Thursday, November 2, 2017

Age of Revolution: Uprisings, Slavery, and the French and Indian War


Age of Revolution:
Europe and Colonial America

Seeds of Rebellion:
"Many mickles make a muckle."


It was not even the 1700s, yet, and the Thirteen Colonies were filling up; colonists spread their wings and tested the limits of their new found liberties. 

Uprising in the New World: King Philip's War
Woodcut of Natives setting fire to colonists log cabin

But they were stepping on some toes. Metacomet (son of Massasoit), also known as King Phillip, fell upon the English colonists and some of their Indian allies, in 1675. The conflict began after three of Phillip's warriors were executed for the murder of a Native who had converted to Christianity, suspected of acting as a spy for the colonists. The underlying issue, however, was the encroachment of Indian territory by the colonists. Hence, a three-year war was fought between Native tribes and colonists. In the end, hundreds of colonists and thousands of Indians were killed or sold into slavery, more Native American territories were lost to the English, and King Phillip was murdered by another converted Indian. 

Bacon's Rebellion
Virginian Governor Confronting Bacon

Another uprising was Bacon's Rebellion, in 1676, in which a Virginia colonist, Nathaniel Bacon, led a rebellion against Virginia's royal governor demanding more respect of colonist's rights, and requesting more protection at the colonial-Indian border. Bacon also led attacks on local Native Indians. He successfully seized control of the Virginia government, but it was short-lived because he soon died that same year and the rebellion fell apart. The royal governor returned to power, arrested Bacon loyalists, and had them executed. 

Gang of Captives at Mbame's

In the background of early American history is the story of slavery. In the late 1600s, the importation of slaves from Africa was expanding. The capture of people in Africa to be sold into slavery had been practiced for a very long time. Stronger African tribes had coordinated with Muslim occupiers of Northern Africa to capture and force weaker tribes into human labor. Portugal and Spain took advantage of this practice, as well as England, who purchased the human labor in exchange for food and tools. It was not long before American colonists were purchasing slave labor for agricultural work and servants, too. 

French and Indian War
Washington as Captain in the French and Indian War - Stearns, 1851

Finally, a turning point of early American history was the French and Indian War, in 1754, which was a conflict between the French in North America and their Native American allies and the British, American colonists, and some of their Native allies. Again, this was a contest over disputed territory. Even the Spanish had an interest in this outcome.

The French had claimed much of the area the Ohio Valley and Louisiana, but so had the British. French and Indians began violent raids on colonial villages, which led to retaliation, lasting until 1761. Even a young George Washington was a major in the Continental Army against the French and showed great promise.

In the end, the French handed over the Ohio Valley and Canada to the British and the area of Louisiana to the Spanish (and Spain gave Florida to England). Meanwhile, the Native Indians lost more territories as well and were pushed further West. 


Amos Fortune, Free Man - Elizabeth Yates

The Matchlock Gun - Walter Edmonds


This month we studied the works of these individuals for enrichment. I try to stay in the time period of our history.


Alexander Pope (1688-1744)


Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706)


One of America's first noted artists was John Singleton Copley, who is known for his portrait art of colonial Americans, such a Paul Revere.

John Singleton Copley (1738-1815)

In November, we will get into the conflicts leading up to America's Revolutionary War.

Coming Soon:

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Hiking Gray's Peak at Rim of the World in Big Bear, California

This month's hike to the summit of Gray's Peak at Rim of the World in Big Bear, California, was an extraneous hike . . . for me. It is 3.5 miles up and 3.5 miles down. But it was a beautiful day, even though we started out dressed for snow. About five minutes in, we were removing layers of clothing. Supposedly the trail closes by October to allow for eagle nesting. We didn't see any eagles; but we did see some jays, baby lizards, and a couple of chipmunks. 

The Troop:

The Chaperones:

Early views of Big Bear Lake starting out:

Elephant legs:

Lots of rocks to climb for fun:

Big Bear Lake at a higher elevation:

I think . . . I do believe those are the mountains of Wrightwood or Mt. Baldy:

Almost there:

The Summit (we made it):

By the way, those winter clothes came in handy at the summit.

It's not hiking; it's sauntering (see A Parable of Sauntering):

My teenager. : )

The bright yellow leaves against the blue sky remind me of upstate New York in autumn. 

When we are on our way back down, I can no longer keep up with them: 

And when the parking lot is in view, it's a mad dash for the car.

And then it's a post-hike cherry-limeade slushy at Sonic. No wonder they cannot wait to get to the car.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Age of Revolution: Colonies, Puritans, Witches, and Indians


The Age of Revolution:
Europe and Colonial America

To the New World
"Many Hands Make Light Work"


The Thirteen Colonies

In the month of September, we completed an overview of the thirteen colonies with this great little book, The Founding of a Nation: The Story of the Thirteen Colonies, by E. Richards. Each colony has a short chapter on its founding and a brief story of its history. As we covered a colony, we colored the area on our thirteen colonies map and listed its founding date on our timeline. Borders changed over time, but I am more concerned with my children's knowledge of where the state is located today, so we used a current map.


Our next topic was the Puritans. They came in grater numbers and settled north of Plymouth, in Boston and surrounding areas. It is because of the Puritans that we can thank (well, some of us anyway) for limited government. Puritans believed that all mankind was fallen, therefore no king should have unlimited power. They kicked that "Divine Right of Kings" mantra to the curb. Instead, all leaders or men of authority were to be held to the same standard, under the law of God, equally. The Puritans were known for maintaining a strict community of like-minded people, and if you did not agree with their laws or rules, you must pack your trunk and go. 

The Salem Witch Trials

Of course, since no civilization or history is perfect, one cannot study the Puritans without mention of the Salem Witch Trials. What a mess! First know that Salem was tensely divided between simple town folk and uppity village dwellers. In addition, Salem Village did not care for the new pastor, Rev. Parris, of Salem Town. For some time, the daughter of the pastor and a few other girls of the town were being exposed to the pagan practices of Tituba, the Barbados slave woman owned by Rev. Parris. Either out of guilt or fear, the girls began to act out, and a doctor suggested [they] were afflicted by witchcraft. That is when the show began, and the Town wanted to know who cast the spells on these innocent girls, and later on one of the mothers. 

Instead of telling the truth, the girls exasperated the situation and made spectacles of themselves in court, while accusing unsuspecting individuals in Salem Town and Salem Village of being witches and casting spells on them. No one was exempt. In less than one year, 200 people were accused, 100 were imprisoned, and 20 were executed. Some died while waiting in prison. But did you know that of those who were imprisoned, only those who pleaded guilty of being a witch were released, like Tituba, and those who denied it were hung? (One of those who was executed refused to speak at all, and he was crushed to death, as opposed to being hung.) So much for telling the truth. 

Finally, the trials abruptly stopped when it was obvious that they were already out of hand. And it was decided that never again would spectral evidence be permitted as proof against a suspect in court. (That's a relief.) Such a sad time in our history.

Convicted by Howard Pyle

Native Americans

Our final topic this month was Native Americans, which we have been studying already. One cannot cover early American history without Native American history. We have a great Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes to reference as we go along. We also have a U.S. map to color and label where tribes were located in the nation. 

It's important that we not use political correct glasses when studying anything, including Indians. Remember that God set the boundaries of the nations before the foundation of the world, and He permitted people to inhabit this land - first the Native people and later the Europeans. Even today that is changing. This is God's land, and He does what He wills. 

Also remember that man is corrupt in his heart, and no little white European man needed to teach the Indians how to make war, murder, rape, steal, lie, and enslave. They were doing that long before Europeans came. The point is to study history as truthfully as it happened, and discuss what is right and wrong using our Christian worldview. Hopefully, we learn from it.

The Story of Hiawatha - Allen Chaffee

Since we opened a topic on Indians, we read several different versions of Hiawatha, but only children's editions because the original by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is too lengthy. 


This month we began our enrichment. On Mondays we sing a hymn, Tuesday we read poetry, Wednesday we study a musician and listen to his/her music, and Thursday we study an artist and his/her work. Fridays we may do an art project related to the artist or draw in our nature journals, although I seem to be the only one enjoying that consistently. 

Isaac Watts (1674-1748): "Divine Songs"

Isaac Watts is known for his moral poems that he wrote specifically for young children; but did you know he wrote over 500 hymns, such as the Christmas hymn "Joy to the World?" 

Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)

Monteverdi was one of the first composer of operas; hence, he is known as the 'father of opera'. He liked to write madrigals, too, which are like using the voice as an instrument. You could say beat boxing is a modern day madrigal. No? 

Rembrandt (1606-1669)

Rembrandt was from Leyden, Holland, which connects us right back to the Pilgrims, including the time period.  He is known for his chiaroscuro, which is a use of light and dark. You know his work. 

This is the end of our second month of The Age of Revolution. Next month we will learn about some uprisings, like King Philip's War and Bacon's Rebellion. Could you say people were feeling a little irritable? We shall also look at colonial life and early pioneers in America, as well as the influx of slaves from Africa. Finally, we will end with the French and Indian War and its effects on America.

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Monday, September 4, 2017

Age of Revolution: Pilgrims Come to America


The Age of Revolution:
Europe and Colonial America

To the New World
"Many Hands Make Light Work"


In this first month of Age of Revolution, we covered: Separatists, Jamestown, Pilgrims, and Plymouth. 

The Puritans in England wanted to worship purely - not as the Catholics or Anglicans - but the Separatists, who were similar to Puritans, organized to separate completely from the Church of England. King James I persecuted the Separatists, and a group of them left for Holland, where they could worship freely. But after so many years in Holland, the Separatists saw that their children were losing connection with their English heritage. 


Thanks to years of discovery of the New World, England had decided to get in on exploration and settlement, but instead of searching for the Northwest Passage to the West Indies, Sir Walter Raleigh convinced Queen Elizabeth to make North America their West Indies. The first settlement at Roanoke (modern day North Carolina) was lost, and the second settlement, Jamestown in Virginia, barely survived.  (It's a long story.) It was this colony that spurred the Separatists to pursue religious freedom in the New World.


Now the Separatists decided to become Pilgrims on a journey to America where they would be able to worship freely but still raise their children in the English way. It was so important to keep their English heritage that they even rejected a free ride to New York offered by the Dutch. 

In September, 1620, 35 Separatists joined 67 entrepreneurs and sailors aboard the Mayflower. The original plan was to go to Virginia, but 66 days later, they landed at Cape Cod and settled in Plymouth (Massachusetts). When God is in control, you don't always get what you planned. And because they were not in Virginia, they drew up the Mayflower Compact so that no one would be a law unto himself, but rather accountable to those in authority.

The first three years were a hardship for the Pilgrims and the entrepreneurs who stayed with them. Early on they had met two Native Americans, Samoset and Squanto, who were valuable because they knew English and were interpreters to the local Indians. They even entered into a peace treaty with one tribe, which proved many years of peace for the Indians and settlers in that area. Nonetheless, many of the settlers died from sickness, but they always had food, which they were grateful for. After an entire year, the Pilgrims set aside a day of Thanksgiving, thanking God for supplying all their needs and sustaining them. 

Later, Samoset disappeared from history, but Squanto remained. He once caused trouble with the local tribe and tried to manipulate a conflict; the native king, Massasoit, expected the settlers to turn Squanto over for retribution, but the settlers relied so much on Squanto's aid that they were able to mediate a resolution to save Squanto's life.

Finally, the settlers set up a common store in which each family or individual must contribute the outcome of their work, and then food would be redistributed equally. The problem was that not all worked equally, and some were down right lazy. To solve the problem, families were assigned plots of land (each according to need) and kept the results of their labor. As a consequence, all worked harder, and food production increased. Hmm, sound familiar?


The strictly religious Plymouth Colony took on more and more Separatists from England each year, and prospered and grew; however, they were nothing in number compared to the Puritans who settled north of Plymouth, with the Massachusetts Colony. But more on that next month.


Since there was no early American literature in the 1600s, I instead chose to read what was very popular during that period, in Europe: The Adventures of Don Quixote, by Argentina Palacios. Well, this was a child's version, obviously. Don Quixote is about the size of a Bible, and I only had three weeks to read. This is a perfect story to introduce ideals, such as truth, honor, and adventure.

Next month (beginning now) we are focusing on the birth of the thirteen original colonies, the Puritans, and an introduction to Native Americans.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Colonial Journals

Every year we make journals.  Last year we had log books to record our journey through our Exploration year.  This year I have not totally decided what to call these journals, but they are probably going to be colonial journals.

First I used this 9 X 12 art pad.

We picked out several different faux leather fabrics from Hobby Lobby, along with leather cord.

Then I employed the crafty teen to cut and hot glue the fabric to the covers.

We left extra fabric to overlap the front cover, which I cut into an unnatural diagonal.  We cut a hole into the flap and threaded the cord, wrapped it around a few times, and then tied it closed.    

And there you go.  Nothing fancy.  I even have one for my very own.