The Marion County Historical Society has partnered with a local home school co-op, Learning Options Inc. Preserve WV AmeriCorps member Raven Thomas has been spearheading this project by organizing lesson plans and creating fun activities for the children in the class that is hosted by the Historical Society. Raven serves as the instructor for the class titled Appalachian Anthropology, which takes place once a week from 2:30-3:30 and averages about 10 students per class. In the year 2014 there have been five classes and Appalachian Anthropology will become of permanent part of the Learning Options curriculum once the new school year starts in September 2014.
Past lesson plans have been “the mound builders” where Raven constructed small “burial” mounds for the children to excavate. This lesson taught about the early cultures of West Virginia and Marion County, as well as the importance of archaeology and discovery. One other such lesson was titled “Black Days, Black dust” in which the class learned about coal mining and its importance today, as well as in the past. Marion County history was taught through the discussion of the Monangah mine disaster and the immigration patterns of miners in the area. Also included in this lesson was a crash course in the past and present types of coal mining and the students were able to mine chocolate chips out of muffins, which also served as a wonderful treat once they reached their coal quota for the day. Another lesson featured one room schoolhouses and school yard games, which the children thoroughly enjoyed. The last lesson was part of the End of Year Party and the historical society set up a candle station where the students learned about double wick candle dipping and even made their own candles to take home. This class has been enjoyed by students and parents alike and provides an excellent opportunity for the Marion County Historical Society to reach out to the younger community.