Fall Homeschool Day 2023

a large group of children gather in front of a table where a man wearing 18th century clothing speaks to them
Fall Homeschool Day is chock-full of educational programming and activities.

NPS Photo / B. Dhunjisha

Oct. 24 - 10 AM to 3 PM

Come learn with us from 10 AM to 3 PM on Tuesday, October 24, 2023 as we delve into the many subjects that can be explored right here at Valley Forge National Historical Park!

Learn more about the activities!
children line up to participate in a game and a uniformed park ranger counts the participants
Group games are led by Valley Forge Natural Resource Management staff.

NPS Photo / B. Dhunjisha

What is Homeschool Day?

A free event with no registration required.

With the help of friends and partner organizations, this unique event features hands-on activities and programs about American Revolutionary War history, the history of the early iron-making industry, science, and art!

Homeschool Day is geared towards homeschool families with kids between the ages of 5 and 15, though it is also open to the general public.

Plan Your Homeschool Day

On the day of the event, participants are invited to park in the lower lot near the Visitor Center at Valley Forge then make the 1/4 mile walk up to the event. Stations will be set up along the paved trail and at the log huts at Muhlenberg's Brigade (stop #2 on the Encampment Tour). If the weather doesn't cooperate, the event will be held inside the visitor center.

Please wear closed toe shoes. Some of the stations will be set up in the recently mowed meadow where there could be some small sticks or grasses that could poke sensitive feet. Also, if you would like to participate in the Historic Tool Station, closed toe shoes are required.

If you are planning to make a day of the event and pack food for a picnic, please carry out your trash.

Check out the list below for descriptions of all the Fall Homeschool Day programming!

graphic map showing illustrated soldier huts, roads, paved trails and red stars marking 20 activity locations
All activities are scheduled between 10 AM and 3 PM on Tuesday, October 24, 2023

NPS Graphic / G. Purifoy

2023 Fall Homeschool Day Activities

1. Ned Hector: Soldier and Teamster

Reenactor Noah Lewis

Come listen to short talks on a variety of fascinating topics presented by reenactor Noah Lewis portraying Ned Hector, a teamster and Black soldier in the Revolutionary War local to this area.

2. Life of a Collier

Chester County Parks and Preservation

Join a “collier” (charcoal maker) to learn about their trade and how they would have lived while working in the forests to make the fuel for iron industry forges and furnaces and the American Revolution.

3. Camp Life

Reenactors from Spencer's Additional Continental Regiment

What exactly did the soldiers do at Valley Forge? Members of Spencer's Additional Continental Regiment will show you! Experience the daily life of the enlisted men, their officers, and women attached to the army. You will learn what they wore, what they ate, see them performing drill, guard duty, and learn how they experienced the winter encampment at Valley Forge.

4. Black Powder Demonstrations

Reenactors from Spencer's Additional Continental Regiment and Valley Forge staff

On three occasions throughout the day, reenactors will demonstrate a black powder musket firing at the firing range behind the soldier huts. Demonstrations begin at 10:45 AM, 12:45 PM, and 2:45 PM.

5. Schuylkill Explorers: Learning about the Watershed

Schuylkill River Greenways

Join Schuylkill River Greenways in learning about the significance of the Schuylkill River’s history and the importance of keeping the river healthy. Participants will identify what watershed they live in and demonstrate how rain water moves across land using a landscape model.

the cover of the valley forge junior ranger book with an illustration of soldiers in the snow. to the right is the valley forge junior ranger badge
At table 6, pick up your Junior Ranger Activity Book and earn your badge when you turn in the completed booklet!

6. General Information, Junior Ranger, Family Meetup

Staff and Volunteers, Valley Forge National Historical Park

Get more information about the event, ask questions, and participate in the Junior Ranger program.

7. Colonial Art

Artist Ed Kane

Ed Kane, a living history colonial artist, will demonstrate the use of quill for
writing and drawing. He will also demonstrate painting watercolor scenes using only the three primary colors. During these demonstrations he will discuss the source of his pigments and how paint was/is made using natural ingredients. Learn about inks and how they were also made using natural ingredients. He will also cut an occasional quill and discuss how brushes were made.

8. The First Oval Office

Museum of the American Revolution

Explore handsewn, full-scale replicas of General George Washington’s sleeping marquee, baggage tent, and common tents that served as his mobile headquarters while on campaign. Meet costumed living history interpreters portraying the people who would have been there.

9. Wildlife Tabletop Activities & Group Games

Natural Resource Management staff, Valley Forge National Historical Park

Learn about Valley Forge wildlife and play fun interactive games at the top of the hour all day. Games begin at 10 AM, 11 AM, 12 PM, 1 PM, and 2 PM.

10. Historic Building Tools and Techniques

Historic Preservationist, Valley Forge National Historical Park

Get hands-on experience working with traditional tools and learn about how buildings were constructed in the 18th century. Hint: Home Depot was not just around the corner.

11. Be an Archeologist

Archeologist, Valley Forge National Historical Park

Archeologists try to figure things out that happened a long time ago. Can you figure out what people did in the past based on the garbage they left behind?

12. What is a Muster Roll?

Valley Forge Park Alliance

Learn how the Continental Army kept track of all the soldiers at Valley Forge. Learn more about the Muster Roll website where you can search to see if your ancestor was at the Encampment!

13. Birds of Valley Forge

John James Audobon Center at Mill Grove

Learn all about the birds of Valley Forge, with a special focus on owls. Come to our table to see owl pellets, and even get the opportunity to dissect one! Let’s figure out what our owls have been eating!

14. Wildlife of Pennsylvania Fields and Forests

Montgomery County Conservation District

This session will introduce students to common Pennsylvania wildlife, with particular emphasis on mammals. Students will learn about the types of habitats that wildlife need for food and shelter. Students will have opportunities to view and identify wildlife species from furs, skulls, tracks, and scat replicas, while also learning about activities/impacts that pose threats to such species.

15. Trees of Valley Forge

Perkiomen Watershed District

Educators from the Perkiomen Watershed will be showing off our love of trees, teaching all about Tree ID using Dichotomous Keys. Our educators will have a variety of dichotomous keys, leaves and specimen to identify and teach you how to use common tools to identify trees, macroinvertebrates and beyond.

16. What's That Job?

Various staff of Valley Forge National Historical Park

Meet with a different rangers each hour to learn more about what it takes to do their job. Natural Resource Management from 10 AM to 12 PM, Budget Analyst from 10:30 AM to 12:30 AM, Maintenance & Facilities from 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM, and Law Enforcement from 1 PM to 3 PM.

17. Sheep to Cloth

Peter Wentz Farmstead

Ever wonder how sheep's fur can be transformed into wool yarn? Come learn how sheepskin can be turned into wool cloth and sheep fur can be transformed through picking and carding.

18. Liberty Throughout the Land

Independence National Historical Park

We will discuss the travels of the Liberty Bell in 1915 when it went to
San Fransisco, its final trip outside of Philadelphia. The program will talk about the promises and paradoxes with the Liberty Bell, and its message of “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land,” traveling through a nation where many
struggled to secure such liberties.

19. Iron Master Challenge

Pottsgrove Manor

Do you have the business know-how to make it in the nation’s first industry? Learn about how an iron furnace was operated and some of the obstacles that could arise. Pottsgrove Manor will have copies of primary source documents to explore and interactive game elements to play to have students of all ages test their skills to see if they could make it in the 18th century Iron Industry!

20. Iron: Industry and Revolution

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site will introduce families to the iron industry of southeastern Pennsylvania. Learn why the industry was so prevalent in this area, where the resources were coming from, and what impact the iron industry had on the Revolutionary War and beyond!

Valley Forge National Historical Park

Last updated: October 10, 2023