Voyagers began as several homeschooling families who met regularly in order to support their homeschooling children as a group. As their numbers grew, a true secular homeschooling community formed. Voyagers incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit in 2000, began renting space at the PCA in Westford in 2001, and leased a full time space in Acton in 2005 to accommodate expanding needs. In 2016, Voyagers moved to North Chelmsford, which brought us closer to larger and more diverse population centers.
Voyagers’ flagship program has been our Homeschool Coop, a cooperative learning community in which families come together to provide support, educational and enrichment activities, and social opportunities. (The Coop has served between 35 and 100 families per semester since it began 17 years ago.) In recent years, Voyagers has devoted increasing attention to our outreach branch, the Resource Center, which provides services to the wider homeschooling community, including families who couldn’t make the commitment to the Coop. In 2016, the Resource Center served over 100 families, with programs including homeschooling information and support, a variety of classes including social sciences, literature, and physics, and our competitive Mock Trial team. We also hosted events for MAGE (Massachusetts Association for Gifted Education) and multiple Middlesex Community College Dual Enrolment information sessions and orientations.
As the prevalence of homeschooling and awareness of the benefits of self-directed learning increase, Voyagers has been rising to the challenge by broadening its range of programs, including those that provide a greater degree of support and independence than the coop, particularly for teens. Our expansion of Resource Center offerings was a first step toward meeting this need. We hope to help make independent education a viable and successful option for more teens through the introduction of an Independent Learning Center as a pilot program in Fall 2017.
Voyagers Independent Learning Center will be a multi-day drop-off program providing support and supervision for teens who seek an alternative to traditional education: homeschoolers, students enrolled in online or other distance learning programs, those following their own curriculum or working on their own projects, and those transitioning out of a more traditional school setting. While the staffed drop-off model will be new to us, the underpinnings of: 1. focusing on building a connected, supportive community where children will thrive socially and 2. meeting their needs through interest-based programs and assisting them cooperatively in meeting their academic goals are quite familiar to us.
Voyagers, Inc. is a philanthropic organization established to commit its resources to activities which are intended to benefit children, including gifted children, who are home schooled.