Ideas for a homeschool mystery day

Ideas for homeschool mystery day
Written by contributor Rachel Wolf of Lusa Organics and Clean

This summer I’m reviving one of my favorite homeschooling traditions.

Mystery Day.

Mystery Day begins with a simple set of instructions.

I tell the children what to wear (a swimming suit, a nice outfit, or maybe their muck boots) and what to pack (like a sketch book, a water bottle or a hip sack.)

I pack our remaining gear in secret, hiding away anything that would reveal our destination.

Duluth train

As we eat breakfast together the children speculate on where this day might take them.

To the local museum? Or a nearby city?

To a friend’s farm to see the new calf?

Or on a hike along the river?

We wonder and guess and laugh, and then –

and then we go.

Ideas for a homeschool mystery day ~SimpleHomeschool

During our journey the kids continue to speculate and ask lots of questions about our destination.

“Have we been there before?”

“Is it in the country or the city?”

“Are we going to be inside or outside today?”

“Will we see something we’ve been learning about at home?”

Banding birds

Sometimes they out-fox me before we arrive, but frequently I surprise them.

We arrive at our destination and everyone delights in what the day brings us.

Often our destination is free.

Like letterboxing in the woods or watercolor painting in the park.

Circus World Museum

It is common to take a field trip inspired by something the children have expressed an interest in exploring.

And sometimes it’s just for fun.

In the past five years we have found ourselves on countless Mystery Day adventures.

We’ve seen the bluffs over the Mississippi, eaten sushi, visited a magnolia garden, and banded songbirds.

We’ve visited a zoo, a circus museum, a blueberry farm, and our own back woods.

Some of our trips take an afternoon, others take us until well past sundown.


To me, the beauty of Mystery Day (aside from the joyful suspense and adventure!) is its flexibility.

• Mystery Day can be as simple or complex as you wish.

• You can stay close to home or travel all morning.

• It can be a homeschooling splurge or a no-cost adventure.

• It’s fun, simple (educational!) fun for everyone.

Prescribed burn

So I guess only one question remains:

Where will you go first?

More information about our Mystery Day adventures can be found here, here, and here.

How do you work playful, affordable adventure into your homeschool?


About Rachel Wolf

Rachel Wolf woke up recently and realized that she's living the life she has always wanted. Her days are spent with and two spunky unschoolers, running LuSa Organics (her small business), and hanging the laundry out on the line. Rachel writes about her homeschooling, homemaking, and non-violent parenting path on her blog Clean.


  1. I was contemplating homeschooling again, but the pics were adorable and great suggestions on mystery day adventures.

  2. This sounds like so much fun!!! I will have to try this over the summer!
    Katie’s latest post: 10 Things I Live For {52 Weeks of Blogging a Purpose}

  3. This sounds like a lot of fun. Now, I’m trying to come up with a good mystery day idea for us.
    Suanna’s latest post: Around the World in 60 Days – Week 3

  4. Elizabeth says:

    This mystery day idea sounds fun. And perfect for these long-stretched summer days!

  5. Inspired 🙂
    Needed it!
    SO thankful for Simple Homeschool!
    Kind Blessings,
    Kate 🙂
    Kate’s latest post: A Trip and a Prayer

  6. Oh my goodness! I love this idea. I’m going to incorporate it into our year! Thanks!

  7. LOVE THIS!!!
    Consider this a permanent part of our Homeschool from now on, thankyou so much!

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