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Fall 2019 Classes


For inquiries about scholarship / sliding scale options, or about registering someone outside of the designated age ranges, or if you'd like to pay the deposit by cash/check instead of online, please email

Close Reading | Mondays 11am-noon | Sept.16-Dec.16 | Ages 12-15 | $160
For eager readers with a philosophical streak: Socratic method education, ie cooperative argument between students and text in round-table seminars. This class provides an ideal opportunity for young people to probe their own values and self-understanding, develop their voices and reasoning skills, practice respectful engagement with peers, and discover wonderful, challenging texts. This semester, our theme is happiness-- Is happiness merely pleasure? Is it ignorance? Is it wisdom? Is happiness a virtue? Does virtue lead to happiness? Maybe happiness is simply the absence of suffering... Moreover, Does individual happiness promote or threaten the social order? Is happiness even important? Is it a noble goal? We will read several seminal takes on these questions, spanning Epicurus' "ataraxia" and "aponia" to David Pearce, the nanotechnologist/philosopher who claims that, "Our descendants will be animated by gradients of genetically pre-programmed well-being." Instructor: Anna Josephson

Story Structure | Mondays 1-230pm | Sept.16-Dec.16 | Ages 12-15 | $235
For imaginative people who like to weave a yarn--- Bring your ideas, projects or ready minds to learn the secrets of a gripping plot, no matter your medium. September: What makes a story go?-- The inciting incident, plus character development, setting, and Point of View. October: What keeps us hooked?-- The midpoint transformation, plus internal and external conflict, failure, and struggle. November: What makes a satisfying ending?-- The climax, plus putting our plot in moral context. December: Polish and Communicate-- Guiding the experience through imagery, symbolism, and detail. Throughout we will talk about Conflict, the essential ingredient for every story. We will hone a critical understanding of our own and other stories, explore archetypal and experimental plot structures, and frolic in the fertile creative ground of mixed feelings. Upon registering, please include the participant's favorite story to share with the class. If we can read/watch/consume a few common stories, we'll benefit from the shared reference point. Instructor: Anna Josephson

Claywork | Mondays 1-2pm | Sept.16-Dec.16 | Ages 7-11 | $215
Work with clay using a variety of techniques (coil, pinch, slab work) to create unique sculptures and vessels. A small group will ensure plenty of one-on-one attention and lots of room for creative exploration of students' own ideas. Instructor: Caroline Mackinnon

Monsters in Literature | Wednesdays 10am-noon | Sept.18-Dec.18 | Ages 15+ | $350
In this class we will read classic novels such as Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, as well as more contemporary literature featuring monsters, vampires, ghosts, and zombies. We will consider the cultural implications of these creatures: what do monsters reveal about the societies that create them? How do monsters help us define what it means to be human, and in what ways do the authors challenge the distinction between monstrous and human? This class will help prepare students for college-level writing by developing their ability to express complex arguments and analyses, as well as sharpening their attention to details of grammar and style. We will focus on what makes writing effective and enjoyable to read, as well as how to feel confident with one's writing voice. Classes will involve short lectures, discussions, writing, and small group projects. Students will be expected to read 150-200 pages per week, as well as complete short weekly writing assignments and two longer papers. Instructor: Leslie Bumstead

Literature and Composition | Wednesdays 230-415pm | Sept.18-Dec.18 | Ages 13-14 | $295 THIS CLASS IS FULL
In this class, students will strengthen their reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. They will read challenging works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and practice writing strategies to communicate complex ideas. Class time will be devoted to discussions, writing activities, and language games. Our goal is to challenge ourselves and enjoy literature. Students will be expected to read roughly 150 pages a week, as well as complete short weekly writing assignments and one or two longer papers. Instructor: Leslie Bumstead

Literature | Thursdays 10-1130am | Sept.19-Dec.19 | Ages 10-12 | $235
In this discussion-based class we will read novels, short stories and poetry, talk about them together, and do some creative writing. We will discuss the structure of stories, learn about literary elements and figurative language, and we will play games. The goal of this class is to enjoy reading literature, collaborate with others to discover/uncover meaning, and have fun. Instructor: Leslie Bumstead

Mixed Arts - Altered Worlds | Thursdays 1130am-1230pm | Sept.19-Dec.19 | Ages 10-12 | $235
Students will work on projects that incorporate many different mixed-media techniques including painting, drawing, collage and assemblage to explore and interpret various subjects in the natural world. Students will look at works by artists such as Andy Goldsworthy, Louise Nevelson and Joseph Cornell, as well as ideas from Surrealism, Dadaism and the Fluxus movement for inspiration. They will ultimately create shadow boxes, small sculptures, assemblages and altered frames, using found objects and photographs. Instructor: Caroline Mackinnon

About the instructors:
Rex Delafkaran, also known as Alexandra Delafkaran, is an artist, dancer, administrator and teacher currently working in Washington, D.C. Born and raised in California of Iranian descent, Delafkaran studied classical and contemporary dance rigorously before attending college. Delafkaran holds a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in Sculpture and New Genres (2015). Before leaving San Francisco, she worked as an assistant teacher at the Golden Bridges Waldorf School teaching claywork and basic crafts. During her time as a sign artist at Trader Joe’s in both San Francisco and Washington, Rex was working curatorially on projects such as LADYPARTS at D.C.’s 87FLORIDA, and studio assisting with local performance artists, ceramicists, and sculptors. Once relocated to Washington, D.C. Delafkaran interned in several art spaces such as Hillyer Art Space, Fringe Festival, and Transformer. Delafkaran then worked as the FlatFile Art coordinator and Auction Assistant at Transformer for over a year before starting at the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts. There she worked as a Program Assistant and teacher, primarily focused on opportunities for individuals affected by cancer. She taught movement classes and assisted in art instruction as well; this was a formative experience in regards to the role of teaching and community in her practice. Delafkaran has now been working at Hamiltonian Gallery as their Gallery Manager, art handling, installing, assistant curating, and managing all administrative tasks under the Gallery Director. Curating is still a vein of her practice well exercised as in he most recent collaborative project HYPHEN AMERICAN at George Washington University with Tsedaye Makonnen. As a performance artist, sculptor and dancer, Rex has been consistently exhibiting nationally and internationally, and working in hopes to expand the powerful effect the arts have in education, institutions, and in and of itself.

Anna Josephson is a homeschooling parent in the District. She grew up in Alaska, where she received Socratic seminar education starting at age 12. She is a published author currently shopping her first novel

Leslie Bumstead: I am a poet and writer who has been teaching literature and creative writing to homeschoolers for the past seven years. Previously I taught poetry in a high school, and composition and literature at George Mason University (where I got my Master of Fine Arts degree). In addition to homeschooling classes, I teach creative writing to children and adults in the DC area. My collection of poems, Cipher/Civilian, was published by Edge Books in 2005. Other works, including essays and translations, have appeared in anthologies and literary magazines. I homeschooled my own children for twelve years.

Caroline MacKinnon is a parent, artist and educator who lives in Takoma Park, MD. She teaches ceramics classes to children and adults at the Takoma Park Community Center. She also holds art workshops for small groups in area schools. She likes meeting people, making art and collecting things.