The Swanburne Academy

creative learning 

for incorrigibly curious families 

Enjoy thought-provoking new content every month, created by author Maryrose Wood.

Join the waiting list

Are you Swanburne, through and through?

Join this online community of learning-loving families. Each month’s content includes:

new vocabulary

We do love learning new vocabulary at the Academy! Each month offers a challenging new word—cleverly related to the core lesson, of course—presented by our resident animated etymology expert, Bertha the ostrich. 

bring on the new words!

a core lesson

From Poe to Pointillism, classical rhetoric to the food chain, each month we dive into a fascinating topic through an engaging video lesson. The downloadable To-Doawoo list offers suggestions for projects and further study.

we love to learn!

a themed craft project

Stuffed animals, friendship bracelets, banners, sashes, masks, puppets — our monthly craft offers downloadable patterns and step-by-step instructions for a delightful make-it-yourself addition to each month’s theme.

making stuff is awesome!

Pluck and optimism!

Hi, I'm Maryrose Wood, your Acting Headmistress here at the Swanburne Academy.
You might also know me as the author of some books your family has enjoyed!
My own two kids are grown up now. But we were a homeschooling family when they were young, and I know how much fun it is to weave a lesson out of something interesting that catches your eye, to follow a rabbit trail of curiosity and learn something wonderful and unexpected.
To put it in a nutshell: Curiosity is contagious! The family that learns together, reads together, explores together, and asks questions together in a spirit of open-ended play and pure love of learning  is forming memories for a lifetime.
Does that sound like your family? The Swanburne Academy is here for you!

Curious about what’s inside? 

Swanburne Academy content is best suited for kids aged seven to fourteen, but we love it when the whole family gets involved. Many of our families participate with a wide age range of siblings. Here’s a peek at some recent lessons (there are dozens more inside the archive). 

Philosophy, in a nutshell

This introduction to the types of questions philosophers ask, and how they go about answering them, may leave you feeling rather metaphysical!

Harr, pirates! 

This hilarious look at three types of pirates—actual, fictional, and musical—will shiver yer timbers as we look at how pirate stories shape what we think we know about buccaneers. 

Painting En Plein Air 

After learning the truth about why autumn leaves change color—and grappling with the fact that color doesn’t actually exist!—we take our painting outdoors and have a good look at the world.

All about the moon

The mystery of the moon has inspired wonder and poetry. What is the moon? Where did it come from? Does it really have a dark side? Earth’s faithful companion is something to howl about!

Classical rhetoric, squirrel style!

This lesson in the techniques of classical rhetoric got our members writing speeches of their own. They were very persuasive!

Don’t put your head in the sand about idioms!

Our exploration of ostriches naturally included a special lesson on idioms, those slippery phrases that don’t actually mean what it looks like they mean.

Our monthly word-awoo

Bertha the ostrich does a bang-up job introducing each month’s vocabulary word. These charming animated lessons make etymology fun!

Knowing what’s true—and what isn’t

Fact versus opinion. Confirmation bias. Hoaxes, conspiracy theories, and other forms of bunkum! In a world that offers so many mixed messages, how can clever Swanburnians know what to believe?

Househunters of the Tide Pool

Hermit crabs are such fascinating creatures. These adorable househunters change shape many times before reaching their final form. When they do, they need a shell to call home!

Tales of King Arthur

From ancient Celtic myths through the chivalric tales of Europe’s middle ages, the tales of King Arthur just keep getting retold. Where did these stories come from, and what makes them so enduring?

April is Shakespeare month!

Shakespeare seemed to know about a lot of things—but one of his favorite things to write about was plants. Here’s the story of how Shakespeare got his botanical expertise.

A delightful craft project 

This pretty craft of painted and stitched leaves helped teach the meaning of festoon, our monthly vocabulary word. With a little leaf-identification thrown in, of course!

What can you expect from the Swanburne Academy?

Joy in learning

What a fascinating world we live in! There’s so much to explore. Flora and fauna, literature and history, from antiquity to “nowadays.”

Emotional intelligence

Thank you notes and socially useful phrases. Deep pondering of why it can be hard to get along. We treasure kindness, empathy, and diversity. All are welcome here. 

Boundless creativity

Poetry, literature, music, dance, art — at the Swanburne Academy, every topic lends itself to creative expression.

what our members say

“At the Swanburne Academy, our child is able to learn and grow in a fun, accepting and no-pressure environment. It is the perfect place for children to just be themselves. Through the inspiration and guidance of their ever-charming and well-spoken Acting Headmistress, Maryrose Wood, they are encouraged to express themselves creatively and imaginatively through personal projects called ‘doneawoos’ Without a doubt, our family considers Swanburne Academy the highlight of our homeschool.”

“Thank you so much for this wonderful experience and engaging content.”
“We really enjoyed creating an art gallery and coming up with schools of art!”

“We joined a week and a half ago and we are all totally delighted!”

“We really enjoyed practicing our Tableaux Vivants!”

“I had fun painting my cave art!”

“We loved celebrating Shakespeare, gardens and tea!”

“The Swanburne Academy has been an excellent source of enrichment to our homeschool. The weekly zoom meetings, sophisticated content, and opportunities to interact with other Swanburnians have made this program an integral and fun addition to my daughter’s daily routine.”

“The way Maryrose shares her enthusiasm for learning with the children is nothing short of spectacular. Our family looks forward to exploring the lessons each month and joining other Swanburnians online to collaborate, share, and learn. Thank you!”

“We just started a couple of months ago, and my daughter is really engaged. Throughout the week, she talks about the vocabulary that she has learned. She loves the crafts as well!”

“We love the Swanburne Academy! There’s so much creative learning to be had. Our vocabulary has exploded! Our curiosity has been piqued. We’re so grateful for the Swanburne Academy.”

“I had a great, fun time this month using Occam's Razor to find lost things and I love solving Rubik's Cubes. Thank Youawoo!”
“I really enjoyed the vocabulary video.  I've also noticed I've started seeing previous vocabulary words in my reading.”

“Thank you for inspiring us with this month’s To-Doawoos.”

Swanburne families love learning together.

Whether you’re

  • an incorrigibly curious family eager to enrich your days with joyous, family-based learning, or
  • new or seasoned homeschoolers looking for an invigorating boost of smart, fun content to add to your curriculum,

you’ll find all that, plus a community of kindred spirits at the Swanburne Academy.

Isn’t it time you were Swanburne, through and through? 



It’s yer free Swanburne Academy guide on how to Talk Like a Pirate! Add yer coordinates below and we’ll send it to ye.

grown-up email addresses only, please!