The Outdoor Classroom

homeschool

A homeschool student enjoying his outdoor classroom.

This is Passport to Texas

Imagine a classroom without walls; one that, instead, is in the middle of nature. You don’t have to imagine. State parks welcome a growing number of home-schooled children annually.

I try to do at least one or two home school programs a month

Amy Kocurek is an Interpretative ranger at Martin Dies Jr. State Park. She says students who come to her park do more than sit, listen and memorize.

[We are] a little more hand on. That’s how I think students really learn. When they do something themselves or they experience it in nature. That’s what I try to facilitate – having that one on one experience.

Rangers like Kocurek create learning opportunities where students work on their own and with classmates to explore and understand the complexities of the natural world.

A lot of programs I do for them are programs that I do on the weekend. But, with the home schoolers, you can add a little bit more of an educational sort of classroom component and you can take a lot longer with them.

Classes range from one to three hours and, when possible, make use of the park’s unique features. Topics are wide-ranging and may include reptile studies, Monarch butterflies and fall leaf chemistry.

It’s a little different from regular park visitation or field trips. The home schoolers keep coming back. You build bonds with these kids.

Life… and learning… is better outside. We receive support in part from RAM Trucks: Built to Serve.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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