What if Every kid could fall in love with science, history, thinking, and cooking?
Kids are born philosophers, but in school they don't often get the chance to explore the world in depth. Young Philosophers is a small, 2-hour, once-a-week lesson for curious kids ages 6–10. It's held in Kirkland, taught by two accomplished teachers, and costs $30 per week. We help kids geek out on the weirdness of reality.
We do real science.
A lot of "science" in even the best grade schools can be just learning the names of things. We use the tools of Imaginative Education to help kids encounter (and get excited about) the complexity of real things.
In Young Philosophers, kids learn the beautiful basics of biology, chemistry, physics, evolutionary theory, genetics, ecosystem dynamics, and human prehistory.
We do real history.
A lot of "social studies" in even the best grade schools can be shallow and dull. (Almost no one says their favorite subject is social studies!) We use the tools of storytelling to help kids encounter some of the big events that still shape our world.
In Young Philosophers, kids learn — and learn to tell! — the stories of Socrates, the Buddha, Confucius, Alexander the Great, Amenhotep, Montezuma, and more.
We do real thinking.
A lot of "critical thinking" in even the best schools is disconnected from the huge questions that kids are already asking. We use the tools of Philosophy for Children to help kids clearly see what they're saying, to think through the consequences of their ideas, and to open themselves to others' ideas.
In Young Philosophers, kids discuss questions of right and wrong, of language, of politics, and of Life, the Universe, and Everything! We talk through these things at a kid level — but we never dumb them down.
And we cook real food.
A lot of "kid food" is (1) unhealthy or (2) unappetizing. It doesn't need to be that way. We use simple dishes to cultivate kids who love to make, and to eat, real food from scratch.
In Young Philosophers, kids have made crêpes, salsa, quiche, scones, ice cream, and more. They leave each lesson with the recipe of what they've just made, so they can make it again at home.
+ Why do you call it "Young Philosophers"?
Nowadays, to be a "philosopher" is to have a super-specialized job — but originally, the opposite was true. A "philosopher" was somebody who wanted to understand how everything connected to everything.
And this, of course, is what children are doing anyway! Kids are born philosophers.
+ Can I, the parent, stay to watch?
We prefer not — kids often clamp up when parents are around — but if your child is nervous, you're free to sit in the entryway. (We start with drawing, to ease the transition in.)
+ Is this for gifted/talent kids?
Yes, but not exclusively. A large number of the kids in Young Philosophers are G/T, and we (Kristin and Brandon) have years of experience teaching G/T kids, but we've designed Young Philosophers to be G/T-level education for everyone.
+ Is this for kids with ADHD?
Yes, but not exclusively. We tend to work especially well with ADHD kids: perhaps because one of us (Brandon) almost certainly has ADHD, and both our kids almost certainly could be diagnosed with it, as well! And a large number of kids in Young Philosophers have ADHD.
+ My child has some food restrictions. How far are you able to adjust your recipes?
Let us know about their restrictions, and we can discuss how we might work around them! All of our meals are no-meat, or meat-optional.
+ This meets on Sunday morning. I see the Buddha is mentioned. Is this religious?
Nope! It's not about getting a "right" answer, but about asking the big questions. We sometimes use stories from various world religions (for example, Buddhism and Confucianism) only because they're helpful to discuss the questions kids are already asking. Families of any and no faith are invited to sign up.
+ Can I see a sample lesson?
Yes! We've posted two of the science lessons to YouTube:
And we have rough drafts of a history story on YouTube, as well:
+ This is really cool. I'm excited to learn more about this.
You may be interested in Leonardo, our 2-full-days-a-week homeschool enrichment program! There, we go even deeper into science, history, and thinking, and also strive to master math, writing, and drawing. Our plan is to evolve Leonardo into a full school.
Who are you people?
We're Kristin and Brandon Hendrickson. We're parents and teachers who are passionate about cultivating kids who can question, create, and live well.
+ Kristin Hendrickson...
Kristin is a Montessori teacher with a summa cum laude B.A. in English literature and a minor in history. She's a valedictorian and a former GRE tutor. In her few spare moments, she whips together cobblers, curries, and crêpes, sews children's clothes, and writes fiction. She can tell you the cosmic origin story of pretty much any world culture you name. (And, yes: she has raised chickens.)
+ Brandon Hendrickson...
Brandon is a high school humanities teacher with summa cum laude B.A.'s in religious studies and history, and an M.Ed. in educational theory. He leads the test-prep wing of a local tutoring company, The Learning Professionals, that translates brain science into better thinking, and is on the advisory board of foundry10, a local educational not-for-profit. He can answer more-or-less any dinosaur question you have, and talk for long hours about existentialist philosophy. He's still not quite sure what that wobbly red thing is on top of the chicken's head. [BRANDON: IT'S THE COMB. –K.]
They met whilst National Merit Scholars at the Barrett Honors College, where they were initiated into the Great Books tradition of learning. Together they raise two kids (currently aged 4 and 7), both of whom share an uncanny behavioral resemblance to Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes. They're also launching a K–2 school of Imaginative Education on the Eastside in 2017.
When and where is Young Philosophers held?
This summer, we're meeting on just Sunday mornings (10 am – 12 pm) at an apartment in Kirkland:
August 13, 10am–12noon
August 20, 10am–12noon
August 27, 10am–12noon
Starting in September, we'll go back to doing two Young Philosophers classes — one on Sundays, and one on Thursdays.
September 10, 10am–12noon
September 17, 10am–12noon
September 24, 10am–12noon
September 14, 10am–12noon
September 21, 10am–12noon
September 28, 10am–12noon
The lessons (including the cost of food) are $90 for all three weeks. You can hold a spot by filling out the form, linked below.
Our classes currently meet in private homes. We will send an email with the address and drop-off instruction to registered families before each cycle begins.