Homeschool Together at our
Center for Semi-Conducted Learning (CSCL)
Opened in September of 2012, the Center for Semi-Conducted Learning has been a joyful experiment in creating meaningful relationships between kids and adults and amongst themselves. While we don't follow any one pedagogical theory, we have been known to respect, admire and draw from a number of educational philosophies. The Albany Free School, founded by Mary Leue in the 1960s was an important influence, as well as Summerhill in the UK, and elements of Reggio, Montessori, and even Waldorf thought & practice have been known to pop up here and there. We are not a school, and we are not a fully democratic place of education, although we do respect those types of programs. We give the kids a whole lot more freedom than they are often used to when they come to us. We have rules, and we have expectations that everyone "be excellent to each other." The schedule of the day determines a lot of the patterns of activities, which are then unfortunately required to be divided up into chunks somewhat artificially. However, these are the sacrifices we make in order to put calories in our bodies.
Arrival starts at 9am, with Morning Meeting at 9:30, where we go over announcements and schedule for the day. After the recap, we go about our mornings until we call cleanup time at about 11:15. Cleanup is one of the few absolutely mandatory things we require everyone in the space to participate in. When it's sufficiently clean, we have an hour for lunch, hanging out, playing games, sometimes going outside, watching cat videos on the internet, or even resuming our projects from the morning. This is the one time of day kids can participate in "passive consumption of media" that is otherwise prohibited as part of our computer use policy. At 12:30 we reconvene for Afternoon Meeting, which is a mirror of the morning one. Announcements, Schedule, Recap, Go! At 3:30 or so, depending on the level of mess, we do another big Cleanup Time! Then it's time to pack up and start going home or getting ready to be picked up.
The days are a pretty even mix of social and academic, with a lot of focus in recent years on collaborative projects that combine the two, such as Mock Trial and Dungeons & Dragons. There is plenty of room for creative solo work, and small group learning, such as individual crafting projects, and small programming classes in Java and Unity.
One of the main reasons folks come to Parts & Crafts as part of their homeschooling curricula is that this is a welcoming, friendly, open, & excellent place to make new friends based around shared interests. Groups of friends will often collectively decide on something they want to learn about & we dive in. Other times we offer classes that allow kids to form new friendships.
Get Wildly Creative
We are first and foremost a maker space. We have tools, supplies, and resources to allow kids to use their vast imaginations to explore their creative dreams. From Halloween costumes, holiday and birthday gifts, or just plain brilliance, we have watched kids create and invent so many wonderful projects. We have electronics, textiles, books, duct tape, cardboard, velcro, hot glue & more.
Let's go outside! We love going on urban adventures in the Greater Boston Area! Some of our many adventures include bird and nature watching at Mt Auburn & Ipswitch River, riding trains to museums, libraries, & beaches, playing in the snow, going to playgrounds, overnight camping & hiking at the Blue Hills Reservation, visiting Fenway and the top of the Prudential Building!