WHAT'S NEW: The Hub is expanding! We will have four micro-academy cohorts—two for tweens, and two for teens—as of early 2024.
Our micro-academies belong in a totally different category than most online programs. They provide a consistent group experience that's highly interactive, interest-driven and interdisciplinary. The emphasis is on both intellectual growth and "soft skills," as well as feeding the soul through empowerment, connection, and creativity. Activities, guest speakers and group projects are jointly chosen by the participants and facilitators.
Essential Details (for cohorts already up and running as of 2023)
Ages and Times:
Micro-Academy for Ages 9 to 12—9:30a.m. to 1:30p.m. U.S. Eastern Time
Micro-Academy for Ages 12 to 15—9:30a.m. to 1:30 U.S. Eastern Time
Days: Tuesdays and Thursdays (scroll down to see a breakdown of the day)
Enrollment: Terms run from mid-September to mid-December, and from January through May (with a week's break in April). Exact start and end dates, tuition amounts, and the application process are described here. We have rolling admissions; the tween cohort still has spaces available, but the teen cohort is currently waitlisted (please see below for other tween and teen cohort options).
Essential Details (for new cohorts launching in early 2024)
New cohort for tweens in Australasia and the greater Pacific region:
Ages: 9 to 12 (if there's also enough interest in a cohort for ages 12-15, we'll consider running two groups in parallel, to cater to both age ranges; please get in touch to express interest)
Days and Times: 9a.m. to 1p.m. Australian ET on Tuesdays and Thursdays (in the Americas, this corresponds to an afternoon start time the day before, e.g., 4p.m. to 8p.m. U.S. PDT on Mondays and Wednesdays). Scroll down to see a breakdown of the day.
Facilitator: Sarah, who also co-facilitates the current tween cohort, which can pave the way for collaborations across those cohorts. A second facilitator will be added when the group size warrants.
Enrollment: Terms will run from February through June (with a two-week break in April), and from mid August through November (with a two-week break in September/October). Tuition and enrollment info can be found here.
New cohort for teens in American time zones and beyond:
Ages: 13 to 16 (also open to mature 12-year-olds)
Days and Times: Mondays and Wednesdays, from 9:30a.m. to 1:30p.m. U.S. Pacific Time (12:30 to 4:30p.m. U.S. Eastern Time). Scroll down to see a breakdown of the day.
Facilitator: Julie, who also co-facilitates the current teen cohort, which can pave the way for collaborations across those cohorts (you can get a sense of the vibe she brings to a space here). A second facilitator will be added when the group size warrants.
Enrollment: Terms will run from January through May (with a week's break in April), and from mid September to mid December. Tuition and enrollment info can be found here.
Additional Program Details (for all cohorts)
The emphasis is on interdisciplinary learning about the world and one's place in it (spanning subjects such as history, cultural anthropology, economics, geography, sociology, psychology, literature, civics, science, engineering, and math) plus the development of key personal and inter-personal life skills, such as the “5 Cs” (critical thinking and problem solving; communication; collaboration; creativity and innovation; and citizenship). This is accomplished via longer-term group projects and shorter activities, which can take the form of discussions, games, collaborative creations, quizzes, workshops, presentations, guest speakers, and field trips (e.g., a guided walk through a historic French town or a tour of a marine sanctuary in Belize).
Cohorts age up with the participants each year. Admissions are capped when a cohort feels full (the maximum is generally expected to be 8 to 10 young people per group, with two facilitators once the size exceeds five). Facilitators actively participate in activities, bringing their different life experiences, perspectives, interests, ideas and personalities to the table, and modeling intellectual curiosity, learning, and conversation. Cohorts that run concurrently can mingle during some shared break-out sessions; cohorts that meet on different days/times have opportunities to collaborate asynchronously (and all members of The Hub can interact on our private communications platform).
The participants are given a lot of agency to shape the program and decide their roles on group projects, according to their strengths and interests, as well as skills they're working on developing. With agency comes responsibility, so they're expected to engage and play an active role. The cohort functions like a team, so an intentional, supportive culture is a key priority, and connection is woven into the format. Participants also hold each other accountable for following through on their commitments to the group.
To find out more about how everything comes together in our programs and sessions, you can read "The Full Story of The Hub," check out our FAQs, and/or listen to one of our information session recordings here.
What Happens Outside the Micro-Academy Hours?
Participants can do more specialized studies (using whatever approach, format, and schedule suits them best), or recreational or family activities. The sky's the limit! (The Resources page includes lists of ideas that can serve as a starting point.) Overwhelmed with options? We can help you cut through the clutter, suggest tailored ideas, and offer other guidance (as well as connect you to people with specialized knowledge about things that fall outside our own areas of expertise) via The Hub's wraparound services.
The participants can continue interacting with each other outside micro-academy hours, via The Hub's private social network.
Can I Try It Out First?
Yes! To get a taste of the micro-academy, interested young people are welcome to join us for a complementary mini-session. Please check the events page for the open-house schedule, description, and registration instructions.
This is the starting point for the micro-academy's daily flow. We adapt the details as needed, in order to optimize the experience, while remaining true to the core principles and ideas. Some periods feature a choice of break-out rooms, each focusing on different things. Also, if sessions lengths seem long, note that they've been extended by request, because participants and facilitators always mention that the time flies by (a feature of the "flow state," most famously described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi).
(Hour 0 = Micro-academy start time.)
Hour 0 – Hour 00:45: Setting the foundation
Hour 00:45 – Hour 1:00: Break
Hour 01:00 – Hour 02:00: Purposeful activities
Hour 02:00 – Hour 02:15: Break
Hour 02:15 – Hour 03:00: Project work
Hour 03:00 – Hour 03:15: Break
Hour 03:15 – Hour 04:00: Wrapping up, with a "working lunch," if desired (individual meal times will vary, so this is just a placeholder in this sample framework)
(Younger cohorts: The program ends here.)
(Older cohorts: The more formal part of the program ends here too. Participants in established cohorts may be given the option to stay longer in the Zoom room for unfacilitated socializing, at the facilitators' discretion.)
"[My daughter] loves being part of The Hub. I already see some effects: she is much more assertive and willing to have discussions on deep topics. She is super motivated and wakes up at 6 am to be able to join." — Parent
"[My son] is really enjoying The Hub!! I was worried it would be too much sitting for him, but he is super engaged." — Parent
"The facilitators have found the 'secret sauce.'" — Parent
"It’s so much more than I expected. My children have been able to engage in important, grown-up conversations, and their perspectives have been given weight and have been considered important. They continue to talk about these things and look for applications of them throughout the day. … I think about what different experiences they'll have as adults because of internalizing these experiences, and having opportunities to be leaders at these early ages.” — Parent
"The kids couldn't stop talking about class today. They thoroughly enjoyed their time with you and even continued a few games of geosearch on their own." — Parent
"So fun to hear them laughing and learning!!" — Parent
The facilitators are "real gems" and have "created digital joy, which is very hard to find." — Parent
The facilitators "are so amazing with the kids. [My son] really enjoys The Hub. ... He is engaged and participating. ... I have heard him contribute many thoughts, ideas and opinions." — Parent
"I can't wait until The Hub's spring term starts." — Participant (during winter break)
"I'm grateful that I'm in The Hub." — Participant
"I feel like I'm making connections at The Hub that I've never made in any other way." — Participant
"By the end of the first term, it started to feel like a family." — Participant
Micro-academy enrollment comes with membership in The Hub. As members of The Hub, enrolled participants and their parents also have access to the following:
Community Spaces and Events
Hub members have access to private online social lounges where they can come and go and interact with each other at any time.
The Hub maintains 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 have access to additional wraparound services.)
Priority Registration and Discounted Tuition for The Hub's À-La-Carte Programming
Hub members receive advance notice of à-la-carte programming, before registrations are opened to the general public. These other programs also offer discounted tuition to members.
Like our programs, The Hub as a whole will continue to evolve as we observe what works, as well as what additional needs or opportunities emerge, and refine our offerings accordingly. For instance, we are planning to add two new micro-academy cohorts as well as a streamlined, one-day-a-week version of the micro-academy in 2024. 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’s nano-academy, debuting in january 2024, will offer tweens a more casual alternative to the micro-academy experience. Participants will come together with a highly experienced facilitator for several hours a week to engage in interactive, creative and mentally stimulating activities that they themselves will have a hand in selecting.
Examples that will appear on the menu include puzzles; games (e.g., the GeoGuessr geography guessing game); creative exercises (e.g., collaborative short-story writing); explorations (e.g., the Wiki Hunt research challenge); and discussions. Through such activities, participants can expand their horizons, practice “soft skills” (e.g., critical thinking, communication and collaboration), connect with similar-aged children, and have fun.
Each session will be a standalone experience. Participants will also be able to communicate between sessions, on The Hub’s private communications platform.
To get a feel for the vibe you can expect, check out our short video, “What is a Nano-academy?” We also hold occasional free, open house "sample mini-sessions" for our programs (schedule is on our Events page).
Ages: 9 to 12
Time: The full program runs from 1p.m. to 5p.m. U.S. Eastern Time (10a.m. to 2p.m. U.S. Pacific Time), with scheduled breaks. The format is flexible, so participants can leave at any point that suits their schedule. They're also welcome to eat as needed during the session.
Dates: The first term will run from January 10 through May 22, 2024 (participants can enroll for the full term, or for four-session blocks that they can commence at any time)
Facilitator: Aimee Bobruk
Enrollment: Contact us to express interest, noting your child's age, and the preferred enrollment option and start date (at least one week in advance of the start date). We will let you know if spaces are available, and, if so, send you a registration link. After the form is filled out and payment is received, you're on board!
For Parents and Professional Educators:
"The Hub Presents: A Conversation About ...": A series of free interviews with subject-matter experts on topics such as how to guide your children's learning; how to create win-win outcomes; how to mitigate stressful life events so that learning (and living) can get back on track; and how to help children be more resilient. (Recordings are posted on The Hub's YouTube channel.)
Examples of other free or fee-based à-la-carte options that could be offered in the future:
Want to have a say in what's offered? Please fill out the short survey. And if you'd like to get on the mailing list, please fill out the contact form.
Wraparound Services for Members of The Hub:
We offer essential support to members (families whose children are enrolled in The Hub's micro-academy) who need assistance figuring out how to get started with independent learning, how 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 either arrange a separate consulting package, or refer you to a consultant within our network of affiliates who is well positioned to address specific questions (such as how to incorporate curriculum-based learning into the mix, or how to prepare for college or a specific career path as a homeschooler).
We are also leveraging the power of a growing movement of learner-centered education models. We will bring to the group ideas gleaned from other learning centers and networks, such as the Agile Learning Centers.
Wraparound Services for People Enrolled in The Hub's À-la-Carte Programming, and Members of the General Public:
Please refer to the consulting page for more information about how we can support your independent learning.