Amherst, MA (since 2001)
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About Us

Our classes meet in Amherst, MA. Out classroom is walking distance froma large beauitful conservation area and a local CSA farm.

We are NOT a regular school! In fact we are not a school at all.
Our homeschool program offers a part time academic option for students that are registered as homeschoolers in their town. Our 2 options offer a Complete Core Curriculum for students that can then be supported and continued at home by parents. 

We combine a strong academic foundation with mutiple ways of learning including artistic work, hands-on learning, movement, group project work, field study, creative use of technology (for our older students), discussion, lecture and sometimes a traditional textbook approach. 

Our program draws inspiration from place-based learning, inquiry-based learning, a love of nature, ecology, community building and the Waldorf pedagogy to offer a blended well rounded approach that can be flexible and adapt to the needs and learning styles of our students.

  • CHS Core Curriculum Classes ages 6-9 and 12-15 Tues & Thurs 10am-3:30pm
  • Nature's Kindergarten ages 4-6 10am-Thursday 2pm
CHS Core Curriculum Classes ages 6-9 and 12-15 Tues & Thur 10am-3:30pm

Nature's Garden Kindergarten ages 4-6

Robin's Ages 6-9
Class Teacher: Brett Imura

Math, Reading, Writing, Ecology and Gardening, Japanese, French, Handwork, Art, Games, Circle Time

Cardinals ages 12-15
Class Teacher: Beth Anne Moonstone 

Math (individualized), Language Arts, Poetry, Roman History, Local History, Ecology, Permaculture and Gardening, Astronomy, Handwork, Latin, French, Japanese, Art, Games

Meets Thursdays 10am-2pm
Class Teacher: Beth Anne Moonstone 

Morning circle,watercolor painting, handwork, gardening and seasonal nature projects, nature walks, singing, verses, story time. We will spend time outside exploring nature and learning through observing and playing during every class.

The CHS Young Naturalists program is for ages 7+. We will spend most of our time in the woods exploring, playing cooperative games,  looking for animal tracks, getting to know the local birds, mammals, snakes, plants and trees. There will be a strong emphasis on positive community building and being present in nature. Students will keep a nature journal as part of the course. Wednesday 10am-1:30pm

Girls in the Wilderness is for young women ages 8-13. This groups meets monthly in March, April and May and twice in June. Saturdays 10am-2pm. The group will meet at different locations in the Pioneer Valley for each of our 5 classes. We will hike, picnic, bird watch, look for animal tracks, learn about the animals and plants of our region and study the geography, ecology and history of our local bioregion. In addition, we will work on community building, leadership skills, systems thinking and cooperative games. Students should bring a healthy lunch and snack, a re-useable water bottle, weather appropriate clothes and a journal or notebook to draw in and/or record things of interest. Students should be prepared to hike up to 4 miles. If the weather cooperates we may get in some kayaking or swimming in May or June.

All Community Home School students register with their local town as homeschooling students. Core Curriculum students attend classes on Tuesday and Thursdays from 10am-3:30pm. These two  days provide the foundation for their curriculum for the year. Students are then given work to bring home and complete between Thursday and the following Tuesday. The work done at home, is not homework, it is a continuing part of each students curriculum work. Parents are expected to support and assist  students with their work at home with the help, support and assistance of our teachers.

We have 2 semesters: fall semester runs from Sept-Dec and spring semester from March to early June. We don't have classes the week of Thanksgiving, the week of Christmas and New Years and all of January and February.

Tuition for the 2013-2014 year is 

Core Curriculum = $900. per semester,  which is $1800. for the year. We offer a significant discount for siblings. We are happy to set up a payment plan to allow families to break the tuition up into four payments. 

Kindergarten = $350. per semester (there is a discount for siblings of CC students) 

Our spring 2014 semester begins in March.

Our Teachers:

Beth Anne Moonstone, Program director, Cardinals Class Teacher, Ecology Class, Nature's Kindergarten

Brett Iimura, Robins Class Teacher, Japanese Circle

Meg Eisenhaur Barry, Latin Teacher

Amelia Sawyer, History

Victoria Areand, French Circle

Jessica Lamson, Handwork Teacher, Nature's Kindergarten

Trevor the Gamesman, Cooperative Games Class

Joyce Yourga, French

Jadziah Moonstone, French

Click here for more information about our teachers


Tell me and I will forget.  Show me and I may remember. 
Involve me and I will understand.

~Chinese Proverb

Environmental education
Environmental education (EE) teaches children and adults how to learn about and investigate their environment, and to make intelligent, informed decisions about how they can take care of it. Learning about the environment involves many subjects - earth science, biology, chemistry, social studies, even math and language arts - because understanding how the environment works, and keeping it healthy, involves knowledge and skills from many disciplines. EE not only leads to environmentally literate people, but also helps increase student academic achievement.

Environmentally literacy help students know:
  • That their daily choices affect the environment
  • How those choices can help or harm the environment
  • What they need to do -individually or as part of a community -to keep the environment healthy and sustain its resources, so that people enjoy a good quality of life for themselves and their children.
North American Association for Environmental Education
Last Child in the Woods

Experiential education

Experiential education is a philosophy that in which educators purposefully engage with learners in direct experience and focused reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills, clarify values, and develop people's capacity to contribute to their communities. We learn by doing, seeing and experiencing. 

Learning through experience focuses on intellectual development, civic and social responsibility, ethical development, cross cultural and global awareness, and personal growth.
Farm & Garden based education
Farm-based education is a form of experiential, interdisciplinary education that connects people to the environment, their community, and the role of agriculture in our lives.

Farm-based education promotes land stewardship, the value of meaningful work, and supports the local food systems that sustain us. Here at Community Home School the students help maintain gardens, volunteer a at local CSA and care for a small flock of ducks and chickens. 
Farm Based Education Network

Place based education

Place-based education focuses learning within the local community of a student. It provides learners with a path for becoming active citizens and stewards of the environment and place where they live. The resources of the community are brought into the learning process in a way that makes education exciting. The approach emphasizes hands-on, real world learning experiences that challenge students to learn and solve problems.

Place based education:
  • Immerses students in local heritage, cultures, landscapes, opportunities and experiences;
  • Uses these as a foundation for the study of language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and other subjects across the curriculum; and
  • Emphasizes learning through participation in service projects for the local school and/or community.
Promise of Place
The Center for Place Based Education

Systems Thinking

Systems thinking is the process of understanding how things, regarded as systems, influence one another within a whole. In nature, systems thinking examples include ecosystems in which various elements such as air, water, movement, plants, and animals work together to survive or perish. In organizations, systems consist of people, structures, and processes that work together to make an organization "healthy" or "unhealthy". Systems thinking is about learning to think! Rather than memorizing facts and information as separate static items, students explore the relationships between things and dig deeper in their understanding of the world around them. 
System Thinking with Peter Senge, MIT
Thinking in Systems by Donella Meadows

Waldorf education

Waldorf education is a humanistic approach to teaching based on the educational philosophy of the Austrian philosopher Rudolph Steiner. Waldorf Education uses a foundation of child (human) development that seeks addresses the needs of the growing child. It strives to teach the whole child: the heart and the hands, as well as the head. Waldorf pedagological methods include the use of art, movement, speech work, practical work, handwork, music, wonder and observation. While Community Home School is not a Waldorf school and our curriculum doesn't follow the same path, many Waldorf educational methods blend with and strengthen our curriculum. 

"Waldorf education places the development of the individual child in the focal point, convinced that the healthy individual is a  pre-requisite ofr a healthy society"  (International Conference on Education of UNESCO)

Learn more:
Waldorf Education and Experiential Education

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