Fieldwork is a blog created for the purpose of sharing hands-on science courses I have developed or am in the process of developing for my children in our homeschool setting.

The courses here are offered as an alternative to dry, textbook based courses which do nothing to excite a love of science or the natural world. We will do things a bit differently here, actually getting up off the couch and away from the table to experience real science in the real world. In fact,  field-work, labs, projects, and real-life exploration will be the very foundation of our courses. These discovery-based, hands-on experiences will be supplemented with excellent living books, websites, and other resources to create  challenging and yet highly engaging science courses.

If this sounds like it would be appealing  to you and your children, please feel free to follow along!The more the merrier! Lets share our discoveries together!

The first course is a full year,  high school-level marine biology/oceanography course. It will require regular access to a body of salt water (ocean, bay, canal, etc)  in order to fully utilize the lab/hands-on component of the course, although  adaptations can be made for some of the activities where ocean access is limited. Adaptations can also be made to include younger children in the study. If you’d like advice or ideas on these types of adaptations please feel free to contact me and I’ll do what I can to help.

I expect to be adding more courses as I develop them for my children, but since these courses are primarily for my own children, I make no promises as to how many or how often I publish new material here.



  1. My 7 y/o future whale researcher/marine biologist will be tagging along for these projects. We live in CO so don’t have access to salt water, but we do make trips and will be incorporating them into this study.

  2. I saw that one of the keywords for Seaside Naturalist is Florida Keys. The rest seem to be North Atlantic areas. Do you think it would be helpful in East Central Florida? Thanks.

    • Yes, I do. It seems to cover the entire east coast pretty well. I would definitely supplement with field guides specific to your area (as we are doing also), as the info in the book is pretty general.

  3. Thanks! Off to amazon to order it. (and yes we are stocked up with local field guides)

  4. hello! a friend has tipped me off about this site … please can we tag along? i have a daughter who since day one of her life has never wanted anything but to be surrounded by all things fishy. we are in the uk, and already researching careers in marine biology for the home educated young lady who wants to take part in this course! she’s aged 9 and her nickname is … shark.

    • Absolutely! Welcome, Shark!

  5. thank you! today shark has looked over all the games on your side bar; we have ordered the book; she has prepared a folder to keep together all her notes, and we have set aside a week in october for a trip to dorset for some proper seaside work.

    it is brilliant that we have some structure for this; with the style of support you’re providing, i am sure she will keep going with the activities and the reading. i have suggested she leaves you a comment when she feels ready. thank you again!

  6. Basically Bumblebee is now joining you from Charleston South Carolina. Thank you for your vision.

    • Wonderful!!! Be sure to let us know how it goes!!!

  7. We are slow but I’m excited to work as many studies as we canwe are in northern MS, but can plan a trip now and again to the Gulf coast for hands-on.
    We are just getting started with the course — will it be up for a while or do I need to get printing heavy now?

    It’s a great blessing you are sharing here. I look forward to following others you may find time to share as well.

    • Welcome Deanna! No need to rush. I intend to leave the plans up indefinitely.

  8. We are happy to join you, albiet a bit late but better late than never.

  9. Hi Theresa! We are finally staring week one, in anticipation of our visit to Wollongong and its beaches in a few weeks !

    • Great, Leonie!I look forward to seeing what you guys do!

  10. Thanks so much for the time taken to share this wonderful study! We are so excited by the idea of a year of hands on science and it’s perfect for my sailing and beach loving children!

    We can’t tag along in time with you, but we plan to start in February for the beginning of our school year here in Australia.
    I see you have younger children as well as your highschooler. Have you encorporated them in to it?
    I’m planning to create something for my 6 and 10yos with alternative resources. I have some in mind, but I thought I’d ask if anyone else had found a particularly good resource for those ages.

    • Oops, sorry, forgot to say, I’ll be following as written with my 15yo

    • Welcome, Sandra!
      My 8yo dd is doing the study along with us. She just does a simpler version, consisting of mostly the hands-on stuff and a few other fun things. For her it is more about exposure to all of the cool stuff that is out there. I have included options for younger kids on some of the lesson plans, but not all. Lots of the other Fieldworkers have younger kids doing it, too and are adapting the plans for them. Have a look at some of their blogs (on the sidebar) and see what they are doing. Good stuff all around!

  11. Is there a new course for the 2010-2011 school year. I noticed that many of the comments are from 2009.

    • Sue, I am not sure, yet. We are doing chemistry next year and I have not decided if I will blog it on this blog or just on my regular homeschool blog (LaPaz Home Learning). I will decide within the next couple of weeks.

  12. Will you be leaving this site up for the next year or should I download the weekly activities in the even I decide to use this?

    • I’ll leave it up.

  13. Thank you so much for this blog! I absolutely adore it! I am working towards a degree in biology but ultimately want to work with the ocean. I am currently an undergraduate and so I don’t get to take a “marine biology course” this allows me to as you put it home school myself…..thank you so much.

  14. This is an amazing resource and I look forward to using it this year!

  15. Hi, I happen upon your site while researching for 7th/8th grade ocean science. Is this still a working site/ curriculum? Is it secular or Christian? We live in TN and would be using this for a few kids in my home once a week. Thanks for any response!

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