Eco Village Homeschool
Cultivate Skills, Connection and Character!
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
FARM & FOREST ADVENTURES • TEAM BUILDING • MARTIAL ARTS
Eco Village Homeschool at Pearlstone welcomes youths of all backgrounds into immersive learning experiences that build deep, joyful connections with nature and with each other.
Our passionate, fun-loving, experienced educators guide students through modalities including Farm, Forest, Team-Building, Martial Arts, and more – all leading to transformative growth in self-awareness, interconnectedness, and self-confidence among our participants. Join us!
Click HERE for the full list of sessions and class dates
TUESDAYS ON THE FARM, 10:00 a.m. – 3 :00 p.m.
Learn organic farming, team building and martial arts!
Our day begins with mindfulness and martial arts practice to cultivate calm centeredness, body and spacial awareness. Collaborative group challenges followed by artfully guided debrief activities build compassionate communication and leadership skills. Farm projects encompass tending perennial and annual plants, animal care, mushroom cultivation, natural building, cooking, soap-making, herbal medicine and more. Each week, an inspiring or though-provoking article or short video will be shared on a wide range of topics from local food systems to innovative compost solutions to global initiatives in eco-social entrepreneurship. Students are asked to consider a few questions in preparation for our lunch time discussions. Time for lunch and supervised free play are built in to the schedule.
Meet Your Lead Morning Instructor: Christina
Christina Heffner has been an educator for children and adolescents pre-k through 9th grade for the past 16 years, mostly in Montessori schools. She has developed new programs and strengthened existing ones by developing curriculum that inspires students to take action in their communities. She has developed student run businesses and created literary nights where students share their own written works. Her writing curriculum is currently in the process of being turned in to a published book. She is passionate about building community among parents who trust their intuition, offer their full presence, and reach out for support when needed. She believes in transforming the isolation that parents face today and is an advocate for vulnerability. She is also the manager at Falls Road Aikido, a martial arts dojo that encourages its members to rise above ego and find peace within themselves. Our students help each other grow into confident and grounded individuals who have a deep appreciation for how they can become leaders in any situation. She is excited about recently becoming the assistant director of the Baltimore Kids Chess League, where she has previously coached for the last 11 years. She can be found hiking, biking, swimming and reading with her husband and fun loving, 8 year old daughter.
Meet Your Afternoon Instructor: Tome
Tome Shaaltiel is an earth steward, spokesperson of the trees, permaculturist, educator, nature explorer and dancer. Growing up, Tome spent the summers at OSRUI, a URJ summer camp in Wisconsin, and the rest of the year in Tel Aviv, Israel. After serving in the Israeli Defense Forces as an educator, she traveled for 6 months all around Australia and New Zealand. Being so far away from home she realized she wanted to do more nature connected education programs, which brought her to live as an eco-volunteer at the Center for Creative Ecology at Kibbutz Lotan for a year at 2017, there she acquired her Permaculture Design Certificate and lived in a mud building with composting toilets, solar electricity and a grey water system. She learned how to take care of a market garden and was leading tours and workshops. She worked as the Teva (outdoor education, nature) director at OSRUI for 2 summers and this past fall was a Teva educator at the Jewish retreat center, Isabella Freedman. Tome is the full-time Farmer Educator at Pearlstone since February, leading educational programs for children in different age groups and backgrounds of the Pearlstone community on the farm.
Our young students will be guided through farm projects encompassing tending perennial and annual plants, animal care, mushroom cultivation, natural building, cooking, soap-making, herbal medicine and more. Yoga and martial arts practices cultivate calm alertness to help the children prepare for the next challenge! Team building games, which build compassionate communication and leadership skills, round out the day. Lunchtime and supervised free play time our built in to the schedule.
Instructors: Mike & David
THURSDAYS IN THE FOREST, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Learn primitive and practical skills, scientific knowledge and compassion for nature!
Our beloved Forest School program is now entering its sixth year, having built a dedicated following among participants. In this five-year long course, homeschool students gain a tremendous amount of knowledge through experiential learning – encountering and understanding dozens of plants, animals, ecological systems, and primitive skills throughout the year. Drawing on indigenous educational wisdom, Forest School trains students in a plethora of practical skills and scientific knowledge while building essential character traits like compassion, alert awareness, gratitude, and deep listening. And the kids have so much fun they don’t even realize how much they’re learning! Feel free to sign up for a year or a seven-week session today!
Meet Your Instructor: Joe
The one and only Joe Murray leads this course! A legendary educator with decades of wilderness teaching experience. We now enter our 6th year of this unique, amazing program with many devoted returning families and new friends welcome every session.
The focus for our younger participants remains on play, wonder and creativity with plenty of opportunities to explore, inquire, learn and build skills along the way. Our final two hours are spent making nature art and craft projects, and sharing stories of wildlife and nature connection.
Meet Your Instructor: Nets
Nets Manela has been living, working, teaching, and raising children on and around the Pearlstone campus for the last twelve years. The best part of it all has been frolicking freely in the forest, finding wild food and medicine, splashing in the creek, stacking rocks, digging muddy channels in the rain, starting fires, crafting projects with found treasures, and lighting up in wonder at new discoveries. On the side, Nets has been studying, teaching, and applying holistic health practices from nutrition and herbal therapies to natural birth, taichi and biodynamic craniosacral therapy. Nets has led children’s nature programming for World House, ADAMAH, and Teva and can’t wait to head back out to the woods to play, learn, and marvel together.
Forest School Testimonials
“Forest School has been our family’s biggest motivation to continue homeschooling for the past 5 years. Our children are so passionate about the class that they want to go even when they are ill or injured. (Of course we don’t let them). While the children are busy feeling free and happy and honing their favorite skills, our parental spirits are soaring because we know that Joe is mentoring them towards full aliveness, sensitivity, and responsibility to the world around them. We can’t recommend this program enough!”
~Nets Manela mother of Lev and Shama
“Our son learned so much and loved every moment at Forest School. Joe is an inspiring and knowledgeable teacher and Pearlstone is a beautiful campus just perfect for Forest School. We can’t recommend this program enough!”
“Both of my kids have spent five years with Joe in Forest School. Through all weather, all seasons, they are more excited to attend every year. The content is wonderful, but what we have gained the most is a sense of their own ability to be in the world. They have real, tangible challenges and group interactions that are structured and at the same time very organic. They are solving their own problems and building their confidence. Forest School has been priceless! Thanks, Joe!”