Old Florida Museum

Monday was Homeschool Day at the Old Florida Museum in St. Augustine. Of course things started out with is arriving in St. Augustine without any shoes in sight for Charlie. So a quick side-trip to CVS down the street to purchase some Spiderman flip-flops was in order.

I love the fact that things started out right away by making the kids work! Here is Hailey grinding some dried corn.

corn grinding

Next stop was the Timucuan Indian Chief’s house. We learned that the chief of the Timucuan Indians were usually females. Cool twist huh? Hailey got a kick out of making a necklace from oyster shells.

oyster necklace

She quizzed the guide quite a bit about all of the animal skins that were decorating the inside of the of the house, but the antlers were her favorite. She found one set that weighed nearly as much as she did. Here she is posing with a much smaller version.


Charlie didn’t want to touch anything in there. In fact he freaked out as soon as we walked in the hut. Although he did manage to warm up enough to walk around without clinging to me, he was never too far away.

Just outside we got to see what how a bow drill worked. It took a few tries, but eventually Hailey got the hang of it. While we did see a bit of sawdust I wouldn’t have wanted to spend my time drilling holes like that!

indian drill

The next tent was the archeological dig site. There were boxes of sand filled with all kinds of fun artifacts and ecofacts for the kids to unearth.  Armed with shovels, buckets, and sifters, the kids went to work. After they had a few things in the bottom of their buckets we walked over to the tables where they would examine each piece and try to decide what it was. The guide in the tent was very knowledgeable and helped us figure out that what we thought was and old piece of shell was really part of a crocodile back!


Next stop was the early Spanish Colonial section. Here we got to see the type of hand drill that the Spaniards used. Both of the kids really enjoyed using that drill.

colonial drill

There was weaving.


The old-fashioned ball-in-cup toy that you can still find today.

ball in cup

A game similar to checkers.


And of course candle making. Hailey really got a kick out of being able to try this out! We even got to take some back home with  us!

candle dipping

We were then directed to walk back behind the buildings and told, “Don’t touch the tree!” Apparently there were a bunch of “white fuzzy bugs that sting”. I didn’t see any, but I suppose that’s a good thing.

The last stop was the Early Florida Settlers section that showcased a myriad of tools and toys that were used by the Florida Crackers. We were told that they got that name because of the sound that the whips made when they were herding cattle from the brush.

We looked at the hand plow, but I couldn’t convince them to try it. Hailey got to grind some dried corn off of the cob with a very cool looking contraption. I wonder how they thought up some of these tools?


We headed into the one-room school house to escape the crazy heat on the last official day of summer. The kids loved writing with the quill pens from ink wells.

quill pen1quill pen 2

After heading back outside we found the winning activity of the day. Clothes washing! Yes, that’s right. The kids highlight of the day was washing clothes the old fashioned way. Charlie, the water lover that he is, got a huge kick out of pumping water into the basin While Hailey and another group of kids washed, wrung out, and hung clothes, repeatedly. I mean come on. Why can’t I get them to do hard labor like that?

water pump


Look What the Cat Brought In

This month for science studies we have been learning all about reptiles. Little did I know that the reptiles would decide to make themselves so readily available for evaluation!

We had gotten a bit of a late start on school work for the day, which is really not all that unusual, when Hailey announced that the cat had a dead lizard that he had been playing with. Now our cat is an indoor cat, but loves to spend a quick minute or two out on the back porch first thing in the morning. Apparently he found this poor, unsuspecting lizard and carried him inside to use as a play toy.

Hailey picked up the lizard by the tail and brought it over to me with a terribly sad look on her face. Truthfully, the lizard looked as if it had died a while ago as upon a quick glance it had a dried stiff look to it. I told her to go ahead and throw it out when she suddenly screamed and started crying. While you never can tell what melodramatics she may have in store for the day, I certainly was not expecting that reaction while walking to the trash. I peeped around the corner and Hailey looked up at me with this pitiful face, still holding the lizard by the tail, and screeched, “He bit me!”

lizard hailey

Doesn’t he look dead to you? I suppose that he had either been exhausted by molting or by the fact that a cat had decided to pick him up and take off with him.

lizard close

I mean come on. You can’t blame me for thinking the poor thing was dead. I looked him over carefully, but didn’t see any sign that he had been harmed by the cat. So we laid him a protected area in the garden to complete his molt in peace.