We are a group of homeschooling and unschooling families from the Philadelphia area working together to provide a gathering place for our children to engage in learning and social opportunities. Our mission is to provide a quality, diverse, secular, and inclusive environment in which children are nurtured in a climate of mutual respect when engaged in classes and activities.
We are not currently accepted applications from the general public yet,
but check back in soon to learn what's happening in fall! Applications will be processed by invitation online for spring. If you are connected to a family member who already attends programming, please reach out to your community member to learn more about how our community is gathering during the pandemic.
Take a look at our pre-pandemic information which is listed below to get an idea of how our community has run in the past and how it might look in a post-Covid world. What's listed as "Now" has been updated to reflect how our community is responding to the pandemic during this upcoming term.
Now: We're still evaluating what the community will need from adult participants in a post-Covid world. Right now, we encourage adults to remain engaged with their children during online classes to ensure activities go smoothly. We require that adults actively monitor their own children at all times during in person gatherings. We require that pandemic precautions will be followed by people of all ages.
Pre-pandemic: Co-op members actively participate in a variety of co-op activities when we meet on Tuesdays because we have no paid staff. Adults can pick a job that feels comfortable and they are welcome to change throughout the year. Adults could facilitate a class, help with the lunch break or afternoon break, monitor the halls, help set up and clean up, or pursue other roles. Each family is expected to contribute a certain number of work hours per trimester, determined by the needs of the co-op. Together, we create an exciting and interesting place for our young people to learn, socialize, and explore.
Members also participate in a committee that handles behind-the-scenes needs that help the co-op continue to run smoothly and flourish. These committees are Administration/Technology, Membership/Social, and Operations.
Adults have the option to leave campus (remaining in a 15 minute radius with a reliable form of communication) or do their own thing on campus while they are not "working" throughout the day--but it is expected that they can be available for their own children as needed. Many adults still have multiple hours to themselves throughout the day if they choose to use it.
We understand that some families cannot offer on-site support on Tuesdays and might be able to accommodate your needs for drop-off opportunities. This is especially possible for teens. Please reach out if you have needs for smaller children so that we can consider possibilities. We are currently thinking about what those situations might look like for our community.
There is a financial commitment for each trimester. A $25 non-refundable membership fee is due with membership application. That fee is only due once unless membership lapses.
The year is divided into three trimesters which include 10 weeks of opportunities. Participants can attend Zoom classes and in-person or online meet-ups which are led by volunteer parents and guardians. This spring, we are also offering 8 weeks of in-person gatherings in Fort Washington. In-person gatherings in Fort Washington will be socially distanced and recommended pandemic precautions will be enforced. Structured playtime and classes will be offered for 8 weeks.
Basic Membership: Allows members to stay connected to the community and participate in volunteer-led meet-ups (which occur both online and in person) - $50
In Person Membership: Includes meet-ups (which occur at various times and places, online and in person) and expert-led classes at Fort Washington on Fridays - $137.50
Online Membership: Includes meet-ups (which occur at various times and places, online and in person) and Zoom classes on Tuesdays - $200
Full membership: Includes all of the above - $275
Now: Online classes are all led by teachers and facilitators from outside of the co-op in our community. Some opportunities we've organized include art and music classes, cooking and recipe swaps, social time, improv, gardening and horticulture, science, movement, virtual field trips to farms and sanctuaries, and more! In-person classes and structured playtime will include movement and sports, nature, and science.
Pre-Pandemic: Most classes are taught by the parents or adult guardians of children and teens who attend the co-op. Facilitators from outside the co-op community are hired when there's interest in a specific topic that co-op members cannot offer.
Some classes are more traditional and academic while others are fun and social or highlight life skills. Some classes include field trips. A full-time student will take three classes for 5 weeks then choose three additional classes for the second 5 weeks of a trimester (unless a class is offered for the full 10 weeks). Some classes are specific to an age group while others are blended. The co-op aims to offer at least 3 options per "age group" to students each 5-week session. You and your children choose which opportunities to explore.
Past classes include:
Trash to Fashion, Beginning German, Bake Sale for Charity, American Sign Language, Digital Video Story Slam, Puppetry, Cell Biology, Dungeons & Dragons, Linocut, Debate Club, Embroidery, How to Build a Trebuchet, Lost Civilizations of Africa, Cooking with Chocolate, NaNoWriMo, Learn to Code, AP US History, Japanese Culture through Anime/Manga... And SO MUCH MORE.
Daily Schedule & Needs
Now: Students can take online classes and attend social gatherings on Tuesdays via Zoom from 10 AM to 4 PM. Each class or meet-up on Tuesday is approximately one hour long. Virtual and in-person meet-ups may occur any other time or day. In-person gatherings on Fridays will take place from 10 AM to 3 PM. Two structured classes will be offered (starting at 11 AM) with a break for lunch in between. Kids are welcome to play while socially distanced and monitored before and after classes and attend for one class, both classes, or just playtime.
Pre-pandemic: Our day starts at 9:30 with guardians escorting children into the building and signing in at the floater station. There are baskets labeled with each family’s name in the main hall where children can place their belongings in the morning and throughout the day.
The community is welcomed at 9:30 with announcements then splits into age-specific gatherings for 15 minutes. The first class starts at 10:00 and ends at 11:00. Children gather in the dining room or outdoors for lunch. They have time to play (outside, weather permitting) before the second class starts at 12:00. This class ends at 1:15 when the children have 45 minutes of free time. Children might choose to eat at this time and/or hang out and play. The last class of the day starts at 2:00 and ends at 3:15.
Our day is officially over at 3:30 when guardians empty their family’s basket and sign their children out of the co-op.
Generally, children should bring a water bottle and lunch. They are not typically required to bring additional items but might be asked to bring supplies for a specific class (such as a notebook, instrument, etc.). They might also want to bring a snack, layered clothing for weather changes, and bag to carry the day's work home with them (as children sometimes create art or have other items to transport at the end of the day). Personal belongings cannot be left in the building at the end of each gathering.
The co-op holds regular socials during the year. Past events have included bowling trips, talent shows, movie nights, pot luck suppers, a Halloween party, and more! There is typically an annual camping trip in late June at Hickory Run State Park.
Meet-ups can occur online and or in-person and can be organized on a virtual platform to reach community members.
Bring your ideas and enthusiasm as the co-op is very much a creation of the families currently enrolled, and everyone is welcome to arrange events.
The Board, Policies, & Communication
Anyone can attend board meetings, which are held periodically throughout the year. We kindly ask that all members consider serving on the board at some point throughout their involvement with the community.
Policy changes must be voted on, but we welcome suggestions that meet the needs of our community. Current policies can be viewed in our handbook which can be requested before you apply or is available for viewing in the Membership section of the website.
Communication is in a transitional stage. Right now, this mostly occurs through a Google group. This requires all members to have a Gmail account (which is free).