Choosing to homeschool means saying yes to all sorts of fun things (like making adobe bricks). But it also means we’ve had to say no to a lot of the traditional activities happening in public schools – like studying the California Missions in 4th grade. Learning about the California Missions is a huge rite of passage around here. The apex of the mission study is crafting your own mini Mission. It’s the grand finale of the whole unit! I still remember mine – I made a replica of Mission San Juan Capistrano’s Serra Chapel alter.
It was glorious.
Mine was glitteriffic, but the real thing is truly breathtaking.
Just because we homeschool doesn’t mean to have to completely kiss the 4th grade Mission project goodbye. We just get to do it a different way. We tried one of the monthly Homeschool Family Days and loved every second of it.
You may notice we have an extra kiddo in the mix. We had the opportunity to host an amazing foreign exchange student from Japan when our tour was scheduled. Although she is 16 she got to experience the 4th Grade Mission tradition as well.
Spoiler Alert: She loved it!
We learned about life on the mission, the history of the area, and the indigenous people.
Most of all, history came alive for my kiddos… and me too!
There really is nothing like walking around the mission, it’s like stepping back in time.
It would be difficult for me to pick a favorite part of the tour but ruins of The Great Stone Church were pretty amazing. It was the biggest stone structure west of the Mississippi till a large earthquake destroyed the building in 1812.
I made this fun printable with the most famous quote from Mission San Juan Capistrano’s founding father Saint Junipero Serra. Feel free to pin or print and use as a cover for your own Mission reports.
Homeschool Family Days at Mission San Juan Capistrano
- Every 3rd Wednesday of the month
- Includes child admission, guided tour, audio tour, panning for gold, adobe brick making, koi fish food
- Mission Clubhouse ID card and Mission Passport.
- Must book 1 week in advance with a minimum of 8 attendees.
- Call Group Bookings at (949) 234-1306 to reserve a spot.
Mission San Juan Capistrano has great family membership programs. A family of 4: $60.00 ($5 each additional member). For our family it’s only $70 for the year and if we go three times that’s just $3.80 a person per visit. A steal!
Also, how have I lived in Orange County for 36 years (4th generation) and not know about Christmas at the Mission. We will be going this year for sure. Details here.