Homeschool Programs

Join us at The Wetlands Institute once a month for a 2 hour interactive lesson or throughout the year for longer specialized Family Field Trips and Student Workshops!

We offer one Homeschool Program each month on the first Friday of every month from 1:00-3:00pm starting September 6, 2013 and continuing until May 3, 2014.  Each monthly lesson includes classroom instruction, outdoor activities, scientific experiments and exploration, and even homework.  We use hands-on methods to reinforce students’ abilities in not only science, but also math, language arts, and social studies.

During the monthly lesson and/or longer specialized field trips or student workshops, children of all ages are taught together, and we emphasize multi-age learning and peer assistantship.  The ages of our students range from 5 to 13.  Younger students experiencing a lesson for the first time learn the basics of the topic, and students with some previous experience build upon their knowledge and solidify their understanding through more in-depth exposure to the topic.

All of our homeschool lessons will occur rain or shine, hot or cold!  Please have children dress for the weather, be prepared to go outside rain, snow or shine and wear clothes that can get wet and/or muddy!

2013-2014 Monthly Curriculum

Theme: Ecosystems

September 6 - Ocean and Bay

October 4 - Dune and Beach

November 1 - Salt Marsh in Winter

Theme: Observation

December 6  - Backyard Birds

January 3 - Natural Arts and Sciences: Nature Journaling
Keeping track of nature’s comings and goings, ups and downs, ins and outs is not only an interesting and fun thing to do, but overtime noticing the patterns that emerge (like when the goldfinches get their color, or when the red maples bloom, or when your shadow is the shortest or longest)…. this is where real science begins.

February 7 - Hunters in the Sky: Raptors and other Birds of Prey
Whooo can see a mouse from a mile away?  Whooo can fly silently through the forest at night?  Whooo loves to eat….skunks?? Skilled predators on the wing need specific body parts that will help them do what they do, specific habitats which provide what they need, and specific food for energy to fly, hunt, and raise their young.

Theme: Water

March 7 – Water Cycles and Watersheds
Water is all around us, all the time, and always moving.  The concepts related to water-cycling in the watersheds give a whole new meaning to “Go with the Flow”. 

April 4 – Wandering Watersheds Part 1: Forest Wetlands and Ponds
Exploring water in the forest making discoveries about where it wells up from under the ground and what that means for wildlife as the water makes its way to the sea.  Meet at Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area.

May 2 – Wandering Watersheds Part 2: Rivers to Estuary
As water flows to the sea it changes the land, the wildlife and …itself! Compare rivers as they flow into an estuary – fresh, brackish, to salty sea.  Meet at Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area.

2013-2014 Specialty Family Field Trips and Student Workshops

February 1 – Student Workshop:  Natural Arts & Sciences
10:00AM to 2:00PM
Kindergarten to Grade 12
The Junior Duck Stamp is the capstone of the US Fish and Wildlife service’s Junior Duck Stamp Environmental Education Program. Through this program children learn about wetlands, their wildlife and the importance of conservation through the arts. We’ll be exploring different art media and learning how to sketch while we discover the “secrets of the salt marsh” and the ways of waterfowl. No art background is necessary, just come and have fun creating! Bring a bag lunch and dress for the weather – while most of our day will be inside, we will be venturing out for a closer look at the salt marsh in winter.

Fee: $10.00 per Student; includes all materials.


February 8 - Family Field Trip:  Natural Lands Trust Peek Preserve
10:00AM to 2:00PM
Rounding out our “Hunters in the Sky” program, come trek the trails in search of birds and other wildlife at the Natural Lands Trust’s Peek Preserve. We’ll be looking for eagles, red tails, “TVs”, and who knows what other surprises we’ll find! Then we’ll head over to Cumberland County’s Winter Eagle Festival to take in the vendors, the talks, walks and activities. You can bring a bag lunch, but there will be food available for purchase at the Eagle Festival. Dress warm for the weather; we will be outside on the trails in the morning. Further details regarding meeting location directions and updates will be available upon registration for this program.

Fee: $13.50* per person, includes admission to the Cumberland County Winter Eagle Festival
*Normally we don’t charge for adults to the homeschool program, but this special field trip requires an admission fee and offers equally interesting and relevant information for adults as well.


May 3- Family Field Trip:  Bike Across the Bay
10:00AM to 6:00PM
Pack your lunch and grab your bike! Our watersheds programs are winding down with this exciting day on the other side of the Bay. We’ll be doing a 6 mile bike hike through The Great Dune at Cape Henlopen State Park, visiting the Seaside Nature Center, and learning more about the wonders of the Delaware Bay Watershed. Further details regarding meeting location directions and updates will be available upon registration for this program.

Fee: $26.50* per person, includes round-trip fare for foot passenger with bicycle on Cape May Ferry
*For groups of 25 or more foot passengers the round-trip fare is $6.50. For less than 25 people the fare is $9.00. Normally we don’t charge for adults to the homeschool program, but this special field trip requires a fare and offers equally interesting and relevant information for adults as well.

Monthly Lesson Price:  Each lesson costs $8.50 per student.

Group Size:  We can accommodate groups of 8 to 20 students per class.  There is no charge for parents or siblings who do not participate in the lesson.
Please Note:  To make the most out of the experience and to minimize distractions for registered children, we ask that siblings under 5 be cared for separately from the rest of the class.  As appropriate, we will provide games, activities, separate space, toys, etc for smaller children.  However, it is the accompanying adult’s responsibility to monitor their behavior during the program.

Registration Procedure:  Please call (609) 368-1211 to schedule at least one week in advance.  Your child is not committed to attend every month’s lesson.  Although each lesson tends to build on its predecessors, you can pick and choose the lessons best suited to your child.

Please email Sue Slotterback, Environmental Educator at with any questions.

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