Homeschool Programming

Our homeschool programs are our oldest and longest running programs and very near and dear to our hearts. It has been an honor to deliver an experience of connection with the natural world to such an extraordinary group of young people who choose to come back into the woods with us year after year. 

4-H Acres Fall

Fall Season

AGES 6-16

Thurs. or Friday 8:30AM – 1:00PM

Our Home Base camp! Come explore 400 acres of diverse environments: the Ash Grove, the Hemlock forest, the Beaver dam, bubbling streams, open meadows, and more.

4-H Acres Winter

Winter Season

AGES 6-16

Thurs. or Friday 8:30AM – 1:00PM

We will will make our winter home in the forest and practice our tracking, forestry, navigation, storytelling, winter shelters and more at our home base in the woods of 4-H Acres!  

4-H Acres Spring

Spring Season

AGES 6-16

Thurs. or Friday 8:30AM – 1:00PM

Our Home Base camp! Come explore 400 acres of diverse environments: the Ash Grove, the Hemlock forest, the Beaver dam, bubbling streams, open meadows, and more.

Since 2001 we’ve welcomed children ages 6-16, to create time each week for community gathering, gratitude, individual interest exploration, and peer-based projects. We hold a family potluck celebration at the end of each fall and spring session for families and friends to gather with us to share stories of the season.

Fall Homeschool 2021

Thursdays or Fridays 8:30 am – 1:00 PM

Come explore 400 acres of diverse environments: the Ash Grove, the Hemlock forest, the Beaver dam, bubbling streams, open meadows, and more. Meet Grandmother Hickory and explore Village Camp, with its primitive shelter and cob oven. Have a snack in White Pine Camp, then play epic games or watch the clouds from the grassy fields. On trail or off trail, animal signs and plant life provide a natural scavenger hunt for us here.

We hold a family celebration at the end of the fall and spring sessions, in potluck form when possible, where families and friends are invited share stories of the season. 

Friday Homeschool:
Dates: Sept 17 – Dec 17 (no program Nov 26) 13 weeks
Cost: $420-$550 (scholarships available)
Deposit: $100
Max participants listed at 10

Age range: 6-9

Thursday Homeschool:

Dates: Sept 23 – Dec 16 (no program Nov 25) 12 weeks
Cost: $420-$550 (scholarships available)
Deposit: $100
Max participants listed at 30
Age range: 6-16
Registration Information

Space is not held until we’ve received payment in full. Payments above $65 per day are tax-deductible donations; thank you for your generous support of our scholarship fund! Use a computer or laptop with Firefox or Chrome to register online, since Safari and Explorer, and phones and tablets, are not compatible with our registration software.

Program Policies

Our Choose-Your-Price Sliding Scale System

At Primitive Pursuits, we are committed to making our programs available to as many people as possible. To this end, we generate scholarships via our choose-your-price sliding scale program costs, on a program-to-program basis. The base rate of our programs covers the cost of the program. Any payments above the base rate are tax-deductible donations to our scholarship fund. When filing for taxes Primitive Pursuits is listed under “Cornell Cooperative Extension” Tax ID #16-6072897. 

To learn more about financial assistance, please visit our Scholarships page.

Common Online Payment Troubleshooting Tips

  1. Please login to your Account Portal on a computer (not smartphone or tablet)
  2. Use Firefox or Chrome as your browser (not Explorer or Safari)
  3. Wait at least 30 seconds after submitting your payment for the screen to change (there is no visual symbol showing that the credit card payment is processing).
  4. If the payment does not go through and you are on a computer using Firefox or Chrome, it may be that your credit/debit card has a past expiration date on file. Try entering your current card as a ‘new’ card in the Account Portal.
  5. Check with your bank to determine whether your account has enough balance to cover the payment.
  6. If you have gone through the above steps, please email us for additional assistance:[email protected]

Pick Up/Drop Off Policy:

If your child is late to be picked up (or is dropped off early) you will be charged $20 per instance. By making payment for our programs you agree to this policy and agree to be charged accordingly. We are unable to provide supervision outside of the times indicated when you signed up for the program.

Should you need to pick up or drop off during a program:

Our camps are unique in that our programming occurs away from the drop-off area. Due to this aspect of our programs, getting a child to the parking lot or getting them to their group during program time can require extra staff and/or a restructuring of that day’s planned activities. We understand that your family is busy and everyone has a lot going on! Advance notice helps our instructors maintain the program’s structure with minimal disruption.

Contact our office via email ([email protected]com) or phone (607-272-2292) at least 24 hours in advance to let us know if you need to pick up your camper early or drop them off late. (If your request is for Monday, please let us know by 4pm the Friday before.) The more advance notice, the better! Please understand that we reserve the right to deny these special requests if we do not have enough time to provide accommodations.

Receipt Requests

If you require a receipt for program fees, please email [email protected]including the name of the account holder and the time period for which you need the receipt (eg. summer of 2019; fall of 2018). We do our best to respond within a week; in the busy summertime this may take longer.


Please look for your registration status in your Account Portal. If you see “waitlist” then that participant is on the waitlist. Our registration software will not accept payment for a waitlisted participant. If a spot opens, we call and email the next waitlisted person and include a deadline for reply and payment arranged through the office. Our field staff cannot accept payments for programs.

Cancellations due to Weather and Other Acts of Nature

If a single-day program (such as a school-break day) is canceled due to inclement weather, we will credit your payment toward a future program or refund your payment minus a $15 processing fee. If a single day of an ongoing program (such as a week-long camp, Homeschool program, or after-school programs) is canceled, no refunds will be made.

We will cancel our programs if the Ithaca City School District cancels school due to snow or hazardous weather. We will cancel Afterschool if ICSD cancels after school programs due to snow or hazardous weather. If the program takes place on a school break day or holiday, we will cancel our programs if the Tompkins County sheriff declares that the roads are closed due to hazardous conditions. If there is a 2 hour delay, we will delay our program for 1 hour. As always, we encourage people to travel only when they feel it is safe. You can check here for current school and road closings.

Our programs may also be canceled by the mandate of the Department of Health or other such regulatory agencies in the case of disease outbreaks and other existing health hazards. We consider such causes to be acts of nature beyond our control, and therefore can not offer refunds for programs that are canceled for these reasons.

Family-Initiated Cancellations

This section applies to cancellations and refund requests made by the Account Holder:

  • In order for any program change or refund request to be considered, it must be made in writing through the Registrar, even if you have discussed this with another staff person, such as a field educator.
  • The effective date of all refund requests is the date of the email notifying the Registrar of your request.
  • Changes and refunds are NOT guaranteed and only the Registrar can process these changes.
  • Epic Days and donations (amount paid above the base rate) are nonrefundable.
  • If we are unable to approve a scholarship request which prevents you from participating in a program, all payments towards that program (even “non-refundable deposits”) will be returned if you.

Please email [email protected] with your full name, phone number, the participant’s name, the full program name(s), and the program start date(s). 
No phone calls.

Refer to the program-specific policies below:

Academic Year (except Ithaca Forest Preschool):

  1. If you cancel 30 or more days prior to the program starting date, you are entitled to a full refund, minus the deposit & any donation above the sliding scale base rate.
  2. If you cancel between 14 and 30 days prior to the program starting date, Primitive Pursuits will retain half the program tuition, after the deposit & any donation above the sliding scale base rate.
  3. If you cancel fewer than 14 days prior to the program starting date or after the program has begun, there will be no refunds.
  4. Epic Day fees are non-refundable/transferable
Primitive Pursuits has been one of the highlights of our sons’ learning, and a joy to our whole family.”
JM, Homeschool Parent