Thursday, May 14, 2015

Latta Plantation

This morning I had an errand to run that was out of the way, so I googled nearby parks. The Historic Latta Plantation was only four minutes away. I used to take my fifth graders on field trips to the cotton plantation during our Civil War unit. I've never thought to take my kids there because it didn't seem age appropriate and it costs money. Still, I knew we could find something to do and have fun.

The admission is only $7 per adult and kids under five are free. After paying the fee, we had 15 minutes to kill before the next guided tour of the plantation home. We walked around the trails and took a quick inventory of the plantation.

The first animals we spotted were turkeys. Maddie stayed far, far away. Jackson walked right up to them but ran away once the turkeys began gobbling and pecking through the fence.

We briefly browsed through the blacksmith and wood working stalls, checked out the wagon,

and tried to figure out what this machine did to cotton.

We joined a group of fifth graders who were on a field trip to tour the house. No strollers are allowed in the home. Two hundred year old furniture, books, dishes, etc are openly on display with "Do Not Touch" signs. I wore Maddie and held James and Amelia's hands. Jackson held James' other hand since James can be especially curious. I was holding my breath the whole time, but the kids were well behaved. (For the record, I wouldn't have attempted the tour if I didn't think the kids could handle it.)

Photography is prohibitied inside the house.
We began to fall apart a bit after the tour. Jackson said he had to poop, but never did go once we hiked to the bathroom. James threw a total tantrum while waiting for Jackson outside the bathroom. He was rolling on the ground screaming. The girls were digging through the lunch bag trying to pull out pretzels. At last, we found a picnic table in a shady spot and settled down to eat our lunch. Ten minutes in, Jackson declared, "I need to poop right now!" We repeated the above scenario, then calmly settled back down again.

After cleaning up and a round of diaper changes, we walked around to see the rest of the farm animals. I assumed a teacher role more than a mother role at this time, and asked lots of questions to make Jackson think about life in the 1800's.

I prompted Jackson with questions to help him compare and contrast the main house with the slave quarters. Jackson was very interested but he didn't quite grasp the difference in living conditions. He'd makes comments about the slave houses such as, "Well, this bed looks comfy." or "This is a nice table where they could eat." Of course, the bed was filled with straw and there was only one table and one bed in the entire house for all the slaves to share. I chose not to elaborate on the mistreatment of slaves.

We spent a considerable amount of time in the kitchen house. Everyone found something of interest there. James pretended to churn butter before he pulled out the handle and began poking his sisters.

I demonstrated how to take food out of the oven with the large paddle.

Occasionally, employees would walk by dressed in period costumes. Any time a Revolutionary solider or woman dressed in a hoop skirt would walk past, Amelia and Maddie would stop, wave, and sweetly say, "bye" over and over. 

Maddie was especially silly, clapping as the loose sheep roamed past, and posing for pictures.

We somehow spent three hours exploring the plantation. While this is not a place we will visit often, it was worth the $7 and it provoked a lot of thoughtful discussion from Jackson. It's exciting for me to feel like a teacher again, even if it's teaching my own children rather than a classroom full of students. It makes me happy to be able to expose the kids' to so many different concepts, whether they understand them now or not.

1 comment:

  1. Love this place! You are such an awesome mommie/teacher :)