Hands-On History: Home School Days at CHS

By Corinne Swanson, Coordinator of Youth and Family Programs at the CHS

Last week, theReading to Baby CHS education staff wrapped up our last school programs for the 2014-2015 school year, bringing a very busy year to a close. However, even after all the school buses left, we held our Home School Day: Summer Kick-Off on Monday, June 22.

Home education has been on the rise over the past few decades, so last year the CHS started a Home School Day program to reach out to Connecticut families who homeschool their children. Since our first Home School Day in April 2014, more than 200 children and adults have participated in these events, coming to Hartford from every county in Connecticut. Home School Days are designed to be as inclusive and flexible as possible, with different activities appropriate for different ages offered simultaneously so everyone in the family can be involved.

During our June 22 Home School Day: Summer Kick-Off program, children chose a themed activity sheet appropriate for their age that explored what life was like for kids long ago. Then, families explored the museum and completedSewing a Pouch various activities for their theme, learning about what changed and what stayed the same about childhood, whether you were living during Native American Connecticut, the Civil War, or World War II. Younger kids got the chance to play a Native American bean game and sew their own deerskin-style bag, while older kids tried on 19th-century reproduction clothing and made a Civil War recruitment poster targeting men from their hometown in Connecticut.

All three themes offered hands-on activities that allowed children an interactive experience with history. Most children were so engaged that they ended up completing all three activity sheets! One parent commented that they “loved the hands-on activities for my kinesthetic learners.” A child wrote on his evaluation that the only thing he didn’t like during the day was “leaving”!

For more information about Home School Days at the Connecticut Historical Society, contact me at (860) 236-5621 x222 or corinne_swanson@chs.org.

A firm believer that knowledge and interpretation of history shapes our understanding of our world and ourselves, Corinne Swanson actively supports history engagement for all ages. As Coordinator of Youth and Family Programs at the Connecticut Historical Society, she manages family programs, scout programs, and other non-school children activities, as well as teaching the organization’s many school programs both at the CHS museum and around Connecticut. She has a B.A. in History, with a particular interest in social history.

About the Connecticut Historical Society

A private, nonprofit, educational organization established in 1825, the Connecticut Historical Society is the state’s official historical society and one of the oldest in the nation. Located at 1 Elizabeth Street in Hartford, the CHS houses a museum, library, and the Edgar F. Waterman Research Center that are open to the public and funded by private contributions. The CHS’s collection includes more than 4 million manuscripts, graphics, books, artifacts, and other historical materials accessible at our campus and on loan at other organizations.

The CHS collection, programs and exhibits help Connecticut residents connect with each other, have conversations that shape our communities, and make informed decisions based on our past and present.

For more information, visit chs.org. Like the CHS on Facebook (facebook.com/CTHistoricalSociety) Follow the CHS on Twitter (@CTHistorical)

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