Fall 2020 Updates

SEPTEMBER 12, 2020

  • Please visit our website to see our staff and intern bios (if you haven’t seen Facebook updates).  There are a few bios that still need to be added, but will be updated soon!  About Us 
  • I am still in search of a music teacher – I have invited Anna Dushanin to join us this coming Wednesday to see if she might be a good fit. She is a college student who teaches piano and music.  She is full of positive energy and absolutely loves teaching music!  
  • For students enrolled in the 3D Design and Printing class on Mondays and Wednesdays, next week they will be starting to use the 3d printer.  To do that, students will need to install the slicer.  They can do in class, but if you would like to download and install Flashprint before Monday, here is the link:  https://www.flashforge.com/download-center.  If you do not wish to install Flashprint on their laptop, Brad can do the slicing for the student, although they would need to email the file to Brad and would miss out on an important part of the process.
  •  For students who attend Math in Real Life with Leo, he has requested a list of supplies for Tuesday’s activity, the Egg Drop Challenge.  If I had more time, I would have no problem collecting all of the materials, but if I could ask that each student bring in some, any, or all of the following 3 raw eggs and as much raw material as you have, for example:  styrofoam, packing peanuts, coffee filters, paper cups/plates, straws, construction paper, rubber bands, a lot of popsicle sticks (10-15 per student), boxes/cardboard, cotton balls, plastic shopping bags, sponges, string/rope (few feet per student), toothpicks, paper clips, masking tape, “a lot of glue” .. in Leo’s words, “literally anything you have lying around..”  I think if we collect everything in one big box for everyone to share, they can figure it out… I have been collecting recycling and plastic bags and will bring in as much as I can, but anything you can contribute would be appreciated!  
  • We will be closed next Friday, September 18, but will be announcing events, workshops, and activities on future Fridays.  Please let me know if your student(s) has interest in attending September 25, October 9, 16, and/or 23 for a day filled with fun activities, crafts, and games with the interns and other guests, including pizza and music (and a movie on some days).  November dates will be forthcoming. Times will be 10AM – 330/4.
  • In November, I would like to begin a series of virtual presentations from several local college admissions representatives.  These presentations will include an overview of the college and its programs; and importantly, the admission process and requirements.  These will focus on Symbiosis Learning Center students specifically, and how our program meets their requirements.  The colleges that will be presenting include Landmark, Mitchell, Lasell, and MassBay.  Please let me know if you are interested in attending and if Fridays work for your schedule.  We will continue the series throughout December and the new year.  I know that it is early for many of you, but if college is or might be a goal for your child, and you would like some peace of mind that Symbiosis (and/or homeschooling) puts you on the right track, hearing it from college admissions can be validating!

I think that is all for now… please do remind your children to wash their hands throughout the day here at the center.  Besides our masks, it really is the best way for all of us to keep from spreading germs!
As always, I welcome your thoughts, feedback, comments, suggestions…Have a great weekend and I look forward to seeing all of you next week!
My Best,Kristine

AUGUST 28, 2020

Below are some of our class descriptions, including Earth and Environmental Science, Math at Your Level, 3D Design & Printing, Nature Journaling, and Math in Real Life.  The descriptions of Teen Talk, Yoga, History, and Music will be coming soon.  Also below is a list of supplies and other necessities students need to bring to the center on the first day of classes. 


Earth & Environmental Science

Earth and Environmental Science at Symbiosis Learning Center  is a laboratory and project-based course that will explore multidisciplinary scientific principles from biology, chemistry, physics, geology, meteorology, astronomy and others, in order to provide an understanding of the natural functioning of our planet.  Students will study Earth’s four spheres, the lithosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and atmosphere, and explore the interactions between this intricate system and all living things. Students will delve further into the biosphere, learning about energy resources, major biomes, ecosystems, chemical cycles and the role of living things in ecosystems. We will learn about fundamental ecological concepts and focus on the consequences of human interactions within our environment. In addition to learning about environmental problems, students explore practical alternatives for protecting the environment, moving toward a sustainable future.  This course will help to increase students’ awareness of global environmental issues, as well as their role on a local and global scale.  

Math at Your Level

21 + 22 is 43.  That is a fact, and what is all this new math about?  While 21 + 22 equals 43 is true, there is more than one way to figure out that fact.  You can memorize it.  You can stack the numbers on top of each other.  You could focus on the place values and say 2 tens + 2 tens is 4 tens and 1 + 2 is 3 ones. Together they are 43. You could also build the problem with manipulatives, as some people prefer a visual representation when solving math problems. Everyone’s brain approaches math differently, and there are different ways to solve even the simplest problems.  In the end mathematics is about thinking and puzzling out a path to the answer you need.  When learning mathematics, effort and the process of discovery count more than how fast you get the answer. 

Here at Symbiosis Learning Center we endeavor to find approaches to learning mathematics that fit each student.  What official level the student is at does not matter, as people learn different aspects at different paces.  An area that is particularly frustrating can be touched on, left behind for a while, and circled back to multiple times if need be, until a better learning approach is found or the student simply has that “Aha!” moment.  Conversely, some students may quickly achieve goals in math and require a faster pace. Understanding in the end is what matters, not how fast that understanding happens. 

In this course, we will help each student create an individual plan for their mathematics education and provide the instruction and guidance to support their success along the way. 

3D Design and Printing

In the past you could draw and render in 3 dimensions on your computer screen.  Now you can manufacture your creation right in front of your eyes.  Whether you are looking to replace something that broke around the house, create a one of a kind toy, or a work of art.  The possibilities of 3d printing are both staggering and extremely fun! This class combines learning how to use the software to create 3d designs, as well as learning what is necessary in the designs so that a 3d printer can actually manufacture your creations.  We will encourage personal projects in this class, which will allow the students to create a personal emphasis on engineering or art, whichever path their passion lies.  Symbiosis owns a 3d printer and students will be taught how to use it to manufacture their creations, as well as maintenance for the machine. 

Nature Journaling

This class will broaden and deepen student curiosity, wonder, and attention.  Through a combination of sketching, labeling, recording thoughts, and forming questions and explanations, students will embark on a journey of scientific inquiry and self expression.  Using such prompts as “I notice… I wonder… This reminds me of…” class will focus on recording and reflecting on observations made in nature (a leaf, clouds, grass, flowers, tree, acorn, etc.) The goal will be to sharpen critical and creative thinking skills, build self-confidence, and improve writing skills.  Activities will focus on using metaphors, similes, and descriptive writing and will include poetry, persuasive writing, narratives, descriptive essays, map making, etc.    

Math in Real Life

Hey – have you ever looked around the world and wondered how math is in pretty much everything around us?  Me too!  This course explores real world math applications.  We will look at how numbers, patterns, and relationships show up in everyday life.  The goal is to provide a fun, interactive, and hands-on learning experience for students looking to see how math concepts apply beyond the classroom ranging from paying your bills, to bridge construction, to parachute design, the election process, stock market, and everything in between!”

US History

For the fall of 2020,  students will be studying several different US History topics. To start out the course, students will be studying the US Constitution and be examining different sections and amendments to understand the Constitution. Students will also learn about the US election process, what happens when you cast a ballot, what the Electoral College is and how it works in order to better understand the 2020 election. Another possible topic students will look at this semester is Westward Expansion with an in-depth look at topics such as The Louisiana Purchase, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the Oregon Trail, the Mexican American War, Gold Rush, etc. and one final possible topic would be the Cold War which would cover topics such as the Space Race, The Cuban Missile Crisis, etc. And during each class there will be a few minutes set aside to discuss current events that are going on. This will vary depending on what events are going on at the time and student interest.

Teen Talk

Welcome to Teen Talk! In this discussion group we will be building connections with one another while exploring various topics. These topics include mental health, forming healthy relationships, developing mindfulness skills, stress management strategies, exploring current events, planning for life after highschool, and much more! The goal of this discussion group is to support one another in a positive light and experience personal growth as individuals and as a collective. The number one rule for Teen Talk is to HAVE FUN! This is YOUR group. Let’s make it memorable! 


  • facemask (Symbiosis can provide one for students who need one)
  • laptop and charger (let me know if you need Symbiosis to provide one for you)
  • fold-up chair and/or blanket for outdoor classes
  • lunch and snacks
  • water bottle
  • yoga mat (if attending)
  • 5 subject notebook
  • journal for Nature Journaling class (can be lined or unlined – unlined may be better for sketching, any size, can also be loose leaf paper in a binder)
  • colored pens and/or pencils for Nature Journaling class
  • pen and pencil and eraser for note-taking and math worksheets
  • book for quiet reading
  • outside classwork that can be done at Symbiosis during independent work time (teachers and tutors available to help)
  • sunscreen and bug spray

If you have not submitted an enrollment form, you can complete one here: Enrollment Form

As always, please be in touch with questions, concerns, and/or suggestions.  

JULY 22, 2020

Keeping everyone safe and healthy and minimizing the risk of virus transmission is our priority. In compliance with Newton Department of Public Health COVID-19 health and safety requirements, we are working closely with the United Parish of Auburndale to implement the safety and precautionary guidelines listed below.

Daily Checks: We will screen all students daily for symptoms, including a temperature check at the entrance. We ask that any student who has symptoms or any risk of being exposed to the virus, stay at home and self-quarantine for 14 days. We will have online options in the event that a student may need to stay home.

Face coverings: All students, staff, and visitors will be required to wear face masks at the center. We will have some classes outside where the mask requirement may be loosened if students are far enough apart from each other. We will provide students with face masks but we ask that students also bring additional personal face coverings.

Social Distancing: Classrooms, offices, hallways, and meeting rooms are being reconfigured to allow for social distancing of at least six feet and in some instances (hallways and some offices and classrooms) no less than 4 feet apart. Our modest enrollment, large open spaces, and access to the outdoors work in our favor. We hope to hold many of our classes and workshops, as well as breaks and lunchtime outdoors whenever possible.

Cleaning and Disinfecting: Our staff and intern team will continue to perform regular intense cleaning of all public spaces. They will consistently disinfect classrooms, common areas, and workspaces to help minimize transmission. Hand sanitizing stations will be installed throughout the center and periodic reminders for hand washing will be announced throughout the day. At the end of the day after all students leave, a cleaning crew will clean and disinfect all classrooms, offices, bathrooms, floors, doors, etc.

We are still working to make sure all guidelines and precautions are in place before the fall. I hope this update on our plans to return to the clean, open, and safe space of our learning center gives peace of mind as families plan for the fall during these unprecedented times.

JUNE 26, 2020

Dear Prospective Families,

I am so very happy (and relieved!) to report that the church has informed me that we are welcome to return to the center in September.  The church administrators and I are currently working together on developing safety procedures to minimize exposure to Covid-19 and keep everyone in the building safe and healthy.  Guidelines will be posted on the website and sent to all families once they have been finalized.

As I work to develop the schedule of classes, I ask that you please confirm Fall enrollment as soon as possible.  Even if you have confirmed verbally or via email, please do complete the enrollment form here:  Enrollment Form.  In the space provided on the form for additional comments, please indicate any requests for a specific class topic.  If you are missing only a few high school requirements and are hoping to graduate this coming academic year, please indicate what those missing requirements are.

Fall classes and days offered, if scheduled:  

Science Math (Mondays and Wednesdays)

3D Design & Printing (Mondays and Wednesdays)

ELA – Nature Journaling (Tuesdays and Thursdays)

Music with Ryan (Wednesdays)

Yoga (Thursdays)

Financial Literacy with Leo (Tuesdays and Thursdays)

Teen Talk It Out

History (World and/or US)

Psychology (Intro or Adolescent)

Art (and possibly Ceramics)

*I am also hoping to start a Dungeons & Dragons group depending on interest. Are you?

Due to public health concerns over the spread of the virus in our shared kitchen, we will not be offering a cooking class this fall.  (We will have plenty of pizza days, however!)

Some other notes:

  • Student updated progress reports should be available in Google folders by July 6.  You will receive an email notification.
  • Ryan Cimon’s summer plans have changed and he will be teaching his music class on Wednesday afternoons beginning July 6 – please let me know if you are interested in participating via Discord.  Class fee depends on the number of students enrolled.
  • We currently have five Lasell students fulfilling their internship requirement with us in the fall!  We love those interns!
  • My hope is to get back into the space by mid-August so that I can offer tours to prospective students.  If you have not done so already,  and if you are so inclined – no pressure 🙂 – I would appreciate if you could take the time to write a review on the website!  These make a difference!  Here is a link for your convenience:  Reviews
  • Once I receive your enrollment form, I will send out an invoice for payment in full by August 14th.  Fees remain the same as academic year 2019-2020 and are as follows:  Part-time is $2,500 per semester.  Full-time is $5,000 per semester.  Additional fees for field trips and some supplies may apply.  If you would like to request a payment plan with the option to pay in installments, please let me know.
  • Classes start on Tuesday, September 8.    

Be on the lookout for more updates and news as we prepare to come back together in September.  

I look forward to seeing all of you! 

My Best,