WHO SHOULD APPLY
Do you want to be part of an educational community that trusts young people to pursue their interests with love and support in developing the process tools to do so?
Do you believe every human has a right to pursue their own path and make their own decisions, and has a responsibility to do so in ways that do not interfere with that same right in others?
Do you want to be part of a richly diverse community, and to engage with thoughtfulness and intention people who may be very different from you, toward a process of greater understanding and communal growth?
Do you believe partnership - compassionate collaboration - is a more acceptable path forward than domination - individualistic or tribalistic competition?
Do you believe we need humans who can think creatively and implement new ideas more than we need credentials and test scores?
Note: We are not accepting new young people 15+ years old for the 2023-24 program year. If you know a 15+ year-old interested in consulting with our self-directed teen consultant about how to register as a homeschooler and take charge of their education, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you believe NC is the right place for your family, please fill out this form. You will be contacted to schedule a 20-min initial introductory phone call with our co-director Chris Steinmeier. If both parties agree we are a good match, we will schedule a site visit.
The site visit and meeting generally take about 2 hours to complete, and we ask that everyone who has a say in the decision-making process (parents, caregivers, young people, and anyone else who has a financial stake in the decision) please plan to attend. We believe everyone’s voice should be heard, and everyone should have an opportunity to ask their questions directly.
SINGLE SLOT - $3000 (1 day/week from September - June)
In-Person Meeting Passes - $25/young person (parents and babies/infants included)
Currently, 1 slot costs $3000 per program year. A slot equals 1 program day per week for the full year (for example, Tuesdays). We charge a flat rate for the slot, which does not change if you enroll for more slots or with siblings. 4 slots could be 1 person comes 4 days/week or 2 siblings attend 2 days/week, or 4 siblings attend 1 day/week.
Program fees cover enrollment in the program for young people, partnership meetings with facilitators (both young people and adults), access to our Family Support Coordinator, our library, and opportunities to call problem-solving meetings with us; the fees also cover community events (about 4 per year), homeschooling portfolio evaluation and support, and lots of fun.
We enroll families for the whole year; we do not accept new young people after September (special considerations may be made for a young person turning 5 in the first few months of the year).
We offer a sliding scale for program fees, which basically means that we try to make as much financial support available as possible while still paying our staff at rates that speak to their value within the organization. Families interested in fee reductions will complete an application, which provides a recommendation to us, which we then use to make a plan with our families that will ideally meet their and our needs.
HOW WE MAKE IT WORK
All of our families are expected to pay some program fee, and only a small percentage (10-15%) are able to pay the full amount. The rest of our community receives some to significant financial support. In total, 25-30% of our operating budget is covered by program fees. The remainder is raised through fundraising appeals, grants, and private contributions. We also build and maintain partnerships that keep our costs down while offering additional support to our families, including a connection to a counseling service, a number of local businesses, and some corporate donations of resources.
Many in our community have spent much of their lives believing the position they were born into, either by economics, race, or gender identity, represents the best they could hope for. Our commitment to them is to support their development toward something better, and to help them develop the skills and connections to make it happen. If you would like to help us get there, please let us know!
“NC has been a part of our homeschool journey for many years now. It started out by them providing a space our kids could go to that was away from home, full of interesting things for them to do and where they were watched over by kind, intelligent people who believed kids will learn best when they are interested in learning. Two things I have come to value about NC besides providing that space away from home and immediate family are 1. The use of language and concepts that are counter-cultural--things like nonviolent communication, or framing things in terms of positives & how-tos rather than positives & negatives. These might be easy to make fun of or laugh off but they create an awareness in you that there are other options for how to argue, how to see the world, and how to treat people. 2. Our regular check-in times have become mini-therapy sessions for myself as I am pushed to examine my own assumptions about education, my own desires for my children, and my own agendas and ways of viewing family, school, learning, etc. I usually leave those meetings with food for thought, with an appreciation for NC's philosophy, and feeling encouraged about where we as a family are at in our homeschooling journey.” - Timothy H, parent of 2 young people (ages 12 and 15), 6th year at NC
“Our young person joined Natural Creativity as a teenager, which can be a challenging time to begin something new. The community of young people embraced her, and the community of parents and staff welcomed and supported us. Natural Creativity has breathed new life into our homeschooling experience. It is a place that allows our teen to flourish in expressing her creativity and also challenges her to stretch and develop into the young adult she is becoming. Choosing Natural Creativity is the best decision we have made in our homeschooling journey! - Laura H, parent of 16-year-old, 2nd year at NC
“Natural Creativity has given our young people and our entire family the space and communication tools to learn together. The program has helped us prioritize the things that matter to our family and support the goals of our young people. When we hit a snag the facilitators are always available to lend a ear and provide supportive resources. We wouldn't be homeschooling without NC!” - Dana R, parent of 2 young people (ages 9 and 11), 6th year at NC
"We have been a part of the NC community since 2017, we lived internationally for sometime and decided to return to Philly because of our exceptional experience at NC. We noticed how my older daughter became more confident and took pride in taking the lead with her daily learning experiences. We also enrolled our younger daughter and they both truly enjoy learning with their friends and facilitators.” - Ana F, parent of 2 young people (ages 6 and 15), 3rd year at NC
“NCC has had a tremendous positive impact on our kids and our family. It’s a complete reorientation from how I learned as a kid. There is so much more freedom and curiosity in our relationships than there would‘ve been if we’d gone the standard route. When somebody is down, or angry, or protective of themselves, instead of being reactive or closed-off as well, or freaked-out as parents, we can be open, curious, welcoming. Instead of being fretful and fearful about our kids’ futures, we can see how they organically learn when they’re ready, at their own speed and with their own initiative. A great example is our son: we did not for one moment teach or even encourage him to read — he just did it on his own! All of a sudden our boy was a reader! And only with the philosophy and encouragement and community of NCC could we have taken what felt at the time like a great leap of faith and trust. But that’s what it was: a trust in our kids, and a trust that they know when they’re ready, and that they have an inherent desire already within themselves to learn and grow. We avoided so much unnecessary heartache and annoyance! We avoided endless trials of forcing him to pore over workbooks and forcing him to “learn to read” before he was ready! And that’s just one example! The NCC way of doing things allows for a more relational and trusting and open-hearted way of being with your kids. I can’t recommend it higher.” - Brian M, parent of 1 young person (age 11), 6th year at NC
“We look forward to our days at NC! Our young person has a lot of big ideas and NC has all the materials and direction she could want to execute those ideas. We especially love the Big Questions [monthly guided projects for older young people] for the way they introduce poignant topics and allow the sharing of many perspectives without judgment. We hope to be a part of this community for many years to come!” - Calli S, parent of 1 young person (age 11), 1st year at NC
“My 12 year old is currently in his 4th year at NC. It is an environment in which he has been able to thrive as a young person. His social and emotional growth have been obvious. His strengths have emerged and his developing areas have been nurtured. He appreciates the independence and opportunity to self direct in his educational pursuits. What an amazing place and community!” - Julia G, parent of 1 young person (age 12)