John Jay Homestead State Historic Site invites you and your class to learn about the life of John Jay and to explore the exciting times in which he lived.

The Homestead offers a variety of program options that meet current curriculum standards. Each program provides students with a first-hand look at the changing nature of everyday life by comparing today’s lifestyles and concerns with those of Jay’s era. The programs encourage students to use the critical thinking skills of a historian or social scientist, asking them to read, analyze, apply, synthesize and evaluate historical information. All our programs meet common core standards in English, Language Arts and Literacy and in Reading History/Social Studies.

All program materials including lesson plans, readings, worksheets, and virtual tour videos are delivered to you via USPS on a flash drive. There is no charge for these programs – we only ask that you report to us the number of students attending this virtual field trip. Click HERE to request a program.

Program Options

Then and Now
What was life like 200 years ago? Students will compare and contrast their everyday lives with the way the Jay family lived in the early 1800s. A virtual tour of the historic house will focus on the lack of modern conveniences and its impact on everyday life. In addition, students will discuss the differences between urban, suburban and rural locations.
Grade level: K–2

Standards: Social Studies 1, 5; English Language Arts 1, 3; Arts 3

John Jay, Revolutionary Spymaster
Though widely celebrated for his political and diplomatic achievements, John Jay played an important role in creating a spy network to help defend the colonies during the Revolutionary War. Students will read stories about the defenses protecting New York, the split loyalties of its inhabitants, different spying techniques, and historical anecdotes about important political figures. Ciphering activities and a virtual tour of the historic house museum are also included in this program.
Grade level: 4–6

Standards: Social Studies 1, 2, 5; English Language Arts 1, 3, 4

Slaves, Slavery and the Jay Family
How is a servant different from a slave? What’s the difference between manumission and abolition? Why did many of the Founding Fathers continue to own slaves as they established a nation where “all men are created equal?” We provide an experience that will help your students answer these and other probing questions. While they virtually tour the historic house museum and study primary sources, your students will come to understand John Jay’s conflicting attitudes as slave owner and manumission advocate and learn about his son William’s role in the abolition movement. They will also learn about the lives of some of the slaves who lived at the Homestead. Please note that this program is intended for students who already have some working knowledge of the institution of American slavery – it is not designed as an introduction to the subject.
Grade level: 6–12

Standards: Social Studies 1, 2, 5; English Language Arts 1, 3, 4