“If school could be like that, I would definitely homeschool!” – A. Edson (6th Grade Hero)
Our Online Homeschool and Afterschool programs are here and there plenty of excitement from our students and families. We don’t take the typical, inflexible, or status quo approach to education, especially online. You can’t take the same approach as others and expect different results.
Boredom is making your student’s remote learning ineffective.
We make your student’s online education emotionally engaging.
And this is how we do it….
- We find out from students why the topic being covered matters to them. How can it be applied in their life? What benefit do they believe they can get from it? If they don’t have ideas about this, we ask them questions about what they are interested in, and we help them see how the topic can benefit their interest. This comprehension of personal application can pique curiosity and help motivate the student.
- We spend the first part of every course getting input from the students. This input lets us know what the student may already know about the topic and what they don’t know but want to know. This helps the teacher and the student define a beginning point for knowledge and determine progress at the end of the course.
- We allow for Lateral Learning, which is necessary for innovation. Lateral Learning means that if a student begins to learn the topic but discovers something more applicable and interesting to them that is directly related to the topic, we allow them to focus on this aspect. This is important because lateral thinking and learning can inspire innovation by allowing students to experiment with tangents. This process also engages students, because it provides autonomy in the learning process.
- We present the lesson in the form of an interactive and exciting adventure. The students play the role of a hero in a dynamic story and have to work together to overcome the challenges using the knowledge they have acquired. This team approach inspires a sense of belonging. As well, the stories provide a narrative context for the lesson which can improve comprehension and retention of the knowledge.
- Our primary focus is not on what to learn… but instead, on how to learn. Our teachers are not “sages on stages”. Instead, we are “guides on the side”. We see our job as inspiring students to become lifelong learners. This term has become a buzzword that many institutions claim to embrace but rarely enact or support in daily practice. Every step of the way, our objective is to empower students to expand their knowledge by using their own interests as a stepping stone. We do this by providing them with challenges that engage their curiosity, interest, and even passion, and then we walk beside them through their educational journey.
- When students want to learn more about a specific topic, we assist them. We partner with them to find additional resources and help them establish connections between their interest and a wider set of topics. This approach allows them to expand their focus and includes subjects that they may not have considered of interest before they started.
- Students discuss how their new knowledge has changed their perspective. It can be tough to change your mind. But when you learn a new perspective it can change your objective and open up new opportunities. This process improves two specific outcomes: It promotes a growth mindset that allows a student to change their mind about a previously held idea, and it improves the transfer of knowledge into their personal life by making it directly applicable to their own objectives.
- We redefine failure. Our definition of success is not to end up with a predetermined outcome. Instead, it is to show progress in overall knowledge. As such, failure MUST be acceptable. This attitude is illustrated by Thomas Edison’s reply to Mr. Mallory, who expressed regret that the first nine thousand and odd experiments on the storage battery research had been without results. Edison replied, with a smile: “Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results! I have found several thousand things that won’t work.” We don’t just subscribe to Edison’s idea, we teach it wholeheartedly by allowing for failure and revise it to mean “steps towards success”. This perspective is what builds resilience when a student isn’t able to immediately achieve their desired outcome.
“Guard Up/Story School has been doing virtual camps and weekly gaming groups and they do an AMAZING JOB. My son was online for the whole day for many weeks this summer and during April vacation but WAS NOT BURNT OUT. He came downstairs, bright-eyed, and full of energy from a day of imaginative, physical, and intellectually challenging play with his peers. They inspired him to take on analog projects outside of camp and he thought about his adventures long after they were over. These people know what they are doing when it comes to engaging kids, in person, online, anywhere! In-person there are legit sword fighting techniques involved, but even online they get kids working! And of course, there’s always a possibility of costumes. 🙂 This fall they are offering online programs including homeschooling supplementation, two weeks of camp in early September for schools that are starting later and I really recommend folks check them out!” – S. Johnston (Mother of a Hero)