Boston area resources for homeschoolers

I had a stack of must see resources for our trip to Boston. The ultimate preparation would have been a year long American History study, such as Sonlight's Core 3 and Core 4...but this trip didn't fit into that schedule, so here are the books I made sure we enjoyed before the trip:

Johnny Tremain by Ester Forbes: In my mind, this was the most important book to read for our trip, I read this book in 6th grade- and to me, it spoke "Boston". I was so excited to see the area myself, as an adult, and I was sure my kids would love and get as invested in Johnny's story as I did.

Samuel Eaton's Day and Sarah Morton's Day: wonderful, scenic picture-books of a day in the life of a pilgrim boy/girl, photographed at Plimoth Plantation, using period costumes. Really, really wonderful!

Tampenum's Day, a Wampanoag Indian Boy in Pilgrim times:
again, wonderful photos, done on location at the Wampanoag village at the Plimoth Plantation museum.

Drive Thru History: Columbus, the Pilgrim's and early Boston DVD*
I'll fess us and say I haven't viewed this, but if I had known about it before our trip, I would have ordered it. I was aware of the longer and more expensive Drive Thru History America dvd set...and was thinking about getting it when we do American History next school year...but this is shorter, more specific to the area and not a bad price at all... Did you see that it is a DVD? I have viewed one of these on Greece, and it was very entertaining and informative, well-done, I thought.

1621-A new look at Thanksgiving: beautiful photography again. I first read this years ago, and had a little bit of a hard time with some of it's harsh tone and representation of parts of history..but, it did challenge me, and it did present a side to the colonization of Plymouth I did not know, and it presented a clear look at the historical Thanksgiving-debunking many of the myths we learned way back in kindergarten...I think it was a good addition to our reading and gave my students a chance to see the 'other' side of history lore.

We also had a booklet on the Freedom trail, which was invaluable on our walking tour. We purchased it at Border's bookstore in Boston...I'm sorry but I cannot find it now, but I am sure you can find it, or ones like it in Boston!

Of course, Make Way for Ducklings was also on our list!! How could I forget that one? If you don't know, there are statues from this book at Boston Commons...

Plimoth Plantation highlights

I mentioned in an earlier post that our trip to Plimoth Plantation was one of the highlights of our really was, I highly, highly recommend taking in this living history museum if you are anywhere near it. If you are a homeschool family, I think it is one of the 'must sees' for American History.

We began our walking tour at the wampunoag village, which is hosted by real descendants of these native peoples. They do not speak 'parts' in this village, unlike at the Pilgrim village...but they are very open to talking to you about the past, their ancestor's way of living before and after the Europeans came, and about what they are doing at that moment, whether cooking a meal, planting corn or hallowing out a canoe.

This man was hallowing out a canoe with burning coals. I saw a real papoose board, something I have read about in books- it was a little different than I had imagined.
This is the Pilgrim village, men are building a roof. They slowed down to talk to us a bit about what they are doing, and how the village is run.
Two guys talking...
Here is the inside of one of the houses, this is a more prosperous house, we saw some that were more 'humble'.
Here are my kids pondering sitting like this every Sunday...sitting on a hard bench, having to stay awake...being hit if you are a boy sleeping, being poked by a stick if you are a girl...

they didn't sit that, these modern kids...!

off the beaten Plimouth path

I spend a lot of time taking our labradoodle, Emma outside for nature's call...

Okay, I was only fun'in with you...during our family trip to Boston, we visited Plimoth Plantation- it was really the highlight of our trip. Plimoth Plantation is a living museum. First up was the Wampunoag village. Here are a few of their canoes parked on a bank.

What a view! Those Pilgrims had some prime real-estate, let me tell you. I liked looking out and imagining what the coast was like back then...

more to come in the next post.


We really enjoy visiting Cambridge, and of course touring the campus of Harvard. This is the foyer of the Freshman dining hall. You have to be a freshman to eat here. We couldn't even go inside...tho, our last visit here, I got a really good peek inside when the doors were opened for a few seconds. On one side of the foyer was the dining hall, the other side has a theater. The stained glass windows are breath-taking. And, secular. No bible stories here.

The littles paused long enough to look angelic. Don't let them fool you. Don't. let. them.

Amie in front of the statue of the 3 lies. It's a fun story. This is the founder of Harvard, or not...hence the reason they call it the statue of the 3 lies... See the shiny foot? It's tradition that if you touch the foot, that either you or your kids will get into Harvard. So, we saw lots of tourists/visitors holding the foot and taking photos. Our student guides begged us not to touch it, and it wasn't the idea of germs that prompted this warning....we heard tales later of drunken students in the middle of the night, and I'm sure your imagination can supply the rest, think of why the bronze might be shiny, beside people constantly touching it... ewww!!

We loved Harvard, weird statue story and all. It's a beautiful campus. George Washington slept there, really! Lots and lots of history, my favorite subject!

this is homeschool field-tripping at it's best!

Green Acres

Our trip to Boston included a stay at a farm. This small farm belongs to the parents of Jenna, who was a Bible College Student out where we are. She plays the violin, has a degree in music and trains & owns horses. Meg wants to be Jenna when she grows up!
This is the view from the house, they had several barns and several pastures. It was so green!
We loved it, loved the view, loved the green, loved all the land, loved all the trees.
Then we found a Barnes & Nobles 10 minutes away, and it was settled...we COULD live there!

Then I froze my putootees off at night in the very old, quaint farmhouse, and realized...we COULDNOT live there, it gets below 70 degrees!
Meg got to go down every morning and evening and help with the horses.
I think it's a riot that my daughter mucks stalls for fun.
The kids would have enjoyed the trip even if we had not gone to see any historical sites, they loved being on the farm. I wish we had land like this here, sigh. Not to be.

Here's the end of my to the hand, hee-hee...!

I break for cannoli

At the north end of Old Boston, we stopped at the holocaust memorial.

It was very hard to try to explain to Demi and Amie, they have no historical reference for it yet...and how do you explain such evil, how do you make the huge number of people murdered-real to a young mind? How do you display such ugly but real evil to your innocent children?

I couldn't. I outlined the barest facts.

and cried a bit.

Mike's Pastries in the Italian section. The chocolate chip cannoli came very, very, highly recommended.

Now, I'm not a cannoli girl in any way...but I had one

and Philip was right, they are to die for.

We sat in the park around the corner with the Paul Revere statue, and ate our desserts.
I had a diet coke with mine, perfecto!

I loved the Italian North-End!

We stopped for pizza, too.

But of course!!

hittin' the streets

A group shot in front of the old state-house, Boston. It's so hard to get a group shot where no one is making a face, no one is blinking...socks match, no holes in pants... This one is a keeper.
A real-live action shot, we were walking hard...we did the freedom trail in one day! I don't recommend you do it, but we did. Philip made us. We did skip Bunker hill and Paul Revere's house. I would have liked to see Revere's house, but we forgot...we made a side-trip for cannoli, Philip said they were 'to die for' and, he was right.
Umm, chocolate chip cannoli or dead guy's house, cannoli wins-hands down.
Exploring the cemetery near Old North Church. I was reading about how this cemetery was un-kept for some time, and how once a restoration was under-way, old tombstones were found being used in construction of nearby houses. yikes! Yes, this is me...I'm now re-thinking the shirt I have on here. I bought it right before my trip to Singapore, and I love, love it. I love the color, and I love that it is a swing-cut, and also an a-line cut, and that the material is really soft. I feel nice wearing it. So far, I look bad in photos wearing it. What do you think? I was going to order another one in a different color..should I nix that thought?

My kids have a weird sense of humor. I pretended I didn't know them.

I didn't think it was funny at all! Then I told them that their faces would freeze like that...okay, it didn't make sense, but mom cliches don't have to, they're just a state of being. And the kids mostly aren't listening to them there.