Why do it? Why spend hours in preparation, drive half way across the state, sleep outside in 45 degree weather and not shower for days?
I suppose all reenactors have their own reasons for doing it, but for me it is all about the kids. What better way to learn history? Not just the kids doing the reeacting but those visiting. Every kid that walks by my laundress setup wants to try their hand at using the washboard. They are drawn to it like bugs to a zapper. They WANT to do laundry.
Did you hear that mothers? We’re doing it wrong! Give those kids a bucket and a scrub board and let them do their own laundry! Sure they’ll get tired of it, but what will they have learned in the process?
One of the most important things I learned when homeschooling was that not all children learn the same way. Sometimes you have to throw everything at them and see what sticks. If they can see, smell, hear, touch and taste history they’ll be more inclined to appreciate it. Which do you think the kid below will remember tomorrow, the date the Civil War started or what a fox’s foot feels like and how and why the furs were processed?
If you told a kid to go outside and beat two rocks together they would think you were crazy. Show them how to make arrowheads, however, and suddenly you’re elevated to hero status.
Any art, any craft has the potential of sparking that interest they never knew they had.
“You mean cheese doesn’t always come in individually wrapped slices?”
Live history and you teach history. That’s why I do it.
My son had the honor of guarding President Lincoln during his speech. I doubt there will be any questions about how that is done on the ISTEP test. I wonder if I send this to his U.S. History teacher if he could get some extra credit? Or do they even bother with extra credit in the schools anymore? Probably not, it doesn’t fit neatly on a computer graded form.