By Brenda Wright, HBF Program Manager
In the school year of 2010–2011, Hard Bargain Farm hosted an Open House for Home School Families. As a result of that event, we were approached by a very interested parent and asked if we would be willing to do a year-long Home School Program. Home School students are a new audience for Hard Bargain Farm as one of our goals was to attract non-traditional groups to the Farm we were up for the challenge. We welcomed the Home School students every second Monday of the month from September to May. Our theme was the watershed and the program was called H2-Oh! The students, ranging in age from 5-12, had many new experiences. From wetland exploration to cow milking and fish dissection, it was a great learning experience for all.
They had the most fun at fish dissection, the younger students working with stuffed animals to explore the external anatomy of the fish, the older students using actual fish to explore external and internal anatomy. Some students were very serious about getting to the brain and the heart of the fish. In this class is the children seem to be most fascinated finding the lens of the eye. The also learned how to “READ A FISH”, tell its habitat and diet based on its features.
The program also included some service learning. The students spent time in the Children’s Garden mulching, cleaning up the shoreline, and pulling invasive plants.
We already have filled the program for next year. A total of twenty-one students will participate in three different learning areas: conservation; how to have a successful garden; and how we are connected to the food we eat. This year’s program will have more emphasis on service learning projects.
We will also offer a series of home school programs in fall, winter, and spring.