Homeschool Programs

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

The choice is yours! We offer one monthly Homeschool Program on the first Friday of every month and the third Thursday of every month whichever is most convenient for you!  Programs start September 4, 2015 and continue until May 19, 2016.  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 longer specialized field trips or student workshops students of all ages are taught together and we emphasize multi-age learning and peer assistantship.  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.

The ages of our students range from 5 to 13+. However, during the monthly lessons, to maximize student learning and more appropriately tailor program content, older children are taught separately from younger children.  Programs for younger students (Hatchlings: ages 5-8) occur from 10:00am – 12:00pm and programs for older students (Fledglings: ages 9-13+) occur from 1:00pm – 3:00pm. 

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!

2015-2016 Monthly Curriculum

Theme: Wetlands

Friday, September 4 or Thursday, September 17
Topic: Salt Marsh Wetlands
Location: The Wetlands Institute
The salt marsh is a very special habitat that changes season by season, day by day, and hour by hour. We’ll be exploring the cycles of the animals, plants, water, and soil, making connections between the living organisms and the non-living components of their ecosystem.

Friday, October 2
or Thursday, October 15
Topic: Fresh Water Wetlands
Location: Cox Hall Creek WMA
While freshwater wetlands have wet soils and water-loving plants and animals, this is an entirely different habitat from the saltmarsh. Let’s compare and contrast the similarities and examine the differences.

Friday, November 6
or Thursday, November 19
Topic: Forested Wetlands
Location: Cedar Swamp Trail
These wooded wetlands provide a unique habitat and history to the area. We’ll compare this wetlands with others we have studied and think about how they have served the people in our past, present, and future.

Theme: Adaptations

Friday, December 4 or Thursday, December 17
Topic: Adapting to Winter
Location: The Wetlands Institute
How do you get ready for winter? How do you survive the icy chill? Animals and plants have many different ways of dealing with the cold. We’ll be experimenting with keeping warm and thinking about what it must be like to hibernate and migrate to escape the frosty season.

Friday, January 8
or Thursday, January 21
Topic: What Color is Nature?
Location: The Wetlands Institute
Color displays and color changes play several critical roles in the survival of wildlife: warning, hiding, attracting attention, communication, and many more. Let’s find examples and try some experiments with color in nature.

Friday, February 5
or Thursday, February 18
Topic: Living in Water
Location: The Wetlands Institute
The way an animal looks, whether it has fur or scales, siphons or large teeth, claws or fins, helps it survive in a particular habitat. We’ll be examining a variety of live animals and animal artifacts, looking for clues as to how they protect and defend themselves; how they find, catch, and eat their food; how they see and sense the world around them; how they get from one place to the next – or not; and how they reproduce and raise their young.

Theme: Close Encounters

Friday, March 4 or Thursday, March 17
Topic: Fishes of the Jersey Shore
Location: The Wetlands Institute
What make a fish ….a fish?? From minnows to sharks, we’ll examine them inside and out, making discoveries into what makes them do what they do better than any other living thing.

Friday, April 1
or Thursday, April 21
Topic: Turtles, Tortoises, and Terrapins
Location: The Wetlands Institute
These shelled vertebrates inhabit a variety of habitats. Meet some turtles and find out what makes them different and very well suited for their environments.

Friday, May 6
or Thursday, May 26
Topic: An Interview with Horseshoe Crabs
Location: The Wetlands Institute
What has “pennies” in its veins, sees with “solar cells”, and breathes with a “book” and has been around for over 475 million years?? A horseshoe crab, of course! Get a hands-on look at these amazing creatures as we learn about their anatomy, ecology, and their local-to-global, as well as personal connections to you and the rest of the planet!

2015-2016 Specialty Family Field Trips and Student Workshops

Theme: Wetlands
An Estuary Study
Sunday, November 15
10:00 AM to 2:00 PM

From the brown cedar waters to the ocean we will visit several sites along a river, taking samples, performing tests, and observing the changes along the way.
Fee: $10.00 per participating child

Theme: Adaptations
Spartina Restoration Project
Thursday, February 4
6:00 PM

We are seeking student and family partners to grow Spartina and help The Wetlands Institute staff replant areas of the salt marsh impacted by the construction of the new walkway.  This project allows students and families to have authentic experiences not only in the process of growing and planting vegetation for the restoration effort, but also in designing their own experimental growing conditions for what think would be best practices. This workshop is designed for students ages 13-18.  Please register by January 8, 2016.
$5.00 per family 

Download the complete project information to learn more! 

Theme: Close Encounters
Horseshoe Crab Cooperative Tagging Program
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
7:00 PM

Several times throughout the horseshoe crab spawning season local state and federal researchers coordinate volunteers and students in this tagging program. Through this on-going study scientists are able to increase their understanding of horseshoe crab migration patterns, distribution, abundance, and mortality. Children will participate by recording data, assisting the taggers, and catching, gender typing and releasing the horseshoe crabs.
Fee: $5.00 per family 


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

Group Size:  We can accommodate groups of 8 to 20 students per program.  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.

Have Both Younger and Older Children Looking to Participate? Consider planning “A Day at The Wetlands Institute” – pack snacks or a picnic lunch and use the morning and/or afternoon times while the homeschool lesson is being conducted with your child(ren) to explore the exhibits and the outdoor trails with your other child(ren).  The marsh is an every changing ecosystem and the newly completed elevated walkway and dock provide countless opportunities for self-exploration and learning!

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.

Looking for more than a 2 hour experience?
We now offer full immersion overnight programs for your scout group.
Complete program description:  Overnight Program

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