Tuesday, August 14, 2012

History Lesson: St. Mary's City

On Friday, I started what I hope will be a series of History Lesson posts by sharing a little of what we learned about St Augustine from our textbook and from our own visit there.  As we study chapters in America the Beautiful that tell about places we have been, or as we do extra hands-on activities, I  thought it would be fun to share some of those on my blog.  

We've been studying the first European settlements and colonies to be established in North America, and were particularly interested in the founding of our own state, Maryland.  George Calvert, an English Catholic applied for a charter from King Charles I to form a new colony where Catholics could worship in freedom.  He died before the charter was granted, but his son, Cecil Calvert (Lord Baltimore), brought two hundred settlers to America where they bought a Native American village and established the town of Saint Mary's in 1634.  The colony was named Maryland in honor of Queen Henrietta Maria.  Although the Calverts were Catholics, the first settlers were about half Catholic and half Protestant, and the policy pursued for the colony was to have no official established religion and to allow full freedom of worship.  This made it unique among the early British settlements.

Today, you can visit Historic St Mary's City in southern Maryland.  The site features reconstructed buildings, a working colonial farm, a Woodland Indian Hamlet, and a replica square-rigged ship.  There are lots of hands-on activities for all to enjoy, and we have been able to go for the Homeschool Day they offer.  After reading about Maryland's founding in our history text, Kennady has already asked when we can go again.  I just checked, and the date for this year's Homeschool Day is October 18th.  Our last visit (see the entire post about it here) was several years ago, but the kids remember it well.

We visited the printer's shop, where students learned why we refer to letters as Upper Case and Lower Case, and why we need to mind our P's and Q's.  They were able to help set the type and work the press.

The kids got to try writing with a quill pen.

There was a demonstration of firing a musket; we learned how tobacco was farmed in colonial times; we talked to an apothecary as he brewed an herbal medicine; we visited the shop and learned how the colonists kept a tab; and we even got to play quoits.

We visited the replica Maryland Dove, a working square-rigged ship.

On the dock, we learned how pulleys have been used to handle cargo.

And on the ship, the kids were able to hoist the anchor.

We saw the compass and sextant and navigational instruments, as well as the captain's and crew's quarters.  From the shore, we watched as the sailors hoisted barrels onto the ship.

Sometimes justice needed to be adminstered in the little colony, and that might be done by putting the culprit in stocks or the pillory.  My kids don't look like they suffered too badly, so I'm not sure they learned their lesson.  This reminds me... I meant to build a pillory in our backyard and never got around to it.  Perhaps I'll suggest that project for this fall.
One of our most memorable field trips ever was to the nearby Camp Flintlock, where we lived in a style similar to colonial times for a couple of days.  You can read all about that and see some of our pictures here.

The first History Lesson post in this series is History Lesson: St Augustine.

This post was added to the Throwback Thursday Blog-Style link-up hosted by Tots and Me... Growing Up Together! on August 6, 2015

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Kate said...

This looks so fun!! I would have loved to do this. :)


Sarah said...

These pictures bring back memories! I lived in St. Mary's City till I was about 7 yrs old. I have fond memories of that place!

I am starting a new link up- Field Trip Friday- to showcase all the great homeschool filed trips available. I would love for you to add this post! http://allboyhomeschool.blogspot.com/2012/08/field-trip-friday-childrens-museum-of.html Thanks!

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