a new view of school

Parents and children agree, going to school at LAB is "simply magical". Learning is accelerated by the highly personalized attention paid to each child. Learning is made joyful by the daily freedom to learn how, where and what each child chooses. Learning is enriched by the maker-space classroom and host biodynamic farm.

Now entering its second year, LAB was created by two mothers - mathematician and educator Dr. Christine White together with chef, author and farmer Molly Chester of Apricot Lane Farms. The LAB framework allows children to learn by asking questions, imagining solutions and getting messy finding answers. The maker-space classroom and host biodynamic farm provide opportunities for children to learn by searching out answers to questions that interest them, to grow creatively by solving new problems in their own way, and to become productive peer collaborators. As each child is ready, a formal academic curriculum is introduced and pursued at the child’s individual pace.

A LAB Parent Might Say...

I think lots of time for free play at school is important, even at age 6+.
I believe a love of learning and intellectual curiosity are as important as test scores.
I hope my child learns to love math.
I hope my child learns to love to read.
I want science and art and drama and music and cooking and culture in the curriculum too.
I hope the class is tiny so that the teacher can be extra focused on my child.
I strive to create a "real food" culture at home that eschews junk and fast food.
I think about homeschooling, but socialization at school seems valuable.
I can schedule most Fridays off to enjoy adventures with the class.
I love the idea of year-round school with many short breaks instead of all summer off.
I want my child to feel connected to and persuaded by nature and our planet Earth.

Inspired Location

LAB meets in a dedicated private home atop a hill (pictured above) in the center of Apricot Lane Farms in northwest Moorpark, a 200+ acre biodynamic wonderland of mixed crops and pastured animals. The farm house and yard are home base, but hours spent outside are many, whether connecting directly with or learning by way of nature. The farm's expert staff offer regular hands-on experiences with both native and cultivated animals and crops. The traditional farming methods and artisan food also inspire us to fuel our bodies and brains with food that is unrefined and nutrient-dense, an important guiding principal at LAB. Learn more about the farm at www.apricotlanefarms.com.

Inspired Teacher

"Many interesting jobs have crossed my path from hedge fund quant to race car driver, but I always come back to teaching. Why? Because I derive such joy in communicating new and complex ideas to another open mind and witnessing that winning 'ah ha!' smile. When it came to educating my own son, I wanted to homeschool. But I also wanted him to have the fun of friends, the challenge of working collaboratively and a place other than our dining room table to do his big thinking and creating. The solution was to create The Homeschool LAB for him and for your child! What can you expect from me at The Homeschool LAB? I am ready and eager to engage, challenge and support your child every day, meeting them right where they are both academically and emotionally." -Dr. Christine White

The LAB classroom...

⋆ Welcomes homeschool children turning 6 in 2020 at a K/1 grade level (or thereabouts).
⋆ Meets Monday-Thursday 9:00 am - 3:00 pm*.
⋆ Takes family field trips every other Friday.
⋆ Enjoys a year-round schedule with six short vacations.
⋆ Has limited enrollment available beginning July 27, 2020.
⋆ Cost is $875/month with a deposit and annual commitment.

Common Questions

Is there a curriculum? Yes and no. Children work daily toward acquiring the skills of reading, writing and mathematics. We will also practice thinking and acting like scientists and artists and athletes and all manner of humans. But, our daily agenda will not be tied to standardized test objectives. Instead our agenda will follow an as yet unknown path the children will forge as they seek answers to questions that interest them. Not following a rigid book of rules will require trust on our part. Trust that children learn best when they are inspired - not required - to work hard.

Will I have to find a new school next year? No. Once enrolled you may choose to re-enroll each year for as many years as we are able (i.e. this year is grades K/1, next year will be grades 1/2, and so on).

How much teaching do I have to do at home? Although LAB meets just 4 days a week, the total annual program hours exceed those mandated by the state for public schools. Our hope is that you will not feel a need to teach your child any material at home, although you may of course choose to anyway. LAB assigns zero formal homework.

Is it legal to homeschool? Yes. It is perfectly legal and wonderfully easy to homeschool in the state of California. State law requires children to attend school (homeschool, public or otherwise) beginning in the year the child turns 6 before September 1. Kindergarten enrollment is optional. Follow this link to the California Department of Education website to read the fine print. The paperwork is super easy to file and we can work together to do it.

Contact

Learn more by getting in touch with Founder Molly Chester at molly@apricotlanefarms.com.


*After hours care and carpooling opportunities from central TO and/or West Simi Valley (interest dependent).