Homeschool Program

All homeschool students are invited to participate in Historic Columbia’s Homeschool Friday programs taking place on the first Friday of the month. Each month’s program is from 10am-11:30am and includes hands-on activities while students learn and explore different themes and historic sites at Historic Columbia. The cost is $5 per student and reservations are suggested. Program participants should gather in the Gift Shop at Robert Mills on the day of the program unless otherwise noted. Homeschool Friday programs are designed for students of elementary and middle school age levels.

Questions and reservations should be directed to James Quint, Education Coordinator at or 803.252.1770 ext. 36

Upcoming Homeschool Friday Programs

September 5 | History of Media in Columbia and Richland County

Students will explore the rich media history of Columbia and Richland County including early newspapers, radio, and television stations. Topics will include yellow journalism, the assassination of The State’s founder by a lieutenant governor, and samples from newspapers that have operated in Columbia. From The Columbia Gazette in 1794 to, see how information has been communicated to Richland County’s residents throughout history.  

October 3 | Mourning Customs of the 19th Century

Discover how people in the 19th century mourned the loss of a loved one.  Women were expected to observe certain mourning customs such as covering mirrors in a black cloth, wearing dark clothing and black jewelry. Even children wore a black ribbon around their arm. Homeschool students will see the Hampton-Preston Mansion decorated as if the family was in mourning and learn about 19th century mourning customs. They will also make their own “hair wreath,” a common practice to remember a loved one.  

November 7 | Woodrow Wilson’s Presidency

The lasting effects of President Woodrow Wilson’s decisions as this nation’s leader continue to be felt today. This program will explore his work as president including the creation of the Federal Reserve to stabilize the banking system, his leadership in World War I, and the passage of the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote.  

This program will take place at the Woodrow Wilson Family Home at 1705 Hampton Street.

December 5 | Main Street Tour

Main Street, or Richardson Street as it was originally called, is the most architecturally diverse area of Columbia today. From 19th century two story brick buildings to the newest office towers, Main Street’s prosperity has grown and declined over the city’s history. Students will learn the history of Main Street on a walking tour from the State House to the Tapps building.  Students can see the first mall on Main Street, bank vaults, movie theaters, and former department stores as they learn how building uses have changed and how Main Street is being revived. Where else can you see references to Egypt, Greece, and Rome?  

Participants should meet at the South Carolina State House near the Confederate Monument.

February 6 | Columbia in the Civil War 

As Columbia remembers the 150th anniversary of the fire that swept through the city upon the arrival of the Union army in February 1865, we will look at the role Columbia played during the Civil War. This program will explore the industries, people, and events surrounding Columbia in the Civil War.  

March 6 | Schools in the 19th Century

From one-room school houses to the colleges that occupied the Hampton-Preston Mansion and Robert Mills House at the end of the 1800’s, schools and universities in Columbia were quite different than they are today. Students will take part in a variety of activities to see how students packed for college, what they ate, sports they played, and the degrees that they earned.  Students can handle a 100 year old textbook and complete an assignment using a quill pen.

April 3 | Robert Mills House as a Seminary

Few people realize that the Robert Mills House was never used as a private residence. Shortly after it was completed, the home was turned into a seminary. This program will explore history of the site as a seminary and other religious educational institutions. Activities will also incorporate some of the key individuals associated with the seminary, including Woodrow Wilson’s father, Dr. Joseph Wilson.

May 1 | Games of the 19th Century

Homeschool students will participate in several 19th century games as they learn what it was like to be a kid 150 years ago. Some popular games today have their roots in the 19th century. Students will take part in a games played in the past such as croquet, hoop and stick, Shepherdess and the Wolf, hide the thimble, Graces, Up Jenkins, and more. Get ready to have fun and give up those video games for a couple of hours!