Playful Learning for Families
The Online Family Program brings bright, curious students and their families together in an online learning community to explore a subject area of interest with guidance from expert instructors. Through hands-on projects families can do together and discussions with other participants, the program introduces students to new skills and concepts while providing parents with techniques and resources for helping advanced learners reach their potential.
Why Choose the Online Family Program?
CTD’s Online Family Program courses provide opportunities for young learners to explore interesting and exciting topics that will inspire a lifelong love of learning.
- Flexibly-paced weekly modules allow families to engage with course materials and complete projects on their own schedule
- Guided, playful learning experiences promote curiosity and anchor a life-long love of learning
- Novel topics and engaging projects cultivate higher-level thinking and creative problem-solving skills
- Personalized guidance and feedback from experienced gifted education instructors stretch student thinking
- A supportive learning community forms through family and instructor interactions
In addition to Online Family Program courses, CTD offers a diverse range of online program options; view a full list here.
Online Family Program courses are at the Amber Tier for eligibility, which is open enrollment. There are no test scores or further documentation required for participation. Please note that successful completion of a CTD Online Family Program course does not pre-qualify students to enroll in future classes outside of the Amber Tier.
The Online Family Program welcomes applications from any interested student. You can access the application online at my.ctd.northwestern.edu.
Applications must be complete one-week prior to the start of the class. Applications completed after the deadline may be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
The fee for each 4-week course is $250.
Please see CTD's withdrawal and refund information for policies.
Financial aid is not available for Online Family Program courses. If you would like to inquire about a payment plan, please contact the CTD admissions team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Course activities and projects take 3-5 hours per week. Adult support starts with reviewing lessons together with their student and providing the space and materials students need to explore new concepts through hands-on activities. Parents capture and upload images and videos, including verbal explanations of their child’s work. Parents may also act as a scribe for young students, typing posts dictated by their child. Families are encouraged to complete activities on a Friday to Friday schedule, but they have flexibility in the timing of their weekly posts and submissions in the course. Families are encouraged to review and respond to the posts of other families to build the learning community in the course and to prompt students to reflect on their own understanding.
Course activities and projects take 4-6 hours per week. Adults engage in the course by reviewing weekly introductions to the concepts, by providing space and materials for hands-on projects, by helping students create a schedule so that they can complete the work and, if needed, parents may help students to record and post their work. Students engage in hands-on activities, post in discussions, submit their project work independently and build community with each other through enriching discussions facilitated by the instructor.
Online Family Program instructors have experience teaching advanced students. They facilitate learning for both students and parents. Students learn new concepts as well as how to provide meaningful feedback to others. Parents learn how to engage in critical questioning to stretch their child’s thinking as well as how to support them as they make and learn from their mistakes.
Online Family Program courses expose advanced learners to new areas of science, math, language arts and technology. Students make connections to their own experiences and envision the work of professionals in the field they’re exploring.
Schoology, the learning management system used by CTD, is a user-friendly platform designed specifically for K - 12 online learners, and is COPPA-compliant. Parents will set up a student MyCTD account for each child in their household. At the start of the Online Family Program course, families can login to the MyCTD account using student login credentials created by parents and access the course directly from there.
All course work and communication take place within the Schoology course. Laptops and tablets can be used to access courses through the MyCTD website. If a laptop or a tablet is required or preferred over the alternative for a specific Online Family Program course, it will be noted in its course description.
Students need access to a stable internet connection and updated web browser.
See Frequently Asked Questions about Online Program courses.
For questions regarding Online Family Program admissions or current enrollments, please contact:
For questions about partnerships with schools, please contact: