers who braved the New World for better or for worse.

You can imagine the defeat felt by the Powhatan indians as they were pushed out of their lands.

You can walk where the first Africans arrived as slaves in 1619 and think of the devastation that would follow.

You can sit and take in the significance of the spot where the United States, the great melting pot, began.

Historic Jamestown is a beautiful and moving place.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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Jamestown Settlement

After visiting St. Augustine, the oldest continuously occupied city in the United States and Roanoke, the first unsuccessful English colony where the settlers mysteriously disappeared, we surely couldn’t miss Jamestown, the first succesful English settlement…

After visiting St. Augustine, the oldest continuously occupied city in the United States and Roanoke, the first unsuccessful English colony where the settlers mysteriously disappeared, we surely couldn’t miss Jamestown, the first succesful English settlement in the United States.

In 1607, 13 years before the pilgrims landed in Plymouth, The Virginia Company sent 104 men across the ocean in search of fortune. On the banks of the James River in Virginia, they settled Jamestown.

Despite the struggles with disease and strained relationships with the local Powhatan Indian tribe, Jamestown prospered and served as the capital of the colony until 1699.

Today in Virginia, there are two ways to experience Jamestown, Historic Jamestown or Jamestown Settlement. We started with a day at Jamestown Settlement, a living history museum that tells the story of the settlers and the indians. The museum is divided into four parts: a recreated Powhatan Village, a recreated Fort James, replicas of English ships, and a museum gallery filled with artifacts,  films, and exhibits.

It’s a homeschooling mom’s dream and well worth the price of admission.

Our exploration of Jamestown Settlement began with the guided tour.

Powhatan Village

The tour started at at the Powhatan Village, where we learned about the tribe that had been living on the land long before the settlers came and pushed them out.

The detail put into everything was amazing.

Sitting on real animal skins.

Fort James

Inside the fort we learned about how the settlers carved out their existence despite tremendous struggles with disease, strained relationships, and limited supplies.

Musket firing is always a favorite.

Trying on armor.

Learning about early medical practices.

Jamestown Settlement Ships

There are recreations of the three ships, the Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery, that landed at Jamestown.

We learned about their route and the living condition aboard the ships.

The best part was exploring the ships….

and some getting hands on the cannons.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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Valentine’s Day in Orlando, Florida

If there is one thing our kids miss about school, it would be sugar class parties. If there is one thing our kids miss about living in Ventura, it would…

If there is one thing our kids miss about school, it would be sugar class parties.

If there is one thing our kids miss about living in Ventura, it would be friends.

Spending ten days in Orlando with other fulltime RVing families gave my kids the opportunity to hang out with new friends.  Since Valentine’s Day fell in the middle of our stay, I thought why not have a little party and some sugar with our new friends. We made Valentine’s Day cards and ice cream sundaes. However, Margie Lundy had the best idea of the party. When we were done with the cards, we passed them out around our the “neighborhood”. I think it made everyone smile.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

If you enjoyed this post you can follow one of three ways! 1. Subscribe to the RSS Feed 2. “like” Newschool Nomads on Facebookor 3. Sign up to have posts emailed to your inbox. Simple dimple!

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