We are huge history buffs in this house. My personal love of history, and the Colonial era in particular, began courtesy of reading the Felicity books from the Pleasant Company in the 90s. When Colonial Williamsburg shared that they were sharing printable tools to support families learning at home, we had to check them out.
We had the opportunity to explore Colonial Williamsburg as a family and as a getaway for the two of us when we lived on the east coast. Our oldest at least actually remembers visiting the ‘burg and wears her colonial cap during dress up. When she saw the printable set up for school, she was eager to share the stories about CW with her sister.
In the beginning of education in America, a one-room schoolhouse is how our children were taught, with all ages and “grades” taught together. This is how most of American parents are doing it now, so it seems fitting to be discussing the beginning of America with two seemingly different age brackets to teach.
YouTube Video from KidsAcademy: When searching for intro activities for elementary school age kids describing the colonies with a map, I found this free video on YouTube introducing the 13 Colonies from KidsAcademy. This is the first video of theirs I found and watched, but found it to be accurate and informational. Beyond naming the colonies, it talked about the geographic regions and what their livelihoods were, answering questions the first grader had.
Colonial Williamsburg Activities
All of the current printable activities are on the Colonial Williamsburg Learn from Home page.
The 13 Colonies: In 1st grade and preschool, the history of the 13 colonies is not normally taught. It will be reviewed in future years (well, depending on which school district we are in and where we live), but knowing the history of America is important to us. The map printable allowed for a comparison of the current US map we have in our house with historical map of the developing America. Can this sheet be used for preschool and first grade? Yes! While the preschooler cannot write words on her own, she can copy the words on the bottom of the sheet and work on writing. Both girls noted the similarities of the current states and the shapes of the colonies. While it may not be committed to memory, the first grader will certainly have a familiarity with it when she is formally taught it in school.
Trades in Colonial Times: We started with the word search making it easier to learn the traders during the colonial times. The preschooler can match the words working on letter recognition, and the first grader loves word searches in general. The first grader and I worked on the crossword puzzle together while the preschooler continued the word search.
Appreciating Artwork: The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg also have linked coloring pages of the artwork they have on display. Once the kiddos colored them, we looked at the original painting from the museum with the link from the Art Museums website. There are 4 images available to print so after the kiddos had a turn, each family member had a chance to color one. We have been doing family art one evening a week. We have found this time to be relaxing and fun, and quite possibly will be something we continue after isolation time has passed.
Planning for Continued Isolation School
Parent-Teacher Conference: The teacher had set up a time for her to talk to us parents about what the students had to complete during this isolation school period. Now that I am feeling better, M and I attended the virtual conference to get a feel for what the next few weeks look like. Without technology, this whole period would look so different.
Narrative writing: The first grader’s assignment is to write a narrative story about the character Melee. We worked on building the beginning – “B” box, – the middle – the “M” box, – and end – “E” box. We planned the storyboard today, and she began writing it out. To work on typing, she is typing out the story she hand wrote on the computer. (Is anyone using a typing app right now? Might need to look into Mavis Beacon…)
If you follow along with our Instagram or Facebook, you saw that we channeled holiday cheer with clothing in the morning, and listened to holiday music throughout the day. To close out the day, we tuned into Disney Plus and watched Decorating Disney Holiday Magic. It’s a touch of a holiday magic and at Disneyland – a place where we have many family memories.
To be honest, getting back to a “normal” with isolation school has been difficult but important. Creating lesson plans allows me to look forward to the new day and something concrete to focus on. “School” really has been about having fun learning together, and enjoying the resources available to us. There have been a lot of obstacles the last few weeks. When you ask the girls about this time period they say they like the vacation and give “two thumbs up”