Homeschool Fridays

Program Overview

If you are a parent or coordinator to Homeschool students, Environmental Volunteers invites you to participate in our monthly hands-on science programs at our EcoCenter in Palo Alto.

Our programs are specifically designed for homeschool learners from ages 6-11 who are interested in natural sciences. Discover our special interactive program with lessons about marine ecology, forest and foothills ecology, water conservation, power generation, and more!

Docents will lead students through fun, hands-on educational activities, and students will have the opportunity to ask questions and explore topics at their own pace.

When: First and Third Friday of every month, October-May
Time: 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

First Friday Location*:  The EV EcoCenter (see map)
2560 Embarcadero Road
Palo Alto, CA 94303

Third Friday Location*:  The EV South Bay Center (see map)
1210 Homestead Rd
Santa Clara, CA 95050

Program Fee**: $8 per child, per session
Registration/Payment Deadline: 2 weeks before each session.
*A $3/session discount is given for families that register and pay for more than 3 sessions at once.

NOTE: Due to restricted space, these activities are intended to be drop-off programs. Except where noted below, parents should generally not plan on staying during the programs.

Calendar for 2019-2020 School Year:

October 4 (Palo Alto Baylands) and October 18 (Ulistac Natural Area, see map) – Investigation and Snoop: We’ll begin our Homeschool Program season with an exploration of some of our local parks and preserves. Students, acting as scientists participating in field research, will explore the environment around them while learning skills related to observation, communication and data collection. While this activity is drawn from our programs for younger students, children of all ages will have an opportunity to gain experience exploring the world around them in a manner that is appropriate to their age level.

November 1 (Palo Alto) and November 15 (Santa Clara) – Structure and Function:
 Discover the variety of structures living things have for movement from a flying bird, to a running deer, to a swimming fish or even swaying grasses.

December 6 (Palo Alto) and February 21 (Santa Clara) – Biodiversity:
What Was That? Students will imagine they went for a hike and collected clues about an animal that was in the area. If they never saw the animal, can they use the clues to identify the animal. Through the mystery, students will discover the wide diversity of species living in different habitats and the diversity of birds, and even the diversity of birds who produce pellets.


January 17 (Santa Clara) – All About Birds: Inheritance and Traits: Through fun games and hands-on activities, students will learn how birds pass their skills, traits, and behaviors onto their offspring.

January 31 (Foster Museum in Palo Alto, see map) – Introduction to Nature Journaling: We are offering this special addition to our regular homeschool program to introduce the practice of Nature Journaling before our spring field trips. Nature journalers use a combination of the visual arts and written note-taking to slow down and focus their observations while in the field. It also provides a fun and creative way to share your unique experiences with others. This program will take place at The Foster Museum in Palo Alto, which is dedicated to sharing the watercolor wilderness journeys of artist-explorer Tony Foster, whose work provides a powerful springboard to the practice of visually documenting our own observations and experiences in nature.

February 7 (Palo Alto Baylands) – King Tides Walk.
Students will explore the changes in the Baylands caused by the annual King Tides, and how that affects the plants and animals that live there. A few adult chaperones will be needed.

March 6 (Palo Alto) and March 20 (Santa Clara) – Power Generation: Students will explore how we generate electricity and learn about the trade-offs, including the environmental impacts of wind, water and solar energy. They’ll even have a chance to build a paper robot that runs on wind.

April 3 (off-site) – Foothills Ecology Field Trip at Huddart Park (see map).
Our trained volunteers will guide the children on a nature hike through the varied and various habitats found at Huddart Park Open Space Preserve. A few adult chaperones will be needed.


April 17 (Santa Clara) – Human Impacts: Students will take an in-depth look at how we impact our environment through our waste – how is it generated, what problems it creates, and most importantly what we can do to make a positive change for the future. Students will have the opportunity to explore art-from-trash and eco-building projects.

May 1 (Palo Alto) – Geology and Plate Tectonics:
Students will explore how the earth’s plates move, how that movement is measured, and examine the properties of rocks and minerals.


May 15 (Santa Clara) – Marine Ecology: Students will learn about the dynamics of the ocean, its currents and tides, and how these create a healthy underwater environment. They will explore the adaptations of a variety of marine life from tide pool creatures to the largest marine mammals. NOTE: We will be doing a squid dissection during this program.

May 29 (off-site) – Special Tide Pools Field Trip at Fitzgerald Marine Preserve (see map). Note the different time (9:30-11:30AM): Our trained volunteers will guide the children on a nature hike and exploration of the tide pools in this special preserve. We’ll focus on the unique plants and animals that have adapted to live in this difficult environment.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This field trip is for children ages 8 and older, only; no younger siblings please. Parents/guardians will be responsible for transportation to/from the site; a few adult chaperones will be needed to stay with the group.