It’s April 15, and we are SO CLOSE to warm weather, I can taste it. So can my hyacinths. See their little flower buds?

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My hyacinths know it’s spring! (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2013.

We have had a very long and snowy winter here in Connecticut, with several big snowstorms in the month of March. But the weather this week is improving slowly, and we should see the 50’s and 60’s for the next few days. Time to get out of the house and take the classroom on the road!

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Don’t you hear spring calling you?  (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2012.

You don’t have to go far to find really great “classrooms” when you homeschool. I got on the Internet last night and scoped out some possibilities for the coming week. I wonder if you have similar things going on in your area?

  1. Tour a local military base. Here in Connecticut, we have one of the country’s largest submarine bases, in Groton. The USS Nautilus and Submarine Force Museum gives guided tours of the decommissioned USS Nautilus – great for any of your guys (like my youngest) who can’t get enough of anything military. Closed April 15 and all Tuesdays. Admission – FREE.
  2. See an art show. We found a lot of art shows this month. Now through May 4, the Mystic Arts Center in Mystic is hosting the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts 102nd Annual Juried Arts Show, including exhibits in a variety of media. My youngest son loves art and really enjoys art museums — yours might, too. Now through May 4. Admission – FREE.
  3. Go back in time. Make your child’s history lessons come alive by finding authentic experiences from that period, right in your area. The Lockwood Matthews Museum in Norwalk has an exhibit of turn-of-the-20th-Century gadgets called What is it? Technology and Discoveries of the Victorian EraApril 17 – October 6, Wednesdays through Sundays. Admission – $10 adults, $6 children.
  4. Visit a historic site. Find out about the history of your town and visit important places in its history. Towns along the Connecticut River Valley depended on thread mills for their industry. The Windham Textile and History Museum in Willimantic sponsors a “Mill of the Month” walking tour. This month features the Dugan Mill Exhibit, which has working period machinery used to manufacture silk and cotton thread. April 14 – December 6. Admission – $7 adults, $5 students.
  5. Be a farmer for a day. That is, if you aren’t already one. Living so very close to the University of Connecticut, in Storrs, we have access to many agricultural events all year. This week is the UConn Dairy Show, a fun time for all. April 20. Admission – FREE.++
  6. Go to the orchard. That’s right. The very orchard you picked apples at last fall. Many larger orchards are open year round. Our favorite, Buell’s Orchard, in Eastford, has honey, apples from storage, herb plants, locally made preserves and pickles, and cheese, all month. And the trip is nice, too. Year-round. Admission – FREE.
  7. Buy some local produce. While most farmer’s markets open once summer crops come in, some have special winter hours, and a few remain open year round. Farmer’s Market at Billings Forge, in Hartford, moves indoors for the winter, offering herbs and herb plants, fresh spinach, greenhouse tomatoes, mushrooms and preserved foods this month (see Crop Availability Chart).  My kids love to go to the farmer’s market, just to be there.  Year-round, Thursdays. Admission – FREE.
  8. Go to a fair. Maybe you have lived near train tracks and have seen the joy on kids’ faces when the circus or fair came to town, with car after train car full of collapsed rides, vendor’s booths and circus animals. How exciting! In nearby Willimantic, we’ll have the Willimantic Earth Day Fair, with kids’ activities, local business specials, sunshine and Earth Day fun. April 22. Admission – FREE.
  9. Go to the library. Your local library provides a wealth of homeschool opportunities, and probably has a website to tell you all about them. Besides story hours, they will likely have other community opportunities. Our Willington Public Library, here in Willington, has a Crocheting Club for stitchers of all ages and abilities. Year-round, on Thursdays. Admission – FREE.
  10. Take a hike. Really. Hike for 15 minutes, or for 5 hours. You decide.  But go outside — see spring unfolding. The Nipmuck Trail, which winds through Windham, Mansfield, Willington, Ashford, Union and north into Massachusetts and beyond, is part of the nation’s Blue Trail System. Fortunately, for us, there is a trail head right on our street. Year-round. Admission – FREE.

With so many choices for activities, which will we choose?  Well, stay tuned, and I’ll keep you posted!

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Here’s to the start of a great spring day at your house, too! (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2013

Meanwhile, get on the Internet and find low- or no-cost places to take your classroom. Let me know how you make out!

For more economical field trips for homeschool, see my article, Finding Fun, Free Family Trips, Close to Home.

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