This last week was a busy week at work; in fact, it was so busy that I’m going to take two days to tell you about it!
The first part of the busy week was on Thursday and Friday when we had Education Days. Seven hundred 3rd and 4th graders from all over the area came and visited the park. They watched the movie and hiked the battlefield trail. They also learned about colonial living from the rangers and volunteers by rotating in stations. Each day we had three different schools and the schools divided up into 12 groups. Then the groups would rotate through the learning stations. Each group only got to do six of the learning stations because of time limitations.
I got to teach a song to the students. Ranger Leah was a little concerned that I wouldn’t like teaching singing, but she didn’t know how many years I worked with Children’s Choirs! The song was “Soldier, Soldier,” which is a humorous song the soldiers liked to sing around the campfire. It is about a “fair maid” who wants the soldier to marry her, but he protests that he doesn’t have anything to wear. After she dresses him, he tells her he already has a wife, then she grabs his gun and shoots him. The kids have a great time dressing as the fair maid or the soldier, and the ending surprises and delights them. I loved teaching it, but after teaching it 18 times each day, my voice was a little hoarse.
On the first day, Tom got to do the militia drill, which is a favorite for most of the male volunteers. We have wooden guns and the drill instructor teaches the kids how to march and the steps for loading and shooting a gun. On the second day Tom played “What’s In My Haversack?”, teaching the kids what a soldier would carry in his haversack when he was out on campaign.
Other learning stations included sachet making, signing an oath of allegiance to the King with a quill pen, doing archaeology, colonial dancing, wool spinning, the difference between a musket and rifle, minuteman drill (a race to see who could get dressed and run to battle first), making a toss toy, and firing a musket. After the students had been to their six stations, there was a weapons demonstration with the militia men all firing their muskets. When they all fire together it makes a pretty impressive boom!
The Education Days were part of our busy week at work. Working with the kids was great fun, as was “dressing out” and getting to demonstrate and teach some of the things we have learned. We enjoyed it so much we agreed to drive to Ninety Six on Friday – two hours away – to do it again.