Self-Directed Group Learning Experiences
for Homeschoolers

55-Acre Nature Parkland in Northwest Philly
Since 2006 Philadelphia, PA

Local Philadelphia Resource

Founded in 2006 in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia
Harmony Learning Community has been serving the local homeschooling community
for more than a decade.

We Know This Community. We Live Here.

Harmony Learning Community is a Philadelphia non-profit educational initiative that offers young people an environment to explore, collaborate, and create.

The Harmony Learning Community method organically develops essential life skills such as decision making, creative problem solving, communication, self-management, and critical thinking. We provide a safe and supportive space that respects the individual and nurtures children's innate curiosity and desire to learn.

It is our goal to support this community by balancing sustainability with affordability, with a focus on making our programming accessible for all families. We partner with longstanding anchors of the neighborhood, like the Awbury Arboretum, to sustainably share space and pool resources.

We are a service group of Mt. Airy Community Services Corporation (MACSC), a 501 (c) 3 organization whose mission is to serve as a stable financial umbrella for nonprofit groups serving the Northwest section of the city of Philadelphia. Learn More

Harmony Learning Community Families Live across the Greater Philadelphia Area

Our current families come from across the city, across the state, and even across state lines. We are very proud to serve as an accessible homeschooling hub for the local and greater Philadelphia communities.

Our Philosophy is Unique

Organic Self-Directed Group Learning Topic-Based
We've successfully navigated and charted the complex waters
surrounding how to effectively homeschool toddlers
all the way through teens.

Teen Open House at Talking Stick Learning Center

Teen Open House: Monday, February 25

Harmony is hosting a Teen Open House on Monday, February 25, from 12pm-3pm. Stop by to talk to staff and ...
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How can you help children learn math?

How can you help children learn math?

It's no secret that many kids say they hate math. Perhaps what they are saying is that they hate the ...
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A Mixed Bag

A Mixed Bag

My own educational experiences growing up were a mixed bag. It was mostly characterized by sacrificing self-esteem and self-direction on ...
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Beyond Homeschooling

Beyond Homeschooling

Flexibility in academic work is one of the many benefits of choosing to homeschool. You can learn to read when ...
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The Unique Value of Harmony: The Facilitator

The Unique Value of Harmony: The Facilitator

Over the years at Harmony I have come to realize what is the most important aspect of the work we ...
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Harmony Favorites: Games Worth Acquiring!

Harmony Favorites: Games Worth Acquiring!

Labyrinth The board consists of shiftable cards that make up a scrambled maze in the beginning. The object of the ...
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Our Staff is The Difference

Highly educated, highly dedicated homeschooling parents and education professionals,
fully trained in our unique philosophy,
and committed to providing a rich homeschooling experience for our community.

Directors


Katie O’Connor

Katie O’Connor

Founder, Co-Director, and Lead Facilitator since 2006

Katie has a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania. She is ardent about the importance of self-directed learning experiences and works to make such experiences as accessible as possible. She has worked in alternative learning environments such as the Albany Free School and Open Connections.

Katie founded Harmony Learning Community in 2006 and now serves as Founder, Co-Director, and Lead Facilitator. Katie leads the Day Program. Katie is also responsible for all staff training as well as the development of the vision, mission, and philosophy of Harmony.

Meryl Hyatt

Meryl Hyatt

Co-Director, Facilitator since 2016

Meryl has a BS degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Johnson and Wales University. She worked in the restaurant business until her first child was born.

Like many people in the homeschooling community, her love of lifelong learning has taken her down many paths that don’t involve the traditional educational system. A few of her current passions are: traveling adventures with her family; exploring color and design through sewing; hiking in the Catskills; and building a garden nook in their backyard. Meryl is a trained Harmony facilitator working in our Day Program and she facilitates the Maker Workshop. Meryl is a Trained Harmony Facilitator working with our Day Program and Maker Program.

Facilitators


Andy Gershman (she/her)

Andy Gershman (she/her)

Andy received a B.S. in early childhood and elementary education from Temple University and her M.Ed. in computers and technology from Arcadia University. She was employed as a kindergarten teacher with the School District of Philadelphia for ten years before the birth of her first child.

Andy is continuing her plans with her husband to live life unconventionally while unschooling their three children, supporting organic and local products, crafting, gardening, listening to great diverse music, and coexisting in this life-long learning process. Andy is a trained Harmony Facilitator working with our Day Program.

Since 2011

Jen Carmondy (she/her)

Jen Carmondy (she/her)

Jen received her Master of Social Work (MSW) from Temple University and a Professional Coach certification from the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching. Before having kids, she worked as the director of a before & after school program, was a case manager and trainer for a workforce development program, and was an advocate for older adults in a non-profit setting.

These days, she loves being on the homeschool journey with her two young kids (age 7 & 4) and learning alongside them in the vibrant city of Philadelphia. In her spare time, she runs Gimme Trip, a small trip planning business that grew from a love of travel and planning. When she’s not homeschooling or planning trips, she can often be found in the Wissahickon taking photos or hiking.

Alia Thompson (she/her)

Alia Thompson (she/her)

Alia received a B.A. in psychology from Rosemont College and became a Registered Nurse after graduating from Roxborough School of Nursing. Before homeschooling her three children for the last 13 years, she managed multiple alternative education programs in the greater Philadelphia area.

Alia is a Trained Harmony Facilitator working with our Day Program as well as the Intermediate and Teen Program.

Since 2011

Each Family is Part of Our Family

We've been serving this community for more than a decade,
we live here and are part of the fabric of the community,
and many of our families have been with us from the beginning.

Program Blogs

Open House: Wednesday, February 12th

Open House: Wednesday, February 12th

Harmony Learning Community is hosting an open house on Wednesday, February 12th, from 10am-12pm. Stop by to talk to staff ...
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Learning Survival Skills with My Side of the Mountain

Learning Survival Skills with My Side of the Mountain

Last fall we learned survival skills in our Making and Exploring Program. For the class, we read My Side of ...
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New Topics: The Harlem Renaissance, Trip Planning, and Card Games

New Topics: The Harlem Renaissance, Trip Planning, and Card Games

New Topics for Homeschoolers ages 10-13! The Harlem Renaissance, Part I February 15th - March 22 Thursdays, 9-11 am, ages ...
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Reading Shakespeare for Homeschooled Teens

Reading Shakespeare for Homeschooled Teens

We had great success of reading Julius Caesar, and the unanimous vote of the participants is read more Shakespeare. This ...
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A People's History of the United States: The Color Line

A People’s History of the United States: The Color Line

We discussed the formation of racism in the colonies and considered the question of if racism is a natural human ...
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A People's History of the United States: Columbus on Trial

A People’s History of the United States: Columbus on Trial

This week we conducted an involved role-playing exercise created by Bill Bigelow, Zinn Education Project co-director, called "The People vs. Columbus, ...
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A People's History of the United States: Week One

A People’s History of the United States: Week One

We opened up the program this week by discussing our first take-home question: What Is America? And a wide-ranging discussion ...
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Teenagers at Talking Stick

Teenagers!

There’s been a rare sighting of the elusive homeschooling teenager in their natural habitat! So many homeschooled youth choose the ...
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Rube Goldberg Workshop - Week 1

Rube Goldberg Workshop – Week 1

This week we started out our Rube Goldberg Workshop with a game and introductions, including what each person likes to ...
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Wilderness-Survival1a

Wilderness Survival: Emergencies, First Aid, and Knives

Harmony is offering a new program this fall: Wilderness Survival, and I am very excited to facilitate it. In an ...
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Maker Exploratorium: Reflecting and Planning For the New Year

Maker Exploratorium: Reflecting and Planning For the New Year

Harmony Learning Community's homeschool Maker Exploratorium had a wonderful end to 2014, filled with international intrigue, baking, collaborative games, and ...
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Maker Exploratorium Goes International

Maker Exploratorium Goes International

Do you know what the favorite breakfast food is for young people in Mojo, Spain?  Toast with olive oil, tomatoes, ...
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