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!


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 5, 2014 and continue until May 21, 2015.  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 (ages 5-8) occur from 10:00am – 12:00pm and programs for older students (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!


2014-2015 Monthly Curriculum

Theme: Migration

Friday, September 5
or Wednesday, September 17 (Special Date) – Butterflies
The migration of any species is an awesome phenomena, but the migration of the Monarch Butterfly is truly unique, unmatched by any other species.

Friday, October 3
or Thursday, October 16 – Hawks
Thousands of hawks and other birds of prey migrate through the southern tip of New Jersey at this time of year. How are they suited to flying? Why do they travel so far? What does it take to get from one place to the next?

Friday, November 7
or Thursday, November 20 – Tagged, You’re It!
From butterflies to fish, terrapins to whales, and birds to horseshoe crabs tracking animal movements not only helps us learn about their behaviors, but also allows us to find out about the health of our environment.

Theme: Geology

Friday, December 5
or Thursday, December 18 – Rocks and Fossils
As silent as they are, rocks speak volumes about what they are made of, where they have been, and sometimes even about the plant and animal life a long time ago.

Friday, January 9 (Please note:  The Institute is closed on Friday, January 2.  This program will occur the following Friday. We apologize for any inconvenience.)
or Thursday, January 15 – Soil
Get the dirt on soil. What’s it made of and how is it made? Is soil the same everywhere? How do animals and plants change the soil? And… how does soil change them!?

Friday, February 6
or Thursday, February 19 – Sand
It’s great for making castles and gets stuck between our toes, but sand is so much more. Sand grain size, weight, shape, and composition can make beaches behave differently and can make or break habitat for certain plants and animals. And you never step onto the same beach twice.

Theme: Explore Outdoors

Friday, March 6
or Thursday, March 19 – Geocaching and Letterboxing
They’re like a scavenger hunt or a treasure hunt, requiring keen observation and deciphering skills. These world-wide games are great ways of exploring the wide world around us.

Friday, April 3
or Thursday, April 16 – Hiking and Trailblazing
A hike is more than just a walk in the woods, it’s an outdoor adventure! Learning how to hike as well as learning about the ecology of the area is just as important as knowing where to hike. And we’ll get a taste for it all.

Friday, May 1
or Thursday, May 21 – Outdoor Living
Wildlife does it all the time, but living in the outdoors for humans takes a few tricks and a little know-how.


2014-2015 Specialty Family Field Trips and Student Workshops 

Hawk Banding Demo with the Cape May Raptor Banding Project
Thursday, September 25, 2014
10:00am-Until Finished
$8.50/per child

This is the best time of year to witness the hawk migration as they head south for the winter. The Banding Project has been banding a variety of raptors since 1967 to learn more about these magnificent birds of prey. Get an up close look at the process of measuring and fitting the birds with bands that will allow researchers to track their behavior and movements. Meeting location Cape May Point State Park.

Rock Balancing Workshop
Thursday, December 11, 2014
1:00pm – 3:00pm

 $8.50/per child
Over the centuries many cultures piled rocks for a variety of reasons: to mark a trail, to draw attention to an area, or to evoke protective spirits. This ancient practice has had a new revival in the past few years. Today we look at it as an art form, a lesson in physics, and an opportunity to stretch our focus and awareness. Anyone can do this, and everyone who tries it will see the world just a little differently.  Meet at The Wetlands Institute.

Campout at Belleplain State Forest
Friday, Saturday, Sunday – June 26, 27 and 28, 2015
Pricing TBA
Whether you’ve been camping all of your life or haven’t even taken your tent out of the box, we’ll be learning new tricks and putting our skills to the test as we stay outside and sleep under the stars. Rain or shine, we’ll have the best time. Exact meeting location TBA.


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 sslotterback@wetlandsinstitute.org with any questions.


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