Earth Friends Outdoors Homeschool Program

Registration for fall and full school year opens at 8 a.m. on July 14, 2021. Registration for just winter or spring trimesters will open at a later date.

Earth Friends Outdoors Homeschool program

Our all-outdoor classes are designed to connect children engaged in homeschooling, unschooling or distance learning with the natural world through hands-on, child-led experiences.
All Earth Friends Classes:
  • Will follow extensive policies and procedures in regards to ensure the health and safety of participants and staff. Previous year’s policies are available to the right. A revised version for 21-22 will be released no later than Aug. 31.
  • Engage in hikes, live animal encounters, and on-trail investigations across Irvine’s 210 acres.
  • Are led by 2 wonder-filled educator guides.
  • Limit class sizes to 12-14 students.
  • Spend their entire class time outdoors except for extreme inclement weather.
  • Use ancestral practices to stay warm in the elements- build or use existing shelters to protect from the wind, movement, fire, and warm drink.
  • A full gear list will be provided with your welcome letter before class begins. But weather appropriate gear is mandatory! In late fall and winter, this includes layers, snow suit, waterproof outer layer and boots, hats, and multiple pairs of mittens/gloves. Rainboots and raingear are strongly encouraged, as needed year-round.
Living Off the Land
Forest Dreamers
EF

 

 

 

Pricing Information:

  • All classes are eligible for membership discounts.
  • Did you know that families of registered homeschool students qualify for a teacher membership which entitles you to the Pacesetter Price?!
  • A sibling discount is available to families enrolling more than one child in an Earth Friends Outdoors trimester class. Each additional child enrolled is entitled to 10% off. Please note that sibling discounts are not applicable to the monthly Bauer Explorers class. When registering, please select “Pay in Installments.” Your discount will be applied to your second payment.
  • NEW! Register for a whole year of Earth Friends Outdoors and get an additional 10% off your registration. Registrations for fall, winter, and spring trimesters must be completed by 09/11 in order to qualify. When registering, please select “Pay in Installments.” Your discount will be applied to your second payment.

TRIMESTER-LONG CLASSES

Develop a strong relationship with and knowledge of our specific habitats and join us for a 12 week Fall or Spring series or 5 week Winter series. Trimester-long classes allow students to develop and nurture relationships with a regular group of peers and guides. Classes for 8-12 year olds incorporate multiple areas of learning including math, science, social studies (natural history), literature, creative arts, and physical development. Classes also provide documentation to aide in homeschool portfolio reviews and offer one possible make up class due to the event of cancellation by Irvine at the end of the trimester. Our full cancellation policy is available here.

Forest Explorers (ages 5-7 yrs)

The trees, animals, and seasons are our guides as we play and learn in nature. Modeled after the Forest Kindergarten model, there are no pre-set lesson plans as we organically discover and learn with what the trails present us each day! We explore ponds and streams, play in the meadow, climb trees, and develop a deep respect for the natural world as we grow to love and trust one another. In our all outdoor gatherings we collect natural items, listen to and create our own stories, build shelters and fires, record our learning in our journals, and create nature art all while emphasizing mindfulness, compassion, and gratitude for the land and its inhabitants.

*Please note there is no on-site care between the morning and afternoon sessions on Wednesdays.

forest explorers class 21- 22
SCHEDULE

(choose one or more)

 

FALL WINTER SPRING
Tuesdays

9:30-12:30

09/14- 12/7

*no class 11/30

Nonmember Price: $547

Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

01/11- 02/8

 

Nonmember Price: $228

Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

02/22- 05/17

*no class 04/12

Nonmember Price: $547

Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

Wednesdays AM 9:30-12:30 09/15- 12/8

*no class 11/24

Nonmember Price: $547

Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

01/12- 02/9

 

Nonmember Price: $228

Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

02/23- 05/18

*no class 04/13

Nonmember Price: $547

Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

Wednesdays PM 1:30-4 09/15- 12/8

*no class 11/24

Nonmember Price: $456

Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

01/12- 02/9

 

Nonmember Price: $190

Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

02/23- 05/18

*no class 04/13

Nonmember Price: $456

Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

Thursdays

9:30-12:30

09/16-12/9

*no class 11/25

Nonmember Price: $547

Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

1/13-02/10

 

Nonmember Price: $228

Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

02/24-05/19

*no class 04/14

Nonmember Price: $547

Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

*Special Discounts Available for siblings and full yr registration. 

 

Animals of Irvine (ages 6-11yrs)

Biology and science skills abound as children study Maryland’s native creatures. Activities align with the seasonal habits of animals. Exploration, observation, experimentation and documentation of discoveries are all part of our learning process. Each week, we’ll ‘meet’ an animal that will frame our study for the day. On occasion, we’ll go behind the scenes in Irvine’s animal care lab to get an up-close look at how Irvine cares for its animal ambassadors. Then we’ll don our boots and grab our animal guides to search for their cousins, or the clues they leave behind, out in the wilds of Irvine.

SCHEDULE

 

FALL WINTER SPRING
Mondays

9:30-12:30

09/13- 12/6

*no class 11/29

Nonmember Price: $547  Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

01/10- 02/7

 

Nonmember Price: $228 Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

02/21- 05/16

*no class 04/11

Nonmember Price: $547 Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

*Special Discounts Available for siblings and full yr registration.

 

Irvine Nature Lab (ages 8-12yrs)

Did you know tree frogs survive freezing winters because their blood contains a natural antifreeze? Or that puffball mushrooms influenced jet propulsion? How about that beavers not only inspired modern human built dams but the shapes of blades and tools based on their teeth!?!? In the Nature Lab we’ll explore animal and plant adaptations just like these found in our local Piedmont region of Maryland. We’ll then see what new innovations we can come up with based on our observations of the natural world! Bring your hiking boots, creativity and best brainstorming ideas for inspired weekly adventures.

SCHEDULE

 

FALL WINTER SPRING
Tuesdays

1-4pm

 

09/14- 12/7

*no class 11/30

Nonmember Price: $547  Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

01/11- 02/8

 

Nonmember Price: $228 Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

02/22- 05/17

*no class 04/12

Nonmember Price: $547 Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

*Special Discounts Available for siblings and full yr registration. 

 

Science in a Trail Bag (ages 8-12yrs)

Exploration of our woods, wetlands, streams, meadows, and ponds provide children limitless opportunities to investigate hidden nature gems. The tools and props we find in our special class trail bag will help set the tone and lesson for the day’s theme. We’ll fuel our creativity with tons of hand-on/minds-on investigations of ecosystems, flora and fauna across our vast 210-acre property!

*Please note there is no on-site care between the morning and afternoon sessions on Wednesdays.

nature lab 2
SCHEDULE

(choose one)

 

FALL WINTER SPRING
Wednesdays AM 9:30-12:30 09/15- 12/8

*no class 11/24

Nonmember Price: $547  Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

01/12- 02/9

 

Nonmember Price: $228 Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

02/23- 05/18

*no class 04/13

Nonmember Price: $547 Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

Wednesdays PM 1:30-4 09/15- 12/8

*no class 11/24

Nonmember Price: $456  Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

01/12- 02/9

 

Nonmember Price: $190 Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

02/23- 05/18

*no class 04/13

Nonmember Price: $456  Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

*Special Discounts Available for siblings and full yr registration.

BAUER EXPLORERS: A MONTHLY HOMESCHOOL CLASS

If you are looking for occasional classes for your homeschooler, our 2 hour drop off class for children 5-10yrs are held every second Tuesday of the month, October through May. This Earth Friends Outdoors drop off class is designed to connect children with seasonal nature study skill, creative arts and messy maths exploration. We promote respect for nature and each other through a nurturing environment. Hikes, live animal encounters, and open-ended wild nature play are integral to our learning each day

Schedule: 1:30-3:30pm

October 12, November 11, December 14, January 11, February 8, March 8, April 5, May 10

Nonmember Price: $34 a class

Pacesetters and teachers get 10% off

TUESDAY TREKKERS-BI-WEEKLY ADULT HIKES

Do you want to visit the wild wonders of Irvine without your kiddos in tow? Our trail pace may vary from week to week; some weeks we’ll slow down and explore sit spots, nature meditation and/or nature journaling, while other times we’ll make tracks to some far destinations, like the “back meadow,” “hawk meadow,” and “the cliffs.” Bring your nature questions, a water bottle and a sketchbook, and comfortable footwear and join Naturalist Educator, Stephanie Holzman on Tuesday morning hikes. Meet at the kiosk at the bottom of the steps. Questions? HolzmanS@ExploreNature.org

Please note, these hikes are intended for parents of enrolled Earth Friends Outdoors or Nature Preschool students. While you are permitted to bring your infant or toddlers along, the pace and content will be geared towards adults. We encourage you to meet the needs of your child while we hike, but the group will continue on.

Schedule: First and third Tuesdays of the month, October through May,10-11:30am

First Tuesdays: October 5, November 2, December 7, January 4, February 1, March 1, May 3

Third Tuesdays: October 19, November 23, January 18, February 15, March 15, April 19, May 17

Nonmember Price: $11.50 a hike

Pacesetters and teachers get 10% off

What Families Are Saying

We love all the teachers!! Both kids feel very comfortable and safe in their care and free to go on adventures and get wild. I really appreciate that the teachers bring their authentic selves and interests and really connect with the kids and enjoy the journeys. Lots of cool book selections. A great blend of planned experiments/info giving for context as well as exploring and open ended experimenting and discovery.

Emily T., Earth Friends Parent