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​Eagle Creek Homeschool Programming

Bring your homeschool students out to Eagle Creek Park to explore, hike, picnic, and learn! Visit both nature centers and explore the park grounds for educational experiences on your own, or sign up your group of students for one of our environmental education program offerings. Visit the field trip page for more information on topics and scheduling. We also offer programs thoughout the year specifically for homeschool students.

To be added to the Homeschool email list, please email Leah Frenzel ​ or call 317-327-7148. Program choices and registration details for our Homeschool Jamboree programs (see below for details) are usually emailed to the list approx. 1 week before the first day of registration.  Please note, registering for a homeschool program does not automatically put you on the general email list. 

Table of Contents:

Spring Homeschool Jamboree 2018
    Registration Information
     Schedule of the Day
     2017 Class Topics
     Frequently Asked Questions​​​

Fall Homeschool Jamboree 2017
    Registration Information
     Schedule of the Day
     2017 Class Topics
     Frequently Asked Questions​​​​​​
 

Spring Homeschool Jamboree 2018


 

What: Spring Homeschool Jamboree - students attend 4 environmental education classes in an exciting, educational, and fun-filled day.

Where: Eagle Creek Earth Discovery Center within Eagle Creek Park

Date: Friday, April 6, 2018

Time: 10am-2:35pm

Ages: 8-14 years

Cost: $15/student due at time of registration

Registration: begins Monday, March 5th at 9am, and ends on Friday, March 16th at 5pm, or when all available spaces have been filled. Online registration will not be available until Monday at 9am, but we encourage you to set up your Indy Parks account​ ahead of time, as the process can take several minutes, and you may need to call customer service.  

 Go to www.indyparks.org​  

  1. Click the grey “sign-in” button in the upper right hand corner if you already have an Indy Parks account, or click “create an account” to create a new account. If you have registered for programs at Indy Parks before (including previous Homeschool Jamborees), and you get the error message: “Login name 'email​@email.com' is being used by another account” you will need to sign in with your email address and click “forgot password.”  A temporary password will then be emailed to you. If you need additional help please call customer service at 317-327-7275.
  2. Enter information in your account for all students you will be registering by clicking “Change Information about Family/Friends.”
  3. Once you have created your account, click “Register for Programs / Activities” under Online Services. Next to the green “Search” button enter course code 14501
  4. Click the green “add to cart” button
  5. Select the family member you would like to register from the drop down menu (if your student’s name is not there, you will need to go back and edit your account to add that name).
  6. Answer course prompts by selecting your six class choices. If you would like your student to stay in the same classes with a sibling or friend, please enter those names at the prompt. If some of the class topics do not show up on the prompt list, it means that class topic is full.
  7. If you are registering more than 1 student, click “Register Another Participant for this Activity”
  8. Once you have registered all of your students, click “checkout” and enter your payment information.

Phone Registration:

You may also register by phone by calling the Earth Discovery Center at 317-327-7148 or Indy Parks Customer Service at 317-327-7275 (customer service can enter registrations, but will not be able to answer specific questions about the program). 

Please Note: leaving a message on the answering machine will not reserve your spot in the Jamboree, and it is possible the program could fill before we can return your call.

Information to have handy before you register:
  • Complete names and birthdays of students
  • Address and phone number
  • Email address – this will allow us to send your students their class schedules before the actual day of the event, as well as notify you of any last minute changes due to weather, etc.
  • Six class choices for each student (see below for topics) ranked in order from 1 (first choice) to 6 (last choice). Students will be assigned four of their six choices.  We try to get each student in their top two choices if at all possible, and assign choices 3 and 4 as space and time slots allow.  If there is a class your student particularly wishes to attend be sure to designate it as their #1 or #2 choice.  
  • Payment information - we accept Master Card, VISA, Discovery, and American Express over the phone or online.

Schedule of the day:
 
 9:45am-10:20am

Students may begin arriving for check in, where they receive name tag with class schedule and locations.  All parents need to be present with their students for check in and to leave emergency contact information, if they will not be staying.

 10:00am          All students should be present for final check in
 10:20am      Students gather in front of building for welcome and instructions
 10:30am-11:15am  CLASS #1
 11:25am-12:10pm  CLASS #2
 12:10pm-12:55pm  LUNCH (outside - please bring a sack lunch)
 12:55pm-1:40pm  CLASS #3
 1:50pm-2:35pm  CLASS #4
 2:35pm  Student pick up.

 
Spring 2018 Program Topics:

Bird Camouflage – Inside Instructor: Ornithology Center Naturalist
From hummingbirds to great horned owls, birds use camouflage for many different reasons.  Come learn about these experts in camouflage and their awesome adaptations with hands-on activities!

Birds and Binoculars Hike – Outside Instructor: Holliday Park Staff
It’s time to grab a pair of binoculars and a field guide and hit the trails! A naturalist will start with the basics of how to use these tools and then you’ll be off on a hike through the forest looking for, and identifying, some native birds. All tools will be provided, but come dressed for an outdoor hike. 

EnviroScape – Inside Instructor: Indiana Dept. of Environmental Management Staff
The EnviroScape is a hands-on interactive model to teach students about watersheds, pollution, and how pollution can travel through a watershed. While you are in a classroom right next to the watershed that provides the City of Indianapolis with its drinking water, you will learn what a watershed is, some of the dangers they face, and the ways humans can help. 

Leave No Trace – Outside Instructor: Camptown Staff
Leave No Trace refers to a set of outdoor ethics promoting conservation and positive recreation decision making. Camptown will teach participants the 7 Leave No Trace principles. You will learn how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly through games and hands on learning. 

Little Creatures – Outside Instructor: Earth Discovery Center Staff
Are you quicker than a beetle? Sneakier than a salamander? Put your detective skills to the test and join a naturalist to explore the forest, searching for and collecting the small animals in the habitats in which they live. Who knows what we may discover: millipedes, snails, salamanders, spiders… Students should dress for some off trail exploration. 

Live Birds of Prey – Inside Instructor: Ornithology Center Staff
Birds of prey include birds such as owls, hawks, eagles, and falcons. Meet some of our resident birds of prey up close and learn about their behavior, habitat, adaptations, and more! Please keep in mind that participants will not be allowed to touch the birds. 

Living Off the Land – Outside Instructor: Conner Prairie Staff
We are excited to host staff from Conner Prairie for the first time at HSJ! Investigate Indiana’s natural resources and find out how they were used by settlers. Explore how they interacted with nature, and discuss how human activity has impacted the environment over time. 

Nature Games – Outside Instructor: Hendricks County Parks Staff
Discover predator-prey relationships, migration headaches, and more through active running games!  Just remember, it’s more important to survive in real life than it is to survive in the game!  Please dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes for running.  (Adaptations will be made for anyone with limited mobility.)

Nature Journaling – Inside Instructor: Sigma Lambda Alpha Ball State Students
Sigma Lambda Alpha is an honors society of Ball State landscape architecture students. Looking critically at nature and accurately recording observations through sketching is a critical part of landscape architecture. Participants will be supplied with a sketchbook and guided through the basics of sketching what they see in their surroundings, a skill which can be furthered for the rest of their lives.

Spring Wildflower Hike – Outside Instructor: Indy Land Stewardship Ecologist
Looking for some signs of spring? Join an ecologist for a guided hike at Eagle Creek Park to spot as many of our early-blooming wildflowers as possible. We will also look for the tiny pollinators that help these beautiful, short-lived flowers reproduce. Participants should dress for the weather and be prepared for an easy hike.  

Pond Scooping – Outside Instructor: Nina Mason Pulliam EcoLab
Staff and students from the Marian University EcoLab are here to guide you on an adventure at the pond! You'll become a scientist and use a dip net to find and identify the animals that live underwater. You may be surprised that most of what you find are baby animals! You may want to wear sleeves that can be easily pushed up for this program. 

Tree Climbing – Outside Instructor: Eagle Creek Park Staff
Maximum 12 students per session. Get a bird’s eye view of the park while getting to know your trees. Join us “Up a tree without a paddle.” Learn to climb a tree using arborist equipment. *Due to the popularity of this class, please do not choose this topic if you’ve already done Tree Climbing in previous Jamborees, so everyone can get a chance to participate.
 


 
Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I need to stay with or my student can I just drop them off?  
You are welcome to stay with your student and attend the event, or you may also drop them off. You know your student the best - some children are mature enough to attend Homeschool Jamboree on their own, while others may need you to stay with them. Students are responsible for finding their way to their classes and have a 45 minute lunch period on their own. If you have any concerns about your child's safety, maturity, or ability to follow instructions and stay with their class, please plan on attending the event with them. If you will be dropping off your student, we will ask you to fill out emergency contact information at the time of check in.  
 
Student Pick Up Procedure – due to the large number of students, it is not practical to have a formal check out procedure. The end of Homeschool Jamboree can be very busy, with lots of students, parents and cars moving in and out of the parking lot. Please talk to your students ahead of time about safety - you may wish to determine a pick-up spot in advance, or meet them at their last class location.

If I am staying with my child, can I bring my younger children along?
Yes, you may bring younger siblings with you to Homeschool Jamboree; all we ask is that you remove them promptly from the program if they become restless or disruptive. Be aware that a few of the program sessions involve longer hikes that may not be suitable for younger children. There are several playgrounds and hiking trails in the park that you are welcome to enjoy during your visit, and you may wish to bring along books, toys, or other items to keep younger children entertained.  
 
My child is seven; can I still sign him up for HSJ?
Even if your child is working at an advanced level, this is a very long day for younger children and we strongly recommend waiting until they are at least eight before attending. Our absolute cut-off for signing up for Homeschool Jamboree is 7 1/2 years.
 
What if the weather is bad, will you cancel the program?
PLEASE DRESS FOR THE WEATHER, Homeschool Jamboree is a rain or shine event - we only cancel if weather conditions are dangerous - thunder, lightning, extremely high winds, etc., and since Indiana weather can change very quickly, we may not know until the day before or even the morning of the program. Cancellation information and updates will be emailed to registered participants and posted on the www.indy.gov/eaglecreek homeschool page as soon as it is available. We do not generally cancel for rain or cold temperatures. Since many of the program sessions are outdoors, please check the weather forecast carefully and dress accordingly. 
 
Will we have to pay the gate entrance fee to get into the park?
Gate admission is included in your registration fee. Please check in with the gate attendant at the 71st or 56th street gates with the name(s) of your registered student(s).  

What about lunch?
Please have your students bring a sack lunch. Lunches can be carried with students, or may be dropped off in the pantry after check in. Students are not directly supervised during the 45 minute lunch period, although we do have volunteers walking around to assist students during this time if needed – please take this into consideration when deciding whether or not to stay with your students for the day.

Can we find out what classes we got into before the day of the event?
When you sign up for the Jamboree, we have you choose your top four classes with two alternates. In order to fit everyone into as many of their top choice classes as possible, we must wait until everyone has registered to start assigning classes (it's like a giant, complicated, jigsaw puzzle). As soon as the Jamboree is full, we will assign classes and send out schedules by email. Please leave your email address at the time of registration if you wish to get your class schedule early.

If we don't like our classes, can we switch them the day of the event?   
Due to the nature of the program and the high number of students, we are unable to switch classes the day of the event. Make sure when registering that your students will be happy with all six of their class choices and if there is a class they particularly wish to attend indicate it as their #1 or #2 choice. We will do our best to make adjustments if there are extenuating circumstances (i.e. student sprained ankle the night before and is not able to go on hikes, but still wants to attend), but please be aware that staff will be very busy at the beginning of the event as we get 150 students signed in and off to their first classes, so we may not be able to address your concerns immediately. 

Why don't you offer more Homeschool Jamborees at different times of the year?
To be able to offer the variety of class choices that we do, we pull in favors from staff at Holliday Park, Southeastway Park, Garfield Park, IDNR, Universities, Hendricks Co. Parks, our talented volunteers, and countless others. Most of these parks and organizations become extremely busy from spring through fall with school field trips, day camps, park visitors, etc. Early spring and late fall are the best compromise for the event - the best variety of presenters are available, and we try to push the date as close to busy season as possible to give us the best chance for good weather.  ​​


Fall Homeschool Jamboree 2017


What:  14th Annual Fall Homeschool Jamboree  - students attend 4 environmental education classes in an exciting, educational, and fun-filled day. (Maximum 150 students)

Where: Eagle Creek Earth Discovery Center within Eagle Creek Park

Date: Friday, November 3, 2017

Time: 10am-2:35pm

Ages: 8-14 years

Cost: $15/student due at time of registration

Registration: Online registration begins Monday, October 9th at 9am, but we encourage you to set up your Indy Parks account​ ahead of time, as the process can take several minutes, and you may need to call customer service if you’re already in the system. Registration ends Friday October 20th at 5pm, or when the program fills (historically this program often fills in the first few days, so don't delay!)  

  1. Go to www.indyparks.org​  
  2. Click the grey “sign-in” button in the upper right hand corner if you already have an Indy Parks account, or click “create an account” to create a new account. If you have registered for programs at Indy Parks before (including previous Homeschool Jamborees), and you get the error message: “Login name 'email​@email.com' is being used by another account” you will need to sign in with your email address and click “forgot password.”  A temporary password will then be emailed to you. If you need additional help please call customer service at 317-327-7275.
  3. Enter information in your account for all students you will be registering by clicking “Change Information about Family/Friends.”
  4. Once you have created your account, click “Register for Programs / Activities” under Online Services.  Next to the green “Search” button enter course code # 13435
  5. Click the green “add to cart” button
  6. Select the family member you would like to register from the drop down menu (if your student’s name is not there, you will need to go back and edit your account to add that name).
  7. Answer course prompts by selecting your six class choices.  If you would like your student to stay in the same classes with a sibling or friend, please enter those names at the prompt.  If some of the class topics do not show up on the prompt list, it means that class topic is full.
  8. If you are registering more than 1 student, click “Register Another Participant for this Activity”
  9. Once you have registered all of your students, click “checkout” and enter your payment information.

Phone Registration:

You may also register by phone by calling the Earth Discovery Center at 317-327-7148 or Indy Parks Customer Service at 317-327-7275 (customer service can enter registrations, but will not be able to answer specific questions about the program). 

Please Note: leaving a message on the answering machine will not reserve your spot in the Jamboree, and it is possible the program could fill before we can return your call.

Information to have handy before you register:
  • Complete names and birthdays of students
  • Address and phone number
  • Email address – this will allow us to send your students their class schedules before the actual day of the event, as well as notify you of any last minute changes due to weather, etc.
  • Six class choices for each student (see below for topics) ranked in order from 1 (first choice) to 6 (last choice).  Students will be assigned four of their six choices.  We try to get each student in their top two choices if at all possible, and assign choices 3 and 4 as space and time slots allow.  If there is a class your student particularly wishes to attend be sure to designate it as their #1 or #2 choice.  
  • Payment information - we accept Master Card, VISA, Discovery, and American Express over the phone or online.

Schedule of the day:
 ​ 
 9:30am-10:00am

Students may begin arriving for check in, where they receive name tag with class schedule and locations.  All parents need to be present with their students for check in to sign waivers and leave emergency contact information, if they will not be staying.

 10:00am          All students should be present for final check in
 10:20am      Students gather in front of building for welcome and instructions
 10:30am-11:15am  CLASS #1
 11:25am-12:10pm  CLASS #2
 12:10pm-12:55pm  LUNCH (outside - please bring a sack lunch)
 12:55pm-1:40pm  CLASS #3
 1:50pm-2:35pm  CLASS #4
 2:35pm
 Student pick up

 

Fall 2017 Program Topics:

Archery - Outside
Maximum 12 students per session. No prior shooting experience necessary, learn the basics of archery in this intro archery class. We will go over safety, terms to know, and then get to try our hand at shooting! *Due to the popularity of this class, please do not choose this topic if you’ve already done Archery in a previous Jamboree, so everyone can get a chance to participate.

Bird Hike – Outside
Fall migration is always an exciting time of year in Eagle Creek Park. Warblers, cranes, herons, ducks and many more birds can be found this time of year. Check out the trails and local birds with Indy Parks Naturalist Miranda Sears.

Creepy, Crawly, Creatures – Inside
Come learn about some of the common creepy, crawly creatures that are found in central Indiana from a local master naturalist. While these critters may cause fear, disgust, or anxiety to some, they actually do serve a valuable role in nature. Come discover how they fit into our world and help maintain the balance of nature.

Forgotten Animals: Extirpated Animals of Indiana – Inside
Many animals have come and gone from Indiana. Do you remember their names? Do you remember their stories? Join Holliday Park Naturalist, Amanda Roche in an interactive session on the Extirpated (locally extinct) animals of Indiana. Get up-close and personal with animal artifacts such as furs, skulls, horns, and teeth. Discover why these animals vanished from the Indiana landscape and how we can learn from their stories to protect other at-risk animals.

Insect Hotels – Inside
We all appreciate a little TLC. With the world becoming a harsher place for many beneficial insects, they may feel the same way. Learn to love a few of our unassuming garden friends, and then construct a simple shelter to attract and keep them in your own yard.

Leave No Trace – Outside
Camptown will teach participants the 7 Leave No Trace principals. You will learn how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly through games and hands on learning. Leave No Trace refers to a set of outdoor ethics promoting conservation and positive recreation decision making.

Nature Scavenger Hunt – Outside
Ready! Set! Search! Join a park volunteer on a nature scavenger hunt in the area around the EDC. You will use your observation skills and previous knowledge to search for treasures in nature that might otherwise be missed. Be prepared to get your hands dirty and explore (rain or shine)!

Nature Sketching and Journaling – Inside
A Nature Journaling workshop will be provided by members of Sigma Lambda Alpha, an honors society of Ball State landscape architecture students. Looking critically at nature and accurately recording observations through sketching is a critical part of landscape architecture. Participants will be supplied with a sketchbook and guided through the basics of sketching what they see in their surroundings, a skill which can be furthered for the rest of their lives.

Orienteering – Outside
Learn to use a compass and navigate a scavenger hunt. It is helpful if students are able to read or have a parent with them. This lesson is outside, so dress for the weather. Taught by a former homeschool student.

Owls – Inside
Learn all about our favorite nighttime hunters! Owls have amazing adaptions that make them incredible hunters. Join a naturalist as we get up close and personal with live owls to see what makes them so special. 

Tree Climbing – Outside
Maximum 12 students per session. Get a bird’s eye view of the park while getting to know your trees. Join us “up a tree without a paddle.” Learn to climb a tree using arborist equipment. *Due to the popularity of this class, please do not choose this topic if you’ve already done Tree Climbing in previous Jamborees, so everyone can get a chance to participate.

Tree ID and Hike – Outside
Do you know how to tell trees apart? In this class, we will be hiking and looking at the bark, leaves, and seeds of IN tree species along the trail. We will also discuss the importance of certain trees and what they were used for by Indiana’s early settlers. Please dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes for this class!

What is so Special About a Honey Bee? – Inside
We will discuss why Honey Bees are so important and what their daily life is like (it is hard). There will be new info about why the bees are in trouble. We will taste some honey and even help you make your own Buzzin’ Bee to take home.   


Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I need to stay with or my student can I just drop them off? You are welcome to stay with your student and attend the event, or you may also drop them off.  You know your student the best - some children are mature enough to attend on their own, while others may need you to stay with them.  Students are responsible for finding their way to their classes and have a 45 minute lunch period on their own.  If you have any concerns about your child's safety, maturity, or ability to follow instructions and stay with their class, please plan on attending the event with them.  If you will be dropping off your student, we will ask you to fill out emergency contact information at the time of check in. 

Student Pick Up Procedure – due to the large number of students, it is not practical to have a formal check out procedure.  The end of Homeschool Jamboree can be very busy, with lots of students, parents and cars moving in and out of the parking lot.  Please talk to your students ahead of time about safety - you may wish to determine a pick-up spot in advance, or meet them at their last class location.

If I am staying with my child, can I bring my younger children along? Yes, you may bring younger siblings with you; all we ask is that you remove them promptly from the program if they become restless or disruptive.  Be aware that a few of the program sessions may not be suitable for younger children.  There are several playgrounds and hiking trails in the park that you are welcome to enjoy during your visit, and you may wish to bring along books, toys, or other items to keep younger children entertained. 

My child is seven; can I still sign him up for HSJ? Even if your child is working at an advanced level, this is a very long day for younger children and we strongly recommend waiting until they are at least eight before attending.  Our absolute cut-off for signing up for Homeschool Jamboree is 7.5 years.

What if the weather is bad, will you cancel the program? PLEASE DRESS FOR THE WEATHER, Homeschool Jamboree is a rain or shine event - we only cancel if weather conditions are dangerous - thunder, lightning, extremely high winds, etc., and since Indiana weather can change very quickly, we may not know until the day before or even the morning of the program.  Cancellation information and updates will be emailed to registered participants and posted on the www.indy.gov/eaglecreek homeschool page as soon as it is available.  We do not cancel for rain or cold temperatures.  Since many of the program sessions are outdoors, please check the weather forecast carefully and dress accordingly.

Will we have to pay the gate entrance fee to get into the park? No, gate admission is included in your registration fee.  Please check in with the gate attendant at the 71st or 56th street gates with the name(s) of your registered student(s). 

What about lunch? Please have your students bring a sack lunch.  Lunches can be carried with students, or may be dropped off in the pantry after check in.  Students will be allowed to eat their lunch in the building hallways (please stay out of classrooms), on the back deck, or outside, regardless of weather.  Students are not directly supervised during the 45 minute lunch period, although we do have volunteers walking around to assist students during this time if needed – please take this into consideration when deciding whether or not to stay with your students for the day.

Can we find out what classes we got into before the day of the event? When you sign up for the Jamboree, we have you choose your top four classes with two alternates.  In order to fit everyone into as many of their top choice classes as possible, we must wait until everyone has registered to start assigning classes (it's like a giant, complicated, jigsaw puzzle).  As soon as the Jamboree is full, we will assign classes and send out schedules by email.  Please leave your email address at the time of registration if you wish to get your class schedule early.

 If we don't like our classes, can we switch them the day of the event? No, due to the nature of the program and the high number of students, we are unable to switch classes the day of the event.  Make sure when registering that your students will be happy with all six of their class choices and if there is a class they particularly wish to attend indicate it as their #1 or #2 choice.  We will do our best to make adjustments if there are extenuating circumstances (i.e. student sprained ankle the night before and is not able to go on hikes, but still wants to attend), but please be aware that staff will be very busy at the beginning of the event as we get 150 students signed in and off to their first classes, so we may not be able to address your concerns immediately. 

 Why don't you offer more Homeschool Jamborees at different times of the year? To be able to offer the variety of class choices that we do, we pull in favors from staff at Holliday Park, Southeastway Park, Garfield Park, IDNR, Universities, Hendricks Co. Parks, our talented Indy Parks Volunteers, and countless others.  Most of these parks and organizations become extremely busy from spring through fall with school field trips, day camps, park visitors, etc.  Early spring and late fall are the best compromise for the event - the best variety of presenters are available, and we try to push the date as close to busy season as possible to give us the best chance for good weather.