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Homeschool Farm Science Program

Open House for Homeschoolers
An Open House for Homeschoolers will be held at CCF on August 29th from 1 pm until 3 pm. The Open House for Homeschoolers is a time for families to come to the farm to learn about our approach to teaching, learn more about the farm itself and also a chance to get out and explore the farm with our instructors.

Cedar Circle Farm
Homeschool Farm Science Program
Cedar Circle Farm and Education Center is in our third year of our science and agriculture education program for Homeschool students ages 6–11. Our farm is an incredible outdoor classroom with our production fields, forested areas, orchard, and riparian area along the Connecticut River. Together with our highly-quality instructors, students share the experience of exploring, discovering and learning the concepts together in order to gain a deeper, scientific understanding of agriculture and ecology. Our approach utilizes hands-on activities, inquiry-based investigations, games, and experiments. Journals are provided each semester for students to take notes or draw observations if they wish and to complete short weekly review assignments.


Or email: eric@cedarcirclefarm.org or if you have any questions, please call us (802) 785-4737. Registration note: If after the first class, you feel the program is not a good fit for your child, you may be reimbursed $48. After the second class of the session, no reimbursements will be made.

Our first Fall 2017 sessions begin on September 12th and run five weeks each until October 10th. The second Fall 2017 session begins October 17th and runs five weeks also. The second Fall session ends on November 14th. Classes are two hours each week, held on Tuesdays from 1-3 pm. Registration fee is $60 per 5-week session.

First Session September 12-October 10

The Science of Organic Agriculture
In this introductory class, we will orient ourselves to the farm and the basic principles of ecology and organic agriculture. We will explore the natural cycles farmers rely on and the measures and practices they take to ensure the health of the ecosystem and the food they grow.

Most people consume or interact with corn every single day- whether they know it or not! We will explore the hidden uses of corn, as well as some of the more typical culinary uses, by examining different varieties of corn. We will take a closer look at the anatomy and life cycle of corn to gain a full understanding of this a-maize-ing plant.

Cooking 101
Fall is harvest time when we enjoy the abundance of fresh produce in the farmstand and in our kitchens. Students will have an opportunity to harvest and prepare vegetables from the farm. We will cover topics on kitchen safety and hygiene while students make their own tomato pizza sauce. We will take advantage of our outdoor cob oven to end class with a delicious personalized vegetable pizza!

Brix Meter testing and DNA extraction
In this lesson, we will learn to use our refractometer so that we can learn to run a BRIX test. This test measures the amount of sugar in produce. Sugar is directly correlated to nutrient density in plants. We will use this equipment later in our harvest science class. In this class, we will also discuss DNA and genetics and how they play a role in the nutrient density of our foods. We will extract some DNA for fun!

Harvest Science (and Plant Anatomy) and Tasting
Fresh food comes with a significant degree of precision during harvest. In this lesson, we will learn about plant anatomy and plant life cycles as they pertain to the importance of the timing in harvest. We will also taste test lots of different vegetables at their peak freshness while exploring the basics of nutrition and healthy eating.

Second Fall Session October 17-November 14

Seed Saving
In this lesson, we will study the anatomy and functions of seeds. We’ll cover the basics of how seeds are formed inside of plants and then explore how some farmers harvest and store seeds from their fruits for planting in the following season. All students will come away from this class with a small seed bank to start their gardens in the Spring.

Insects and Spiders
Autumn is a great time for insect and spider safaris! This class will help students to learn a little bit about taxonomy and the varying anatomy of insects and spiders. We’ll also explore the invaluable relationships farmers have with their arthropod communities and the special measures farmers take in order to welcome beneficial insects to the farm.

Ants and Beetles
There are almost one hundred types of ants living in New England and many more species of beetles! In this class, we’ll learn about ant communities of different species and about how they prepare for winter. We will identify as many species as we can and talk about their role in organic agriculture. We’ll hunt for as many different species of beetles as we can find. Some of them are helpful, others are definitely not! We’ll investigate why.

Decomposition, Soils and the Soil Cycle
Autumn is often the time when most plants cycle back into the soil. In this lesson, we’ll investigate the soil cycle and learn about the decomposers who make soil. We’ll dig deep into the layers of the soil in both the farm fields and the forests in order to make comparisons between the two. We will also conduct worm races.

Farm Machinery (Farm Physics)
Farmers have lots of heavy lifting to do over the course of the season. In this lesson, we will be learning about much of the farm equipment and the physics in their functions. Students will also be exploring and building simple machines to help them build and apply their new knowledge of the basic concepts of mass, force, and motion.

About our Instructors:

Eric Tadlock is the Education Programs Manager at Cedar Circle Farm. Over the last fifteen years, Eric has worked in the field of experiential education within schools and outdoor education centers. He has worked with hundreds of homeschooling families, helping students to learn about ecology and agriculture through hands-on, inquiry-based investigation. His pedagogy is influenced by the works of Howard Gardner, John Dewey, Socrates, Rudolf Steiner, and Jean Piaget.

Andie Hession has joined the education team at Cedar Circle Farm after working as a health and outdoor educator since graduating college in 2014, where she became interested in how what we eat and where it comes from affects the health of our bodies and our communities. She spent two years as a FoodCorps service member in Arkansas, managing the school garden and teaching garden-based and nutrition lessons. She returned to her native New England to work a season as a field teacher at the Bryant Pond 4H Learning Center in Maine. She is excited to continue to learn alongside the youth and visitors at Cedar Circle Farm.

photo: Ben Fleishman