Earth Friends Outdoors Homeschool Program

REGISTRATION FOR SCHOOL YEAR 2022-23 WILL OPEN WEDNESDAY,  JUNE 8 at 8AM. 

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.
In Earth Friends Outdoors, all classes:
  • engage in hikes, live animal encounters, and on-trail investigations across Irvine’s 211 acres.
  • spend their entire class time outdoors except for inclement weather and during forays into our exhibit hall.
  • use ancestral practices to stay warm in the elements- build or use existing shelters to protect from the wind and cold, movement, fire, and warm drink.
  • are led by 2 wonder-filled educator guides in small class sizes (12-15 students).

Health and Safety are paramount at Irvine. Weather appropriate gear is mandatory. This includes layers, snow pants, waterproof outer layer and boots, hats, and multiple pairs of waterproof mittens/gloves. Rainboots and raingear are strongly encouraged, as needed year-round. A recommended gear list will be provided before class begins. Regarding COVID-19, as this is a continuously changing situation, Irvine is closely monitoring current best practices and following local pandemic guidance. We will determine any COVID-19 related policies closer to the program start date. Find our Spring 2022 policies below.

3 kids 1 teacher tree climbing- some no masks
3 kids in profile older checking the boxes
Forest Dreamers

 

Pricing Information:

  • All Earth Friends Outdoors classes are eligible for a member discount. Homeschool families qualify for an Educator membership, which can be purchased for $40 and includes the same benefits as the Pacesetter level, including 10% discount on homeschool programs. View all Irvine membership benefits here. 
  • 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 drop-in Bauer Explorers class. When registering, please select “Pay in Installments.” Your discount will be applied to your second payment.
  • Earn a full-year discount when registering for all three trimesters of Earth Friends Outdoors and get an additional 10% off your registration. Discount will be applied to the full-year price. Full-year registrations must be completed by 09/6 in order to qualify.

If you are interested in registering for a program that is already underway, please contact Stephanie Holzman, Head of Homeschool Programs at HolzmanS@ExploreNature.org.

TRIMESTER-LONG CLASSES

Join us for a 12-week Fall or Spring series or 5-week Winter mini-mester and develop and nurture strong relationships with the land and a regular group of peers and guides. Classes for 6-9 year olds offer play- and place-based learning. The thematic 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 makeup class at the end of the trimester, in the event of any class cancellations. Our full cancellation policy is available here.

Forest Explorers (ages 4.5-7 yrs*)

The trees, animals, and seasons are our guides as we play and learn in nature. Modeled after Forest Kindergarten, 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.

*Child must be age 5 by 12/31/22; If enrolling for Spring ’23 and your child will be 8 before 2/9/23, please consider registering for the 6-9yr class. Contact Stephanie Holzman with any age-related questions.

Group digging YES image release BEST
FOREST EXPLORERS SCHEDULE

(choose one or more)

 

FALL WINTER SPRING
Tuesdays

9:30-12:30

09/13- 12/6

(no class 11/29)

Nonmember Price: $574.50

Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

01/10- 02/7

 

Nonmember Price: $239.50

Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

02/21- 05/16

(no class 04/4)

Nonmember Price: $574.50

Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

Wednesdays* AM 9:30-12:30 09/14- 12/7

(no class 11/23)

Nonmember Price: $574.50

Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

01/11- 02/8

 

Nonmember Price: $239.50

Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

02/22- 05/17

(no class 04/5)

Nonmember Price: $574.50

Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

Wednesdays* PM 1:30-4 09/14- 12/7

(no class 11/23)

Nonmember Price: $479

Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

01/11- 02/8

 

Nonmember Price: $199.50

Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

02/22- 05/17

(no class 04/5)

Nonmember Price: $479

Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

Special Discounts Available for siblings and full yr registration. *Please note there is no on-site care between the morning and afternoon sessions on Wednesdays.

Animals of Irvine (ages 6-9yrs)

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 and exhibit hall 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. Meets Mondays, 9:30-12:30.

2 kids in birds nest no masks
ANIMALS OF IRVINE SCHEDULE

 

FALL WINTER SPRING
Mondays

9:30-12:30

09/12- 12/5

(no class 11/28)

Nonmember Price: $574.50  Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

01/9- 02/6

 

Nonmember Price: $239.50 Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

02/20- 05/15

(no class 04/3)

Nonmember Price: $574.50 Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

Special Discounts Available for siblings and full yr registration.

stem – nATURE style (ages 6-9yrs)

STEM integration engages students’ inquiry, critical thinking, collaboration, and investigation skills across the content areas of: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.  At Irvine we also add an A for Art because beauty and creativity surrounds us. What better place to do all of this than the great outdoors? Our natural setting allows children unlimited opportunities to explore and build using a variety of tools and natural materials. Let’s build a ramp, bridge, shelter, or launching device. Let’s explore log rolling or the wonders of pulleys. The possibilities are endless! Meets Thursdays, 9:30-12:30. 

2 kids water filtration wetlands engaged
STEM: NATURE STYLE SCHEDULE

 

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

(no class 11/24)

Nonmember Price: $574.50  Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

01/12- 02/9

 

Nonmember Price: $239.50 Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

02/23- 05/18

(no class 04/6)

Nonmember Price: $574.50 Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

Special Discounts Available for siblings and full yr registration. 

LIVING WETLANDS: NURSERIES OF LIFE (ages 8-12yrs)

Study how the seasonal changes of the Mid-Atlantic affect the wetlands of Irvine and the rest of the 211-acre property. Exploration, observation, and documentation will guide children as they explore the changing waterways and wetlands from September through May. Students will develop a deeper understanding of the importance of these unique watershed habitats on property and the importance of protecting them through citizen science projects, like stream surveys and springtime bluebird box data collection. Observe how each new season transforms the landscape, flora and fauna. Meets Tuesdays, 1:30-4pm. 

2 kids older at wetlands
LIVING WETLANDS SCHEDULE

 

FALL WINTER SPRING
Tuesdays

1:30-4pm

 

09/13- 12/6

(no class 11/29)

Nonmember Price: $479 Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

01/10- 02/7

 

Nonmember Price: $199.50 Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

02/21- 05/16

(no class 04/4)

Nonmember Price: $479 Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

Special Discounts Available for siblings and full yr registration. 

 

fARM & forage TO tABLE (ages 8-12yrs)

This program offers young gardeners and chefs the opportunity to engage in the process of harvesting, preparing, sharing, and celebrating local foods. From seasonal foraging of edible plants on Irvine’s property to local farms’ fall and spring bounty, children will practice knife skills, food preparation, sustainability, and recipe taste testing. This class offers a mix of wild investigations and playing with food for delicious results. Specific interdisciplinary skills include food science and historical food preparation, as well as an optional farm field trip during the fall and spring semesters. Meets Wednesdays, 9:30-12:30 OR 1:30-4pm. 

3 kids fire tending BEST for farm and forage to table

 

FARM & FORAGE TO TABLE SCHEDULE

(choose one)

 

FALL WINTER SPRING
Wednesdays AM 9:30-12:30 09/14- 12/7

(no class 11/23)

Nonmember Price: $574.50  Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

01/11- 02/8

 

Nonmember Price: $239.50 Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

02/22- 05/17

(no class 04/5)

Nonmember Price: $574.50 Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

Wednesdays PM 1:30-4 09/14- 12/7

(no class 11/23)

Nonmember Price: $479  Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

01/11- 02/8

 

Nonmember Price: $199.50 Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

02/22- 05/17

(no class 04/5)

Nonmember Price: $479  Pacesetters & Teachers get 10% off!

Special Discounts Available for siblings and full yr registration. Please note there is no on-site care between the morning and afternoon sessions on Wednesdays.

BAUER EXPLORERS: A DROP-IN HOMESCHOOL CLASS

If you are looking for occasional classes for your homeschooler, Bauer Explorers is perfect! Offered select Tuesdays throughout the year. Register for a specific date or for the year-long series. All classes are drop-off. Registration for Bauer Explorers will open 8AM, Wednesday, August 3, 2022.

5-10 YRS

This 2.5 hour class is designed to connect children with seasonal nature study, creative arts and messy maths exploration. We promote respect for plants, animals, the land, and each other through a nurturing environment. Hikes, live animal encounters, and open-ended wild nature play are integral to our learning each session. Non-member price: $45 per session

Dates: Sept 20, Oct 4, Oct 18, Nov 1, Nov 15, Dec 6, Jan 17, Feb 7, Mar 14, Mar 21, Apr 11, Apr 18, May 2, May16

Times: 1:30-4PM

11-14 YRS

During this 2 hour class, we engage in place-based learning and hiking. Students will explore many topics such as land stewardship, wild plant identification and recipes, and natural arts. Non-member price: $40 per session

Dates: Sept 27, Oct 25, Nov 8, Dec 13, Jan 24, Feb 21, Mar 28, Apr 25

Times: 1:30-3:30PM

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