Sunday, October 7, 2007
Educating Home Schoolers at Tryon Palace
Yesterday our living history unit participated in Home School Day at Tryon Palace Historic Sites and Gardens in New Bern, NC. This is a program that began when I was working at Tryon Palace in 2000. When it first began it was a series of weekdays, devoted to home schooled students. After leaving my employment there, I continued to come back and help with the program. However, the organizers realized that it was hard to rely on the same staff and volunteers for a series of 4 or 5 weekdays, spread out over a two week period. For the past three years or so the program has been held on Saturday (one in the spring, one in the fall). As our schedule works, we usually miss the spring, but attend in the fall. The theme changes each time, and the theme yesterday was Life in Revolutionary-era North Carolina (very appropriate for the colonial capital). All in all it was a good program and a good day for us. We set up as Rev War privateers, displaying rope and knot work, navigational items, and weapons. Home schoolers and regular, paying visitors included, we probably saw close to 400 folks. Say what you will about home schoolers (and I've probably said it all), but the caliber of kids that we see at this program is usually far better than at other events. They seem to be more intelligent (in most cases), inquisitive, and willing to interact with us. While you have the occasional pushy parent, most adults are also very interested in what we're doing and want to ask questions and talk longer than the kids. It kind of reminds me why we do this, and that's a good thing.