I have lived in Pasadena for 20+ years and raised kids for 14 of those years. I thought it might be helpful for new homeschool families to run through some of the homeschool programs that I have toured (and been a part of).
Highlands Latin Cottage School Pasadena
Highlands Latin School Pasadena focuses on providing a 2-day week classics-based education for homeschool families. Students in TK-12th grade meet on Mondays and Thursdays at the First Baptist Church Pasadena; with the exception of math, all courses use Memoria Press curriculum. The home days of the week students have time to complete their work and do other enrichment activities. In 2018-2019, the program increased from an enrollment of 60 to 100 students. There are quarterly social events such as a Harvest Picnic, Christmas Cantata, and Spring Picnic. One of the values of this school is character and moral teaching. At the beginning of each on-campus day, students have a Manner’s Moment where they go over skills such as setting the table, phone etiquette, conversational skills, and gift-giving rules.
This cottage school takes Inspire Charter funds, though all of a families enrichment monies will go towards the school tuition; Inspire would be the school of record in this case. The onsite teachers grade work and collect work samples. Families will also need to pay registration and/or curriculum fees for each student. Contact the school for those amounts. In addition, students will need to purchase the required uniform at French Toast. Beginning in grade 3, students learn Latin; students also are expected to write in cursive. There is support for this; beginning in grade 1, students learn cursive. No work is completed on a computer; it’s pencil (or pen) and paper! Sample courses are Fables and Narratives, Exploring Planet Earth and Astronomy, Cursive, What’s that Bird & The History of Medicine, Greek Tragedy, and Geography. See this page for a list of course offerings for each grade level.
As a parent of a 6th grader in this program, I have to say the Memoria Press curriculum makes learning Latin easy, something that can be hard to do. Though learning Latin might not be my son’s first choice, he is doing well in it, which I view as a tribute to the curriculum; the curriculum is systematic and incorporates review. See this article for more about what makes a good curriculum good.
One aspect I really like about this program is students read complete Great Books, not the excerpting that so often happens in education today. For example, 5th graders will read Heidi, Lassie Comes Home, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Each of these books is accompanied with a Memoria Press reading comprehension workbook.
FUNdamentals is an active, close-knit Wednesday program for homeschoolers that meets at the Hills Church in Arcadia. The program goes from approximatley 9-4, and classes for all ages are offered: From IEW writing program varietals, Chemistry, Kitchen Science, Theater, Robotics, Meet the Masters Art Class, and Algebra — to — Gameology, Public Speaking, and Photography. In contrast to Highlands Latin, these classes are offered a la carte, though students could take a full day of classes; many of the teachers take charter funds, but this is done on a class by class basis. Families must register with FUNdamentals first; for 2018-2019 this cost $50 per student. It is not a drop off program; parents must stay on campus the whole time their children are enrolled in classes.
This is a distinctly Christian program; though classes which accept charter funds are secular. There is also a Mom’s Bible Study and Prayer Group, and a Knitting Group which Moms can join. Also, each year in March, director Carrie De Francisco puts on a super Homeschool Mom’s Conference. See this post for more information about the upcoming conference — this year it begins on March 29.
An additional benefit of this program is that through C3 — Classical Christian Conservatory — they offer PSP services (PSP means Private Satellite Program); this means C3 can be a school of record for students — C3 would keep track of grades, generate transcripts, help with curriculum choices, host a graduation ceremony, publish a yearbook, and provide support to families. The conservatory feature comes in where they ask that at least one member of a family be involved in the arts. However, to take advantage of Wednesday classes, families do not need to be a member of C3; C3 is a program for families seeking the listed additional benefits. The conservatory is designed to allow students who are involved in the arts more time and flexibility to pursue those endeavors. They also facilitate a monthly park day and Mom’s Night Out which allows for socialization; families will pay $200-$250 for each student receiving PSP services. See this article about different varieties of homeschools.
Ecclesia/Protoge is another option for Christian homeschool families seeking classes in a close, welcoming community. They have some offerings for K-3; but a full slate of core courses are available for 4th-12th graders (with the exception of a formal 4th-5th grade math class). They meet at St. James United Methodist at 2033 E. Washington, Pasadena; Ecclesia has a prayer group that meets on the first Thursday of the month. Each week students lead chapel.Classes are offered 3 days a week; two days of academic instruction (Mondays and Thursdays) and one day of electives (Wednesdays). They ask that each family volunteer 1-hour each month. The focus of the classes is on being global-critical thinkers; they encourage tracking recent events.
Like FUNdamentals, this program could be a full day program, or a la carte classes. Through Protégé, many instructors take charter funds for most high school courses and other courses that are secular (Sage Oak, Excel, Inspire, Sky Mountain are some of the accepted charters). Course offerings include Hiking, Political Thought, World Cultures, World History Through Literature, IEW A/B Ancient World, Math Games, Stop Motion Animation, Volleyball, Drama, and high school Chemistry and Physics. See this page for course descriptions. In addition, they host a homeschool prom.
Judson International School
Judson International School is a great resource for Christian homeschool families who have middle to high school students that want to participate in extracurricular activities such as theater and sports. For 2018-2019, these programs cost $200-300, per sport. Previously, they had a one-day a week homeschool program that my kids were enrolled in for several years. While they no longer have that program, they do welcome homeschool families to participate in these other programs. In junior high, they offer girls volleyball, boys flag football, and girls flag football. High school students can choose from girls and boys baskteball, co-ed soccer, girl’s volleyball, and intramural sports. Additionally, musical theater director Maren Plog heads up the spring musical which is a huge draw both for full-time and homeschool students. (See picture at top of post.) My daughter thoroughly enjoyed being involved both on stage and in a backstage capacity two years in a row.
The Judson full-time program also draws many families that have previously homeschooled. My daughter attended full-time middle school there, and her classes had 10-12 students in them; ideal for the introvert she is! If your family finds yourself at a crossroads and you are considering full-time private school, this program is worth a look.