Independent Learning Center FAQ

What is the Voyagers Independent Learning Center?

The purpose of the Voyagers Independent Learning Center is to provide guidance, support, interest-based activities, and a welcoming community of peers for teens pursuing an independent education. We provide a safe, pleasant, and comfortable space where teens can join in group activities, work on independent projects or homework for classes they’re attending, hang out, or play an active game in the gym or board game from the game shelves.

What types of learners will the Independent Learning Center work for?

We are happy to work with the teens transitioning to independent learning from a traditional school, as well as teens who have been homeschooling.

We offer support for individuals using a self-directed or project-based learning approach; those using a traditionally structured curriculum, enrolled in an online program, or attending community college; and those following other non-school-based paths to education.

We have experience working with individuals for whom a traditional high school experience may not be a good fit: gifted teens, teens with learning disabilities and neurological differences, and teens pursuing their own strong academic, artistic or entrepreneurial interests.

What age range may join the Independent Learning Center?

The Independent Learning Center is currently designed for teens. Younger applicants may be considered on a case by case basis.

Can a teen get into college after attending the Independent Learning Center?

Yes. Individual interests will vary, but college is an option for independent learners, and the Voyagers Independent Learning Center can provide guidance through the college application process. Since we began in 1999, Voyagers has been supporting teens in finding their own paths into adulthood. Some of our former teen members have attended some of the most prestigious universities in the world, while others have followed a direct route into the arts, agriculture, or business. The two most common professions of Voyagers alumni to date are physicist and farmer!

When is the Independent Learning Center open?

The Independent Learning Center will be open for full days on Mondays and Fridays, as well as partial days on Thursdays. The 2018-2019 year will begin September 13 and the program will run through mid-June, with breaks for school vacation weeks and holidays. A full calendar will be provided.

Are ILC members required to attend the Independent Learning Center during the entire time it’s open?

ILC members may choose which days and hours to attend, with the flexibility to change those days as needed. With parental permission, ILC members may come and go as they like to take a class off-campus, visit a park, go out for lunch, etc. Voyagers is located near the Vinal Square business district and is accessible by public transit.

What type of programming is available at the Independent Learning Center?

ILC staff will meet with each teen, together with their parents, to develop an educational plan, and will review the plan at least monthly with each family. The plan may include independent study, project-based learning, online or community college coursework, and programs offered through Voyagers Resource Center. Resource Center programs are offered to ILC members at a discounted rate, and most are held during ILC hours on Fridays.

ILC group programming and activities will be planned collaboratively by ILC members and staff to reflect the group’s interests. We will draw upon the varied skills and passions of our staff members, ILC members, other members of the Voyagers community, and providers from the broader community.

ILC members and their families may join Voyagers Coop and attend a weekly Coop Day at a discounted rate. (Voyagers Coop is not a drop-off program; a parent is required to attend Coop on a regular basis.)

In addition, ILC members are encouraged to take part in Voyagers social events, such as teen dances, game nights, and our Cocoa House (a community open mic night).

Is the Independent Learning Center a school?

Voyagers Independent Learning Center is not a school. We offer guidance and support to families in constructing independent education opportunities for their teens. Parents retain responsibility for determining their child’s educational goals, assigning or tracking grades, compiling transcripts, filing educational plans with their school district, etc. We do not take attendance, dictate what ILC members need to learn, nor enforce completion of schoolwork. We do offer assistance in drafting educational plans for homeschooling, preparing homeschool transcripts, and assessing options for study, with accreditation if needed.

What other resources are available for teens taking part in the Independent Learning Center?

A variety of other academic programs and activities are accessible from Voyagers:

  • Middlesex Community College dual enrollment program

  • UMass Lowell dual enrollment program

  • All the World’s a Stage Players, a Shakespeare program for homeschoolers

  • A dance studio, a music school and a music rehearsal space, all within walking distance

  • Our staff will help to identify other resources of interest to ILC members locally and online.

Voyagers has an extensive network of volunteers and affiliates from which we can draw mentors and arrange internships for students.

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