Monday, October 18, 2010

Field trip-Constitution Day

So on one of my homeschooling support group web sites, they mention a week-long celebration of Constitution Day. I had no idea I lived only 2 hours away from one of the founding fathers' homes, so we went to learn about Charles Pinckney and life in Colonial Times. It was a long drive from Columbia to Mount Pleasant so we got there a little later than we thought. Lesson learned .... (by mom only). C. Pinckney's plantation is a national park now but they didn't charge an entry fee, which was really nice.

You could see people in period dress walking around and manning tables that each spoke of a facet of Colonial life. The first one we walked too was a "mommy" interest, but they got a little interested once the woman explained that the cotton she was spinning would make yarn for knitting (my newest hobby). Look at their entranced faces! (insert sarcasm font here)

Candle making was the next table. It was interesting to see that not much has changed in the process. Upon seeing that they were the only boys at this table, the boys whispered to me that they thought we should move to a table that was more for boys. It was a good moment to teach them that back in the 1700's, there were very defined gender roles. "Boys did this, girls did that". They were amazed at how many of the activities they enjoy would not have been available to them because it used to be considered "woman's work".

Next was learning about food preparation. It was very funny when the woman asked the boys if they knew why the colonists had to dry and preserve their meat and food. My youngest piped up with "Because Little Debbie snack cakes hadn't been invented yet." I must say, the lady handled it well. Her reply was..."yeeeees, AND because refrigerators hadn't been invented either!"

Then there was a whole table of period toys. It was comical to see the boys look at all of the toys and think, "That's it??????" You could see how they were under the impression that colonial boys spent a lot of time being bored. The woman explained how even in colonial times, boys had lots of chores to do.

Next came learning about plants that were used in similar ways then and now. They got to pick out a modern substance (bug repellent, mouthwash) from a basket and she explained to them what plant they used for similar uses (citronella, mint).

We went into the plantation house from here where the boys immediately made me fear for the structural integrity of the building. They went through the displays with their typical monkeys on a rampage level of enthusiasm, so we didn't stop to read any of the history. We did take the time to have the boys sign their names on a piece of parchment like the founding fathers did.

Next we saw the blacksmith! Shazam! Instant entrancement for boys!!! I must confess I was pretty entranced myself. I didn't remember to take any pictures because we were so busy asking questions and I was buys asking Zack to back away from the hot coals.
After the blacksmith, we went to a brick making table. We learned about the types of bricks used to make Fort Sumter. We also got to see one made!

Then.... drumroll please.... oh no pun intended... maybe a little one....we learned about slave music, mainly drums! They taught the boys a kind of rhythm, Kuku, that came from West Guinea, Africa. We spent some considerable time there because they were having such a good time.

Then.... they spotted the Revolutionary soldier with the musket. Suddenly it was "MUSIC SHMUSIC! We want to see the gun" So this young man was very friendly and informative. He did a whole lesson on the musket, soldier's life in the 1700's, battle strategy and a field of battle descriptions. All while kids are talking, interrupting, not listening, etc. He handled the crowd very well.

Lastly the boys learned about how second to cotton, rice was a huge product in the south. They learned how to winnow the rice and to grind the hulls off of the rice.

By this time, we are all pretty tired, so we went to the gift shop and then went home. Yet another long drive, but it was a great day.

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