Homeschool Programs

Homeschool families have several options for using Ijams Nature Center as an outdoor classroom. Whether you decide to come explore on your own, lead your group with one of our backpacks, or participate in our Ijams Homeschool Academy, Ijams has something for everyone!

Ijams Homeschool Academy

These exciting outdoor adventures are designed to help students gain a deeper understanding of the natural world through fun and hands-on experiences! Programs are led by a talented team of Ijams Naturalists and volunteers, and offers programs for ages 3 and up!

Homeschool Nature Ed-Ventures

Nature Ed-Ventures is our basic course of 8 hands-on workshops. Children are divided into 3 age groups:

  • Seedlings:   Ages 3-5* (AM: FULL; PM: FULL)
  • Saplings:   Ages 6-8*  (AM: Open; PM: Open
  • Sycamores: Ages 9-12* (AM: Open; PM: Open)
    *Age as of August 15, 2017

Ed-Ventures are divided into 2 semesters, each with 4 sessions including topics such as birds, insects, aquatic life, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. All Ed-Ventures classes are held on one Friday each month. We offer a morning and an afternoon session. Students will select a time slot and stay in that time slot for the entire year. Students also stay with their age group for the entire year. For example, if a child turns 9 in January, they will stay in the Saplings group until the next year. This helps us keep our enrollment consistent.

For more detailed information about Nature Ed-Ventures schedules, registration, and policies, please download the Ed-Venture program flyer.

Homeschool Academy Grad School

Ijams Homeschool Grad School courses are specialized sessions, designed for children 10 and up.
Each session consists of 3 workshops featuring in-depth nature explorations.

Grad School is divided into quarterly programs. Students can sign up for one, two, or all three quarters. The 2017-2018 Grad School schedule is:

  • Fall Quarter (August, September, October): Native Appalachia
  • Winter Quarter (November, January, February): Creative Nature
  • Spring Quarter (March, April, May): Garden Grad School

All Grad School courses are offered on one Thursday each month, from 2:00 pm — 3:30 pm. Students that are enrolled in Nature Ed-Ventures receive a 10% discount on Grad School fees.

For more detailed information about Homeschool Academy Grad School schedules, registration, and policies, please download the Homeschool Academy Grad School flyer.

Backpack Program

Homeschool groups are invited to take advantage of our backpack education program. These backpacks contain all the materials and instructions necessary to complete a variety of fun, hands-on outdoor learning activities. The fee to rent a backpack is $25, and each pack is outfitted with materials for up to 20 children.

We currently have 4 topics available: Birds, Geology, 5 Senses, and Plants. Each topic is designed for a specific age range, so be sure to ask which pack would be best for your group.

NOTE: Backpack rental must be arranged prior to your visit to ensure that you receive all the necessary materials. Please email us with your backpack request, including date, topic and the number of students so that we can prepare the backpack for your groups.

Self-guided Explorations

Ijams nature Center is free and open to the public for hikes and nature exploration. Homeschool families and/or small groups are welcome to come discover the outdoors during regular business hours. Because Ijams is an independent non-profit organization, we rely on program fees, donations, memberships, and grants to operate and maintain the wonderful 300-acre nature center. If you choose to explore Ijams on your own, please consider becoming a member, or making a donation. Those funds are the only way to ensure the Ijams Nature Center remains a beautiful and welcoming resource for years to come!