Want to take a homeschool vacation and learn about American History at the same time? Have you ever imagined walking down the street with your children and bumping into George Washington? Or wandering through a palace garden and encountering Patrick Henry giving a speech? Taking a homeschool vacation at Colonial Williamsburg is like stepping back in time to the days just before the American Revolution. The air is thick with excitement as the townspeople dream of becoming a new nation.
There is more than one way to experience Colonial Williamsburg. Going on guided tours or exploring the town on your own.
If you’d prefer a self-guided tour, you can simply take your map and roam from building to building, soaking up the atmosphere and moving at your own pace. The most enriching way we found to visit, however, was to take advantage of the many events that are occurring all around you throughout the day.
Each day in Colonial Williamsburg is a different day in history, and your Visitor’s Companion is your guide. This document is separated into different time slots and it details all of the activity that is going on around you. Simply identify the events that look intriguing to you and your family and head to those.
Colonial Williamsburg is filled with costumed people acting out the events of that particular day, leading you through the many buildings, and giving you the history of all that occurred here. The unique thing about this destination is that all visitors become townspeople and actually become involved during the different events.
One day that we were there was April 21, 1775, the day the townspeople discover that their Governor, Lord Dunmore, had removed all of their gunpowder from the Magazine, citing his fear of a slave uprising. This action angered the Virginians, whose reaction created a sense of urgency throughout the town and drove the colony to the brink of war.
First thing in the morning, we went to the Magazine and became some of the angry citizens who brought the news of the missing gunpowder to the Courthouse. Here, we also discovered that King George III was promising freedom to any slave who would take up arms against their master and fight for him. Our next stop was the Governor’s Palace, where we listened to Patrick Henry, who discussed this turn of events with us. We then went to a quiet area of town and became part of a group of slaves who were discussing the possibility of freedom and the dilemma that they faced.
The day went on in this fashion, with the grand finale being when we became part of an angry mob who convicted and sentenced Lord North to death. The climax of this event was when the mob hung and burned a dummy that was mocked up to look like Lord North.
Plan to spend several days in Colonial Williamsburg, as there is too much to see and do in just one day. Children are also encouraged to get involved by dressing up in Colonial costumes, by enlisting to join the militia and being trained in firing a musket (wooden replica), by using Colonial Currency in the historic area, and a myriad of other ways.
An especially exciting time to visit is when Colonial Williamsburg is having their Homeschool Days. Twice a year, they offer extra events which are designed to draw kids even deeper into history. They have scavenger hunts which get the kids to visit different buildings and talk to the reenactors in order to solve a series of clues.
They also offer additional workshops which allow kids to work in the blacksmith shop, learn about education during Colonial times, take private tours, and more. There are also special ticket prices during this time making it more affordable for families to visit.
If you would like to give your boys outside fun and to immerse them in American history, Colonial Williamsburg is the perfect homeschool vacation spot for your family.
Question: Have you ever visited Colonial Williamsburg with your family? What was your favorite activity while you were there? Please leave a comment below.