Gear up for Halloween with the “Eight is Enough” spider bundle and the “Tricks and Treats” bundle. Both are on sale! All nature studies are downloadable PDFs.

Enrollment is full for the 2020-2021 school year. If you would like to be added to our waiting list, please fill out the application online (link below). Thank you!

School of the Wild logo


Explore with Us!

Completely outdoors, School of the Wild will be held from 9am-3pm on Tuesdays during the fall and spring semesters at Valley Water Mill Park in Springfield. Using nature study as our educational backbone and with plenty of opportunities for play and discovery, we will study subjects like science, math, poetry, art, geography, history, environmental stewardship and more! School of the Wild provides a secular, multi-age learning experience in the best classroom - the great outdoors!  

We will explore...

  • Trees and Leaves
  • Fungi and Lichens
  • The Sky
  • Birds
  • Spiders
  • Rocks and Minerals
  • Water
  • Eggs
  • Snakes
  • Flowers and Pollinators

Apply Online:

Space is limited in order to maintain a small group size. We are currently adding interested families to our waiting list. *No payment will be due unless a spot becomes available and you choose to enroll.  

Fill out your application here! Once your application is accepted, you will be sent a link to our payment page. When we receive your payment, you will officially be registered - we offer three payment options for the school year. You may pay by session: $432 (or 3 payments of $144) or by school year: $820 (5% discount). In addition, we would like to offer a discount to families signing up multiple children. Each additional sibling will be $130 per month. 


Fall 2020 Ages 6-12

Tuesdays, September 8 - December 1 (no school October 20) 

Spring 2021 Ages 6-12

Tuesdays, February 2 - April 27 (no school March 16)

You can pay online here.


Meet your Leaders: 

Laura Stroup is the founder of Firefly Nature School, a nature study curriculum designed for homeschooling families. She has a degree in Animal Ecology from Iowa State University with an emphasis in natural resource education. A former zoo educator and science teacher, Laura is now a homeschooling mom who loves spending time in nature and exploring with her family.

Rachel Fouse Johnson fell in love with books at an early age, and has since been a student of literature and poetry. When she’s not reading for her own enjoyment, she can be found providing her children with a literature based home education, drinking green tea, bird watching, and rock climbing with her family.


Is this a drop-off school, or is it more like a co-op? 

School of the Wild is a nature school where you will drop off your child and they will spend the day with us. It's similar to a homeschool hybrid where your child attends school one day per week with us and then is homeschooled the rest of the week. While we will share the nature study curriculum we use with your family, you are not required to continue the studies at home. You are free to use whatever curriculum choice works for your family. Nature school complements any curriculum and is a way to add hands-on science, art, social studies, language arts, math concepts and more to what you are already doing. 

Why do you charge tuition? 

Opening a school has many costs associated with it. Your tuition will cover costs like insurance, staff, activities, field equipment, supplies, journals, and our mobile nature library. 

What will you do if it's raining or snowing? 

Rain, snow, sunshine, fog, it's all weather that we can learn in and about. We will dress appropriately and have a blast! We also have an outdoor, covered pavilion with a fireplace to use during the school day. In the case of severe weather, we have an area we will use for emergency shelter that is located right at the park. 

Where is the school located? 

Valley Water Mill Park is the location we have chosen for School of the Wild. It's situated on the north edge of Springfield. It's the perfect location for us because it has a variety of ecosystems to explore including a wetland, spring, stream, forest, glade and lake. They also have outdoor learning stations for us to use and a staff that welcomes us with open arms. 

What will a typical day be like? 

Well, we as homeschooling families know there's no such thing as a "typical" day :) But our general plan is to meet at the pavilion by 9:00am to start our day. Our adventures will center around a nature study topic. These adventures will include exploring different ecosytems, learning and teaching each other, playing and eating together, listening to and reading stories and poetry, working on projects, and nature journaling. Our studies will incorporate many different subjects in a hands-on, experiential way. 

What does my child need to bring? 

Explorers will need to bring a water bottle and lunch with them each week as well as things like weather-appropriate shoes and clothing, bug spray and sunscreen. We will send out a supply list for registered students over the summer. We provide all outdoor equipment and school supplies for students to use. We will also have a small nature library available for students. 

Contact Us!

Need some help or have any questions? Feel free to reach out. We are happy to help!