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Beyond the Classroom Walls: Adventures Homeschooling In Oregon

April 24, 2024

Pack up the wagon and embark on an unforgettable homeschooling journey on the Oregon Trail!

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Five (5) Regional Conventions
Attendees from all over the U.S.
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Presented by Medi-Share
Also sponsored by The Tuttle Twins


  • Embrace the freedom and flexibility of Oregon homeschooling.
  • Immerse your family in Oregon's rich history and stunning landscapes.
  • Incorporate hands-on learning experiences and real-world skills into your curriculum.
  • Discover a wealth of resources and support for your Oregon Trail homeschooling adventure.
  • Follow Oregon homeschool law while bringing the outside world to your child's doorstep.

Discovering Oregon's Natural Wonders

Oregon's diverse landscapes provide an endless array of educational opportunities for homeschool families. From the rugged coast to the majestic Cascade Mountains, the state is a living classroom waiting to be explored.

Coastal Adventures


Begin your homeschooling journey by exploring Oregon's breathtaking coastline. The Oregon Coast is a treasure trove of learning opportunities, from tide pools teeming with marine life to the towering sea stacks at Cannon Beach. Spend a day at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, where your children can get up close and personal with native sea creatures and learn about the delicate coastal ecosystem. Don't miss the chance to visit the historic lighthouses that dot the coastline, offering a glimpse into Oregon's maritime past and the chance to learn about the science of light and navigation.

Cascades and Crater Lake

As you head inland, the Cascade Mountains beckon with their snow-capped peaks and pristine forests. Take a scenic drive along the McKenzie River, stopping to hike the trails and marvel at the crystal-clear waters. Visit the North Cascades Visitor Center to learn about the geological forces that shaped the region, from ancient lava flows to the eruption of Mount Mazama that created Crater Lake. Speaking of Crater Lake, this stunning blue gem is a must-see for any homeschooling family. Take a boat tour to Wizard Island, hike the rim trails, and learn about the unique ecology of this ancient caldera.


High Desert Discoveries


For a change of scenery, head east to explore Oregon's high desert region. The John Day Fossil Beds National Monument offers a fascinating glimpse into the state's prehistoric past, with towering rock formations and an abundance of plant and animal fossils. Visit the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center to learn about the ancient ecosystems that once thrived here. Don't miss the chance to stargaze in the clear desert skies, using astronomy apps to identify constellations and learn about the wonders of the universe.

Willamette Valley Wonders

Finally, don't overlook the educational opportunities in your own backyard. The Willamette Valley is home to a wealth of parks, nature preserves, and historic sites that offer endless opportunities for learning. Visit the Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge to observe migratory birds and discuss the importance of wetland habitats. Take a trip to the Oregon State Capitol in Salem to learn about state government and the legislative process. Explore the historic buildings and museums of Eugene, from the University of Oregon's Museum of Natural and Cultural History to the Science Factory Children's Museum and Exploration Dome.


By immersing your family in Oregon's natural wonders, you'll provide your children with a rich and engaging education that extends far beyond the classroom walls. So pack your hiking boots, grab your field guides, and get ready to discover the incredible outdoor classroom that Oregon has to offer. Your homeschooling adventure awaits!

Dates and Locations

Great Homeschool Conventions 2023-2024

Dozens of Speakers, Discounted Hotels, 100s of Exhibitors, Special Events, Optional Children’s Conference.

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March 14-16

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March 21-23

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April 4-6

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June 13-15

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July 6-8

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Hands-On Learning on the Trail

One of the greatest advantages of starting homeschooling on the Oregon Trail is the opportunity for hands-on learning experiences that bring subjects to life. By incorporating real-world activities and projects into your curriculum, you'll help your children develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for the world around them.

Living History

Oregon's rich history comes alive at the many living history sites and museums scattered throughout the state. Visit the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City to experience life as a pioneer, complete with covered wagon rides, interactive exhibits, and reenactments of daily life on the trail. At Fort Clatsop near Astoria, your family can step back in time to the winter of 1805-1806, when Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery camped at the site. Participate in candle-making and other hands-on activities that bring the expedition to life.

Nature Studies


Oregon's diverse landscapes provide endless opportunities for nature studies and outdoor learning. Encourage your children to keep a nature journal, sketching and describing the plants, animals, and landscapes they encounter on the trail. Collect leaves, rocks, and other natural specimens to create a mobile nature museum in your RV or campsite. Use field guides and apps like iNaturalist to identify and learn about the species you discover and discuss the importance of conservation and stewardship.

STEM Adventures

Incorporate science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts into your homeschooling adventures through hands-on projects and experiments. Build a miniature covered wagon using popsicle sticks and cardboard, testing different designs to see which is the most stable and efficient. Create a simple water filtration system using sand, gravel, and charcoal, and discuss the importance of clean water on the trail. Use a compass and topographic maps to navigate a hiking trail, learning about cardinal directions and map-reading skills.


Arts and Crafts


Encourage your children's creativity and self-expression through arts and crafts projects inspired by your Oregon Trail adventures. Create a nature-inspired art journal, using watercolors, colored pencils, and pressed flowers to document your journey. Learn about Native American art and culture by creating your own petroglyphs, baskets, or dream catchers using traditional materials and techniques. Visit local art galleries and museums to discover the work of Oregon artists, and discuss the role of art in documenting history and cultural heritage.

Cooking and Homesteading Skills

Homeschooling on the Oregon Trail provides the perfect opportunity to teach your children valuable life skills like cooking, gardening, and basic homesteading. Learn to cook over a campfire, using cast iron pots and Dutch ovens to prepare hearty pioneer-style meals. Plant a small herb or vegetable garden at your campsite, teaching your children about the life cycle of plants and the importance of self-sufficiency. Practice basic sewing and mending skills by creating your own pioneer-style clothing or repairing ripped tents and backpacks.


Volunteering and Community Service


Incorporate volunteering and community service into your homeschooling journey to teach your children the value of giving back and making a positive impact on the world. Participate in a beach cleanup along the Oregon Coast, learning about the effects of pollution on marine ecosystems. Volunteer at a local food bank or homeless shelter, discussing issues of poverty and social justice. Join a trail maintenance crew in a state park, learning about the importance of environmental stewardship and public lands.

Your children develop a lifelong love of learning and a deep connection to the world around them with hands-on activities. So get ready to roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty, and discover the countless opportunities for experiential education that await you on the Oregon Trail. Your homeschooling adventure is just beginning!

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Resources for Your Oregon Trail Adventure

As you plan your homeschooling journey on the Oregon Trail, take advantage of the wealth of resources available to support your family's education. From state parks and museums to online resources and local support groups, Oregon offers a vibrant community of homeschoolers and endless opportunities for learning and adventure, including:

  • 1•

    State Parks and Public Lands
  • Junior Ranger programs

  • Guided hikes and educational workshops

  • Oregon State Parks website for parks, trails, and educational programs

  • National forests, wildlife refuges, and other public lands

  • 2•

    Museums and Learning Centers
  • Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) in Portland

  • High Desert Museum in Bend

  • Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville

  • Local history, art, and cultural museums

  • 3•

    Online Resources
  • Oregon Home Education Network (OHEN) for state laws, curriculum options, and local support groups

  • Oregon Department of Education's online resources and homeschooling guide

  • Online learning platforms like Khan Academy, Duolingo, and Codecademy

  • 4•

    Outdoor Schools and Adventure Programs
  • Outdoor School program by Oregon State University Extension Service

  • Trackers Earth program in Portland for wilderness skills, naturalist studies, and adventure camps

  • Other local outdoor education programs and camps

  • 5•

    Expert Mentors and Local Artisans
  • Park rangers, naturalists, and other local experts

  • Local artists, musicians, and craftspeople for workshops, classes, and apprenticeships

  • Tapping into the expertise and creativity of your local community

Homeschool parents should take advantage of diverse resources, especially from a state homeschool organization, to create a rich and immersive learning experience that extends far beyond the traditional classroom walls. Embrace the opportunity to blaze your own trail and discover the countless opportunities for growth, adventure, and lifelong learning that await you on your Oregon Trail homeschooling journey.

Abiding By Oregon Homeschooling Requirements

As you embark on your homeschooling adventure on the Oregon Trail, it's essential to familiarize yourself with the state's homeschooling laws and regulations. By understanding and abiding by these requirements, you'll ensure a smooth and compliant homeschooling experience for your family.

  • 1•

  • Oregon law requires homeschooling families to notify their local Education Service District (ESD) of their intent to homeschool.

  • Notification must be submitted within 10 days of withdrawing your child from public school or from beginning of school year.

  • The notification should include your child's name, address, and birthdate, as well as the name of the parent or guardian providing the homeschool instruction.

  • 2•

    Educational Requirements
  • Oregon law has no required curriculum or list of subjects to be taught. This means the parent can choose, but the student will still need to be tested in certain grades (see following section).

  • Homeschool curriculum and materials should be selected to provide a well-rounded education that meets or exceeds the standards set by the Oregon Department of Education.

  • Oregon parents or guardians are responsible for providing and supervising their child's education, but may seek assistance from tutors, online resources, or other educational providers.

  • 3•

    Assessment and Testing
  • Oregon law requires homeschooled students to participate in state-mandated assessments or testing in grades 3, 5, 8, and 10.

  • Homeschooling families must choose from the ODE's list of homeschool testers to administer standardized tests or other assessments to track their child's progress and ensure they are meeting educational goals.

  • Some Oregon homeschool groups may offer testing services or resources for families who wish to incorporate assessments into their homeschool program.

  • 4•

    Record Keeping
  • Oregon law recommends homeschooling families to maintain certain records, including attendance records, immunization records, and student progress reports.

  • Immunization records should be kept up-to-date and available upon request from public health officials or the ESD.

  • Student progress reports should include information on the subjects covered, materials used, and progress made by the student throughout the year.

By understanding and complying with Oregon's homeschooling laws, you'll create a safe and supportive learning environment for your child while enjoying the freedom and flexibility of homeschooling on the Oregon Trail during the school year. Remember to consult with the Oregon Department of Education and your local ESD for the most up-to-date information and guidance on homeschooling regulations in your area.


As you've discovered throughout this guide, homeschooling on the Oregon Trail offers a unique and transformative educational experience for families seeking to break free from the confines of traditional schooling. By packing up your wagon and embarking on this unforgettable journey, you'll not only provide your children with a rich and immersive learning adventure but also cultivate a deeper connection with nature, history, and each other.

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