The Georgia Colony was the last of the thirteen colonies built in the United States, but also one of the most difficult areas for settlers and their children. Built by James Oglethorpe, a former army officer, the colony was established in the early 1730s. Oglethorpe had many reasons for establishing his colony in Georgia, but his main reasons for doing so were to help those in London suffering from financial burdens to start a new life in America. Life in the Georgia colony was similar to that of other colonies, and the settlers had to work hard to build their lives. This meant that children had a number of responsibilities and their parents, the education system and the colony had many expectations of them.
Education for Children
Children in the Georgia Colony were educated, though their schooling was much different than of children today. New England colonies and middle colonies practiced education a bit differently, as New England colonies put a rather big emphasis on religious education and reading the Bible more than the southern colonies. Typically, it was the boys who went to school while young girls stayed home. There was also a class system, and children from upper-class families would usually have home tutors, while children from middle-class families would go to grammar school and sometimes attend college. Children from lower-class families would sometimes go to grammar school or have an apprenticeship.
At grammar schools, boys would learn how to read, write and construct Latin sentences. They would also learn how to translate English to Latin and vice versa. They spent many hours at school, usually attending 6 days a week. Eventually, if they could, they would go on to college, where they could study everything from theology and law to the arts and astronomy. Many of the colleges in the U.S. today were founded during the Colonial era, such as William & Mary, Penn, Columbia, Harvard and Dartmouth.
Family Dynamics and Responsibility
Children in the Georgia Colony had to learn useful home and life skills in addition to formal skills that they learned in grammar school. First and foremost, they were taught to respect their mother and father. A lot of these teachings came from the Bible, and children would have to ask their parents for their blessings. Girls would have to be obedient toward the males in their family. Boys were usually the ones to go on to receive an education, and girls would only do the same if they came from upper-class families, could have a home tutor, and their parents would allow it.
Girls had several responsibilities at home, and they would learn these home skills from a young age. In the Georgia Colony, girls would learn how to knit, sew, cook and spin. Boys would learn things like how to use a gun or how to work navigator's tools. It was clear that in the Georgia Colony and other colonies, boys and girls had very distinct roles that were crucial to maintaining the family dynamics set out by the Bible.
Playtime for Children
Though children certainly had a lot of responsibilities in the Georgia Colony, there was still some time for play. Children were not able to simply go to a toy store and buy the toys that they wanted, so parents found ways to make toys for their children, or children would make the toys for themselves. Girls would usually play with dolls, which were made from corn husks and scraps. Boys would get sticks and pretend they were horses that they could ride on. Both boys and girls would play with spinning tops or do jump rope, scotch hopper (hop-scotch) or pins, which was similar to bowling. They also had board games and battledore, which is similar to badminton.
Overall, kids in the Georgia Colony were very creative and imaginative, and even though they didn't have as many toys as kids have today, they were able to enjoy themselves even by playing outside, just running around or jumping in the water to swim.
Hardships in the Colony
Life in the Georgia Colony may have had its fun moments, but it definitely wasn't easy. For new settlers to the colony, everything was brand new. Settlers had to make their homes, build fires and find food. All this work had to be done by hand, and in the Georgia heat, this wasn't easy, especially because the clothing they wore had many layers. Insects and disease were also rampant, and 1 in 3 colonists died due to the harsh conditions. Needless to say, life was rough sometimes for the children in the Georgia Colony, as some may have lost a parent, got sick or struggled with the demands of daily life.