How It Works
Canton Learning Collaborative is a Self-Directed Learning Center in Canton, IL that helps young people leave school using homeschooling law to improve their lives and learning, and helps existing homeschoolers sustain or improve their use of this approach.
CLC offers a schedule of optional classes. as well as workshops and one-on-one tutorials between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday from September–May. These learning opportunities represent the interests and passions of our core staff, volunteers, and members, include a variety of topics, and are flexible in order to meet the needs of our members. We strive to accommodate all members’ passions and will work to provide learning experiences in any subject, matching students’ interests with those of our core staff and community volunteers. Members are even encouraged to start their own classes based on their expertise, as well as take on a variety of leadership roles in the CLC community. There is a building-wide CLC community meeting each week that all members are encouraged to attend. There are no grades, credits, standardized tests or mandatory classes. All learning opportunities at CLC are voluntary, giving young people control over what, when, and how they learn.
Upon becoming a member at CLC, each young person is assigned a staff person to act as their personal advisor. Meeting weekly, the advisor will help the member imagine and realize goals, track progress, and facilitate experiences for learning at the center, online, and in the community. Advisors also help members keep track of what they learn and the experiences that they have for whatever next steps they are planning to take after CLC.
Advisers meet with members and their families regularly to review achievements and imagine possibilities for the immediate and long-term future of the member.
Many of the classes and tutorials at CLC are led by community volunteers. Based on member interest for a learning opportunity, we search in the local community for someone who is willing to share their time and talents with young people.
CLC members may get to learn computer programming from actual computer programmers, agriculture from farmers, or small engine repair from mechanics. We use our local community and the amazing and talented people in it as a resource for learning. Getting exposure to and making contacts with people who are active or retired in the fields teens are interested in is an incredibly valuable experience and can lead to many opportunities down the road.
Any opportunity that is available to traditional high school graduates is available to members of CLC. The self-directed-education-to-college path is well established in the United States. There is a common process for college application for learners who choose this educational route. Our advisors help young people document the learning that they do, create a narrative transcript that colleges understand, and guide them through the application process.
Another common step for members may be entering the workforce, trades, or entrepreneurial world. Young people can use the flexibility and control offered by self-directed education to start learning the skills needed to be successful in a given career. Instead of squeezing your interests into “after-school” time, you can work on your interests as the main focus of your education.