Homeschool Day scheduled at battlefield

The Virginia Museum of the Civil War will host its ninth annual Homeschool Day on March 19 at the New Market Battlefield Historical Park in New Market.

Major Troy Marshall, site director, said, “The American Civil War is our national drama and a period that in essence created the United States that we are all citizens of today. But it was also a period of great calamity and death that occurred just outside the windows of homes like those found in the Shenandoah Valley.”

The Virginia Military Institute maintains the 300-acre park where the Battle of New Market was fought on May 15, 1864. The site also features the Bushong Farm and the museum with its Emmy-winning film, “Field of Lost Shoes.” The film will be shown hourly in the main theater.

“In that time, children would have witnessed firsthand the death and carnage of battle. On the Bushong Farm, a family member that was only 4 years old was present in the house during and after the battle. We hope that students and their families will come to appreciate the struggles of both the soldiers and the citizens on the homefront during that war,” he said.

“Our homeschool day event was designed to attract homeschool families, but also families that may send their students to a public or private school. It is our hope that families will play and learn about this important period in our history together,” he said.

Some of the attractions at the site will be a recreated military encampment where families can go through the process of being a soldier, from signing an enlistment form, being inspected by a doctor, learning to drill with wooden muskets, learning about rations and working to clean out a simulated latrine.

“The whole park and museum will be turned into a series of stations with fun and exciting activities,” Marshall said.

There will also be a 19th century games and chores station, a Civil War dance tent, an 1850’s school room and a kitchen to learn how meals were prepared.

Exhibitors from local state agencies and history heritage organizations will be present, such as the Virginia Department of Forestry, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation and the Stonewall Jackson House.

Marshall said the event usually has 200 to 300 participants.

“Mainly the event has gotten bigger over previous years and we have added new programmatic elements, such as the school room, and worked hard to increase the number of our event exhibitors,” he added.

The event is sponsored by Chick-Fil-A of Harrisonburg and the Home Educator’s Association of Virginia.

The event is open to the public. This event has a special admission rate of $3 per person, which is available with registration.

To register, download the form from www.vmi.edu/newmarket, or contact the park at 865-515-1864.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 19.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com