Worldschooling is our favorite way of homeschooling! Learning from the world, exploring new communities, navigating new cities and off-the-beaten path adventures. There is truly no better way to learn than immersing yourself in an experience. And Worldschooling in Boston is no different!
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Why You Should Worldschool in Boston
If you’re thinking of Worldschooling in Boston, you are in for a treat! Boston is one of the most historic cities in the United States. Home to a plethora of historic and architectural sites, you will find yourself immersed in stories from long ago.
If you’ve never visited Boston, or haven’t visited with your kids, start with my post The Best Things to Do in Boston with Kids. These are the activities, experiences, and spots we loved the most, both for worldschooling and general family fun.
Then, hop over to the Complete Guide to Boston Tours for Families. Our family tried out some of the most famous Boston Tours, from spooky to historic. We loved some, didn’t care for others, and will give you an honest run down of which to skip and which you shouldn’t!
Worldschooling in Boston: Know Before You Go
- Stay in the downtown Boston area, preferably near Boston Common. This way you can take the “T” (subway) or walk to every historic location and site. We went in the Fall and really enjoyed walking the city, stopping at green spaces to play, and popping into little shops along the way.
- The perfect length of trip to Boston is 4-5 days. This will give you enough time to enjoy the city and see all the historic sites without rushing. We stayed a little longer to see family, and there just wasn’t much more to see and do in the downtown area.
- I found that Boston has a severe lack of playgrounds! If you are out in the suburbs, there are plenty. However, you will find more open green spaces than playgrounds and parks unfortunately. We brought with us these Rebound Balls (the best travel toy ever!) which helped to cut boredom as needed.
- If your kids get burned out on history, tours, and looking at beautiful buildings (mine sure do!), make sure to plan meals, snacks, and free play time along the way. Keep reading for more tips on where to eat, where to find play areas, and more.
- The Boston subway system, called the “T,” is clean and safe. Children under 11 ride free! We used this often when little feet got tired.
Worldschooling in Boston: What To Know About the City
Is Boston Safe for Kids?
Throughout our trip, we felt safe in Boston. We walked everywhere, took the “T” (which is the local public transportation system), and explored almost every inch of the city. We stayed downtown, near the most historic sites, which allowed us to be within a 5-30 minute walk of most places.
Remember to follow some general safety rules, regardless of where you are traveling! Keep tabs on the local news for any must-know or urgent information. Don’t walk in unfamiliar areas at night, especially alone. Keep valuables to a minimum and non-visible. Keep kids as close as you feel comfortable with.
I have an extensive article, How to Keep Kids Safe While Traveling the World, with safety tips and specific things you may not have considered before.
Worldschooling in Boston: Reminders!!
Keep in mind that learning sometimes, but not always, happens by osmosis. I highly recommend that each child is given control and freedom over what knowledge they consume each day. Read my post about How to Homeschool While Traveling.
As a reminder, here are the items I always pack in our day packs for a worldschooling adventure (or really, any day, since learning happens all the time!)
- Our favorite notebooks
- The Best Color Pens
- Our Cameras: This one for kids, This one for kids who want a waterproof option, and my iPhone for me.
- A low stress, open minded attitude (for the parents!)
Important Worldschooling Sites to Visit in Boston
Now to the good stuff! Worldschooling in Boston is a dream! If your goal is to raise educated, self-directed and globally minded young people, this city has it all. Keep in mind, you can walk past many of these historic sites without even knowing they are there. Worldschooling, travel school, and home educating takes effort, a bit of pre-planning, and curious open minded explorers.
Top Tip: Do some research on the Freedom Trail. Many of the sites below can be seen as you wind your way through Boston and stroll along the Freedom Trail.
1. Worldschooling in Boston: Faneuil Hall
Faneuil Hall (pronounced: Fan-Yull) is known as the “Cradle of Liberty” to those who love U.S. History. America’s first Town Meeting was held here, and here the Sons of Liberty outwardly spoke their dissent against British control.
If you love collecting Junior Ranger badges, and using these booklets to supplement your child’s learning, make sure you pick up a booklet at Faneuil Hall. Inside, there are some tourist shops, but also a beautiful exhibit in the basement about Boston’s role in the Underground Railroad. While this topic comes quite a bit later in U.S. History, it is one worth diving into while you are here.
Quincy Market is in the building behind Faneuil Hall, and is filled with delicious local food vendors!
2. Worldschooling in Boston: Granary Burying Ground & Paul Revere House
Just across the street from the Kimpton Nine Zero Hotel (highly recommend! They give the kids free scooters to use each morning, which kept our kids eager to roam the city), is Granary Burying Ground. This cemetery is the resting place of Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and possibly even Mary “mother” Goose.
You can join a historic tour to lead you through the grounds, see this cemetery as part of the Ghost & Gravestone Tour, or walk it yourself. It is very small, and with some pre-learning, you can make a fun scavenger hunt for the kids!
Hint: lookup some more information about the grave of Paul Revere. There are some incorrect dates on his headstone, and a reason why you will see both a tiny headstone and a larger monument dedicated to him.
Hint #2: Behind Granary is the Boston Athenaeum, a private library that contains a book made of HUMAN SKIN. Entry was pricey, and we ran out of time to stop in, but this will definitely be on my list for the next time we are in Boston!
The Paul Revere House was an inexpensive entry and a stop on the way to lunch in Boston’s Little Italy. We enjoyed walking through the restored home, learning about the life of his family, seeing his metal work (did you know he was a metal smith who made a number of historic bells that ring throughout New England?).
3. Worldschooling in Boston: Copps Hill Burial Ground
A visit to the Copps Hill Burial Ground will send you on your way to learning about Cotton Mather (a prominent figure in the Salem Witch Trials), Robert Newman (who hung the lanterns indicating that the British were coming by sea), and a number of free African-Americans. Also of note: the British used this hill in the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775.
Hint: You can see this site during your Ghost & Gravestone Tour!
Hint #2: Want to see Boston’s famous “Skinny House” that sold for $1.25mil? Its just across the street, and painted an adorable blue.
4. Worldschooling in Boston: The Freedom Trail
The Freedom Trail is the #1 reason for Worldschooling in Boston. Read my extensive guide to the Freedom Trail here. There are lots of options and ways to “do” the Freedom Trail. I recommend getting a map of Boston, marking each of the 16 sites on your map, and then marking off the ones you will see as part of your other adventures or tours. This will prevent you from exploring the same spot twice, and help you maximize your Worldschooling in Boston.
Hint: If your family members are history buffs, and your children are extremely interested in this trail, I would recommend booking one of their tours. For homeschoolers and Worldschoolers, the education section of their website is excellent and full of information, videos and learning material.
Our children are young tweens, and while they enjoy some history, their idea of fun doesn’t include an entire day of looking at old buildings. So, we walked the Freedom Trail on our own, stopped at the sites that were most interesting to us, and explored other parts of the city at the same time. To provide the kids with some context, it helped to read about the American Revolution, Paul Revere (and William Dawes), The Boston Massacre, and the Boston Tea Party before our trip to Boston. (Add book recs from pics I took in gift shop)
5. Worldschooling in Boston: Boston Tea Party
This was, hands down, our favorite experience while Worldschooling in Boston. Read this post for my detailed account of the experience. Here are some Worldschooling tips for you:
- You’ll move through the entire experience with your own colonial guide, who story tells and explains along the way.
- You’ll be assigned a card with your historical figure character! This card is yours to keep, so hold onto it as a souvenir.
- Be a part of the Old State House meeting on Dec 16, 1773. Learn to boo, hiss, fie (they’ll explain what that one is!), huzzah and more!
- Tour the Eleanor, a replica of one of the original Tea Party ships, and try your hand at dumping caskets of tea into the harbor.
- In the museum, watch a hologram show (looks so real!) of two colonial women, one a loyalist and one a patriot, making their cases for and against the Revolutionary War.
- Watch Samuel Adams and King George duke it out with words directly from their speeches and letters
- See the only remaining tea chest that survived the Boston Tea Party.
- Watch a reenactment film of the SHOT HEARD AROUND THE WORLD, Paul Revere and William Dawes’ ride.
- End your experience at Abigail’s Tea House where you can sample all 5 of the teas that were actually thrown overboard!
6. The Boston Public Library
If you are a lover of libraries, like I am, you will be blown away by the Boston Public Library. It was the first public library that allowed books to be borrowed in the United States. This library is mind blowing!
Enter through the main entrance, which will take you through the original building. It will take at least 30 minutes to walk through the gilded rooms of paintings, murals, frescoes, and other artifacts.
Then, take yourselves to the newer part of the Boston Public Library. There is a dedicated kids room with play areas and thousands of picture books. You can watch a live news broadcast, get a drink at the cafe, and explore the winding hallways holding thousands of modern books, magazines, and more.
Be sure you go to the Central Library on Copley Square. We accidentally went to one of their library annexes, which was just a regular neighborhood library and was also closed!
7. Make Way for Ducklings
If you haven’t read the famous children’s book by Robert McCloskey, Make Way for Ducklings, now is the time! Either enjoy a read through at the Boston Public Library, or lookup a live reading on YouTube. Then, make your way to these adorable duckling statues for a quick picture!
The statues can be found on the corner of Beacon St. and Charles St. Nearby, you will also find the Frog Pond and Tadpole Playground to burn off some energy! Older kids will enjoy throwing a ball or relaxing in Boston Common.
8. The Mapparium
Don’t be turned off by the Mapparium‘s unique location inside the Christian Science building. A visit to the Mapparium is a must do for kids aged 8 and over. You will find yourself standing inside a 3 story, glass globe of the Earth, as it was in 1935.
See if your children can spot the differences in country names, land borders, and more when they compare the world of 1935 with the world of today.
Bonus: Something incredible happens to the way sound travels inside this glass globe. Enjoy the fun!
Hint: Also housed within the Christian Science building is a beautiful (and non-religious) exhibit chronicling people around the world making a difference in their communities. Children and adults will enjoy the interactive Seeds of Hope wall where you can write down your hopes and dreams for the future.
Worldschooling in Boston is such a treat! Stay tuned for more destinations and Worldschooling guides coming soon for destinations around the world!