Sunday, November 12, 2017

Jobs from the Past

I haven’t posted in a while. The local homeschool group asked me to help with their co-op this fall. I found that preparing took all my extra time, and my writing took a back seat for a while. We had about 70 people attend from babies through to the oldest, me! What fun I had reconnecting to the homeschool world! I already knew some of the mothers and a few of the children. One mother had been homeschooled the same time as my children.

Our co-op topic was “Jobs from the Past.” The first week I spoke about jobs that depended on the power of a water wheel: miller, sawyer, and paper maker. After my talk, the younger children, aged five to seven, colored pictures of the workings of a grist mill, played a memory game with two sets of pictures of the parts of a grist mill, and looked at different types of grain and flour. The middle group, aged eight to ten, read about paper making, made a timeline, and examined a grist mill diagram. The oldest students, aged eleven to fourteen, did some of the same activities but also watched a slide show about grist mills and placed the steps for making paper in the right order.

The second week was declared a favorite when Mr. Jim Page visited dressed in his colonial time attire. He explained the blacksmithing process to the group and showed many items he had made. An eleven-year-old attender of the co-op told how he tans hides. He brought a deer, mink, and muskrat, and hide as well as a corn snake skin. For this day, I dressed in my mother’s 1976 bicentennial dress and brought lots of hats to speak about colonial hat making.

The third week, we devoted to the factory stage of industry. They seemed to like hearing about all the people who used to make automobiles in Pennsylvania. I related how a dress would be made in a factory. Explaining ship building and talking about Mr. Hershey’s candy making rounded out the opening talk. During the individual classes we gave them the opportunity to make a craft using an assembly line.

The last week, each family traveled to Greenwood Furnace State Park where we watched a video about iron making and toured the grounds. During my part of the presentation, I gave each child a job in the iron furnace company and explained what comprised his or her job as an iron furnace worker.

Overall, I think the children acquired some knowledge about jobs from the past, and I gained some experience in public speaking. A big thanks to Judy Mummau for the pictures!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

York Agricultural & Industrial Museum

           Years ago I wrote about my favorite museum, the Jimmy Stewart Museum. I just found my second favorite, the York Agricultural and Industrial Museum. Read More

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Thursday, August 10, 2017


"Young Man with a Flute" by George Romney
shows a garment that would have been made
at a tailor's shop
Until the mid-1800s, American people didn’t have factories that made cloth or sewing machines to sew that cloth. The process of spinning thread, weaving cloth, and sewing proved to be too much for most folks. More men, women, and children, rich or poor, needed Read More

Saturday, August 5, 2017


          When one of our children was teething, my mother-in-law gave me three silver spoons which had been in her family. She told me that her mother had given them to her to teethe on when she was a baby since they were softer than the silver-plated silverware her family owned. 
        I looked up the silversmith marks on the backs of the spoons. Read More

Friday, July 28, 2017


Shoe Last

            A colonial shoemaker made shoes from leather that he bought from a tanner. The early shoemaker sold his shoes to the middle and lower income people since wealthy people ordered their shoes from England and later from the Dutch and French after America declared its freedom from England.
The shoemaker began by Read More

Thursday, July 20, 2017


Early Clocks
The first clock in Pennsylvania might have been a lantern clock made to sit on a shelf. The lantern clock had a brass box and a bell on top for striking the hours. The clock had the height of about fifteen inches and a spring-driven single hand. The face had only hours and half-hour marks.
The next kind of clock Read More