We are forming a micro-school for homeschooling seventh graders, with both remote/online and afternoon in-person, outdoor components, held in Arlington, Mass, starting c. September 21, 2020.

With every important choice, there are risks and rewards. The prize here may be a year in which your student’s approach to learning, to seeing the world around them, is strengthened in ways school can’t always provide – so that when they return to regular school, it is not just with knowledge expanded, but with clearer capabilities and purpose they might not have found other ways.

…or just call Nate at 617-899-3136 or email nate@welearntogrow.com.

Guiding principles

We have seen how remote learning can be powerfully effective – if the group of students is small enough to become cohesive and interact richly and meaningfully. We see these elements as key to achieving that favorable state:

  • Setting goals and accomplishing them, always leading towards applying critical thinking
  • Elements of growth: problem solving, collaboration, creativity, emotional intelligence, leadership
  • Enable students to pursue purpose with fun and joy

Structural features that enable these elements to bloom include:

  • Inspiring, interesting, relevant instruction and learning (spurring curiosity, inquiry, discovery)
  • Socially connecting, maximizing personal interaction, conversation
  • Providing structure for a day of learning
  • Encouraging self-expression, creativity, and awareness over inhibition
  • Outdoor component for in-person social interaction, getting out of the house, exploration, exercise
  • Providing frequent opportunities for meaningful engagement in collaborative learning, motivating students to be regularly accountable to the group

Teaching and learning

Core course areas: Social Studies, English Language, Science, Math

Curriculum materials: Reference the Arlington Public Schools texts, along with teacher-curated sources and student-researched internet sources. We keep a close eye on Mass. standards and on APS’s curriculum focus to guide selection of course content. Most of the standards are certainly worthy of exploring and understanding; they need not always be the basis for assessment. (For math and world languages, they do.)

Assessment: Formative feedback from teacher; self-reflection and peer review; summative rubric marking; term end written summary & exit interview

Project basis:

  • Thematic and inter-disciplinary; real-world context
  • Built around Essential Questions
  • Rubrics designed to encourage critical thinking
  • Writing: daily journal, in a variety of modes: creative, expository, research
  • Varied output (essay/report, podcast, video, presentation, interview, conversation, debate, role-play…)

Social-emotional development focus

  • Recognize and realize one’s growth potential
  • Self-motivation and cultivating motivation (begins with (from Acera) honoring student interests)
  • Knowing and using your capabilities/strengths; collaborating with others; what to do with your less visible strengths

A possible schedule

…or just call Nate at 617-899-3136 or email nate@welearntogrow.com.