The Underground Railroad

Underground Railroad simulation

We’ve reached the point in U.S. history where there are a lot of great picture books.  And I’ll share some of the ones we’ve read at the end of this post.

At co-op this week we decided to make it real.  We talked for a long time about what the slaves went through and how hard it was to escape to freedom, and that they didn’t really know where they were going.

creating an escape mapThe kids were divided into two groups.  We split up my boys because they were going to be the primary ones giving directions (Princess is not good with them, takes after her Mom).  They were given 5 minutes to explain how to get to the park a half mile away.  Once we left the house the kids were just going to rely on the map, no extra directions from my kids.


So what happened once they left?  Well………

Lost on the Undergroud Railroad simulation

One of the groups got lost.  They wandered for over 15 minutes trying to find their way, and then spied the other group and followed them.

on track with the Underground Railroad

The other group?  They got there more because Batman stopped and refused to go the wrong way.  He didn’t say anything, just stood there not knowing what to do.

discussing what we learn from the Underground Railroad

What did they learn?

It was hard.  If you went the wrong way then you were lost and either going to be captured or could die because you ran out of food.


It was hard.  They were thirsty and it was a long way to walk.  We only walked half a mile and the kids were hot and worn out from walking in the heat without water bottles (deliberate decision, to let them realize how hard that might be).


It was hard.  It was a long way to walk.  They were walking for hundreds and hundreds of miles.  Our kids only walked half a mile and they were asking “How much farther?”  It’s hard to imagine walking for that long.


It was scary.  Who could they trust?  It’s not like they could stop at the general store and ask the way.  No, they had to pray they were going the right way.


All in all, it was a great lesson.  It really hit home that this was hard.  I don’t think they’d understood it from the books we’d read, so it was a very helpful lesson.


Some other posts on the Underground Railroad:

Maryland: Fredrick Douglass and Harriet Tubman

Kentucky: Night Boat to Freedom

Indiana: A Place Called Freedom



14 responses to “The Underground Railroad”

  1. maryanne @ mama smiles Avatar
    maryanne @ mama smiles

    I love the way you bring history lessons to life.

    1. Thanks! I’m really looking forward to this coming semester, we’ve got A LOT of fun things planned. Including a debate using the Bible about slavery (led by the older kids).

  2. You always bring history alive and are truly an inspiration to those of us in the homeschooling community that teaching history does not come naturally to. Thank you for linking up to my Enchanted Thursdays Blog Hop this week (your new website looks fantastic!).

    1. Thanks! I’m really loving it. I can’t wait to try out how to share documents on this and other things that I couldn’t do on blogger.

  3. This is wonderful! We are doing this topic very soon. I may use some elements of this! Thanks for the idea!

    1. I think we’ll be doing a lot of switching back and forth on who is covering what this year 🙂

  4. Very-very clever way to make it real!

  5. […] Underground Railroad simulation – Adventures in Mommydom […]

  6. […] Discuss the Underground Railroad with the help of a walking simulation […]

  7. You always spark ideas for me. Thank you for your honest accounts and true-to-life picture of homeschooling.

    1. Awww…. thank you.

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