I can’t recall too many of my kindergarten days, but I can almost say with certainty that they didn’t involve much study on early American History, or any history at all, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m so grateful to have the ability to hand select what we study and when we study it. We live in Boston, which feels like we got spoiled in the history department, because we have so many field trips and excursions that we can take that bring us right up to the landmarks of some of the earliest and proudest American moments, also put a sign outside of a place stating “Oldest whatever it is in America,” and I’m sold.
We began our study on the Native Americans that were on this land before the arrival of the earliest ships, and then learned about the first settlers to make it to this area on the Mayflower. There is a plethora of books on these stories, so many so that I had to eventually stop purchasing them, but I’ve listed the ones that were crucial to our study down below at the bottom of the post.
It is often overlooked that the Pilgrims did not first arrive in Plymouth, they actually first hoped to settle at the tip of Cape Cod, in a town now called Provincetown. It’s a narrow strip of land, mostly sandy and after days of exploring the area the men aboard the Mayflower decided that they’d have to go south, like they’d originally meant to do. We started our own little pilgrimage here, in Provincetown, at the Pilgrim Monument. After you’ve climbed all of the way too many steps, with a clear view and shaky legs you can see exactly why this strip of land would not have been a smart place for a new village to be built up. With no land to farm, and small portions of woods to hunt, they’d obviously not have survived. There is also a Provincetown museum which has some fun Mayflower details inside. We’ve actually done this excursion as a family, before we were homeschooling, but it was important to us to take advantage of how close it is to us and to really show the boys again. Since they’re both so young, I’ve no doubt that we will make this trip a few more times. I might just let the rest of my family climb those steps while I stay down the road in the shop filled entirely with taffy.
We traveled through the rest of the Cape stopping at any signs that declared it a piece of land that the Indians and Pilgrims interacted on, as you do, until we finally made it to Plymouth. We made sure to see the Plymouth Rock, Liam was disappointed by the size of it, who isn’t really? We toured the Mayflower 2, the boys loved it and were actually happy to participate in asking questions from the actors onboard pretending to be the ships crew. And then we spent an entire afternoon at the Plymouth Plantation, the Wampanoag homesite, and the 17th century english village, they are both so fun to go through, especially for the children, it was like bringing the stories to life.
We’ve stayed several times on Cape Cod, I can’t remember the names of all of the different places, so I’ll share with you the only one that is stuck in my mind permanently and it is the dreamy Wequassett Resort. They also have a wonderful children’s program!
Some of our favorite books on Pilgrims and Native Americans | Squanto, Friend Of The Pilgrims | Squanto’s Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving | The Thanksgiving Story | The Pilgrims of Plimoth | Pilgrim Stories | The Landing of the Pilgrims |