History, a collection of stories when well researched and told with emotion, is the best story ever created. When I was a kid I never appreciated history. I remember having a little history in grammar school but not in high school. In high school I had social studies. I remember having to study dates and places but I never made a connection with why it mattered. History was boring.

When investigating homeschool curriculum for our family we came across A Well Trained Mind. This curriculum includes a group of books called The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child by Susan Wise Bauer. This group of books does three things very well. It turns history into a relatable story for children (and adults), it tells events in chronological order and connects the events as a chain of cause and effect events. Lastly the books cover global history which is needed for any single countries history to make sense. So what does this have to do with Yorktown? Our park ranger who conducted our tour told the story of Yorktown in timeline order and looked at it from all sides of the story. She described why this was such an important battle and how many events had happened to make it success.

Yorktown, Virginia, home of the most important battle of the Revolutionary War, The Battle of Yorktown. We visited these battlefields on Veterans Day, honoring our first veterans.

Yorktown National Historic Park has a fantastic welcome center.  If you only have time to stop at the welcome center then it will be worth it.  In the welcome center they have multiple movies and descriptions of the battles and movement of troops leading up to the battle of Yorktown. The Revolution up to this point had not gone in favor of the colonies; Until this battle.

This had a video describing the battle. The map would light up in places and describe troop movement.
This had a video describing the battle. The map would light up in places and describe troop movement.

 
Memory from the Yorktown Battlefield.
Memory from the Yorktown Battlefield.

 

It was time for our guided tour.  As I stated we had a fantastic tour guide.  We received an 1-1/2 hour tour, I think because of the day, we received the above average tour. She didn’t care for the movie The Patriot especially Mel Gibson, and had some very discouraging words about the inaccuracies in that movie, but no one is perfect.

The Yorktown Battlefields have changed a lot since the Revolutionary War. It was used during the Civil War and combine with 200+ years of time passed they certainly don’t look the same but the stories and memories still exist. We drove through and stopped at the different points of interest. We read about our history and expressed its importance.

Historic Yorktown
Historic Yorktown

 
Our fabulous tour guide
Our fabulous tour guide

 
Yorktown Visitors Center
Yorktown Visitors Center

 
Reading about the Grand French Battery
Reading about the Grand French Battery

 
The Redoubts that changed the world.
The Redoubts that changed the world.

 
We walked right up to the spears in the ground and talked about having to climbing through these while the enemy was firing at the soldiers trying to take the area.
We walked right up to the spears in the ground and talked about having to climbing through these while the enemy was firing at the soldiers trying to take the area.

 
Reading about the battlefield
Reading about the battlefield

 
Surrender at Yorktown
Surrender at Yorktown

 
The ceremony of surrender was an effect from a previous loss suffered by the Colonial Army. General Cornwallis in an early win tried to psychological break down the Colonial Army with a very long and demoralizing surrender ceremony, and Washington returned the favor at Yorktown.
The ceremony of surrender was a retaliation from a previous loss suffered by the Colonial Army. General Cornwallis in an early win tried to psychological break down the Colonial Army with a very long and demoralizing surrender ceremony, and Washington returned the favor at Yorktown.

 

Washington's Headquarters.
Washington’s Headquarters.

 
The Articles of Capitulation were signed at this house.
The Articles of Capitulation were signed at this house.

 
Articles of Capitulation
Articles of Capitulation

 

It was great to bring the stories, the history of our country, to life. Going and visiting the location, talking to others, walking the fields and touching the cannons makes it real. It was an extremely enjoyable day and on Veterans Day made it all that more memorable.

 

Lieutenant General Charles Lord Cornwallis
Lieutenant General Charles Lord Cornwallis

 
General George Washington
General George Washington

 

We finished the day getting the kids another Jr. Ranger Badge. It was very exciting for Aurora, this park ranger could do every voice of My Little Pony and talked to her for a while in those voices.  I wish I had taken that video, it was fun.  Here is their signing in ceremony.