Our micro-academies are facilitated, co-created blends of individual and group projects and activities, as well as discussions, explorations and skill-building, in small-group settings. There is a slight overlap between the age ranges in order to account for variability among individuals.
Essential Details (Fall 2023):
Ages and Times (scroll down to see a breakdown of the day):
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 2:30p.m. U.S. Eastern Time (the last hour for this older cohort is informal and optional).
Days: Tuesdays and Thursdays
Size: We cap each cohort size at the point when the group "feels" full, so that a personal touch can be retained. We do not anticipate ever exceeding 16 children per cohort, with two facilitators.
Enrollment: The tuition and application process are described in detail here.
The emphasis is on deep, 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 a combination of longer-term group projects, discussions, and short-form activities.
Each cohort has two facilitators. This allows for break-out rooms (and thus more choices) and also provides a generally richer experience, with two adults actively participating in activities; bringing different life experiences, perspectives, interests, ideas and personalities to the table; and modeling intellectual curiosity, learning, and conversation. Additionally, operating the cohorts concurrently opens the door to interactions among their participants, whether to work on something of shared interest in a breakout room, or to jointly participate (when practical) in field trips, guest speaker sessions, and other types of presentations.
The participants are given a lot of agency to shape the program alongside the facilitators. With agency comes responsibility, so they are expected to engage and play an active role. Everyone has a say in choosing projects and activities, and group members decide how to divide up roles, according to their strengths and interests, as well as new skills they're working on developing.
The cohort functions like a learning team, therefore the development of an intentional, supportive culture is a key priority. This creates fertile ground for valuable peer-to-peer learning, deeper engagement, and the development of higher-order abilities to navigate life's challenges. Participants also hold each other accountable for following through on their commitments to the group. The team culture extends beyond the cohort itself, as we seek to learn from and with others too. We offer occasional interactive online field trips (e.g., a guided walk through a historic French town or a tour of a marine sanctuary in Belize) and bring in guest speakers (e.g., renowned software tester and author James Marcus Bach, who launched his career at age 16, talking about the importance of critical thinking and how to be a self-directed "buccaneer-scholar").
To find out more, you can listen to one of our information session recordings here.
What Happens Outside the Micro-Academy Hours?
Outside of micro-academy hours, participants are free to follow other elements of their customized learning pathways, whether that involves working individually on building core skills (with the help of on-demand 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! (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 are also encouraged to continue interacting with each other outside micro-academy hours. They are given access to The Hub's private social network, where they can collaborate on projects, socialize, and post activity playlists, among other things.
Can I Try It Out First?
Yes! To get a taste of the micro-academy, children ages 12 to 15 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 aim to be agile and adapt the details—based on observations, feedback, and where the energy is flowing on a given day—in order to optimize the experience, while remaining true to the core principles and ideas. When warranted, some periods feature a choice of break-out rooms, each focusing on different things.
9:30a.m. – 10:15a.m.: Setting the foundation
10:15a.m. – 10:30a.m.: Break
10:30a.m. – 11:30a.m.: Purposeful activities
11:30a.m. – 11:45a.m.: Break
11:45a.m. – 12:30p.m.: Project work
12:30p.m. – 12:45p.m.: Break
12:45p.m. – 1:30p.m.: Wrapping up (younger cohort) or seminar time (older cohort), with a "working lunch," if desired
The program for the younger cohort ends here.
The more formal part of the program for the older cohort ends here too; attendance for the extended session period is optional.
1:30p.m. – 2:00p.m.: Extended session period for older cohort (ages 12 to 15)—informal short activities
2:00p.m. – 2:30p.m.: Extended session period for older cohort (ages 12 to 15)—open socializing
(The Hub's role-playing club also meets once a week during the early afternoon hours.)
"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
"I love Miró and Brooklyn! They 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
"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
"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
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. 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 offers select à-la-carte classes, workshops, informative discussions, and other programming. For starters, the emphasis has been on options for tweens and younger teens, and their parents, though some offerings are suitable to a wider mix of ages. Programs offered during the September-to-May time period are described below; summer camps are listed on the special events page.
For young people:
Stay tuned for new program offerings. Past programs have included a game-design workshop, a series of Socratic discussions on various themes (chosen by participants), and "create-your-own-history" adventures.
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 independent-learning communities, via our membership 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.") We will bring to the group additional learnings from our interactions with the leaders of 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.