Nature Classes - Homeschool Program
OC Habitats (OCH) provides environmentally driven educational programs for students ages 8 to 12 years. Our program is designed to have students experience nature directly by visiting a variety of local habitats within Orange County and giving an in-depth and hands-on lesson. Student participation is of the utmost importance to fully engage each student. “A growing body of research links our mental, physical, and spiritual health directly to our association with nature” (Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods) and OCH programs develop curriculum with free play and unstructured exploration as an integral part of our habitat programs. The student to teacher ratio is 12:1. Our programs are themed by local Orange County habitats and we fully explore all aspects of the habitat from its history, the plant and animal species, human impacts, and conservation.
OCH Homeschool programs are offered as individual classes or by semester (Fall and Spring). Our program will not cover the same topic within the two semesters of the same school year (September through May) so a student that signs up for both semesters will have a continuity of topics covered as well as an opportunity to building a stronger and more meaningful experience. Each class will be independent of each other but our educators may reference other courses when making habitat correlations so the maximum benefit to the student is to attend the whole series.
These are not drop-off programs; all classes are mandatory parent inclusive.
Due to COVID-19 Crisis, the remainder of 2019-2020 (Sep - May) nature courses have been cancelled. All program fees will be fully refunded or credited towards next years (2020-2021) program. We apologize for the inconvenience and hope you understand the importance of social distancing during these tumultuous times. We wish all our students and families health and wellness during this time.
Before each lesson, students will be given an assignment in preparation for the upcoming exploration. This assignment will be sent via email to you and/or your student directly. Although these assignments are not graded, we do ask that every student attempt to complete the assignment so that the instructors can give feedback to each student and help them connect to the concepts. Your child can contact us anytime they have questions.
During the first class we review the whole semester and outline the project proponent of our program. Each student that participates in both semesters in one school-calendar year will be required to complete a project and will be able to build on this project as we proceed through the classes each semester. The project will help your student connect all the pieces of their OCH learning experience as well as help them to see the "bigger" picture in the world and nature.
Required Materials and Parking Fees:
All students will need to have a notebook, pen, and pencils for our program. Each student will be asked to use their notebook at each class so they need to have it on the first day and bring it to all classes thereafter. We meet at a variety of locations throughout the county and some may not provide free parking and charge a parking fee. OCH does their best to find alternatives but in some cases it isn't possible and parking fees may be required to enter a field trip location. These fees will be included in the emails sent from OCH with each class assignment.
Areas of Study:
Habitat Exploration and Ecosystem Overview
Estuaries and Wetlands
Tidepool, Intertidal Zone, and Marine Protected Areas
Coastal Sage Scrub & Chaparral
Species Identification (plant and animal)
Animal Tracking and Animal Awareness
Native v. Non-native species
Edible and Poisonous Plants
Species Anatomy and Adaptations
Navigation Skills and Outdoor Adventure Tools
Nature Journaling/Field Notes
Cultural History and Native Americans
Citizen Science Opportunities
Class Days and Times
2020-2021 OCH Program Schedule
10am-12pm, unless otherwise noted.
Min: 5 Students, Max: 20 Students
Ages 7-17 years
Wait list and Additional Classes: If one class fills and at least 5 students are able to attend another date, we will open another section on another day of the week. If we are unable to provide this, we will place you on a wait list and notify you of our next available opening.
Course #: 2021-OCH1
Friday, September 25th – 10am-12pm
Estuary Program (Fall Migration, Fall Equinox, Estuaries)
Location: Newport Back Bay or Bolsa Chica
Course #: 2021-OCH2
Friday, October 9th – 10am-12pm
Coastal Dune Program (shore birds, endangered species, adaptations)
Location: Balboa Pier
Course #: 2021-OCH3
Friday, November 20th – 10am-12pm
Coastal Sage Scrub (Plants, Fire), invite Fire Authority to join us
Location: Peter’s Canyon
Course #: 2021-OCH4
Friday, December 11th – 12pm-2pm
Tide Pool Exploration (plants, animals, MPA)
Location: Laguna Beach or Little Corona
Course #: 2021-OCH5
Friday, February 5th 10am-12pm
Rocky Intertidal MPA Hike (Geology and Culture)
Location: Little Corona
Course #: 2021-OCH6
Friday, March 19th – 10am-12pm
Wetlands/Vernal Pools/Riparian (endangered species, plants, bird migration)
Location: Fairview Park, Costa Mesa
Course #: 2021-OCH7
Friday, April 23rd – 10am – 12pm
Coastal Sage Scrub (Types of plants/flowers, poisonous, edible, Earth Day)
Location: Buck Gully, Corona del Mar
Course #: 2021-OCH8
Friday, May 14th – 10am-12pm
Coastal Sage/Chaparral (Navigation, Cultural, animal tracking)
Location: Ridgeline Park (Newport Coast)
Classes happen RAIN or SHINE. Weather can allow an opportunity for a different type of exploration.
We accept checks, PayPal, or charter school funds. No cash payments accepted. Please use buttons below for direct PayPal payment or Charter Fund Payment. Checks should be made payable to OC Habitats and mailed to 15333 Culver Drive, Suite 340-763, Irvine, CA 92604. Additional fees could include parking and/or entry fees to program specific locations, these fees are not included in the class or semester price but are separate and in addition to our student class fees. If you have any questions about our fee schedule, please contact OC Habitats at 949.697.8651 or email@example.com.
Program Fees per Student
Pay-by-Semester Fee (4 classes).
All classes can be purchased independently but a discount (17%) is given for full semester purchase.
OCH runs all programs rain or shine but in the event a class is canceled for any reason, participants can choose to attend a rescheduled class, receive a credit toward a future program, or a full refund for canceled class at the rate they purchased their program.
OCH does not provide makeup classes for absences and has a no refund policy except in extreme cases, such as serious illness or family emergency. If student misses due to these reasons, they will be given class credit for missed classes.
OC Habitats (OCH) accepts checks, Paypal, or charter school funds.