The micro-academy will be a facilitated, student-centered, co-created and emergent blend of individual and group projects and studies, exploration and skill-building, in a small-group setting. It will involve a blend of online and off-line work.
The emphasis will be on deep, interdisciplinary learning—not just of academic knowledge, but also of important life skills, such as the “5 Cs” (critical thinking and problem solving; communication; collaboration; creativity and innovation; and citizenship). In addition to group work—built on solving practical, real-world challenges whenever possible—children will also give monthly presentations to their peers about interest-driven individual projects they've chosen to pursue (with guidance, as needed, from the facilitators).
Days: Tuesdays and Thursdays
Time: 9:30a.m. to 1p.m. Eastern Time (see below for a breakdown of the time)
Ages: The first cohort (for the 2020-2021 academic year) will be ages 9 to 12
Size: There will be a maximum of 16 children per cohort, with two facilitators
Outside of micro-academy hours, children are free to follow other elements of their customized learning pathways, whether that involves working individually on building core skills (with the help of resources such as Khan Academy, software apps, books, or eclectic independent studies); attending tutoring sessions; participating in The Hub's à-la-carte programming, or third-party online or offline classes; or doing other activities. The sky's the limit!
This will be the starting point for the micro-academy's daily flow. We will be agile and iterate on the details—when doing so seems warranted, based on observations, feedback, and where the energy is flowing on a given day—in order to optimize the experience.
9:30a.m. – 10:15a.m.: Setting the foundation
10:15a.m. – 10:30a.m.: Break
10:30a.m. – 11:30a.m.: Group work
11:30a.m. – 11:45a.m.: Break
11:45a.m. – 12:30p.m.: Individual work
12:30p.m. – 1p.m.: Closing circle
1p.m.: Optional extra time for group lunch
In the process of doing such interdisciplinary projects, children will have opportunities to develop skills in areas such as research, reading comprehension, debating, communications, and inter-personal relations. Such projects also serve as vehicles for learning about fields such as history, cultural anthropology, economics, geography, sociology, psychology, literature, civics, biology, ecology, chemistry, physics, engineering, math, and materials science.
Micro-academy enrollment comes with membership in The Hub. As members of The Hub, enrolled children and their parents also have access to the following:
Community Spaces and Events for Children and for Parents
Hub members will have access to private online social lounges where they can come and go and interact with each other at any time. There will be one for the children (on Discord) and a separate one for the parents (on Mighty Networks). There will also be opportunities to attend group games and other social events throughout the year.
The Hub will maintain a curated list of third-party platforms, websites, curriculum packages and events (at a range of price points) that might interest members, to help them choose how to spend their remaining time. New discoveries will be added regularly. We'll also share examples of curated pathways, showing how the micro-academy and various à-la-carte elements can be put together to form a comprehensive whole, as well as examples of portfolios to document learning. (For more in-depth and personalized guidance along these lines, members will have access to additional wraparound services.)
Priority Registration for The Hub's À-La-Carte Programming
Hub members will receive early notice of and advance access to new à-la-carte programming, before registrations are opened to the general public.
Collaborations With Other Like-Minded Learning Groups: Several learning centers around the United States that share similar values have already expressed interest in collaborations, such as teens visiting The Hub to offer presentations about topics of interest to them, and occasional facilitator exchanges that will expose children to additional perspectives and locales.
Expanded Age Range: We will expand the online hub's age range to ages 9-13 in Fall 2021, and then add a teen cohort in Fall 2022.
A Full-Week, In-Person Option: The plan is to also launch a five-day-a-week, in-person version of The Hub for residents of the Washington, D.C. area, starting in Fall 2021. The physical hub will eventually offer micro-academies for younger children too. We will aim to take advantage of cross-pollination opportunities between those enrolled in the online and in-person hubs.
Get in touch if you would like to be added to a mailing list to find out more details as they are officially announced for upcoming years.
The Hub will offer online à-la-carte classes, workshops, open studio times, and other activities, for children and adults. Selections will be based on a combination of what kinds of things people proactively offer to lead, and what kinds of things people would like to see offered. For starters, the emphasis will be on offering options for children ages 9 to 12, and their parents, but we anticipate also adding some offerings that will be suitable to a wider mix of ages.
Some à-la-carte elements—those run by volunteers from the wider community, or by members of The Hub on a volunteer basis—will be available free of charge. Others, offered by subject-matter-experts on a professional basis, will have fees associated with them (fees will vary, but are expected to average about $15-20 an hour).
An example of a free à-la-carte option that will begin in Fall 2020:
Hypothetical examples of other à-la-carte options that could be offered free of charge in the future (specifics, including appropriate age ranges, will of course depend on the individuals who step up to lead something):
Examples of fee-based à-la-carte options that are in the works, aimed primarily for ages 9 -12, and based on interests that have already been expressed (these will either be offered directly by The Hub, or by affiliates who are offering discounted rates to members of The Hub):
Hub members (children who are enrolled in The Hub's micro-academy) will have priority registration access to The Hub's à-la-carte options, then they will be offered to the general public as space allows. Programs will be rolled out gradually the first year, in order to maintain a manageable process, and registration details will be announced as programs become available.
Want to have a say in what's offered? Please fill out this short survey. And if you'd like to get on the mailing list, please fill out the contact form.
We will offer essential support to members who need assistance figuring out how to get started with independent learning, where to find (and how to use) the necessary resources to create an interest-based learning pathway, and how to document learning and prepare portfolios. We will also share examples of curated learning pathways and portfolios. For more detailed or specialized questions, we can arrange a separate consulting package, or refer you to a consultant within our network of affiliates who is well positioned to address your specific questions.
We will also leverage the power of a growing movement of independent-learning communities, via our membership and active participation in 100 Roads (previously the International Association of Colearning Communities), a vibrant group of individuals who are co-creating innovative independent-learning paradigms around the United States and around the world. (From the 100 Roads website: "Colearning communities are people coming together for the shared purpose of learning, living and working without institutional boundaries and in ways that they can customize.")
The Hub will host regular online member meetings, to build community, and to check in to see how things are going, and what we should consider adding or modifying.