Back in Time at Oakley Plantation ~ Jane Austen Homeschool Day

Oakley Plantation

Last week Oakley Plantation offered a Regency era Jane Austen day, and the day before the big event they offered a free homeschool day including many of the same activities. We signed up as soon as we heard about it.

Oakley is well known for the four month long visit of John James Audubon who was hired to tutor the family's daughter Eliza. Mornings were spent with her, and afternoons were spent sketching his famous series The Birds of America. The surrounding hardwoods, swamp, and soft pines provided three different areas of woodlands, so Audubon was able to see the huge variety of birds here.

Stations were set up around the plantation, and many provided hands on history activities. This outdoor kitchen was used from 1806 to 1942. Audubon talked about eating Scotch eggs (boiled eggs wrapped in sausage and bread crumbs then deep fried) with the family here. Two full time (paid) hunters provided game for the family and specimen for Audubon. Two cows for milk and butter, herbs grown, herb and vegetable garden helped the plantation be self sufficient, but they also had supplies delivered on the three river boats which passed from New Orleans to Natchez every day. In 1840, one of the young girls on the plantation got strawberries, chocolate, and oysters from New Orleans on a steamer boat for her birthday celebration. 

Scones made in the plantation kitchen were baked in the Dutch oven.  

Toys and games were set out on the lawn for the kids to try. Hoops, zuzus, dolls, Jacob's ladder, racket ball (the birdie was cork and real feathers), marbles, and yo-yos were available.

"Graces" was played by girls without them having to run around in their big dresses.

"The Game of Graces was considered a proper game benefiting young ladies and, supposedly, tailored to make them more graceful."

game of graces

Writing with quill pens and the "language of the fan" were also practiced. "The fan for hundreds of years was an extension of their hand like phones are today." I did not realize that both men and women had fans; they were not considered feminine, though women made them a fashion accessory.

Audubon Oakley Plantation Homeschool Day

The kids were all offered the opportunity to try the spinning wheel, and both girls attempted it. Though the owner of this spinning wheel claimed that this style is easier compared with the ones with a needle like in Sleeping Beauty, it was still difficult to keep their foot pumping while controlling the wool with their hands. 

"Spinning was a woman's job, weaving was a man's job. "
Oakley Plantation

Oakley Plantation Homeschool Day

The hunter was one of the highest paid employees on the plantation. 

side view of Oakley Plantation

Oakley Plantation

This "pit" was for growing vegetables and other plants during colder months. I wonder why this is not still done today.

We all enjoyed the day and are looking forward to their next event for homeschool families. 


  1. What fun!! I would love to visit something like that. Actually, I'd love to live somewhere like that! Simpler times...

    1. As a little girl I dreamed of living way back then. Now, in theory it seems nice, but I like conveniences like running water and electricity. I think it would be hard once the novelty wore off.

  2. That looks like such a fun trip. My son would love being the hunter! And I had no idea that men were the weavers! My daughter would be disappointed. She has a small loom and loves to weave!

    1. Lexi, my son would, too. They got to hold the gun but not shoot it. I was also surprised about the weavers.

  3. This would fit perfectly with our current studies! Thanks for sharing at FTF!


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