Home Study 2023

Our programs are designed to provide experiential and inquiry-based learning opportunities. Students explore big ideas, i.e., understandings that endure long after the details are forgotten. Programs span across our 412 acres which encompasses wetlands, streams, meadows, forests, ponds and vernal pools. Students practice skills such as asking relevant questions, making careful observations, communicating outcomes, and reflecting upon results. Next Generation Science Standards are incorporated into all offerings. Beginning April 24, the following programs will be available to homeschoolers for the Spring 2023 season:

CLICK HERE to register

March 13:
Winter Adaptations, 10:00 - 11:30am

March 27:
Windows to the Past, 10:00 - 11:30am 

April 10:
Cornhusk Dolls, 10:00 - 11:30am 

April 24:
Dinosaur Descendants: Egg-cellent Chickens, 10:00 am-11:30 pm – Meets in the Dene

May 8:
Vernal Pools, 10:00-12:00 pm
Curious about Curious Goats, 1:00 pm-2:30 pm – Meets at the Goat Dairy

May 15:
Streams: Life Beneath the Flow, 10:00 am-11:30 am
Bumble Bee Basics, 1:00 pm-2:30 pm

June 5:
The Buzz on Honey Bees, 10:00 am-11:30 am
Hollow School, 1:00 pm-2:30 pm– Meets in the Dene


chickens Dinosaur Descendants: Egg-cellent Chickens

Grades: K-1 & 2-4 • Length: 1 1/2 hours
OFFERED APRIL 24, 10am - 11:30am

From producing food to cleaning up after other farm animals, chickens play an important role on the farm. While students interact with Hildene’s flock, they explore why chickens have a “crop” instead of teeth, how they communicate messages to each other, the 21-day cycle from egg to chick, and have fun observing the quirky behaviors of these creatures. BIG IDEAS: Cycles; and Structure and Function. STANDARDS

streams Streams: Life Beneath the Flow

Grades: 2-3 & 4-5 • Length: 1 1/2 hours
OFFERED MAY 15, 10am - 11:30am

Students will explore the variety of habitats and interconnected web of animals and plants within a stream. They will catch and identify aquatic insects, build a river food web, and learn how insect life can teach us about a stream’s health. They will also discover important adaptations that are vital for life in these ever-changing ecosystems. BIG IDEAS: Historical Connections. STANDARDS

the buzz on honey bees youth education program The Buzz on Honey Bees

Grades: K-2 & 3-4 • Length: 1 1/2 hours
OFFERED June 5, 10-11:30 am

Who’s who in the hive? How is honey made and how are flowers pollinated? Students will explore the world of honey bees with investigation, pantomime, and inspection of the bees in our observation hive. They also examine the bee’s design, life cycle, social structure and important role as a pollinator. BIG IDEAS: Interdependence; Cycles; and Structure & Function. NGSS

vernal pool program, youth education at Hildene Vernal Pools: Unique Amphibian Nurseries

Grades: 3-5 • Length: 2 hours
OFFERED May 8, 10:00-12:00 pm

With slides, investigation and observation of live animals, students discover the critical support vernal pools provide to certain amphibians. They examine the energy and nutrient source of these temporary pools, become familiar with some of the “obligate” vernal pool species and learn why these pools are called the “hatchery of the forest.” BIG IDEAS: Interdependence; and Systems. NGSS

Hildene Farm's goat dairy comes alive in Spring with goat kids Curious About Curious Goats

Grades: K-2 & 3-4 • Length: 1 1/2 hours 
Students interact with the does and kids at our goat dairy, while exploring the life cycle, adaptations and behavior of goats. Students also learn about the process of milking, feed the goats and help with other chores, as well as identify goat products. BIG IDEAS: Cycles; and Structure and Function. NGSS

bumble bee and dandelion, Hildene Home Study programs at Hildene Bumble Bee Basics

Grades: 2 & 3-4 Length: 1 1/2 hours
OFFERED May 15, 1pm - 2:30pm

Gentle and fuzzy, everyone has watched a bumble bee buzzing between flowers in summer; but what about the rest of the year? How do bumble bees overwinter? Where do they raise brood in the spring? How do they fly in the fall when it is chilly or raining? Students discover the answers to these and other questions during this program. They examine the differences in color patterns between species, learn how to enhance pollinator habitat, and may observe queens in search of nest sites, workers foraging or new queens preparing for winter. BIG IDEAS: Interdependence; Cycles; Structure and Function. NGSS

hollow school schoolhouse at hildene the lincoln family home The Hollow School

Grades: 1-2 & 3-4 • Length: 1 1/2 hours
OFFERED June 5, 1pm - 2:30pm

Under the guidance of a 19th century schoolteacher, students learn about going to school over 150 years ago. Our fully restored one-room schoolhouse provides the setting for students to experience the lessons and tasks of children in early Vermont schools. Our “school day” commences when the bell is rung. Role-playing 19th century scholars, students use reproduction texts, slates and quill pens for their lessons, which include memorization and recitation. They will also play old time games during the recess break. BIG IDEAS: Historical Connections. STANDARDS

basket Historic Crafts

Grades 1-3, 4-6 • Length: 1 - 2 hours
OFFERED WINTER/SPRING, 2023 (see above for specific dates)

In early America making crafts was an essential part of everyday life. To help students understand what it was like to live in earlier times, when so many things we take for granted did not exist, they make everyday household items like dipped candles or baskets. Broadening students’ appreciation of the early settler’s self-sufficiency, this program introduces each craft in an historical context. Choose from the list below the craft(s) you would like to do:

Dipped Candles 1st-5th Length: 1 hr
Pierced-Tin Candle Shades 1st-5th Length: 1 hr
Cornhusk Dolls 3rd-6th Length: 1 ½ hrs
Basket Weaving 5th-6th Length: 2 hrs

BIG IDEAS: Historical Connections; and Movements and Settlements. STANDARDS

Windows to the Past, 2022/2023 programming Windows To The Past

Grades: 5-12 • Length: 1 1/2 hours
OFFERED MARCH 27, 10am - 11:30am
Students take a tour of Hildene, built by presidential son Robert Lincoln and his wife Mary in 1905, to learn about the family and their lives at the turn of the century. Students also visit the exhibit The American Ideal: Abraham Lincoln and the Second Inaugural, which includes one of Lincoln’s stovepipe hats of which there are only three in existence. 

Robert Lincoln, a captain of industry, served as president of the Pullman Company from 1901 to 1911. Students learn about his Pullman career through a visit to our fully restored 1903 Pullman car, Sunbeam. The interpretive exhibit “Many Voices” focuses on the Pullman Company that built the cars; the privileged families and executives who traveled in them, and the Pullman porters who worked in them. The fourth voice is of those who visit the car and the conclusions they draw from the experience. BIG IDEAS Historical Connections; Forces of Unity and Disunity & Nature of Conflict. STANDARDS

Black-Capped Chickadee, Adaptations, education programming Winter Adaptations: Coping with the Cold

Grades: 2-5 • Length: 1 - 1 1/2 hours
OFFERED MARCH 13, 10am - 11:30am
Colder temperatures and shorter days bring about many changes in the world around us. Students explore forest life through observation and exploration to discover the ways plants and trees adapt to winter’s challenges. They also examine the familiar black-capped chickadee to discover its remarkable survival strategies and complex language of calls. Weather permitting, students take a close look at the unique designs of snowflakes and examine the processes that form them. BIG IDEAS: Structure and Function; Cycles; and InterdependenceSTANDARDS