Teen Only Program

14 to 17 Year Olds

The Teen Only Program offers both topic-based instruction and space for self-directed learning. Participants ages 14 and up meet at the Garden Classroom on Mondays and Cope House on Thursdays. Teen participants are able to collaborate exclusively with other teens, through a combination of Workshops, Open Studio and Mentoring. Talking Stick teens develop essential life skills such as decision making, creative problem solving, communication, self-management, and critical thinking. We provide a safe and social space that respects the individual, nurtures curiosity and supports their desire to learn.

In this program participants enjoy group activities, collaborative projects, individual exercises, and have time to direct their own learning process. Facilitators initiate group games and team building, lead lessons that expose participants to a wide variety of topics, mentor students in areas where they want to acquire depth, and provide a positive atmosphere for social growth. Participants learn how to listen to the ideas of others, how to observe and partake in their success and failures, how to communicate effectively and respectfully, how to share with others, and how to respond to feedback and accept help.

Individual Workshop sessions are 6 or 7 weeks long. As all of our programming is non-coercive, Teen participants may enjoy the Open Studio if they are not interested in a particular topic session or if they prefer to self-direct. It is expected, however, that they opt in or out for the entire 6 or 7 weeks. Annual enrollment in the Teen Program gives participants access to all ten Topic-Based Workshops, and they may choose to partake or not the week each topic begins.

Topic-Based Workshops and Open Studio (Mondays)

Annual enrollment in the Intermediate Program gives teens age 14 and up access to all ten Topic-Based Workshops, and they may choose to partake or not the week each topic begins. Running concurrently, Open Studio provides young people a facilitated space to learn if they are not interested in a particular topic session or if they prefer to self-direct.

Topic-Based Workshops
Our workshops allow young people and facilitators to choose individual topics to study together in greater depth. Topic-Based Workshops are 6 or 7 weeks long, and can cover any subjects the group chooses to learn under the facilitators guidance. Past workshops have included such topics as Wilderness Survival, Photography, Poetry, the Science of Happiness, Human Rights, Futurology, Philosophy, Psychology, History of War and Women’s Studies. All workshops are inclusive of age and ability, and are designed to continue our mission of self-directed and experiential learning. Our intention is that all participants are offered some topics that appeal to them during the course of the year. In this way, we combine collaborative learning with individualized facilitation.

The two workshop topics for the first fall session will be planned by the facilitators based on input from the 2015-2016 participants. The remaining topics will be decided by the group after the start of 2016-2017 program year.

Open Studio
Open Studio is a self-directed space where young people can collaborate on projects, play games, explore art concepts, and work independently. Art supplies, games, etc will be provided by the Facilitators, but participants may also bring in items from home. Open Studio is a space to share ideas, develop skills in table top games, collaborate on craft projects, and socialize. We intend for youth who attend to feel a sense of belonging, freedom to express themselves while respecting the rights of others, and maintain a safe and positive environment.

* Registration for individual workshops will open as space allows.

Teen Mentoring and Field Trips (Thursdays)

Teen Mentoring is a new program designed to meet the unique needs of homeschooled teens during the high school years. In this program teens age 14 and up will work with facilitators to learn how to manage their own education and gain real life skills. Teens will acquire skills in areas such as independent living, transportation, community access, social opportunities, recreation, employability, citizenship, communication, and financial literacy. With emphasis on self-determination and self-management, this program will help teens seek opportunities to learn, learn from and with others, find mentors for their interest areas, and advocate for themselves. Additionally, this program will teach participants how to find and enjoy the countless educational and life learning opportunities that exist in the Philadelphia region, including learning to navigate the public transportation system and take advantage of Philadelphia’s many universities, museums, cultural landmarks and recreation areas.