Frequently Asked Questions

Are you a school?

CSCL is a membership-based homeschooling resource center, a space for children and families who, for various reasons, find themselves dissatisfied with their traditional classroom schooling options, and who, also for various reasons, are attracted to the resources (human and otherwise) that we offer. We do not keep or assign grades, and as homeschoolers, parents retain full responsibility for their child’s learning progress.

Past precedents

We are part of a growing number of programs that offer small-scale community-based support for learning outside of school. Similar homeschooling programs include North Star (in Hadley MA), Princeton Learning Cooperative (in New Jersey) and Trellis (in Cape Cod), as well as similarly modeled schools such as the Albany and Brooklyn Free Schools (in New York), and the Sudbury Valley School and its many offshoots.

What about math and writing?

Math and writing activities are offered every day as part of the regular schedule but are not specifically mandated or prioritized over other activities. As much as possible we try to incorporate computation and verbal literacy into informal activities – writing collaborative comics, programming in Scratch, playing strategy games, etc – or you can sign up for a class or tutorial.

What do kids do at CSCL?

At any given moment roughly 50% of the kids are involved in classes or tutorials or more-or-less “formal” activities, while the other approximate-half are playing, reading, or hanging out (“how many people can we fit into this chair” is a common game, as is “playing chess” and “competing for badges on Khan Academy”). Our goal is to preserve the balance of formal learning with informal play, structured classes with exploratory learning, with the overarching goal of creating a space where learning happens at its own space and is valued for its own sake.

Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions

Registration and Enrollment

Can I come for partial days?

Sorry, no!   CSCL is not a drop-in program — it’s a learning community based around the premise of ongoing involvement from a membership interested in participating in its ongoing growth and development. With that in mind, kids who are enrolling must sign up for full days.

How does membership work?

Kids sign up to be CSCL members for some number of days per week. While we are always happy for interested people to come and visit the space to check it out and see if it might meet their needs, CSCL is not a drop-in program — families must sign up for full days ahead of time and tell us if your days are changing. 

What a day looks like

CSCL functions more and less like camp — more like camp, in the sense of lots of projects and ideas thrown up on a wall, less like camp, in that we’ll also offer classes and workshops on a range of topics (not all technical) — we are generally more academically focused, and also a lot smaller, with more chance for one-on-one work with every kid.

Advising structures and member reports

Kids who are enrolled half-time or more are assigned a staff adviser who is the main point of contact for any issues that may arise through the course of the year.   We also provide written member reports at the end of each semester to check in on how things are going over the course of the year and share our observations.