Home School Life Journal

Home School Life Journal

Snapshot Summary, November 18-24, 2016 Thanksgiving

November 18-24, 2016
Monday and Tuesday passed with college, schoolwork and fencing as usual. We all began cooking for our Thanksgiving feast on Wednesday and continued into Thursday, but since we were all able to cook this year, it all was not too much on any one of us.
Turkey (of course) with gfcf stuffing
Cornbread stuffing in crockpot
Gfcf gravy
Cream of Brussels Sprouts Soup
Cranberry-Orange Relish
Mashed potatoes in crockpot
Sweet Potato Casserole in crockpot
Ambrosia Salad
Collard Greens with Bacon and Ham hocks
Sausage with sauerkraut and peppers
Buttered rolls
Corn with red sweet peppers
Deviled Eggs
Fried Apples

Molasses Gingerbread Pie
Chocolate Pecan Pie (regular + gfcf)
Pumpkin Pie
Cherry Crumb Pie
Nut Roll

How was your week?

Renaissance Role-Playing: Colony of Roanoke, part IV: The Final Decisions Phase

This post is one in a series about how to use the role-playing game Renaissance in your homeschool history activities. For general information about this, click here. For the first part of the Colony of Roanoke scenario, click here. For part II, click here. For part II, click here.

Act IV: Final Decisions
The previous parts of this scenario have had a structure much like a novel and the players were taken through a number of scenes that have led up to this point.

At this point, our scenario is moving into over of a sandbox type adventure, and is more open-ended.  I prepared for multiple outcomes that fit into the clues left behind by the colonists.  "In other words, if the party do A, then X will happen,  if they do B then Y. The adventure branches in a different direction, but you are prepared, and later events can bring things back on track. Covering more than one possibility in this way is sensible but does entail more work." (Renaissance)

Possibilities From Historical Suppositions: (two or more options are possible, as the group may have divided into two or more groups.)

  • Leave Roanoke Island for Chesapeake Bay in boats made from the houses, which they plan to reuse for house building in the new area, as well as the pinnace.
  • Powhatan kills them in a massacre.
  • Captured by Spaniards after killing the main guard (body is left).
  • Tried to sail to England  in penance and lost at sea
  • Taken prisoner by Indian group and taken to copper mines to work for them.
  • Killed by Secotan or other hostile Indian goups. Indians bury bodies and tear down buildings to show authority and/or to use the parts.
  • Survivors move to live with Croatoan Indians.
  • Settlers move past the Croatoan Indians and west along the Roanoke River and are killed, captured or taken in by local tribes.
  • Settlers attempt to travel south and survivors are taken in by a loose group of Indians (later known as the Lumbees).
  • Settlers attempt to travel north to the Chesapeake Bay region and are killed, captured or taken in by local tribes.
  • Settlers killed by disease. Bodies buried until last man. Indians, seeing settlement abandoned, take down buildings to use the materials.

Difficulties of This Phase of the Scenario:

Players who have lovingly helped and made decisions for the characters in which they have played naturally do not want those characters to die. Since we know that it is likely that they in fact did die, how can you resolve this scenario without upsetting (and therefore turning your student off of this type of learning)?

The simplest way is to guide your students to an outcome that enables the character(s) to live, such as their relocation to a neighboring tribe, which is still a valid theory being supposed by historians.

You could also let him role-play a few different endings to represent some of the possibilities.  In this way, none of them will carry the weight of the disappointment that one difficult ending might.

Another way would be to stop the scenario just before this part and have your student research the evidence and write his own ending in a narrative style. Sometimes it is easier on the student  if he kills off his own character rather than the games master doing it, and always he will only go as far as he is comfortable with the ending. In any case,  he will have learned the possible theories and might even come up with one the historians haven't yet thought of!

Sometimes the student won't mind the demise of his character, especially if there is the promise of creating a new one with the next role-playing history scenario! Whatever route you choose, as long as the goal of it being a pleasant and accurate (theoretically) learning experience is met, it is a good one.

Act V: Wrapping up the Story
What did we learn?

Now that the role-play has concluded, I  am sure through your interactions you have a good sense of what your student has learned about the historical incident. You might want to have your student, however, complete writing projects that sum up all that he has learned. The best way is to ask him to write the answer to an age appropriate essay question on the topic. You can have the question be open-ended such as, "Describe what you think the experience was like for the Roanoke colony, from their deciding to leave until White leaves the area." Or, you can have them write about specific parts or aspects of the story such as, "Knowing what you know now about the Roanoke colony, what steps would you advise for them to have taken to ensure a higher chance of survival?"

Another option would be for your student to write a description of what things they did in a story form at the end of each playing session.

You could also have them read additional materials and write reports on related topics each week you run the scenario, such as the clothing they wore, what they ate during that time period or about the types of ships they had.

Special Circumstances

What if I only have one student to play?

It is true that role-playing games are easier and more fun if you have a few players playing, but this type of learning is still possible even with one student. For some students,  you can just play as you would with many students but you will have to role-play many non-player characters. Or, you can describe the interactions of the other characters without actually role-playing them, much like a nonfiction story will. In books there is an interplay between describing what people do and say with actual dialogue. You will do likewise, describing what people do and say as a set-up for the dialog interaction portions that the two of you will do together. Another option is for you to  style the story more like a choose-your-own-adventure story in which you set up each portion and then ask him whether he wants to do option A or B, each of which will lead to different other options and so on. This option is particularly good for young student who may not be aware yet of the appropriate range of choices to make.

For sources and Resources for this activity, see part I.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask, and I will do my best to address them.
My next role-playing scenario will be a bit more detailed and will have more specifics about how to weave traditional schoolwork with the role-playing scenario. We will be exploring the age of Patriots and Independence during the days leading up to the American Revolution through the days following the War for Independence. These posts will begin after Christmas break.

Snapshot Summary, November 11-17, 2016: Quentin's First Team Tournament

 November 11-17, 2016
Winterish weather has come and "my" tree has lost all of its leaves. I won't be posting another picture of it until snow. :)

Quentin had his first Fencing Team Tournament and his team took first place! He loved his team and had a ball. He was smiling the whole time.

James went to his MTG club, and you can see from the expression on his face why there were no more pictures taken. It happens when they become teens.

Quentin and James also played some games while at the Pre-Thanksgiving Buffet at the college.

How was your week?

The Multi-Paragraph Report

The beginning research multi-paragraph report is often called the 5-paragraph essay or report because it has an introductory paragraph, three paragraphs covering three parts of the essay and then a concluding paragraph. It is a formula which doesn't necessarily work for advanced papers as not all subjects have three divisions, but it good for beginning writer. So, for this first paper, have your student pick a topic he really likes that can be divided into three parts. Make sure it is a topic if of his own choice.

Now, take a trip to the library and have your student check out one few books from the library on the topic of choice. Have him look through the books he has checked out to find the one that is the most suitable.  
Have your student read the book and write an outline, using the chapter titles as the main headings. Look at what he has written together and have a discussion about what he has learned from his studies and what direction he wants to take with his report. Can the report be organized around the three topics he had originally thought of? 

Now, have your student complete additional research. Have your student use his original resource, and also three or four internet sites and additional books as needed and find quotes that would work in his report. On index cards, have your student write each quote and at the end, cite, for books,  the name of the book, author, date of publication, publisher and date of publication. For for each internet site, cite name of article, name of website, author or organization  and web address. 

In addition to the quotes, have your student summarize chapters or sections from the books and websites in order to provide the necessary information for the report. Make sure this is hand written and have your student cite the book or website he used for the summary to avoid plagerism.

Now he can organize the index cards in piles according to the topic divisions. Some students can work from the piles to organize their paper, but others will need to use a graphic organizer to keep the ideas in order. And still other students will need to turn that graphic organizer into a final outline.

Before he begins writing, however have him create a works cited page, listing all the materials he has used to create his outline. Using the citation format he used on the index cards, he needs to cite all of the materials he used alphabetized by author’s last name or website name write a reference list. 

Using whatever organizational tools the student needs, now it is time for him to start writing the paper. He should begin with writing the introduction paragraph for the paper. Since he has had practice writing paragraphs, he should be able to do this, but you may want to remind him or guide him to start with a sentence that introduces the topic of the paper, but also grabs the readers' attention. He then could state why he is studying the subject or what the paper will cover. He can end the paragraph with a concluding sentence. Anytime he refers to any of the materials he used in his research,  whether it be a direct quotation, a paraphrase or a summary, he needs to follow it by a number which will match up to the works cited page once he has finished writing the paper.

Now following the organization of the piles of index cards, the graphic organizer or the outline, have your student write at least one paragraph but no more than one page on each of the three topics of his report. 

Now, it is time for your student to write a conclusion paragraph. If your student has difficulty writing this paragraph, you can help him through it by telling him to write a sentence that states what the paper discussed (referring to the topics mentioned in the introductory paragraph.) Next, tell him to write a few sentences stating his opinions or a call to action. 

Print out a copy of the paper, and read it over together. Circle spelling or grammar errors, but do not be too discouraging if there are many errors. Note the most important ones, and save the other errors to address in future papers. There is time to correct mistakes. Make sure there are citations at the end of each paragraph. 

Have him make changes and print a final draft.

Sources and Resources:

Renaissance Role-Playing: The Colony of Roanoke, part III

This post is one in a series about how to use the role-playing game Renaissance in your homeschool history activities. For general information about this, click here. For the first part of the Colony of Roanoke scenario, click here. For part II, click here.

Act III : On the Island of Roanoke
Just as you have done in the last section, here are some actual incidences that occurred on the island of Roanoke.  Have these be the framework of the story, but also let it unfold as the player characters make decisions about how they will react to the incidences.  These reactions may create new story lines which you can encourage or discourage depending on how much it deviates from the main story plot lines. Sprinkle throughout various daily life activities.

George Howe goes to a creek a couple miles from the fort to catch crabs. He doesn't return and if a search party is sent out, preferably with some player characters in it, they find Howe is found face down in a creek. His body is riddled with 16 arrows and his head is crushed by a heavy object, perhaps a club. There are no Indians in sight, even if the party searches for it.  The player characters, if they do not suggest it, should be encouraged to bring Howe's body brought back to camp for burial. Tensions in camp are heightened. If no search party goes out, Howe's body is found somehow during that day.

Next day Edward Stafford and twenty armed men, preferably some of them at least are player characters, go visit the Croatoans, which are fifty-one miles south.
When they reach Croatoan Island, there are a group of Croatoan warriors gathered on shore, ready to fight. The party  advances towards them, muskets drawn. The Croatoans begin to flee and Manteo calls to them in an Indian language, which makes the Croatoans throw down their weapons, turn back, approach Manteo and embrace him. They speak to Manteo and Manteo translates to the party, saying that they don't want the men to take their corn because they don't have much of it. Manteo replies, and tells the party that he has told the Indians, that your party have not come to take their corn, or anything else,  only to "renew the old love,  that was between us, and them,  at the first,  and to live with them as brethren." Pleased by this response, the Croatoans invite you all to their town (see map) where you are welcomed and you are invited to feast with them.
The next day, in a conference with the Croatoan elders, with Manteo serving as an interperter, you learn that Howe has been killed by Secotan warriors, a remnant of Wingina's people, who live at Dasemunkepeuc. They also tell you that Wanchese is one of this group,  but are not sure whether he was actually with the party that killed Howe. Implying that they will help you take revenge, they ask that they be given a sign by which the English will be able to recognize Croatoans live their island.
Stafford asks if they know anything about what happened to the fifteen men left by Grenville on Roanoke Island. They tell you that they were attacked by a coalition of thirty warriors from the Secotans. Aquascocoge and Dasemunkepeuc. Two Secotan warriors had approached the English settlement,  feigning friendship, and invited a couple of Englishmen to meet with them unarmed. The Englishmen agreed and the Secotans clubbed one immediately and when the other ran back to the settlement, shot him with arrows. The rest of the Englishmen hid in their storehouse.  The Secotans set fire to the storehouse, which prompted the Englishmen to leave it. A fight ensued, with one Englishman being killed, and the rest escaping by boat toward Hatarask. They lived there (near the entrance of Port Ferdinando) but left there at some point and they don't know what happened to them after that.
White asks the Croatoans to deliver a message to the Secotans that if they would accept the settlers' friendship,  you all will "willingly receive them again." He also says that if this is what they want, they should tell the Croatoans to deliver a message back, or tell the Croatoans that they want to arrange a meeting, within seven days. The elders agree to send the message and you all depart.

A week passes and there is no word from the Croatoans and so White reluctantly launches a raid on Dasemunkepeuc. It is still dark when Stafford,  Manteo  and two dozen men, perhaps including the player characters,  cross over to the mainland. They quickly make their way to the woods adjoining Dasemunkepeuc and launch the attack. You see a group of men sitting around a fire. The Indians flee into dense reeds.  You follow,  "determined to aquitaine (revenge) their evil doing towards us." One of the Indians call out to you all that they are Croatoans. White orders you to stop the attack, and you find out that the Secotans had abandoned the town and the Croatoans were there gathering corn, tobacco and pumpkins.  White tells them that they did not know and could not tell the Croatoans from the Secotans for  "their men and women appareled all so like the others. " Manteo is greatly distressed but in the end sides with White,  telling the Croatoans that if they had sent messengers at the appointed time, they would have informed them of their plans. You all return to Roanoke Island with Croatoans in tow. Do you try to heal them?

The building is finished. The men and teen boys stay into Lane's old houses. The Roanoke colony is set within a protective barrier of large posts. Not an actual wall, it is possible to look out the barrier but not fit through the gaps unless you are a small child or animal of no more than 3 stone (42 pounds). The barrier is set in a spiral, allowing those that guard the colony to control who comes and goes through a short passageway from the outside to the protected interior.
Situated on the outer edge of the colony, nearest the barrier,  are the barrack houses for the bachelor soldiers, servants and tradesmen. The families (Archards, Dares, Harveys, Joneses, Paynes, Powells, Tappans and Viccarses) move into the eight cottages on the inside, closest to the Village Circle. For the rest of the scenario, use the following areas to make the setting more realistic for your players/students.


The chapel sits to one side of the Village Circle and is one of the main hubs of activity.  It is a single room building filled with pews, and a lectern. When the school is in session, there are nine children of learning age. Educational supplies,  such as slates and chalk, are kept in the back corner. This building is also used as a meeting hall when the Long House is not available.

Long House

Sitting across the Village Circle from the chapel,  the Long House is a multi-purpose building that is used as a mess hall for the bachelors. This large, open room is used for military training,  town hall meetings, and as a general gathering place for leisure.

Stores/Buttery- Run by, the food storage and Buttery sits behind the Long House. This building always has a guard and is locked. It is where the village's butt (barrels ) of ale are kept as well as all the food. All stores are constantly accounted for.

Village Circle

The most protected area of the village. It's where people meet and greet in passing,  where the young children play,  where the village market is held when there is one and where general gatherings are held. There are rough stools in an open circle for people to pause, sit and chat.  Many a problem has been discussed in the open circle. Arguments are often settled here.

Guard posts

There are four guard posts in and around the colony. Two of them are at either end of the short barrier passageway from the outside to the protected interior. They house two guards and are anne at all times. The outermost guard post keeps an eye on the ocean,  looking for ships.
The third is to the west of the village,  watching over the small crops the colonists have managed to grow and the herd pens. This is nothing more than a covered patch of ground with a place to sit.
The fourth guard post is nearest the mainland,  up a tree. It is a small platform that overlooks the dock.


Sitting on the west side of the island,  this is nothing more than a few boards a place to tie up a small boat. It allows for passage across the water to visit the Croatoan tribe on the mainland. It is also a place to fish.


The mainland is where the Croatoan tribe lives and where the best game can be found. The Colony limits it's travel to the mainland because while the Croatoans have for the most part have been welcoming of the colonists,  the tensions still exist and one is never sure when things might shift to open warfare.

August 22: Manteo is christened and given the title of Lord of Roanoke and Dasemunkepeuc and that once the settlers move on to the Chesapeake area, Manteo will hold the area for the  English.

August 18: Eleanor Dare gives birth to a healthy baby girl whom she names Virginia. Everyone is in a celebratory mood.

August 21: Now that the ships are unloaded, Fernandes and his crew prepare to return to England. However,  a huge storm comes up. Fernandes cuts the Red Lion 's anchor cable to avoid being driven ashore, and the Red Lion with Fernandes and his crew sail out of the harbor.

The men decide to send Christopher Cooper back to England in the flyboat, and although he initially agrees, he later changes his mind.

August 22: The men implore White to go back to England to report to Raleigh and ask for a relief expedition. White is aghast and says he will not desert his post, that he did not lead the settlers to "a Country in which he never meant to stay himself,  and there to leave them behind him." He says those in England would accuse him of going to Virginia only to keep in Raleigh's good graces. He also states that because they "intend to remove fifty miles further up into the main presently" his possessions might be damaged or lost in his absence. The men draft a testimony to safeguard his goods and justify his departure. (quote)

August 26: White agrees to go back to England in behalf of the settlers. He assigns Roger Bailey and Ananias Dare to be in charge. They also decide, because of the Secotan attacks, the settlers should move inland where the Chowanocs live (near the head of Albemarle Sound) as these Indians, according to Ralph Lane,  had been loyal allies of the English the previous year. The Indians could help them when their food supplies ran low. The plan is to leave the penance behind with a couple of its small boats for the settlers' use in transporting them around the sounds and along the rivers. They could also use them to explore the Chesapeake Bay, skirting the coast. Either way, the plan is to leave a small contingency on Roanoke Island so these could keep track of the main groups' movements and be able to tell White of the main group's whereabouts once he returns. Also, in case of emergency and the settlers have to leave suddenly,  they are to carve the name of where they planned to move to on prominent trees so White could find them. A cross over the letters would signify that they were attacked and forced to depart.

August 27: Fernandes returns with the Red Lion. Flyboat is ready to sail. They both sail away together, but as the flyboat weights anchor, one of the capstan bars breaks, causing it to spin out of control. Several men hauling in the cable are badly injured and fly to the deck.

August 28: Margery Harvey gives birth to a baby.

Throughout the rest of the scenario, the gamemaster will roll once per day for the chance that the following will take place. Rolls stop once one of them is a successful roll. The next day's rolls pick up where the previous days left off. In this manner, multiple things can be happening at the same time, but the gamemaster can always stop rolls, discontinue circumstances or add additional circumstances as he sees fit to keep the game interesting,  relieve undo frustration or make the game a bit harder, depending on how the rolls and the player's participation combine to propel the story along.

  • Hunger. Each time this one is successful, the next roll, is rolled at a 10% increase from the last time.
  • Attack from hostile Indian tribes.
  • Help from friendly Indian tribes, such as the Croatoans.
  • Bad weather. Second time this roll is successful,  there is a hurricane,  with much damage.
  • Sickness.  If this is a successful roll, have each player character roll each day thereafter to see if he contracts the disease. If they contract the disease, refer to healing tables to see if cured and if is cured, does not contract that disease again.

For sources and Resources for this activity, see part I.

Now that White has left the island, we must deviate from actual recorded fact, and must inter the world of suppositions. Your player/students can react to the situations, and in their own decision making create a possible ending, and within a framework of the actual hypothesizes the historian have made based on the indications left at the site. For my next post, I will give you some guidelines on how to accomplish the conclusion of the story.

Snapshot Summary, November 4-10, 2016: The Big 55

 November 4-10, 2016

Last Friday, the boys went to First Friday Roller Skating while I went to Produce Junction, a wholesale produce market.
On Sunday we celebrated my 55th birthday with friends and family.
Sam made me a German chocolate birthday cake, the first cake he has ever made by himself.
We picked the pineapple from my pineapple plant. It was so sweet and delicious.
Sam and Katie seem to still be doing well in college. Here is one of Katie's art projects for her Painting I class.
She really enjoyed her DNA lab in Biology class this week.
On Tuesday, I went for my first Lupron shot. We had hoped to get the shot early in the morning and get back in time to get Sam to his college class, but getting the shot took a lot longer than expected and so Sam had to miss his class. This photo is the scene from the window of the waiting room.
Sorry this is blurry, but I thought it was fun enough to include anyway. It was posted on the door of Quentin's fencing academy.

How was your week?

Renaissance Role-Playing: The Colony of Roanoke, part II

(This post is part of a series of posts on Role-playing History. For the Introduction, click here. For Act I: Character Creation,  click here.)

Interweaving the possibilities with the facts.
So, now that your student has researched, designed and equipped his character, it is time to begin the role-playing.  This will take a bit of research on the part of the teacher/gamemaster. The teacher/gamemaster takes the facts of the historical story and this is the outline for the game/story. Here is the first part of the historical fact outline I made for The Colony of Roanoke.

The Trip Over

April - July 1587

Interweaving the possibilities with the facts.

Act II : The Voyage Over
Background: The fleet of ships in this part of the scenario consists of three ships, The Red Lion, and two ships that are unnamed, one a flyboat and the other a pinnacle. The player characters and about fifty other passengers sail on the masthead of the fleet, the Red Lion with White and Fernandes. The flyboat commanded by Edward Spicer sails with about fifty passengers as well as most of the colony's cargo. The pinnacle under the command of Edward Stafford, which had been with Lane's colony, carry about 20 settlers.

During the game, you will role-play all of the characters in the story that are not your student/players. These are called Non-player Characters or NPC's, for short. Obviously,  you can't actually role-play unique personalities for over a hundred people, so you will need to prepare a group of personalities that will give the players characters to interact with that is large enough to give the feeling of a large group and yet small enough for you to be able to manage. Here is an example,  but feel free to modify this list to best meet your and your students' needs and tastes. It is just to give you an idea. Please understand that although I used actual names from the passenger manifest, that the descriptions are entirely fictional. Partly they are fictional because there is little information to be found about the people involved and partly it is because I  didn't want to spend an inordinate amount of time researching information that has little bearing on the actual story. The non-player characters then are actually characterizations of typical people that could have been involved.

"As the Games Master, you'll be playing lots of different characters  (whether they be major villains,  minor crooks, soldiers,  strangers...rural families, radical agitators, or whatever ) while the other players only have one character to play..." 
Renaissance Roleplaying Game Book

John White: Artist and governor of the colony. Referred to as the Gentlemen Artist, he wants very much to have good relations with all. His only fault may be that he is sometimes to reticent for a leader.

Simon Fernandes: A Portuguese navigator and sailor is John White's polar opposite. He is brash, impulsive and selfish. No one gets along with him.

Ananias Dare: Tiles and bricklayer. Ananias is a strong, but quiet man. He is respected among the men and is often the one the men turn to if they want to  address an issue of the colony because he can easily talk to his father-in-law, John White.

Eleanor Dare (and Virginia Dare): daughter of John White,  wife of Ananias, and mother to Virginia Dare, the first child born in the colonies to British parents. Everyone looks to her for advise and hope, especially when John leaves the colony. Eleanor is a bright, upstanding woman who cares for the colonists and keeps their needs in mind. Her biggest secret and fear, the one she has admitted only to her husband Ananias,  is that her father won't return and the colonists will turn on their family. She is positive to the player character.

George White: Master builder by trade, he is a respected man. Colonists know they can get a straight answer from him, albeit a bit rough. He is a hard worker and likes to drink, so he skirts the line between truthful and troublemaker.  He is fiercely loyal to John White and to the colony ' s best interest. He tends to want to hang out with the other men and drink after a hard days work. If the colony is in danger, he is the first to their defense.

Roger Pratt: A middle aged man of good reputation and nature. He volunteered to to lead the colonists spiritually. He takes his duties seriously and will always stop for a word to one and all. He also doubles as the colonists ' teacher.

Nicholas Johnson: The resident barber and dentist, he is always busy visiting every home on a weekly basis,  sometimes just for a chat, and sometimes to perform a service. He always spreads news as it comes to him. He knows all of the colonists,  their habits, who is having trouble,  who is doing well, and anything else of interest. Although he is nosy and annoying,  he is tolerated and even encouraged by the player characters because he is a reliable source of information that is needed from time to time. The colonists, however,  know that if they want to keep something quiet, they don't tell him. On the other hand,  if they want to spread something around. ..

Roger Bailey: A scientist,  lawyer and scribe, he is a respected leader. He is polite and courteous and expects the colonists to be civilized no matter what disagreements take place. He believes it is this courtesy and manners that keeps the colony running in the face of trials.

Dyonis Harvey, Ship builder and master carpenter. Quiet, reserved, but is willing to do whatever is asked of him.

Margery Harvey: Wife of Dyonis, Eleanor 's friend. The two women have banded together for the common good.

Thomas Ellis: Ten years old. He views the colonists experience as one giant, sometimes unpleasant adventure. He keeps track of the other children and fills the need for entertainment.  This frequently gets him in trouble as pranks happen, things go missing. He also spends his time with studies and chores.

George Howe: He is as close to a lawman as the colony has. Educated and talented,  he is officially in charge of the buttery and is the brew master.

Towaye:  While relations at times are tense between the colonists and the Croatian tribe, he still interacts with the colonists.  It is through his efforts that the tribe and colony are not at open war, but at times tensions do run high.

Manteo: Although also Croatoan,  he is very interested in the English and learning the English language and customs. He is the point of contact for the tribe.

First Leg: Plymouth to Canary Islands
The following are things you describe to your players/students. Be as descriptive as you can they can visualize it in their mind's eye.

  • Flyboat separates from the Red Lion and pinnace during a night of bad weather. (Describe the growing storm and the fact that you are all having trouble keeping the ships together on the rolling sea until, at last you can no longer see the Flyboat.)
  • The next day, the storm has past and the sun comes up. You begin again on your way. Describe what it is like to sail on the boats, with the captain shouting orders.
  • Stop briefly at Canary Islands to refresh water casks. Describe the island, and how when you first get off the boat it is hard to walk on the land, which is still and not rolling. Describe filling the water casks from the streams.

Second  Leg: Canary Islands to West Indies
This is the lone stretch, 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. For each day of travel, the gamemaster /teacher needs to roll for each of these circumstances, but can modify the circumstances so as to keep the players/students interested, but not overwhelmed.

  • 15% chance of foul weather
  • 15% chance of seasickness
  • 20% chance of fair winds
  • 15% chance of attack from Spanish warships and Pirates
  • 10% chance of sickness from disease
  • 15% chance of sickness from food spoilage
  • 20% chance of extreme heat

Aside from these conditions,  you will also fill their days with interactions. You may role-play the various people,  giving them each unique characteristics,  or you can just say something like, "John White talks about the wildlife such as deer, squirrels and wild fowl and the endless green fields and woods there." You always end your descriptions with the invitation for their characters to participate as well, but they don't have to react with a specific action at each turn.

During this portion,  there is plenty of time to exchange stories and talk about hopes for the future. John White describes his experiences in the West Indies and Roanoke.  Manteo describes his people and their customs and ways of life as well as those of the other Indians around Roanoke and the Chesapeake Bay. They both try to describe what it is like as compared to England including the rivers, forests, and wildlife.

You can also describe the weary routine of being on a ship, the crowded conditions and no privacy. Let your imagination go as you role-play all the non ' player characters.

Meals follow the same dreary routine : Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday: salt beef or pork; with bacon and peas, once a week; Wednesday, Friday and Saturday: dried cod, cheese and biscuits; beer and water all days.

After 17 days on board, roll each day for:
  • 30% chance of seeing pieces of debris
  • 30% chance of seeing increasing numbers of birds
  • 30% chance of seeing land

     ...until you reach land one week later.

Once you land in the West Indies in your game,  you will guide your player/students to their next phase of experiences.  Tell them, "After being so long without fresh food, you are eager for fresh fruit. You see small green fruit that looks like small green apples." They can decide whether they eat them or whether they wait to see what happens when others eat them. If eaten, it burns their mouths and swells their tongues so that they cannot speak for a 4-sided die roll days.

Other things you will need to roll for every day:
  • 20% chance of drinking contaminated water from a stagnant pond
  • 20% chance of your face to burn and swell from washing in contaminated water so much so you cannot see for 3-6 days (roll a four sided die and add 2 to see how many days)
  • 70% chance of Capture five sea-turtles, which provides fresh meat for everyone who can eat.

You begin to build temporary shelters.

You walk have a chance to go with a search party to Muskitoes bay, where Ralph Lane built fortified settlement in 1585. Nothing is found but mosquitoes very bad and you return with itchy bites all over.

You are constantly trying to find fresh water, but in the heat, you end up drinking more beer than you can find water.

Darby Glavin and Dennis Carroll,  two Irish Catholics, have deserted.  White is afraid that they are headed to Spanish authorities to tell of plans to establish colony on Chesapeake Bay as well as where the Roanoke settlement is located. Chance of Spanish attacks increase to 25% here on out, as well as an increased distrust of any Catholics in the party, Catholic factions -10% on Charisma rolls.

Third Leg: West Indies to North Carolina Coast

Fernandes promises to take in salt in Puerto Rico,  but then exclaims that the area is too shallow and commands the crew to leave without stopping for salt.

White and Fernandes begin arguing. White blames him for losing contact with flyboat in Bay of Portugal. He yells at Fernandes, "You intentionally abandoned Spicer!"

White looks for a place to purchase and collect orange plants, pineapples and plantains for cultivation, but Fernandes refuses to cooperate and sails on.

July 21: Off coast of North Carolina, White decides to make contact with garrison left by Grenville and sets off in pinnace accompanied by 40 men. The player characters don't go with this party but hear someone from The Red Lion yell to the sailors not to bring back any of the men. The player characters are left to wonder what is going on or what will happen. Try to drum up as much suspense as you can. White sails back to the boat, leaving the men at the garrison. Encourage your students to consider the situation. Was that the plan all along? Do you trust, White? Fernandes? Neither man? White reports that there are no men at the garrison. Only one set of bleached bones. Why did he leave his men there, then?

July 22: The next day, all march to the north end of the island to Lane's fort. There you find the earthworks and palisade thrown down but the houses within and around still standing, uninhabited and "overgrown with Melons (gourds, squash ) of many sorts and Deer within them, feeding." White decides to winter here before moving on to the Chesapeake Bay in the spring.

Over the next few days settlers and crew unload their gear and supplies from ship using the pinnace. They begin repairing the houses and break ground for "new Cottages" for families.

The flyboat arrives with settlers safe and sound, much to everyone's joy.

For Sources and Resources, see part I.

Our story continues with my next post that outlines more adventures on the island of Roanoke...

Snapshot Summary, October 28- November 3. 2016 Halloween

October 28- November 3. 2016

(Compare to last week.)
This was a busy week...

Katie volunteered at a Homeless Shelter

We prepared for Halloween.

We had a Halloween Party, 
Menu: Monster Meatloaf, Pumpkin stuffed peppers (not pictured), bones bread-sticks,spider deviled eggs, ghost and pumpkins salad, monster cupcakes and apple cider floats.
complete with scary (and yummy) food, 
games such as Werewolf and Passing Body Parts game (they loved the warm peeled tomato for a heart), bobbing for apples, 
donuts on a string and carving pumpkins.

A witch and a mad scientist went to college on Halloween.
Three Vampires and a Mad Scientist went Trick or Treating.

Other than that, just a typical week of college going, fencing and homeschooling.

How was your week?

Renaissance and Early American History : The Colony of Roanoke Roleplay, part I

 This post is one is a series of posts on how to include roleplaying in your history curriculum. Go here to see the introductory post.

The Colony of Roanoke
The background

After a bit of research on my part, I decided that we would begin the story on the journey from England to Virginia in 1857. This is almost in the middle of the story since the first expedition to explore the eastern coast of North America happened in 1584 when Sir Walter Raleigh dispatched Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe with a crew. They successfully established relations with the Secotan and Croatoan Indians, returning to England with two Croatoans, Manteo and Wanchese. It is unclear how voluntary this trip was for the two Croatoans, but they did "describe the politics and geography of the area to Raleigh" and based on this information, Raleigh organized a second expedition, which had five ships and 107 men, led by Sir Richard Grenville in 1585.
This second expedition was not quite as lucky, spurring on many events which may have led to the eventual demise of the colony. First, the lead ship separated from the other four ships in a storm. They had made contingency plans to meet up in Puerto Rico should they separate and so Grenville landed there and built a fort to wait for the other ships. While he waited he engaged in both making friends with and privateering against the Spanish there, which may have contributed to the Spanish wanting to get rid of the colony the English intended on establishing in the New World. He ended up only reconnecting with one ship before deciding to continue the voyage.
Grenville ' s ship struck a shoal when it arrived at the Outer Banks, ruining most of its food supplies that were meant for the colony. The ship was repaired and thrn it meets up with two of the other ships it had lost, along with the people that the fifth ship left off before sailing on to Newfoundland for privateering. They finally arrive in Roanoke,  Virginia, where relations with the local Indians begins to sour. Indians, it is reputed, steal a silver cup from the colony. The colonists ask the nearby Croatoan Indians about it and they finger the Aquascocoge, a tribe in which the Croatoans had also had trouble with, and give the colonists the Aquascocoge's location as well as the offer of support. The colonists go back to their camp and prepare a party to war with the Aquascocoge. When they arrive at the location the Croatoans had described and see Indians,  the colonists begin sacking and burning the village before realizing that the Indians are in fact the Croatoans that had also arrived on location to either watch or lend support to the colonists but found the Aquascocoge not there at all. This accident was eventually worked out with the Croatoans, but naturally led to some uneasiness between the colonists and their most useful allies.
Despite this and the fact that the colonists had little food (since they had lost what they had brought with them and did not have time for a growing season before winter), Grenville left the 107 men on the island.
While left there the relations with the local Indians did not get better. The Indians retaliated against the raid on the village, but the colonists were able to repel it. Grenville had not returned with supplies in eight months, so when Sir Francis Drake, after a successful Caribbean raid, stopped by the colony and offered to take them back to England, they left.
Grenville's relief ship arrived soon after, and fearing that Sir Walter Raleigh would lose his claim to the area, left a detachment of 20-some men.

Here is where our scenario begins. My students are to play the roles of people in the third group to come over. This time the group consists of men, women and children detached to settle a colony in the Chesapeake Bay region. You can read this to them to give them an idea of what this role-play will be about.

Act I: February and March 1587
Setting and Setting Up

You hear of an expedition to the New World to set up a permanent settlement in the Chesapeake Bay area called the "Cite of Raleigh." They are accepting single hard working men and married couples with or without families. Each adult will be given 500 free acres of land. A man named John White is to be governor, and you hear that his daughter, who is pregnant and her husband are going on the expedition, lending credence to the idea that the settlement will be a successful one.
The plan is to follow the route to America usually taken by English mariners of the time, to the Canary Islands, cross the Atlantic to the West Indies and then move on to the North American coast. White is to go first to Roanoke Island, where he will make contact with the small garrison left earlier by Grenville. During the stay you are also to:
  • Return the two Indians,  Towaye and Manteo to their own people.
  • Inquire about what the garrison has found out about the conditions of the country, about the Indian peoples, and about the possibility of mines in the interior.
  • White is to go on north to the Chesapeake Bay to establish a settlement there. Fernandes and Spicer will go back to England to inform Raleigh of the colony's safe arrival, leaving the pinnacle behind for the settlers' use.

Making a character. 
What can they learn?

Before they can begin to role-play, the students need to create a character. For this scenario,  your students could use the name of one of the people who actually came over, because the list of who was on the ship is available. There are even the detailed backgrounds for a handful of the people. Your students could research their backgrounds and pick the abilities, skills, factions and the like from the possibilities in the Renaissance roleplaying game rule book that would most closely match the biographical information. (Don't let them pick John White, Simon Fernandes,  Ananias Dare, Eleanor Dare,  George White, Roger Pratt, Nicholas Johnson, Roger Bailey, Dyonis Harvey,  Margery Harvey, Thomas Ellis, George Howe,  Towaye, or Manteo, since these will be non-player characters, as I will cover in the next post). Or, your student could imagine a person who would be coming over and build a character from the things he believes would make up a person coming over to start a colony in the New World. Either way, your students, if they are like mine, will eagerly research in order to make their character. Can you begin to see the depth of the learning possibilities available with this resource?

In my next post, we will begin our journey on board the Red Lion.

Sources and Resources:
Renaissance,  Cakebread and Watson
Colonial Gothic: Roanoke Island, Jennifer Brozek
A Kingdom Strange, The brief and Tragic History of The Lost Colony of Roanoke,  James Horn
The Lost Colony of Roanoke,  Jean Fritz 
Roanoke : Solving the Mystery of the Lost Colony,  Lee Miller
The Roanoke Voyages, 1584-1590, (2 volumes), David Beers Quinn (editor)

Mini Cream Pie Bar

Mini graham cracker crusts
Snack Pack puddings, variety of flavors
Whipped cream
Toppings, to taste (such as crushed cookies, chopped fruit, chopped candies, etc.)

Source : Play. Party. Plan

Renaissance: Role-playing History

My students all have enjoyed hands-on homeschooling, even in Middle School. As they get older, they tend to not want to make crafts, so what can you do to make your homeschool activities both more hands-on and yet age appropriate for the older students? We have been doing more and more role-playing games which are great for older students, multi age family groups or co-op groups. Any student from elementary to adult can play and learn. This year we have been role-playing historical events using the role-playing game, Renaissance.

What is a role-playing game?

Role-playing games give a structure to pretend play as players take on the roles of characters in a story and make decisions that determine the course of the story. One person takes on the job of the game master who helps the players by giving them the basic structure for the story and guides them through the consequences of their decisions. Dice are rolled to determine certain things, such as whether a character's aim is true with a rifle, or whether his resistance to disease is good or fair. These scenarios can last for a single game of a couple of hours or can be long plots that carry over from one playing session to another, for weeks at a time, much like a television show. The rulebook of the game, such as Renaissance,  has the directions for how to create a character, including a list of professions, factions (political and religious affiliations), skills to choose from and Era - specific equipment for the characters to buy. The rulebook also guides the game master and players through a simple system to determine combat outcomes as well as the outcomes of various circumstances such as weather, fatigue, thirst or falling, all based on percentages and dice rolls.

What about witchcraft and other such objectionable things in the game?

Role-playing games began with a fantasy setting and are often thought of as being steeped in concepts with objectionable themes such as witchcraft. Role-playing games are much like a smorgasbord, however, and it is the job of the game master to pick and choose what is appropriate based on his own and his players sensibilities and goals for the game. In the Renaissance rulebook, it explains rules of play that involves no magic, some mythological creatures or one that is all fantasy. For our purposes, since our game is purely an historic one, we have chosen a setting in which only real animals exist and there is no magic or alchemy. Even within these guidelines,  there is some choice. You can choose a setting involving an actual historical place and time, such as Renaissance Venice or you can choose a realistic "what if" set-up such as "an Elizabethan England conquered by the Spanish Armada" or "the colonization of Virginia in a world where the indigenous population of the Americas weren't decimated by European diseases. "

Is the time spent on it worth the educational value you get out of it?

There is little that is more engaging to students than a game. A game, by its nature, is fun. Your student, then, is likely to stick with a game a lot longer than learning the same information through reading or researching. This type of game also excites the imagination so that they begin to be able to picture the people, places and things of a particular period. Because they are also making decisions based on things that really happened to the people, the student begins to empathize with historical figures and make connections with the people of the past.  These things are not always possible by reading about historical figures and the dilemmas they faced.

So, what is it like to play?

For our first game, I chose, as the teacher and gamemaster, the historical story of the Lost Colony of Roanoke, Virginia. I chose this because it was an actual historic event in which I could find enough documented material to add to my game, but also had enough of the unknown that my student -players could collaboratively write their own story without the problem of already knowing the plot.  I hope you will come back and join us as I will be writing a series of posts outlining how I used the Renaissance game, how we entertained history and story without sacrificing either and what we learned by playing the game.