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.
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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.
The year is divided into three trimesters which include two 5-week class sessions (for 10 weeks of classes total per trimester). Part time and full time options are available, and payment will reflect that choice.
Full time costs:
The current cost of the co-op is $27.50 per week per family for three Tuesday classes (a full day with the community from 9:30 AM - 3:15 PM) per trimester. This makes a total payment of $275. Payment is generally divided into two installments and is due in full before registration per trimester, but payment plans and other accommodations can be made. Please reach out if you have concerns or questions.
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
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 also an annual camping trip in late June at Hickory Run State Park.
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).