My local homeschool group has been discussing ideas for a resource center and they’ve been searching for role models and ideas for how to make it work. One excellent example someone found is the Village Home Center in Portland. Wow! I would have loved to do something like that with my kids. It’s the perfect mix of self-directed learning, passionate teachers, and interaction with all ages.
The way it works is: interested instructors propose a fun course they think the members might enjoy or need, such as medieval history, invention factory, math playground, Latin, computer programming or high school chemistry. If the Center decides that the course and teacher are a good fit (including background check), they work together to come up with a schedule/syllabus. The courses seem to be presented in three ten-week intervals, with one class a week. Students are free to sign up (and pay a reasonable tuition) or not. Some of the courses would involve extra work at home. Parents get involved too.
In addition to 70-80 courses a week, the Center also arranges fieldtrips, workshops, clubs, and competitive teams such as Destination Imagination, Lego Robotics, Science Bowl, First-Tech Challenge, Scripps-Howard Spelling Bee, Mock Trial, Model U.N., and National Geographic GeoBee.
I wonder how long it took Village Home to get all of that organized? Reading their history, it looks like they evolved in stages, starting with public funding, then reorganizing into a tuition-based program after the schools tried to impose curriculum and testing. I’m sure it was a lot of work and involved a lot of parent volunteers. Even now, it seems the only paid employees are the teachers. The Board of Directors, admin and housekeeping tasks are handled by parent volunteers.
This looks like a great example of what can be done homeschooling within a community. I’m going to keep looking for others too . . .