Outdoor science experiences for homeschool youth.
Homeschool Scientists is a unique farm-based STEM program that addresses Next Generation Science Standards while allowing for ample time to explore Appleton’s barnyard, garden, and extensive trails. This is a 3-hour drop off class on Tuesday mornings.
We believe in the benefits of multi-age classes and informal learning experiences. Our program is designed to invite your student in where they are, whether they are just beginning to learn about our changing seasons or they have read every book on bugs that exists. We employ a spiraling pedagogy that returns to themes at different seasons, allowing for new entry points into familiar ideas. Below you will find the catalogue of our 2021-2022 school year sessions. Please reference nextgenscience.org to understand which standards we cover in each session.
This is an educational morning drop-off program for children ages 7-11 offered once a week as a five-week series. To keep groups and staff as safe as possible, families must register for a full series of programming. Groups will include up to 10 students with 1 educator and an assistant. Groups will include the same students for the entire series.
*Please note, due to staff:child ratio restrictions, we cannot book children under 7 for this program. Please reach out to discuss our private-pod series opportunities.
Session I: Dirt Detectives | Sept 14 – Oct 12
In our first session of the new school year, our homeschool scientists will stretch their discovery muscles by digging in to the soil that makes their food. We’ll learn all about worm anatomy, different kinds of plant roots, and all the stuff soil is made of. Did someone say decomposers? And, keep an eye out for fresh produce coming home in your scientist’s backpack– we do quite a bit of harvesting this time of year!
Session II: Circle du Soleil | Oct 19 – Nov 16
Autumn brings a bunch of changes, and the sun is at the center of it all! During this crisp, exciting season, homeschool scientists will track the sun as it dips lower in the sky each week. They’ll get dizzy exploring all the cycles they can think of: life cycles, the water cycle, the rock cycle, the nutrient cycle… and the cycle of the seasons! On warm days we’ll look for signs of these cycles everywhere on the farm. On chillier days, we’ll do the same– but we’ll save some time for warmups and woolcraft with our Angora rabbits (who shed on a cycle too!).
Session III: Solstice Scientists | Nov 30 – Dec 14
Our first winter session might be a bit short leading up to the holidays, but you best believe we’ll pack a ton of icy exploration into those three weeks of short days, clear skies, and– just maybe– a bit of snow! Get on your long johns and thick boots: we are brave, and we love this weather! We’ll explore the science of energy as we use lots of ours to keep warm. We’ll witness potential energy in hay bales just before they’re thrown out of the loft, experience sound waves in the leafless landscape, and explore plant and animal strategies to conserve energy!
Session IV: Farm Yeti Tracking | Jan 4 – Feb 1
Okay, okay– so a yeti isn’t exactly a farm animal. But we’ve got all kinds of critters who call the many habitats of Appleton home, and homeschool scientists have the tools to track them! We’ll spend our days looking out for signs of life in the snow, and we’ll make our own “yeti” tracks if we have good snowshoeing weather. Who knows… perhaps we will discover a new species of Farm Yeti!
Session V: Plant Planners | Feb 8- Mar 15
We’re in the midst of winter, but there is so much to do! Following the lead of our CSA crew here at Appleton, homeschool scientists will do all the research that our farm fields require. We’ll map out where to plant our veggies, make a budget to buy seeds and materials, research the best plants to grow in our zone, and even start planting with the help of our energy-trapping greenhouses. Oh, and we’ll go fungus-hunting too. And probably make some snowmen. *Note: no class during public school vacation week (Feb 22)
Session VI: You ATE the SUN? | Mar 22 – Apr 26
Ouch! Well, wait– how exactly did you eat the sun? As spring rolls around, we’ll celebrate the big ball of plasma in the sky by asking questions about how it impacts our world. Homeschool scientists will find their spot in the food web as we move from sun, to soil, to wheat, to yeast, to bread. And maybe we’ll add in some butter from the sun for good measure! And, gosh– any other food you can think of! *Note: no class during public school vacation week (Apr 19)
Session VII: Insect Investigators, et al. | May 3-31
Buzz buzz! All kinds of insects, arthropods, isopods, arachnids and amphibians are creeping out to greet the summer season. We’ll be sure to count and categorize them all as we explore the different niches, or jobs, that our crunchy friends have, and how they help the farm function. We’ll try our hand at hand pollination, play metamorphosis games, do a lot of compost experiments, and discover the best places to find salamanders. And don’t forget about the microscopic critters– we’ll find them too!
For teachers: make connections outside the classroom with an immersive experience on the farm