At NC we partner with whole families, as opposed to young people alone. We frame this in terms of content and process. We believe young people, and by extension, their families, have a right to determine the content that is of value to them. We also believe that the process by which things happen is critical and often given little attention. Therefore, we offer resources relating to a process-based approach to development, and we ask that families invest in learning and practicing this approach at home.
Young people at NC are generally free to choose the activities they want to participate in and the content they wish to pursue, with support from facilitator partners and other young people.
NC facilitates age-based groups/pods for young people to expand on community-based learning.
THE "FUNDAMENTAL SKILLS"
The ways people talk about “fundamental skills” change based on their previous experience with schooling, with their own level of satisfaction with the life they currently have, and with the ways in which they feel they can manage in the world. That said, schooling culture has convinced many of us that the skills necessary to be a productive and fulfilled adult are easily broken down into a handful of academic areas, regardless of whether or not we actually use them. Many people ask, “But what about math?” without exploring the ways in which they do or do not use mathematical thinking and problem-solving in their daily lives. Conventional schooling prioritizes certain kinds of thinking: precision thinking, verbal/linguistic, and external-oriented, all within a competitive context. We know there are many other kinds of thinking, learning, and living.
In pursuing areas of interest in playful and personally engaging ways, many of the skills necessary to being a “successful” adult are developed in more natural and compelling ways. Our facilitators and content specialists work hand in hand to make play and discovery a naturally educational experience.
Our goal is to help young people step into their agency and think critically about their interests in order to make decisions for their lives.
In seeking to further establish and codify the value of the NC experience, we are developing an NC diploma for our older teens, called the Launch Program (our first "graduates" will launch in 2024). This would not map on to a high school diploma, but would serve as a recognition of an individual’s work toward leading a fulfilling, self-directed life, specifically in the area of the three Cs: Compassion, Collaboration, and Creativity.
Self-directed teenagers choose to end their "high school" time in a number of ways: a homeschooling diploma, a GED, or an Associate's Degree from a community college.
There are no structural barriers to homeschoolers attending 4-year colleges; research shows that homeschooled students attend and graduate from college at equal or higher rates than their schooled peers. Due to NC's age, we do not have enough data around our young people.
"This is our fifth year at NCC, now with two young ones, and we love it because of the learning opportunities the (adult) facilitators provide and the diverse, enriching environment. NCC provides a rich social network with support for communicating wants/needs and respectfully resolving conflict, which I believe is among the most important things to learn early on. NCers also have the support and opportunities to create their own projects—my 8-year-old built a fully-functional cabinet out of woodshop scraps with help from NCC facilitators. And the staff are fabulous—I know my young ones are in good hands." — Christina S, 5 years 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, 3 years 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, 2 years at NC
“NC 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 NC 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 NC 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, 6 years 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, 6 years at NC