Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



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Homeschool Classes

Homeschool classes at the National Zoo are a unique addition to your child's science curriculum. Experiments, hands-on artifact explorations, interactive discussions with Zoo professionals, and, of course, the Zoo's animal collection will students in a class experience they will never forget.

Homeschool classes are offered as five, multi-week series during the academic year. Each year has a new overarching theme and each series investigates a new topic within this theme. Class series focus primarily on concepts from life science, ecology, and environmental science, but also build mathematics, language arts, and critical thinking skills.

Parents will receive a summary of each class and a "home challenge" activity will extend the student's learning beyond the end of class. Additional materials to support homeschooling requirements can be requested.

2015-2016: Amazing Adaptations

Each multi-week series will explore a different major category of animal adaptation. Students will develop a rich picture of physical and behavioral adaptations in the animal world and the various interconnections between them. Students may sign up for individual series or for all five series.

Classes meet Thursday mornings from 10:00a.m.-12:00p.m.

Five-Class Registration Fee:
$150/series (FONZ Members); $187.50/series (non-members)
Six-Class Registration Fee:
$180/series (FONZ Members); $225/series (non-members)

Register for all five 2015-2016 series and save an additional 10% after checkout! Contact the Education Programs Office to receive your rebate after you checkout. (Offer ends Sept. 19, 2015.)

Register now!

Sept 17-Oct 15: Marvelous Migrations

This fall, we'll take to the skies…and oceans, and plains as we explore the mysteries of animal migration. How do they know where to go, what do they do when they get there, what hazards do they face on the way, and how can we help? Come learn why migration's not just for the birds; it's also for the turtles, whales, butterflies, and bison.

Register now!

Nov 5-Dec 10: Winter Wild

You don't have to have ice in your veins to survive the winter, but some animals do! We'll discover the amazing strategies that animals have evolved to survive in cold weather, from diapause to disguise and everything in between.

Register now!

Jan 14-Feb 11: Survival of the Fittest

To survive in the wild, it takes skill, strength, and smarts, and a little help from natural selection. We'll trace the evolutionary history of some of our favorite adaptations, from the beautiful and broad to the specific and strange. We'll analyze the impact of ecosystem change on animals with highly specialized adaptations and even meet a few living fossils along the way!

Register now!

Feb 25-Mar 24: Eat or be Eaten

In the animal world, someone always wants to have you for dinner! We'll investigate the incredible variety of adaptations driven by an animal's place in the food chain. Defensive mechanisms, evasive tactics, predatory behaviors, feeding strategies: it’s all on the menu in this series!

Register now!

Apr 21-June 2: Social Networks

One of a kind, part of a pack, queen of a colony? Animal social structures reveal much more than just who's responsible for finding dinner. We'll explore how a species' social strategy intersects with its biology and its ecosystem niche, from flamboyances of flamingoes to solitary pandas. (Note: this is a six- class series.)

Register now!

Homeschool Class Policies

Cancellation Policy: All cancellation requests received by the FONZ Education office at least two weeks prior to the start of the program will receive a 75% refund. No refunds or changes will be made with less than two-weeks notice.

Transfer Policy: All transfer requests received at least two weeks prior to the start of the program will be charged a 10-percent administrative fee.

Age Policy: All children must meet the minimum age for the class by the date of the first class session in order to participate. Registered children who do not meet the age requirements for the class may be asked to leave and no refund will be provided.

Minimum Class Size: FONZ reserves the right to cancel a program no less than two days before the class begins if registration is under five participants. In this event, you will be notified by phone or e-mail and offered credit for another program, a full refund, or the option to donate your program fee to FONZ.