Colonial Life




 colonial schoolhouse  hornbook

In colonial America, children went to both public and private schools. Parents of students in the New England colonies wanted their learning to be based on Christianity. The first book the students read was the Bible. In the New England colonies, grammar schools were set up for boys to learn to read, write, and do arithmetic. The boys would learn using a hornbook, or a wooden paddle that has a piece of paper with the alphabet and bible verses attached to it. Only girls who are Quakers could attend the school. Typically, schools were small and there was only one for a few towns. The schools usually consisted of one room and and one teacher.


Farming and Agriculture

corn  wheat

Farming in the colonies was a very popular way of survival and making money for people in the colonies. In the New England Colonies, the soil was not good for growing crops because it was near the ocean. The farmers grew enough to feed their families, but they mostly ate fish. Farmers in the Middle Colonies were the most successful and were called the "breadbasket" because they grew so much food. They grew barley, wheat, oats, rye, and corn. In the Southern Colonies, the colonies grew different crops and the most popular were tobacco, indigo, and rice. Since it was so long ago and machines for farming were not invented yet, the colonists did everything themselves and animals to help them farm.




  colonial womens clothing   colonial mens clothing


During the colonial period, most women only own about 3 outfits. Their clothing was usually made of the wool or linen, and most of what they wore, they made and sewed themselves. Women were required to be covered from head to toe at all times. Men's pants were called breeches and come just below the knees. With their breeches, men wear woolen stockings. Also, men's shirts were very loose and have some ruffles on the necks and cuffs. Also, men wear tri-corner hats with three corners. Women wear long dresses and usually wear petticoats. Also, it is common that men and women wear wigs.





Massachusetts meetinghouse  colonial bible


Most of the new settlers into the Americas came because they were in search of religious freedom. The Pilgrims in Massachusetts and the Quakers in Pennsylvania, for example, came because they wanted to practice their religion freely. The interesting aspect of religion in the colonies was that the beliefs were strongly based on where you lived. In the New England colonies, were Puritans, who led strict lives and believed that the Bible was God's plan for everyone to live by. They wanted to "purify the church" by establishing their own religious beliefs that were different than the ones they suffered from in England. In the Middle Colonies, there was religious diversity with many different religious beliefs such as the Quakers, Catholics, Lutherans, Jews, and Protestants in the Middle Colonies. Lastly, in the Southern Colonies, there was also religious diversity with beliefs such as Baptists and Anglicans. Colonists gathered for religious services at what was called a meetinghouse, usually located in the center of town.





 colonial woman cooking colonial meal


The food colonists ate changed based on where the colony was located. People near the Atlantic Ocean caught fish and whale and either sold it or fed it to their families. Families that lived on farms usually had pigs, chickens and cows to produce their food. Most people ate meat, chicken, and seafood twice a day. Also, common side dishes were cornbread or rice. Since there was so much farming and agriculture, families either ate what they grew or sold their crops to people in the town  or to traders.







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