A family who is homeschooling high school can take a hands-on learning approach to early American history by exploring Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown, VA, as well as Washington, DC!
What could be better for a nerdy homeschool mom than taking your kids to explore a major early American history site in a beautiful setting at just the right time of year?
Not much, in my opinion! Educational travel offers the best of both worlds…learning and adventure! We were able to visit Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown, Virginia in late September 2019, and we even threw in a day trip to Washington, DC! This was a dream trip for me, and I think the rest of the family enjoyed it, too!
(Disclaimer: We took this trip before we had ever thought of starting a blog, so all of our photos and videos were just taken for family memories. We weren’t trying to be professional at that point!)
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Use your saved points to take your early American History trip!
We had just come back from a large group trip to Orlando that I had spent a year planning and coordinating, and while it was a lot of fun, it was also a lot of work. We were ready to have a getaway with just our Felkins Five. We didn’t have much money to spend, but we did have a lot of airline and hotel points saved up. I did some creative maneuvering, and we were able to take this trip for very little out of pocket expense! Did you know that you can exchange your reward points and flight miles between your existing programs at Points.com?
Give your homeschooling high school family a comfortable space with room for everyone!
PRO-TIP: No matter where we’re going, we always try to choose accommodations that offer multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, full kitchens, and in-room laundry! This way, we can spread out and be more comfortable, save money on food by cooking in our condo, and pack light to save on luggage fees and back strain. Most of the time, you can find these suites or condos for around the same price as a regular hotel room. (A little tidbit I’ve learned by creating posts from pre-blogging trips, however, is that it’s sometimes hard to tell where a photo was taken if people are wearing the same clothes on multiple days. My family will at least be required to take a different shirt for each day of the trip from now on!)
While we were in the area for a full week, we could have stayed even longer.
There is so much to see and do! Williamsburg was our home base, and we spent a couple of days exploring both Colonial Williamsburg and the downtown area. One day each was devoted to Yorktown, Jamestown, and Washington, DC. A day of resting at the condo was necessary after that day trip to D.C.! I don’t know that I would try to do that in a day again…Whew!
I want to give you just a few pointers that we learned during our first trip to the greater Williamsburg area.
America’s Historic Triangle Pass is perfect for families who are homeschooling high school and want to experience early American history!
First, if you plan to be in the area for several days and want to visit Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown, look into getting the “America’s Historic Triangle” pass. This will let you explore all three areas at your leisure for 7 consecutive days. You may only spend one day at Jamestown or Yorktown and, like us, be satisfied that you saw as much of it as you needed to see. I can almost guarantee, though, that you’ll want to spend more than a day in Colonial Williamsburg. We spent two days there and still wished we’d had more time to go back. When we took into consideration all of the entrance fees we would have had to pay separately, it was a better deal for us to purchase the Triangle passes.
Check for Homeschool Days and other discounts!
They do offer other discounts and specials, such as military discounts and homeschool days, so make sure you do your research to find the deal that works best for your family at the time of year you will be going. Homeschool days in Williamsburg, VA happens every February and September. Busch Gardens also has some multi-attraction tickets that allow you to go back and forth between the theme park and the area historical sites over a period of 7 days. We had just been to Disney World less than two months before this trip, so we were more interested in the historical sites than the theme park this time. If we ever go back, though, I would definitely consider visiting Busch Gardens. It looks like a lot of fun!
Rent a car for your early American history adventure!
Next, if you don’t drive yourself to the area, you’ll want to rent a car. While there are trolleys to take you around the Colonial Williamsburg area and Yorktown, you’ll need to drive between the three historic areas. Colonial Parkway offers absolutely gorgeous scenery, so the drive is a treat in itself. We even spotted a bald eagle flying overhead just before we reached this picturesque farm. It was the first time we had ever seen one in the wild, and I wish I had been able to snap a picture!
Finally, don’t try to cram too much into one day, if you can help it.
There is so much rich history in this area. And, as I mentioned before, I’m quite the nerdy homeschool mom, so I could have easily spent more time soaking it all in. But, you also want to keep those who might not be as keen on reading all the early American history informational plaques interested in the trip as well. I make sure to point out things I want my homeschooled high school students to notice, but I have to keep in mind that the hands-on learning they are experiencing just by being in the historic setting will make more of an impact on them than trying to make sure they catch every little detail that I might find to be interesting. There has to be a balance for our whole family to enjoy our time together. I feel so blessed to have been able to experience this trip with my family while all the kids are still at home. Hopefully, it will be one of those childhood memories that they will always cherish!
What early American history destination would you like to visit with your homeschooling high school family?
Pin for Later…
Don’t forget to check out our posts about each destination we visited on our early American History adventure!