Past Lifeways Homeschool Days

Session 1: May 7
Session 2: September 10

Past Lifeways Home School Day is an opportunity for homeschool students to experience the CAA’s Past Lifeways program without the need for a group minimum! Past Lifeways is the our experiential, STEM-based program for 3rd-12th grade students that allows them to explore the environment and daily life of past peoples of the Illinois Valley through the lenses of archaeology and related disciplines. Students participate in fun, educational activities that teach them about archaeology, ecology, biology, physics, and geology.

Each day will include a different set of four activities. Students may attend each day and participate in one to four activities.


May 7

Ecology Hike: Explore the unique geography and rich resources of the Lower Illinois River Valley with the eyes of a person searching for food, medicine, and other materials needed for daily life. Each hike introduces students to the concept of “reading” the environment around you. Discussions of modern impacts on the environment, seasonal availability, and conservation are just a few topics covered on this interactive hike!

Archaeological Scene Investigation (indoor): Through technology, subsistence, settlements, social structure, and environment, students learn about culture as they examine a box of information to determine what prehistoric culture is represented by the evidence. This activity involves critical thinking skills as well as group work.

Village Daily Life: Presented through games and hands-on activities, the many facets of ancient village life are explored in this session. Activities may include structure-building using replicated ancient tools, gathering seasonally available resources, planting and harvesting, ground stone tool manufacture, cattail mat weaving, and more!

Flintknapping: Introduces stone tool technology: How were stone tools made? From what materials? What types of tools are discovered at archaeological sites? Multi-Day students also explore such topics as use-wear and material collection. Students make their own stone tool.

September 10

Archaeological Survey and Mapping (weather permitting): Students learn how archaeologists use grids to map archaeological sites. Highlights mapping, math, and teamwork skills.

Context is Everything: In order to interpret an artifact, an archaeologist must know the context in which it was found. Students are given a box with artifacts that might be found in the same type of context. Students work in groups to determine the information the artifact groups offer.

Animals in Archaeology: In a combination of games, hands-on activities and discussion, students learn about the important role animals played in the daily lives of prehistoric people as well as how archaeologists are able to interpret animal evidence to better understand the environment and culture of the people.

Ceramics: Ceramics provides an introduction to prehistoric pottery production—how production changed through time, what tools people used, and ceramic form and function. Students make their own pinch or coil pots using local clay; if time allows, students gather their own clay from a local creek.


  • Check-in: 9:00-9:30 am
  • Program: 9:30-3:00 pm
  • Lunch Break: 12:00-12:30 pm

Check-in begins no earlier than 9:00 am. All students must be accompanied by an parent, guardian, or adult chaperone.

What to Bring

Each student should bring a bag lunch, snacks, and a refillable water bottle. Water will be provided. Students should dress for outdoor activities.


Tuition is $10 per student per activity. There is a non-refundable $10 registration fee.

How to Apply

Download, complete, and return the 2024 Homeschool Day application.

Upon receipt of your application, we will send you a confirmation by email. If you have not received a confirmation, we have not received your application.

Registration for the program closes one week prior to the start of each session or upon maximum enrollment

Maximum Enrollment: 20 students per day. Those applying after enrollment capacity is reached will be added to the waiting list in the order of receipt of a complete application.

If you have a homeschool group of 8 or more students, you may also contact us about scheduling your very own day with activities you choose yourself.

Questions: If you have any questions, please contact the CAA at or 618-653-4316 for more information.