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A Picture of Colonial Life

Ch. 7--Life in Colonial Times

Ashley Cornwall

on 9 October 2012

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Transcript of A Picture of Colonial Life

A Picture of Colonial Life A Different Way of Life: Homes The homes in the beginning were very small and not well made. Eventually, the colonists began to build bigger, nicer homes.
The colonists worked together to build new houses. This was called a "house-raising".
The colonists had to clear the land of trees. They then had to cut those trees into lumber to build their home as well as furniture to fill the house.
Colonial homes were simple with only one or two beds, a table with benches, and sometimes a few other pieces of furniture.
The utensils were even carved from wood!
Candles were used to light the house and fireplaces were used for cooking and heating the home. Colonial Jobs Men in the colonies were busy farming and hunting.
The women's most important job was making clothes. They used a spinning wheel to turn sheep's wool into yarn. They would then use a loom to make a rough, gray material called homespun. The homespun was then used to make shirts, dresses, and pants.
Some of the richer colonists bought clothes from Europe, refusing to wear clothes made from homespun.
Since there were no radios or t.v.s back then, the colonists had to get their news by word of mouth. Therefore, there were colonists know as "town criers". A town crier's job was to walk through the streets shouting the latest news as loud as possible. (That makes my throat hurt just thinking about it!) Church The Bible was the most important book in colonial homes.
As you remember, most settlers came to America for freedom of religion. Now no one had to worship in secret.
Large yet simple churches were built throughout the colonies. These buildings were also used for town meetings.
Most churches were Puritan churches to begin with. However, as more settlers came to America, other religious groups (Baptists, Methodists, Quakers, etc.) began to build churches also.
In the beginning, all settlers had to pay taxes to the Congregational (Puritan) church.
Due to large farms in the Southern colonies, there were fewer churches there. Families would have to travel miles to meet on Sundays, so the Southern colonies had traveling preachers to share the Word. These men were called circuit-riding preachers.
The church services lasted 2-3 hours. Since this might cause some people to get sleepy, a man walked up and down the aisle with a long stick to poke anyone whose eyes closed. (Talk about embarrassing!) Comprehension Check 7A 1. What two uses did the fireplace provide for colonial homes?
2. What was the rough, gray material made by colonial women?
3. Why was news given by town criers during colonial days?
4. What was the most important book in colonial homes? Answers:
1. cooking and warming the house
2. homespun
3. because there were no newspapers, radios, or t.v.s
4. the Bible Schools America offered Europeans a better life. They could worship God freely, give their children a good education, and work and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
America's chief industry was farming. One of the first things that most colonists did was plant a garden. Once the Indians showed them how to plant corn, this vegetable became their chief food crop.
The Southern farmers had the best luck because the soil was rich, and the weather was warm. They could grow just about anything! Cotton and tobacco were two of the best crops.
Eventually, some of the farmers began to manufacture goods. They made things like cloth, pots and pans, and molasses. People in New England made fishing a major industry.
Some of these goods were sent to Europe, but it was mainly raw material because the Europeans did not want the plain things the colonial people used.
The Europeans bought indigo, lumber, iron, tobacco, and furs. The colonists in turn bought cloth and other manufactured goods from Europe.
Some items in America became quite popular in Europe such as: the rocking chair that Benjamin Franklin designed and silver pieces created by Paul Revere. Industry Education was very important to the colonists.
Many children attended a dame school. This was a school taught by a colonial lady in her home.
The children were taught reading, writing, and basic arithmetic.
There were very few schoolbooks so most children used a hornbook, which is a paddle-shaped board with the alphabet and Lord's Prayer attached to it.
Once a child memorized the hornbook, they moved on to the New England Primer, the most widely used textbook in colonial America. This book was used for 150 years and millions of children learned to read from this book.
After a year or two, the girls began to stay home to learn how to bake, cook, sew, and take care of a home while the boys continued their education.
Colonists made laws ordering cities to build schools so their children could have a good education.
The first public schools in America were built by the Puritans in New England. They also opened the first college in America, Harvard, which was started in 1636 to train ministers.
The Middle Colonies did not have many schools. Many children had to walk 2-4 miles one way to get to school. Those who could not walk to school were taught by their parents or not at all. The schools in Middle Colonies were usually taught by strict men or by the minister.
Paper was too expensive so students used birch bark and lead or coal to write with. Most schools only had one copy of the books, so the students had to share.
In the Southern Colonies, wealthy farmers paid for private tutors for their children. The poor eventually got together to hire a teacher. They met in a shabby building in an old field, so the school was called an old-field school.
George Washington attended an old-field school. He had to ride his horse 10 miles to get to the school. Sometimes, he had to row a boat across a river to get there.
Comprehension Check 7B 1. What was a hornbook?
2. For how long did American school children use the New England Primer?
3. What was America's first college? 1. a printed copy of the alphabet and Lord's Prayer attached to a paddle-shaped board.
2. over 150 years
3. Harvard
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