Homeschool Programs

Historic New England presents our award-winning school programs specifically for homeschool families

Historic New England is proud to present a wide variety of programs for homeschool families.

For each program:

There must be a minimum of 5 children registered for programs to run. Programs are limited to 24 people. Full payment is due at the time of registration and is non-refundable (unless program is cancelled by us due to under-enrollment). No registrations will be accepted on the day of the program. Questions? Email [email protected]

Sample Programs

(De)Light and Surprise

Explore Beauport, discovering Henry Davis Sleeper's use of light and incorporation of whimsy.

  • (De)Light and Surprise

    Explore Beauport, discovering Henry Davis Sleeper's use of light and incorporation of whimsy.

  • Dirt Detectives

    Become an archaeologist at Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm!

  • Backyard Medicine

    Harvest and taste herbs while exploring the wide variety of plants at Casey Farm.

2020 Program Schedule

Registration now open!

Monday, February 24 Little Women: Classic and Contemporary – Ages 5-12 Literature and History. Lyman Estate, Waltham, Mass. The new film adaptation, partially filmed at the Lyman Estate, has brought fresh attention to Louisa May Alcott’s timeless classic. Hands-on activities described in the book and depicted in the movie will bring the March sisters’ world to life.

Thursday, March 5 Museum Collections 101 – Ages 9-16 Museum Studies, Design, and Science. Haverhill (Mass) Regional Office. This rare glimpse behind the scenes with several senior staff members is designed exclusively for older children and their caregiver. Participants will experience the inner workings of a museum as they practice conservation techniques, learn how to safely handle and clean objects, experience the creepy crawly (but vital) world of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and train their eye to recognize different styles and levels of craftsmanship in furniture.
*This program costs $20 members/$25 nonmembers

Wednesday, April 8 Around the World in Salem – Ages 7-13 History and Geography. Phillips House, Salem, Mass. Explore the world without leaving Salem! The objects in Phillips House reflect Salem’s history as a major trading port, tied to the rest of the world through its sailing ships and merchants. In this program, we will practice mapping skills while finding goods from around the globe, including some we can touch, smell, and even taste!

Wednesday, May 6 The Importance of Pollinators – Ages 7-14 Science and History. Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm, Newbury, Mass. Explore the farm on a butterfly safari, learn about native and non-native plant species, and get your hands dirty working in our pollinator garden. Throughout the morning, we will gather knowledge and materials to take home for use in creating our own attractive, environmentally sound, and nutrient rich habitats for vital pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Please note: This program has been canceled.

Tuesday, June 9 Hidden History: Spanning the Canal – Ages 7-14 Engineering and History. Winslow Crocker House, Yarmouth Port, Mass. The Cape Cod Canal was completed in 1914 and the three bridges spanning the canal opened in the 1930s. Recently, the Army Corps of Engineers recommended replacing those bridges. In this program, participants design and construct a model for a new bridge over the canal and then, after examining and taking inspiration from a variety of photographs, pamphlets, souvenirs, and other primary source materials from Historic New England’s archives, create an advertisement to tempt travelers to use their bridge to visit Cape Cod. Please note: This program has been canceled.


Monday, June 22  Artful Stories. Ages 7-13. Fine Art and History. Eustis Estate, Milton, Mass. Artful Stories: Paintings from Historic New England is a fresh look at the regional stories told through art – stories about the people who sat for portraits, the artists, the owners, and the places. In this program, participants will learn how to “read” a painting, imagine conversations between a diverse group of New Englanders whose portraits share a gallery, and put design principals into action as they create their own work of art. Please note: This program has been canceled.

Tuesday, September 1 Water Science: Ecology at the Pond and the Bay – Ages 5-14 Science and Nature. Casey Farm, Saunderstown, R.I. Compare and Contrast two distinct ecosystems – the saltwater Narragansett Bay and the freshwater Casey Farm irrigation pond – through close-up, hands-on examinations of the flora and fauna living in and around each. Prepare to get muddy as we catch and examine (then safely release) fish, crabs, frogs, snails, and more!
*Please note this is an afternoon program, running from 1:00-3:30

Register here

Monday, September 14 (De)light and Surprise: Designing Wonder at Beauport – Ages 5-14 Art and Design. Beauport, the Sleeper-McCann House, Gloucester, Mass. Henry Davis Sleeper was one of America’s first professional interior designers, and his summer home was his laboratory and showcase. Participants explore Sleeper’s use of light and the ways he incorporated elements of surprise throughout the house as inspiration for their own works of art.

Register here

Thursday, October 1 A Portrait of a Turbulent Time: Jonathan Sayward and the Revolution – Ages 8-14 History and Art. Sayward-Wheeler House, York Harbor, Maine. Discover the thorny history of Jonathan Sayward, who was both a prominent and respected member of the community, and loyal to Great Britain at a time of Revolutionary fervor. After examining his life and his portrait and exploring his house, turn the mirror on yourself to create a self-portrait.

Register here

Monday, October 19 Dirt Detectives – Ages 5-14 Archaeology. Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm, Newbury, Mass. October is Massachusetts Archaeology Month! Participants become archaeologists as they excavate a mock pit with actual tools of the trade and process reproduction artifacts in a field lab. Inside the museum, they explore building archaeology via trap doors. They analyze objects to learn about daily life at the farm over the last 300 years.

Register here

Thursday, November 19 “A Thansgiven kept”: The Pierce Farm in 1775 – Ages 5-12 History and Agriculture. Pierce House, Dorchester, Mass. Samuel Pierce’s journal reflects the chaos of 1775 as he tries to keep up with the work on his farm even while the early battles of the Revolutionary War are happening all around Boston, but he does note that Thanksgiving was celebrated on November 23 that year. In this program, read excerpts from Pierce’s journal, create a simple Thanksgiving dish from ingredients mentioned in the journal, and copy the recipe out using quill pens.

Register here

Wednesday, December 9 Deck the Halls: A Celebration of Christmas – Ages 5-14 Art and Celebration. Eustis Estate, Milton, Mass. Many of the Christmas customs we take for granted today were invented or popularized during Victorian times and were flourishing when the Eustis Estate was built in 1878. We invite you to learn the history of Christmas while exploring the lavishly decorated mansion. Participants will create a variet of holiday crafts, enjoy seasonal refreshments, and receive a small wrapped gift.
*This program costs $20 members/$25 nonmembers

Register here 

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