Pathfinder Community Values



We value the human rights of all people, including children.


People learn to make good decisions by being trusted to decide for themselves.


Community limits on behavior should be clear, transparent, and consented to. 


We value conscious culture creation, and balance the needs of the community with the needs of the individual.

Pathfinder Durham is a self-directed learning center for ages 5-14. Here is a video giving a bit more detail on Pathfinder's unique approach to living and learning, with comments from parents and members.

What is Pathfinder?

Pathfinder is a:

  • Community of 5-14 year-olds who choose their own learning path, working together or separately on pursuits that excite them

  • Member’s club with shared resources and shared decision-making

  • Creative space for play and exploration, with a library, a music room, art supplies, computers and whatever else the kids choose

  • Safe place where kids can be free to learn as much as they want

We follow self-directed education philosophy with a great degree of freedom of choice in daily activities. You can read more on our Philosophy page for details about our model and tools.



We are now accepting applications for our 2019-20 Program, starting in August, 2019. Mid-year membership may also be available. Please contact us for more details. 

Age Range

For the first year we are focusing on meeting the needs of the 5-14 age group.

Member & Staff Ratios

Our goal is to open with a minimum 20 and maximum 45 members and 3-4 full time staff members, plus volunteers for a 1:12 maximum adult to child ratio.


We will be open Monday-Friday: 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

After-care is available until 5:00 pm for an additional fee, depending on sufficient interest.

We are also offering a late afternoon karate club with a discount to members.

Visiting Policy

We welcome visitors at our Open Houses, and by appointment.


Our detailed 2018/2019 calendar can be found here. We will operate from August 27th, 2018 to June 7th, 2019.

Attendance Policy

Our part-time slots are now full. New members are welcome to attend on a part-time basis, but we can only offer enrollment at full-time rates currently.

All members of Pathfinder must be registered with the state of their residence as homeschoolers. We can help with registration in North Carolina.

Members may arrive any time before 10:30 am to hear daily announcements, and there is no compulsory attendance.

We ask members to arrive or notify of absence on their scheduled days by 10:00 am.

Members are encouraged to attend on Wednesdays to participate in community governance.

Registering as a Homeschooler

Pathfinder is classified as a homeschool resource center. Because of this, your child will have to be registered as a homeschooler in order to enroll in our learning community.

The registration process is simple and record-keeping is easy. Our staff can help you with any aspect of the process that you find confusing or need some assistance with.

To find out more about the process of becoming a homeschooler in North Carolina, click here.

To access attendance paperwork provided by the state, click here.

Testing Requirements for the State of NC

North Carolina currently requires all children aged 7 and up to take yearly achievement tests. Pathfinder can help you find a test that suits your child’s needs, and can help you administer the test in our low-pressure environment if needed. Please note that as of this time we do not pay testing fees, only help in finding and administering tests.

Membership Fees

Pathfinder is an inclusive learning community. We strive to make our programs accessible for all income levels.

We use a sliding scale fee system. Fees are indexed according to income level, days attending, and number of siblings per family.

Support fee reductions by making a donation.