Homeschool Options

Megan GriegoBy Megan Griego      July 24, 2020

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Homeschool Options
Exploring Lifecycles
I want to homeschool my children…but how? These past few months, many parents were forced to learn how to homeschool, virtually (pun intended) overnight. For many, this experience was tumultuous, especially for families who also work from home and for children that were on Zoom for too many hours per day. For some families, however, the opportunity to homeschool was eye opening and they are now searching for ways to continue a style of learning that offers flexibility, choice, togetherness, play, significant and authentic academic growth, and time! Exclamations like I’m not a teacher! My kid doesn’t want to learn from me! What about socialization? I wish I could, but I have to go to work! are foremost in the minds of parents forced into homeschooling. Topanga may have an answer with several homeschool or “un-school” groups in Topanga and the surrounding area. Some are even drop-off learning collectives. Because of their small numbers and freedom from regulation and liability, some of the programs are “covid-smart” without the need for masks or measuring six-foot distances. Following is a sampling of local homeschool “drop-off” opportunities. Everwild. EverWild’s Nature Immersion Programming provides meaningful outdoor experiences and deep nature connection for children and communities. Their classes encompass forest-school and place-based learning philosophies and organically implement the practice of environmental stewardship skills. Utilizing nature as their classroom, children engage in experiential, inquiry-based, and project-based learning as they move through the rhythm of their day. (everwildla.com) Peace Guardians. Peace Guardians believe that now, more than ever, the planet is calling for young passionate leaders who work together to create peace and harmony in their communities and the world. They see a global network of empowered educators creating enrichment programs that nurture emotional intelligence and self-development of the whole child. Their mission is to provide training, tools, and resources for future generations to become ambassadors of peace for themselves, their communities, and the world. (peacegurdians.org)
Exloring Music
First Nature Topanga. First Nature offers programs for boys, girls, and co-ed groups from early elementary age through high school. First Nature children and youth programs emphasize exposure in science-intuitive-based learning and understanding of plants, animals, and the environment around us. Peer mentoring, learning games, development of self-leadership skills, and promoting awareness of the individual impact on one’s self, others, and the environment, locally and globally. (ourfirstnature.com)

Wild Roots(not a drop-off program): A homeschool cooperative that is made up of families inspired by different homeschool methodologies, including Waldorf, Enki, unschooling, and project-based learning. Their goal is to have a community of families that come together and work together on a weekly basis for the common purpose of engaging in a communal and joyful, educational experience. Some of the core values as a community include: active engagement in the Wild Roots community, connection and reverence for Nature and low-media usage. They celebrate seasonal festivals, go on field and camping trips, and this past year they put on their first play in the woods. For more information: Eldrid at eldrid@me.com.

Petals: Petals Learning Community is a group of youth, their parents, and educators, who choose to homeschool as a collective. Petals is an acronym for the learning priorities of the families: Play, Earth, Tinkering, Art, Language, and Strength. They operate as an Agile Learning Center which practices self-directed education where academics are offered and encouraged but never imposed or presented coercively. (petalslearningcommunity.org)

Topanga Youth Services (TYS): is the youth organization operating through the Topanga Community Center umbrella. TYS offers an annual musical and talent show as well as band nights, classes, and events for youth 10-17 years.
(topangayouthservices.org)

The Park Day Group (not a drop off program): There are several “park groups” in both the Valley and the Westside that meet at least once per week mostly for a social outing usually at the beach or a regular park. One of the benefits of the Park Day Groups is a communication forum that shares about or creates homeschooling activities such as cultural experiences or classes. For more information: Jessica at fitteacherjes@yahoo.com.
Pirate Ships
The Love School: Fundamental to their approach is creating an environment where children can cultivate a deep connection to their own true nature, Nature itself, community, and the world at large. Mentors support each child developing their own capacity to create a meaningful and ful/bfilling life by engaging in exploration, challenge, and adventure. This includes everything from highly imaginative free play to scientific probings undertaking geographic, historical and cultural investigations, immersion in artistic endeavors and academic projects. (wearetheloveschool.com)

Ditchschool: Ditchschool is a full-service educational consulting firm offering transcript evaluation/composition, alternative schooling support, private school entrance advising, test preparation, and proctoring, college application guidance, student advocacy, essay editing, studio teaching, and one-on-one tutoring. The program’s main draw is the middle school and high school-aged academic group. Ditchschool is home to more than a dozen 13-17-year-olds who chose to leave the traditional schools for a variety of reasons (too easy, too hard, bullying, professional athletics, business endeavors, travel, etc). They are attending college early, virtually, while working in small groups together. (quillineducation.com)

We are living in a new and different world that requires new and different ways of being.

Homeschooling and it’s more radical form, unschooling, have been around a long time but now, more than ever, parents are realizing the importance of community, nature, art, and play. Check out the programs described above or spearhead your own community learning group and experience what many say is game-changing.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Be sure to ask if these groups are adhering to CDC guidelines and state mandates to protect against the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Megan Griego

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July 24, 2020

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