Philosophy, for questioning minds

The ancient Greeks believed that philosophy begins with wonder. If this belief is true, then young people should make excellent philosophers since they naturally wonder about many things. If you have ever wondered about why you felt a certain way when things happen to you, or why animals or plants do what they do, or why stars shine at night, or why a machine works, then you might be a philosopher (White, Philosophy for Kids, 2001).

Instructor: Dr. Kirsten Stein


Come philosophize with us! Our course offers young people the opportunity to become acquainted with the wonders of philosophy. Questions arranged under Values, Knowledge, Reality, and Critical Thinking, invite kids to think about questions that philosophers have been discussing since the time of the ancient Greeks (White, Philosophy for Kids, 2001). Each week, we ponder and discuss a different philosophical question. Perfect for students who think a lot!

More about the curriculum:

  • The philosophy class follows the curriculum guide: Philosophy for Kids by David A. White, Ph.D., Prufrock Press. Parents who choose to purchase the book should use it only to help foster further discussion after the webinar. Please avoid sharing upcoming content from the book with your child as it limits children's thought processes during the webinar discussions.
  • Separate spring, fall, and summer courses. 
  • Although the curriculum is written for students "10 and up," Athena's invites gifted students of all ages to attend. Our class median age is usually age 10. 


  • Philosophy students must be able to participate verbally in an online group discussion.
  • Philosophy students should have the desire to complete the discussion forums in the Philosophy classroom.
  • This class is designed for students ready to discuss challenging topics in a respectful manner.
  • Although recorded sessions will be available, students should be able to attend at least 75% of the webinars since the courses are discussion-based.

Required books/materials:

  • None (There is no need to purchase the curriculum guide. Parents who choose to purchase the book mentioned above should use it only to help foster further discussion after the webinar. Please avoid sharing upcoming content from the book with your child as it limits children's thought processes during the webinar discussions.)


Fall Semester

Questions focus on:

    • Values
    • Knowledge

Example questions may include:

    • How do you know who your friends are?
    • How do you know for certain that things more?


Spring Semester

Questions focus on:

    • Reality
    • Critical Thinking

Example questions may include:

    • Can you think about nothing at all?
    • Is it important to speak and write so you can be understood?


Summer Sessions

    • Our summer session discusses questions not found in our fall or spring courses. We explore questions relating to values, knowledge, reality, and critical thinking.


What to Expect in the Classroom

Learning activities include communicating ideas, videos and multimedia, and web 2.0 tools to synthesize new concepts. Students are asked to complete 2 assignments during the week. Activities include:

  • Required: Pondering the weekly question to prepare for the upcoming webinar
  • Required: Responding to forum questions - using at least five sentences
  • Optional: Working with web 2.0 tools on online projects


What to Expect in the Webinar

Weekly webinars are 50 minutes long. Philosophy webinars include the exploration of a weekly question. Students are asked to contribute to the live webinar by doing the following:

  • Actively participating in a verbal manner (via the microphone) to the webinar discussion. Discussions center on a weekly question introduced in the classroom**

Please note: This class is discussion based. Only students who are ready (or need minimal encouragement to become ready) to use the microphone in an online class should enroll.

**Students timid about participating verbally should wait until they are confident before enrolling in this class.


Enrollment in the 16-week semester courses and 6-week summer class include free access to moderated discussion forums and Athena's Minecraft server. 


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Return to the Summer Course Descriptions page

Last modified: Friday, March 31, 2017, 7:13 PM