The Arizona Science Center and Usery Mountain Regional Park have teamed up to provide a new field-trip option for local home-schooled children.
Once a month from September through March (excluding December), the two organizations will offer an “educational experience” at the regional park involving classroom instruction followed by a trail hike.
Though the science center is promoting the program for all children ages 6 to 10, home-schoolers are the main target, said Brennan Basler, ranger at Usery Mountain Regional Park.
“Both the science center and us were getting a lot of requests from parents of home-schooled kids. So, it kind of came together based on that,” Basler said. “There’s a huge home-school population in the Phoenix area, so we are not doing a little niche marketing here. It’s a huge pool of people that have gone that route in educating their children.”
State law requires parents or those in custody of home-schooled children to notify their county’s school superintendent; Maricopa County has 9,656 kids registered.
The scheduled dates are Sept. 17, Oct. 22, Nov. 19, Jan. 20, Feb. 11 and March 18. Each three-hour session — 9 a.m. to noon — has a different theme, ranging from water to bats to owls to butterflies.
“There will be an indoor component inside the nature center classroom at the park, and the science center does that portion,” Basler said. “We’ll head outside afterward and put the subjects that we learned to the field, so to speak. It offers the best of both worlds.”
Registration is through the science center. The cost is $15 for the first parent and child and $5 per additional child for science center members, and $20 and $5 for nonmembers.
For registration and more information, call (602) 716-2000, Ext. 2556.