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Unschooling Co-op

Raw Learning’s Unschooling co-op is a weekly gathering for families who are looking for a community to play and learn with. We are a network of families who wish to support one another on our journeys of self-discovery in an accepting environment. Each week we come together in a communal space to share interests, passions, and joy together. Our offerings are based on our members’ interests. 

You don’t have to be an unschooler in order to join our co-op. We value freedom and respect for all of our members young and old, and expect our members to act accordingly. We are passionate about self-directed education and nature connection, and are excited to delve deeper into learning with other families by our sides!

Our Unschooling co-op relies on family participation. All members will be asked to contribute to the success of our co-op.

Our Approach

Self-Directed Education and Nature Connection

Our approach to self-directed education draws from many others, in particular the approach taken by agile learning centers. Our approach to nature connection draws heavily from the Core Routines of Coyote Mentoring. To learn more about our mission and values visit our About Us section.

Our co-op is intended for children aged 5-14 and their siblings. It is intentionally designed to facilitate mixed-age interaction. All members of a family (newborn through adult) are welcome to attend. The benefits of mixed-aged learning in a self-directed environment are numerous. In an age-mixed environment, older students learn patience and compassion while supporting the younger students. Younger students watch and emulate older students. Everyone gets practice both teaching and learning from people with varying skill levels, learning styles, and attention spans. The results tend to be awe-inspiring.

Our time during our day at co-op is split between whole community meetings and small group or individual activities. We encourage everyone to attend our daily community meetings. In between meetings members can choose to participate in offerings or spend their time engaged in other activities. Our daily schedule is flexible depending on the needs of the group.

Schedule

10am – arrival
10:30-10:45 – community meeting – set the day
10:45-11:30 – offerings/free time
11:30-12:15 – offerings/free time
12:15-12:45 – lunch
12:45-1:30 – offerings/free time
1:30-2:15 – offerings/free time
2:15-2:45 – community meeting – story of the day – clean up

Offerings

Both children and parents take an active role in learning and building our community. We believe children (and all people) learn best through play and engaging in topics that are meaningful to them. We meet this philosophy through our group learning experiences called “Offerings”. Offerings can include workshops, classes, projects, clubs, games, trips, film screenings, activities, etc. Offerings can be led by a parent, a child, or an outside community member. As implied in the name, offerings are always optional and members can choose to participate or not in any particular offering on any given day. Some offerings require advanced planning or have participation limits, and will require a commitment in advance. Some offerings will be regularly scheduled for each week, whereas others may just pop up on the morning of. 

All of our offerings will be available to a range of ages. That being said some offerings will have a lower age limit cut-off to keep material relevant for older members. 

Stations with different resources (art supplies, board games, puzzles, activity books, writing materials, field guides, books, etc.) will be available throughout the day for members to engage with whenever they want. Members are encouraged to bring projects or other resources from home to engage with during co-op as well.

 

Community Meetings

We will hold two community meetings each day. 

Morning Meeting – Set-the-Day: Set-the-Day is a meeting for introducing and scheduling the day’s offerings. Some offerings will already be pre scheduled in previous weeks. This will be when we offer that schedule to the members, this is also a time where parents or children can add offerings for the day to any open time slots in the schedule. The daily schedule will be posted on a large white board where members can see what will be going on throughout the day and plan accordingly. 

Closing Meeting – Story of the Day: We will come together at the end of the day to share about our day, plan offerings for future weeks, and clean up our space. 


Trust the Process

We believe that children are learning all the time. Whether they are engaged in a marine biology club, are playing pretend on the playground, or are throwing rocks in the river we trust that they are learning what they need at that time. We ask parents to enthusiastically support kids in how they wish to spend their time while at our co-op. All of our offerings are non-compulsory, and we want this to be a truly non-coercive environment. If your child chooses to play on the playground all day one week, please enthusiastically support that choice. When your child chooses to participate in some offerings, but not others please enthusiastically support that choice. When your child chooses to independently draw instead of interacting with other members please enthusiastically support that choice. In order for self-directed learning to be successful, children need to be immersed in a rich environment and be free to choose what they focus their attention on.


Example Daily Schedule

date:___Big roomSmall roomKitchenPlaygroundPavillion
10:30amCommunity Meeting – Set the Day
10:45amBottle cap craftDnDClub (8+)CookingClubCamp Games
11:30amDrawingAnimal Forms
12:15pmLunch
12:45pmCommunity Meeting – Read Alouds
1:30pmMusical InstrumentsPoetry Tea TimeSlimeNature Painting
2:15pmCommunity Meeting – Story of the Day – Future Weeks’ Plans – Clean Up