Alternative Family Education


Alternative Family Education

Info Evenings

Come join us on Zoom to meet the staff and hear about AFE!

AFE Zoom Info Evenings

6:30-7:30 pm

Tuesday 3/23/2021 or Thursday 4/22/2021

Please email to get the Zoom invites.

Alternative Family is an independent home study school program for kindergarten through twelfth grade students and families who prefer an individualized approach to education, combined with the support of school district resources.

The program gives parents the responsibility to teach their own children with professional guidance from a credentialed teacher consultant. AFE is designed by and for homeschool/independent study families, with teacher consultants who are knowledgeable and supportive of home-based learning.

AFE also offers optional teacher- and parent-led enrichment classes on campus for all age groups in academic subjects, art, theater, and sports.
Questions about enrolling at AFE?  Fill out our questionnaire!  Click on the link below:

Alternative Program Enrollment Questionnaire

Enrolling New Families at AFE

Interested in Homeschooling?
Have you discovered homeschooling works well for your child and your family?
Or is the uncertainty of this time leading you to explore other options
of public education? 
Are you curious how homeschooling can work with you and your child
choosing your curriculum, supported by a consultant teacher?

Please contact Sara Homan, our registrar, for more information about
Santa Cruz City School's K-12 Homeschool/Independent Study Program
phone 831-429-3898 ext. 201, email

AFE can enroll students 6th-12th grade as transfers from other districts,
but Santa Cruz City Schools is not able to accept elementary students
from outside of the district.


AFE Resource Center online:

The BSSC Library has great resources here:

and on the BSSC Library page:
BSSC Library Link



Open Art Studio at the Park, Wednesdays
Wednesday 2/17:
AFE parent Leisl is hosting Open Art Studio with a bookmark making project. Join us  @ 12:00 at Ocean View Park.

Follywood Retrospective!
Follywood Stars
Each year we have an incredible evening event of cinema with student-made short films on campus, but this year it will be a virtual event. If you missed the Retrospective on Saturday 2/20 (a virtual look into the past), check out the Follywood YouTube channel Follywood at AFE
The Complete Retrospective playlist is also there.

. Check out the retrospective: Follywood Retrospective

Make Follywood Films!

Filmmakers who are interested in submitting films for this year's Follywood 2021 event on May 1st. Here's the  link for the submission form to sign up:
Follywood Film Submission
The deadline for this year's submission is Monday March 22nd.
This is not a hard deadline, but films should be mostly complete so the Follywood team can make plans and the program.


Coffee Hour

Monthly AFE Parent Coffee Hour (on Zoom) - a conversation about homeschooling and life -
Upcoming Times: Tue, Feb 23rd, 6:30 pm, and Fri, March 5th, 1-2 pm
One of these days, AFE parents will be able to come together over a cup of coffee or tea to share ideas, thoughts and feelings in person. But until that day, let's find other ways to support each other through the highs and lows of these tumultuous times.
Grab yourself a hot drink of your choice and join us for what we hope will become a regular monthly Parent Coffee Hour. Bring your questions, concerns, suggestions, wins, or anything else you'd like to share with the group.
AFE parents will be emailed the zoom link for these events the day before, or you can request the link from ______________________________

- still time to collect and decorate! -

AFE Theater is on!!!

All students must sign-up in advance. Watch out for a survey and answer promptly when you receive it. Looking forward to more theater fun!

AFE Talent Sharing Info Coming Soon.
Our virtual Talent Sharing will happen at the end of spring.
Start thinking about an act to share.


AFE Teacher-Led Enrichment Class Offerings

Spring Semester 2020

All AFE enrichment classes that were set to transition Zoom to hybrid will begin in-person classes
on the week of April 5th (right after our Spring Break).

The following classes will offer in-person options beginning the week of April 5th:
Play with Your Math (K-2nd)
Celebrating Mexico (K-2nd)
Time Travelers (3rd-5th)
Brain Explorers (6-8th)
Ecology (6-8th)
African-American Literature (9-12th) 

Please note:  At this time, we are unable to invite adult volunteers onto campus to our classes. 
This is different from AFE's policy under normal circumstances. 
However, we must follow protocols for safety during Covid19 times.  

ELEMENTARY K - 2nd Grade 

Gardening: Plants, Animals and Insects - Tuesdays 10-11 (online) Crissy Hansen Do you enjoy gardening, learning about different plants, local animals and insects? This virtual (Zoom) class may interest you! We will be learning about gardening in the Santa Cruz area, indigenous plants, animals and insects and discover the joys of creating a garden. We will learn about beneficial animals and insects and how to create a garden that will attract these creatures. We will learn about the structures and growth of seeds and plants, as well as the life cycles of some plants and insects. This class will incorporate hands-on assignments, journaling/notetaking/sketching, videos and virtual learning during our time together.


Celebrating Mexico Through Folk Art, Story and Song - Wednesdays 9-10 and 10:30-11:30 (online for now) Elizabeth Lindsley

We will explore my home country of Mexico by exploring its folk art and the many ways we can use natural materials to make beautiful art from different cultures.  Each week, we will explore a different type of Mexican folk art, share a story rich in Mexican history and folklore, and celebrate Mexican music.  Families who sign up for this elective will each get a packet of materials for making weekly projects inspired by Mexican folk art as a follow-up to our class.  Each week we will meet in person or online, depending on county health regulations.
Play with Your Math - Wednesdays 10-11 (online for now) Ayala Younger   Get creative with mathematics as we combine math, art, games, and cooking to create “mathterpieces.” We will get playful with math concepts such as geometry, patterns, sequences, problem solving,  and number sense through various activities and projects.  Our group will meet weekly in person or online, with some fun math extension ideas for you to do at home over the week. 


3rd - 5th Grade 

Time Travelers - Mondays 2-4 pm (online for now)

Amelia von Gerer

Take a tour of Santa Cruz County with the lens of a historian. We will explore moments in Santa Cruz’s history through photos, books, videos, discussions, and field trips around our county. Discover fascinating stories about Santa Cruz’s past with us! This class will look at history through the lens of many different groups of people and their experiences and contributions to our home. Each week we will meet on Zoom for one hour. Outside of class, I will assign an exploration (field trip) to a local outdoor spot to investigate history in person. If health ordinances permit, we will at some point move to meeting in person at these locations instead of on Zoom. Students will also engage in weekly reading and writing assignments at home.


Operation Deep Dive! - Mondays 10-11 (online)

Steve Salas

Are you ready to really go below the surface on a topic that you find interesting? If the answer is yes, then “Operation Deep Dive!” might be the enrichment class for you. The goal of the class is to build upon and further develop your skills in expository writing by researching a topic of your choice. You will practice collecting and evaluating sources, taking notes, organizing information, composing paragraphs, and presenting what you have learned in a culminating final project. Peer review and input will be a component of our work together as will completing weekly assignments. If you are new to typing and doing research online, my hope is this class will be a smooth introduction to these skills. 




Ecology and our Environment - Tuesdays 10-11:15 (online for now)

Peter Deutsch

We will address key topics and concepts in ecology and investigate these ideas in our local and global environment. The structures, interactions and functions in ecosystems will be the basis of our study. This will include natural resources, human impacts, various biomes and habitats, classification of living things, and the structure, function, and behavior of organisms. Our Zoom class will allow for a range of interactions in big and small groups and the instruction/content will set the stage for the active, hands-on based weekly homework and larger projects.


Brain Explorers - Tuesdays 10-11:15 (online for now)

Nancy Aylsworth

Stretch your brain by exploring its different parts, strengthening your memory and practicing creative thinking. We will learn about different types of intelligences and learning styles. You’ll also study some psychology, learn about biases and perceptions, and how to keep your brain healthy. We will create a supportive and interactive class while we learn about ourselves and each other. 




Radical! 20th Century African-American Literature - Thursdays 10-11:30 (online for now)

Zari Lionudakis Students will analyze literature from selected works from some of the 20th century’s most influential and radical African-American authors. Students will learn the methods which made each work successful and provocative, as well as the socio-political context which framed each story. Students will be asked to research unknown concepts, vocabulary and historical figures to gain a better understanding of the time/place. Students will be expected to read two books and two essays this semester, and choose two to complete a project (slide, essay or poster). Works: - James Baldwin “Sonny’s Blues” (1957) - Alex Haley “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” (1964) - Toni Morrison “Sula” (1973) - Ralph Ellison “An Extravagance of Laughter” (1985) Credit will be given based on the student's participation in class and their understanding of each work as evidenced by their projects.
World History: Judaism, Christianity and Islam
- Tuesdays 11-12:30 (online) Stacey Saady Students will learn about the origins, traditions, contributions, and trajectories of the thee monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Students will gain an understanding of the persecution Jews, Christians, and Muslims have historically suffered, and connect these persecutions with the disconcerting Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia we are fighting against today, particularly in the United States. Midway through the course we will have a guest speaker from Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, and a guest speaker from Baghdad, whose family escaped during the Iraq War through political asylum. Additionally, this class has a strong geography component: students will learn both the ancient and modern maps of the historical areas we study.

AFE Teacher-Led Enrichment Class Offerings

Fall Semester 2020

(All classes were online.)

Schedule Fall 20



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