August in Indiana means back-to-school time. It's that time for my family, too, but as homeschoolers, we aren't returning to a building. Instead, we're getting our curriculum ready and planning our activities for the year.
Most homeschoolers (my family included) love field trips. Being able to plan lots of hands-on learning activities is one of the reasons we decided to homeschool, and Hendricks County provides all kinds of great options for homeschool families. There are great destinations for kids of all ages that cover a wide variety of topics. Science, history, art -- Hendricks County has it all.
Here are some of our favorite places to explore when we're looking to take our lessons beyond the four walls of our home:
Hendricks County has a rich history, and there are some great places that are devoted to preserving it and sharing it with others. One of our favorite spots to explore is the Hendricks County Historical Museum in Danville.
The building was once both the jail and the home of the local sheriff, and kids can head down to the basement and visit the original jail cells. Collection manager Gail Tharp gives excellent tours that make the history of the building come alive for young visitors.
The museum is only open to the public from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each Friday and Saturday, but they will work with groups to schedule tours by appointment during the week. You can call the museum at (317) 718-7060 to schedule a tour or for more information.
Another great spot for living history is the 1883 One Room Schoolhouse in Pittsboro. This attraction offers a completely immersive experience where children learn what life was like in an old one room school on a typical day in 1892, complete with a schoolmaster or schoolmarm!
This is a true step back into history where both kids and adults can take on the persona of a person in that class and learn so much about an earlier time. Like the museum, the schoolhouse is available for groups by appointment. It is not open to the public. For more information or to schedule a visit, call (317) 994-4105.
Science and Nature
Our favorite spot for hands-on nature experiences is McCloud Nature Park. The park in North Salem is dedicated to preserving native plant and animal life, and it allows children to get up close and personal with the various plants and animals that grow in Central Indiana. Big Walnut Creek provides a great place to explore and go wading. They also have regular educational programs virtually every Saturday, so you always have the opportunity to learn something new!
Another favorite spot for experiencing animals up close is Natural Valley Ranch in Brownsburg. My boys love horses, and Natural Valley Ranch allows us an opportunity to see them up close, ride them and learn more about their care. There are also other animals to meet at the ranch, and the staff is incredibly friendly and welcoming. It's a great place to spend a day!
Snapology is a newer spot in Plainfield where kids can learn more about engineering through building with LEGO bricks. Their classes and workshops are so much fun, kids don't even realize they are learning valuable skills.
My boys are LEGO obsessed, so I love that we can combine one of their favorite things with the academic principles I want them to learn. In addition to classes, they also offer camps and birthday parties.
Keeping your body fit is just as important as keeping your mind sharp. When my kids get the wiggles, we like to visit Kid's Planet in Brownsburg. My children can climb and explore for as long as they like, and I can bring my laptop along and get a little work done! It's the perfect place to spend a couple of hours after a long day of learning.
Another great option for physical activity is Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park in Plainfield. Kids can bounce, play basketball, play dodgeball and have fun wearing themselves out. There's even a special area for younger kids, so the whole family can get some exercise together.
The Tie Dye Lab in Avon allows kids (and adults) to create their own tie-dyed item and take it home. Kids get to pick their item and colors, and complete each step of the dyeing process. You can also bring in your own items to tie dye! Check out this recent post from the Insider Blog to learn more about this awesome destination!
Plainfield's uPaint Pottery Studio is another excellent spot for kids to get creative. Pick out a piece of pottery, get some paint and make your own unique work of art. The staff is friendly and helpful, and no appointment is needed; you can just stop by any time you feel the need to create!
Homeschool doesn't just happen at home; it happens anywhere there's something new to learn. If you're looking for new places to explore and have fun, Hendricks County is the perfect spot to explore!