The Wright Adventure

The Wright Adventure

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During our Social Hour meeting this past month, we spoke with Alana Wright, who told us about her family’s adventure of converting a school bus into a full-time home for a year! We wanted to learn more about this epic experience, so we asked Alana and her family if we could share their story.

In summer of  2020, Alana and her husband, Guy, decided to take their three boys out of school and do school at home. Then they found West River Academy and were intrigued by our philosophy about Natural Learning. Since the boys have such vibrant energy that should not be restricted to learning within four walls, this was a better fit for them. When the school year was approaching in the fall, Alana and Guy presented the option to go back to public school and the answer was “no way!” This worked out perfectly because they had been wanting to get out of the daily routine of “work, school, weekend, repeat.” So, they acquired an old schoolbus and spent six months renovating it into a tiny home. This was a great way for Jordan (12), Jonah (10)  and Jameson (7) to get a hands-on learning experience, in addition to some fun bonding time. Guy is a carpenter by trade, so he was able to delegate tasks to them based on what was age-appropriate. 

In July of 2021, the whole family and their three dogs hit the road! They started heading east from their home in Colorado. They drove through the mid-west in peak summer and enjoyed fishing in rivers, going on hikes and visiting national monuments. As summer turned to fall, they watched the leaves change and drove through the eastern states. They really embraced the idea of learning based on their surroundings, rather than pushing a curriculum. They did have some exercise books that the boys actually enjoyed doing, so they brought those with them. Their year of learning looked like walks through the Petrified Forest, eating lobster in Maine, participating in Ranger programs, visiting historical sites, learning about farming practices and, Jonah’s favorite, visiting the NASA museum.

A great observation that they shared was that not every space in the RV/schoolbus was actually used in the way that they expected. For example, they built a sit-down area where they expected the boys to study and relax. But once they were on the road, it was obvious to them that the boys would want to spend most of their time outside! As the trip went along, the study/relax room turned into a storage space. Alana said, “When you’re building a custom tiny home, it’s hard to predict how the space will be used in reality and now we’ve learned so much that if we did it again, we might have designed some things differently.” 

There is definitely a lifestyle adjustment from living in a full house to a tiny home on wheels. For one, living in an RV means conserving water, propane and doing daily tasks that need to be done often due to the confined space. However, they made a point to stay at campgrounds along the way, which provided some additional conveniences. Overall, they did great as a family living this way for a year because they didn’t rush from place to place; they truly enjoyed each town that they stayed in and made a point to absorb the history and life lessons that their surroundings provided them. 

One of the unexpected challenges the family discovered was the ever-changing social atmosphere that comes with meeting new people on the road and parting ways shortly after. The boys always made friends at the campgrounds easily, and, after days of playing and adventuring together, the families would part ways. After Alana and Guy noticed the emotional toll it was having on them, they came up with the idea to write postcards to their newfound friends. This was a great exercise for them to reflect on their travels, practice their writing skills and continue to feel emotionally close to their long-distance friends. 

The RV trip lasted exactly one year; from July 2021 to July 2022.  This isn’t the end of their adventure, though; they are currently working on a big project, which is to build a homestead in the Ozark region of Missouri! One day they hope to rent out their RV, build a yurt and host other homeschooling families on their property. Their family loved learning about farming and homesteading, so they hope to share their knowledge someday.

Alana and Guy, thank you so much for this great interview and for letting us share your story! 

Josie’s Graduation Project

Josie’s Graduation Project

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We encourage students to choose a Graduation Project format that showcases their talents, as well as meets our requirement of illustrating their entire educational journey; from their early years up to the present day.

View the Digital Illustration of her educational journey at the bottom of this page, as you read the written narration to explain her creative process.

I became a student at West River Academy when I was 10 years old. I’m now 18 and will be moving to New York City in the fall to study art and design at Pratt Institute. This Graduation Project explores my time at West River Academy and is loosely based on the Greek myth of Persephone as I chronicle my journey from childhood to womanhood.

It starts at the house we lived in when I was in elementary school. My favorite thing about that house was the giant palm tree in the front yard that looked like a huge pineapple. It made our incredibly suburban house just a little more fun. You’ll also see my cat, Lucy, who loved to be outside and who I miss very much. In the back is my family who I had to include in this; they’ve supported me every step of the way on my journey to adulthood. In 4th grade, I was a voracious reader so I filled the cloud space with my favorite books from that period of time.

I named the Queen Mary 2 (QM2) “Hades” to represent the chariot in which Hades took Persephone to the Underworld. There are so many different tellings of the Persephone myth, but my favorite version is the one where, instead of being kidnapped, Persephone chooses to go to the Underworld with Hades, seeking adventure.

When we started unschooling, so many of my friends said that I’d never be able to get a job or go to college, if I didn’t stay in school. We knew from the very first day that it was a good decision for our family, but still, we were bored in the suburbs. With our new freedom, we put everything we owned in storage and embarked on what ended up being an almost two-year world schooling adventure, really going into the unknown. The second section depicts the QM2 which was the start of our adventure. You’ll see my dog, Toffee, and the friend she made in the portholes. On deck you’ll see my friend playing the blow-up saxophone, which I still have and treasure. We each had a backpack and just a few personal items, but we each needed one formal outfit for the QM2. It was my first “gown.”

This is the dress I wear as I step off the boat into my middle school years, lantern raised as my curiosity, to explore Europe’s treasures. Here, I just mark the highlights in Rome, Paris, and London. Most of my memories are captured on film. I got my first good camera on this trip and curated a highlight book of my photography, several images of which helped form my portfolio for Pratt. As you might imagine, photography became a life-long love through those years of regularly exploring something totally new.

Eventually, my brother and I missed playing sports and wanted to settle back in SoCal. This third panel of my scroll represents my high school years. During this time, I learned what I enjoyed doing and what I didn’t enjoy doing, represented by volleyball and working at our local ice cream place. Volleyball represents my discipline and drive, working with others, making friends, achieving goals and having a lot of fun doing it. That would be the Elysian Fields in my Persephone analogy, whereas the ice cream job was more like Tartarus. I thought it would be fun and full of smiles, but no one there really liked their job, the management was demeaning, and the customers were entitled.

Books were the biggest part of my elementary, middle school, and traveling years, and then high school was all about music. During high school, I was introduced to new genres of music that I’ve come to love and portrayed it here with the names of my favorite artists in the dark clouds between this section and the next.

The final section of my scroll represents springtime, my future, and the adult Persephone returning to the world anew. The gusts of wind are full of my interests and what I plan to pursue, but I imagine there will be some surprises along the way. Unschooling has kept me ready to notice and respond to what’s new, to carve my path, and to make my way.

 

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Damian’s Story

Damian’s Story

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As students come to the end of their high school journey, we ask them to reflect on their entire life and present it to us in the form of a Graduation Project. The student may choose how they would like to present it; as a written biography or a custom idea, such as a presentation, art piece with written narration, or video compilation.

In this Graduation Project, Damian shares how he fell in love with the student-led learning approach to education and shares the various ways that he incorporated his studies into his daily routine.  

As Nelson Mandela once said, I also believe that education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. It not only gives you confidence and satisfaction, but also allows your dreams to become a reality. You can contribute to a better world!  

In my case, education has been a factor of extreme importance. I was raised very differently from other kids and was given the possibility to do another kind of school, which I’m very grateful for. West River Academy has offered me a unique chance to find out who I am, what I’m really good at, and act upon my talents. I transferred from my previous public school in fifth grade. Being enrolled at West River Academy has taught me how to learn from a different perspective and my process of learning won’t end, as one’s educational journey throughout his life never ends. I have really loved learning under the trees, being able to breathe fresh air and synchronize with nature. The freedom this school provides has allowed me to do everything with pleasure; from school tasks to planting flowers in the garden. I’ve dedicated all my spare time to reading books and studying about animals, plants or history. I’m not going to mention all the titles of the books I’ve read because I won’t be able to fit them all on these pages. A separate biography should be made, only to describe their uniqueness and incredible artistic style in which the author wrote them. Each one of them means a lot to me. They taught me how to improve myself and become a better person; for me, and for society. Everything has a meaning to me. The unpleasant things or the uncomfortable situations that occasionally happen to us, always have a meaning. There’s always something to learn from them and this is important for me. Improving myself by understanding the moral of the story. Learning from my mistakes or others’, is the key point of realizing my dream, to become a wise person and spread love-the most important of them all, among the people.

I don’t know how I would think and act if I had studied in a public school all this time, but I most certainly know that by being homeschooled, I am able to analyze everything from all the viewing angles and enjoy life’s biggest gifts for us all, such as the surrounding nature. Above all of this, I’ve had much more freedom. While others fight for their lives, we complain about how hard life is. It is important to be grateful for what you have, no matter how few things you possess. I remember a book, called Pollyanna, where the protagonist (Pollyanna herself) always plays “the glad game” to avoid feeling sad and unhappy. She would find joy even in the most ordinary things and turn the sad moments into something with a good meaning.  

On to other topics, I didn’t like Math but it has a big importance, so learning it is unavoidable. It also develops your sense. Learning can be fun if you do it properly. I would even learn during family trips. That’s because I was eager to accumulate new information. You can always find one or more books in my backpack. So, I mix pleasure with utility.  I don’t understand how watching documentaries is boring for some people. There are so many details, both mentally and visually pleasing.

Education has brought me self-acceptance and forgiveness because you need to have the power and courage to forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made while also forgiving others. Courage, because doing this is not easy. It does not happen overnight. On the contrary, it takes time. Sometimes too much. Now, you’re probably saying that we cannot afford the luxury of wasting time but when dealing with such matters, pushing yourself too hard or rushing this process can be damaging for your health. So, what I would recommend to everyone is to take as much time as needed and be patient. I did well in all the school subjects. However, Physics and Math were not “my thing”. I found more joy in humanistic sciences but I’ve put more effort into what I’m not so good at and gave myself time. This process of improving my “weak points” has taken a while but was definitely worth the wait.  

I have many hobbies including photography, reading, writing and travel. There is so much that can be shown and expressed through photography. This world has so much beauty, just waiting to be explored and captured by your camera. You can visit historical places, find out new things about people’s customs and traditions. Taste their food. Contemplate their art. Listen to their music and understand their sorrows.

There are some people who can’t afford to travel but you can make their day by showing them your photos or posting them on your Instagram, for example. So, photography not only makes me happy but also brings joy to others, fulfilling my purpose, which is to spread joy and love.

Technology is also one of my secondary hobbies. I love to find out about new technologies and devices. From the latest cameras to smartphones or smart home devices. It’s a completely different world but with flaws, like ours. Many things could be changed with its help if we knew how to properly use it. I consider it a waste of energy, material, to have such powerful devices and machines and do nothing meaningful with them. Such a shame…

Music is one of the best things in the world. It calms and helps me when I feel tension or have anxiety moments. I’m part of a generation who’s trying to feel something. Inspire others. Offer help or even do a change. Most of us are always sad because the world we live in got much worse than it was in the past. There is so much pressure in the air… But here come a few questions. How will the next generation live and enjoy life, if we don’t make it easier but harder for them? How will our children be able to learn and behave as we want them to if we don’t reach their hearts and make them feel and believe what we teach them? Nothing good happens if we stay on hold, procrastinate. It only gets worse and worse. Evil grows stronger and stronger while we’re waiting for things to randomly become good. It evolves faster than we can imagine. That’s the reason why we should be prepared and overcome it with good, because, in the end, that’s all we can do.

Many people may find me weird because I’m more concerned about the feelings and the soul. Nowadays parents tend to ignore this aspect of education or tell their kids it’s bad for them to feel vulnerable. It is shameful to cry. I have encountered many cases. I cannot feel anything but pity for those kids and shame for their parents. This kind of education breaks a child. It makes him unable to feel compassion and love. I think this is the most important part of education. To teach your child how and when to be vulnerable, who to trust, and to be an honest and forgiving person.

I also enjoy writing poems. I started doing this in 2017. I was 15 at that time. I get inspiration from people’s experiences and struggles, as well as my own. The goal is to reach people’s hearts and make myself heard; to help heal life’s wounds and show people they’re not alone in this world. Everyone is unique and important to the world. Our life is a treasure we tend to neglect.

I learned that, in order to live a happy and healthy life, we should stop being so self-centered and also focus on others’ problems and cries for help. I help people as much as I can, whether it’s hard or not. Love can heal wounds and repair the damages. It is much easier to be bad but by doing that, you do harm to yourself and then to others. You have nothing to win but pride, which will never help you. Nothing compares with the intense and good feeling of helping someone in need or the satisfaction of offering somebody a gift from your heart. Seeing the happiness in their eyes and the smile on their face just makes you want to fly. Warm hugs are always free. I like to give people as many hugs as possible. So, whether it is a friend or somebody I’ve just met, I give him some hugs; make him feel safe and relaxed. My friends or people who’ve met me say I’m a warm and kind guy.  I don’t know. If they say that, maybe I am. What I think is also very important in life is modesty.

You can’t fully be a great person without modesty. It’s not about just making an impression among people and being praised. You need to be genuinely authentic, honest and sincere. Otherwise, you’d be a fraud. A lost cause. But it’s never too late. There is always a way to do things right. Education should not be only about school subjects. It should also be about building a good and strong character. About how to properly take care of our planet and protect it from pollution. It’s so sad to see that animals and nature are also suffering and begging us for help. But we do nothing. We decide that our ego is more important, therefore we ignore it or silence and discourage those trying to make a positive change.

Fortunately, I was a lucky child. My parents gave me the proper education every other child should receive. Of course, no one is perfect. So, I cannot say I received the perfect education. But it’s the uniqueness and effort of doing it well, that made the difference. I cannot thank them and West River Academy enough, for this rare chance of living a happy and healthy life. But I can try to share with others the good that I’ve received. I can show them a way, in which they can fulfill their dreams easier and live in peace with themselves and others.

Last year has been a hard one for everyone. It will continue to be difficult in the following years. Despite all of this, I think we now have more time to reflect upon our lives and see how and what we can improve. We should encourage each other and stay united. There is a Romanian proverb saying that, when there are more than two people together, the power grows stronger. I totally agree with it. If we’re united then we’re like a firewall, nothing can pass beyond it.

What we can also do is take care of nature. Because of pollution, the air we breathe is highly contaminated and poisonous for our organisms. Planting more trees and keeping the green areas, is a crucial step in preventing this from happening. It really makes me so sad to see how our forests are cut down, to build more shopping centers or to extend the cities. Here, in Romania, we are frequently running projects and petitions against deforestation. Most of the wood is not even used inside the country. It’s sent to Austria. Unfortunately, we are only a few. So, nothing really changes. People are too busy fighting and hating each other to do something meaningful for the nation. Ignorance holds the crown. Having the latest cars and devices is all that matters. The suicide rate is higher than ever. Many children, young adults, or even seniors commit suicide. People everywhere are judging instead of helping and understanding the reason that causes the pain. Animal cruelty is also everywhere. I am fighting for a change. But we’re not enough and often we’re called names and told that we are crazy.  At least I have tried. I did my part and I won’t feel guilty.

Now I want to talk about sports a little. This is an important aspect of life and shouldn’t be avoided. For a healthy life, food and sports play an important role. There is a strong relationship between these two. Doctors and fitness coaches recommend eating more vegetables and fruits, for a healthy organism. I go to the gym or do physical exercises at home, now that the situation is different due to pandemic restrictions. During the summer, I gather with my friends and play tennis and badminton. I used to go to a gun-shooting center where I learned to use handguns.

In the end, I want to say that no aspects were neglected during my education and my parents provided me with everything I needed to “complete” it. I am very happy that I could learn at home and was taught to love learning because, without education, my life would be totally different. When you do what you love, there aren’t any obstacles that you can’t overcome. I’m happy to share with you my educational journey and all the meaningful things in my life. I hope that my educational biography will touch your heart and put a smile on your face. I wrote it in a unique way and tried to provide as many details as possible. I leave here a piece of my heart. Reflecting upon my life and everything I did, has made me realize once again, how much I love what I do. Passion is the key to success. Thank you for helping me become who I am today. You are very dear to me and I am sending you big hugs. 

I want to become a professional writer and inspire others through my work. I want to show people how beautiful life is if you know how to live it. I want to make people love life and enjoy every nice moment they spend with each other. Teach their kids to be loving and forgiving and take care of our nature. We are the ones that can still fight for a better future. When I do something, I always think about the next generation. How to do it better, to have a good impact upon them because the future will hold in their hands. If they won’t learn from our mistakes, then the world will crash. I see many young people who are lost and searching for someone to inspire them. Maybe they did not have the chance I had. They are in pain. You can easily see that. They need to be encouraged and told that the chance for a better living is in their hands. They are important and the world needs them. Every moment of pain and fear was a test for them to pass. A lesson to learn from and use for good purposes. Life has so much to offer. You only need love, passion and will, to pursue your dreams. 

Sometimes, it takes a lot of hard work and sweat, but in the end, there’s nothing to be lost, only achieved. This world is some kind of heaven. We are the ones that can destroy it or heal it. It’s a matter of choice whether we do the first or the second one. I choose to be on the good side and fight for freedom and happiness over sadness and pain. I am a free young man who enjoys life at its best and tries to help others do the same. 

I will end my educational biography with this quote: “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” -Nelson Mandela

Lessons Learned Through Family Gaming: A Year-end Report

Lessons Learned Through Family Gaming: A Year-end Report

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At the end of each school year, we ask the families to send us a summary of how their natural learning journey went. Families can summarize their year however they choose.  It can be a letter, a report, a list with course names and grades, or a multi-media presentation using pictures, videos and slides.

In this year-end report, Erika illustrates how a family can come together and share in their children’s passions.  

Greetings, we want to share with you our past year.  If this year had a theme, it would most likely be gaming in all forms. 

In any given week in 2019 Dean could have up to four opportunities to play Dungeons & Dragons:  the Adventure League at the local gaming store, the online program Outschool, an after-school-teen group, or running his own games in our dining room.  He studies each Game Master (GM) he plays with to learn their methods and style of storytelling and tests them out on his friends during his dining room sessions.  He definitely prefers playing in-person games over virtual games with a regular group of people.  The most sustained group is with the after-school-teen group that met at the local rec center, run by Roll Play Lead (RPL).  Jamie, the founder of RPL, sees the value in what role-play games like D&D can offer beyond just gaming for fun.  Understanding that more kids and teens these days live with anxiety or other forms of mental illness, she sees how well-suited role-play games can be used to help kids learn social skills and how the games can cater the story to meet the individual’s needs or challenges. 

Dean and Vivienne both enjoy playing video games and both have their motives for getting what they want out of the games.  Dean is very interested in the gameplay and strategy, where as Vivienne gets swept up in the story and creatures she is working with or battling against.  Vivienne has become a rolodex of information on Pokemon and can’t seem to get enough of the unusual creatures and abilities.  The stories presented during the gameplay offer a uniquely catered story for Vivienne, which provides the desire and drive to improve her reading skills in order to follow along.  Vivienne is gaining a good sense of pre-planning and problem-solving skills in order to move forward in the story.  Whether she needs to have the correct Pokemon cued up ready to battle, or understand when it’s time to run from a fight, she is exercising her thinking ahead and planning for the future skills that are so important for daily life.  

Dean, on the other hand, is more interested in strategy, cause and effect, and manipulating situations to meet his needs.  Dean doesn’t have a favorite game; rather, he relishes finding a new game, observing others’ playstyle to help create his own.  Dean also enjoys seeing new artistic styles each game developer puts into their content and has grown fond of the music each game or level in the game presents.  Online games offer many good things, such as strengthening your ability to work together and improve communication skills, but there are also some darker aspects that we find ourselves discussing with Dean.  Not all gamers are playing the game for the same reasons and Dean finds himself interacting with some not-so-nice teammates that are more interested in trying to get under other players’ skin or are just downright rude.  Maturity also plays a big part in how Dean deals with these types of people.  Rather than going on the defensive or offensive, Dean uses the situation as a sort of social experiment and attempts to change their outlook.  Despite other players’ mean or aggressive attitudes and playstyles, his findings have shown that when only responding to them positively, the rude player either leaves the game or ends up changing their tune.  

Since Dean was seven years old, we’ve gone through waves between obsession and disinterest when it comes to Minecraft. Each Minecraft resurgence we try to find ways to play with friends without having to go through the trouble of starting our own server.  When COVID-19 struck, the kids missed their friends, so we knew it was the right time to figure out how to host our own server.  We dove into the daunting process of getting a server up and running and named it CoronaCraft.  We learned there is a lot we don’t know, but we got far enough to get a working server to host all the kids’ friends.  Besides giving the kids a virtual playground for the kids to stay connected, it has been an invaluable learning process for everyone in the family.  We play on the server along with the kids. Minecraft is one of the few video games that has captured our sustained interest. It’s great having a hobby the entire family participates in, especially during a lockdown! It proved to be a great distraction and escape from all the bad news outside the house. It took a while to master basic server hosting and we made mistakes along the way. The worst was a server crash or two, losing weeks of work, but we rebuilt and made it better the second time around, and we learned how to not let it happen again.  We helped the kids navigate setting boundaries with friends and have witnessed the amazing teamwork and building skills of all the kids on the server.   

Dean has shown real maturity during this pandemic.  He has made a real effort to understand all he can regarding the facts about COVID-19 and he has shared that information with his friends as a way to stem fears his friends were sharing with him and he was able to help his friends make sense of the situation as only a peer could.  It was rough for Vivienne to have a birthday during lockdown, since we couldn’t throw the usual big party.  So we set up a secret amusement park on the server and asked all the kids to build rides in time for her birthday.  We held a virtual surprise birthday party for her, spending the evening trying out all the rides and eating cake. It was just as fun as a regular birthday.  Since we are not experts in the world of Minecraft we are asking for the kids’ help all the time; they light up with confidence when they are teaching us how to make things work.  Many of our dinnertime discussions covered Minecraft topics and we’ll spend many evenings watching Minecraft YouTubers for inspiration.  Dean has challenged himself with complicated Redstone creations; he says it’s his “big brain” moment when he has successfully executed his design.  When Vivienne asks to show us what she built, we are always impressed with how well her plan comes to life.  It’s in the world of Minecraft that we have seen both kids at their most self-directed and resourceful, not to mention their most giddy and cheerful, selves, while playing online with their friends.

Vivienne is inquisitive and curious, as always.  Her favorite way to explore the world is through interacting with others with her pop quizzes.  She inquires into others’ minds by playing question games, asking top favorites on any variety of things.  For example: what is your favorite animal with wings or what is your favorite animal from Australia? But she can get complex at times; “pick an animal’s superpower (like an Axolotl’s limb regeneration)”. Then the other person is to counter it with the superpower’s weakness (but it grows back too big).

Vivienne continued to attend as many nature classes at our local nature center as she could in 2019, although she is aging out of the classes they offer and they are the same ones she’s been to year after year.  The nature center has a fairy garden for kids to decorate and arrange logs, sticks and rocks for the fairies. We were inspired by this, so we created a fairy garden plot in our backyard for all the nature Vivienne brings home from hikes and outings. The garden gives the stones and sticks she collects a place to live and be creative with that isn’t in her bedroom.  In August 2019 the reptile store, where we get feeder insects for our lizard, gave us a complimentary hornworm to feed our pet bearded dragon, Sneezy.  Vivienne was struck by its bright aqua color and was sure Sneezy would choke on its large size.  Not knowing what else to do with this worm, we decided to take it in as a temporary pet and named it Bobbert.  We learned how to care for Bobbert so we could watch it grow and transform, which was absolutely fascinating to witness!  We found information on caring for hornworms from Carolina Scientific, a place where teachers can order these worms to bring into their science classrooms. In our case, life brought us this science lesson.

Art and creativity are ingrained into Vivienne and she uses her skills to provide art sculptures and costumes for her stuffed animals or clay sculptures, among other artistic endeavors.  Waiting around and long car rides are usually filled with drawing in one of her many drawing pads.  There are moments where Vivienne is so lost in her drawing that she doesn’t hear her name being called.  Getting lost in something so deeply that the rest of the world is “tuned out” demonstrates Vivienne’s passion and concentration for what she is working on.  Vivienne recently received a new computer and also a drawing pad.  The pad is similar to the devices Vivienne’s favorite YouTube personalities use to create the animations she enjoys so much and gets inspiration from.  This provides yet another medium for her to try and gain experience from. 

The change in routine brought about by COVID-19 in some ways limited our opportunities to explore our world, but in other ways has stilled the waters of our life enough to see the things below the surface that had gone unaddressed since we began our homeschooling journey.  The year ahead is beginning like no other and we are looking forward to where the new twists and turns in our road will take us.

Best Regards,

Marc & Erika, Colorado USA

Top 5 Online Homeschooling Resources

Top 5 Online Homeschooling Resources

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We know there are many doors that open once you step into the world of homeschooling and the variety of options can seem overwhelming at first. Now that we are living in a time of “crisis schooling”, families are scrambling to quickly make a plan for the school year and are doing their best to absorb as much information from the internet as possible right now. As advocates for the natural learning approach to homeschooling, the first thing we encourage parents to do is to have an open dialogue with their children to find out how they would enjoy spending their time in a fun and productive way.

 

West River Academy is very unique because we encourage each family to create a routine and learning flow that feels good to them. We ask them, “if you didn’t have to think about standardized testing, what do you think is important for your children to learn? How can you incorporate life lessons into your conversations, and ignite their love for learning again?”.  These questions prompt a new way of thinking and re-introduce the child to a world where learning is fun and exciting again!

 

Once you have figured out where you land on the spectrum of learning styles, it will be easier to narrow down the resources that will fit your family best. We have compiled the top 5 of our most popular online homeschooling resources directly from the recommendations of our families enrolled in West River Academy.

 

Enjoy!

 

Galileo is the new, innovative, self-directed online school for students aged 8-18 who are world schoolers, homeschoolers, and/or unschoolers from all over the world. They provide opportunities to collaborate with other students on projects, with groups that do projects together on STEM subjects and electives like Coding and Robotics, Foreign Languages and International Cultures. Choose your own adventure by mixing and matching a variety of topics!
Cost: $240/month or $2000/year
Age Range: 8-18

 

They offer a huge variety of classes and options. From phonics to AP Physics to Minecraft to Piano. Outschool feeds your kid’s curiosity and elevates their learning with a variety of 50,000+ classes.
Cost: $10-$600/ class
Age Range: 4-18
 
They offer tuition-free online classes with high school and college credit for grades 6-12. Includes Financial Education by Dave Ramsey for teens, and college courses from Grand Canyon University. 300+ Credit-based courses.
Cost: Many classes are tuition-free
Age Range: 10-18
 
The main things homeschoolers want are high-quality resources and flexibility, and they offer both. Lesson plans consist of in-depth powerpoints with images and videos to enhance the material. Plus, they offer a wide range of optional supplemental activities so you can customize your child’s educational experience based on their individual learning style.
Cost: $60-$175/class
Age Range: 10-18
 
They offer personalized learning of all core subjects. There are modules that the student can do at their own pace, they offer scholarship contests and they are popular worldwide.
Cost: Free
Age Range: PreK-12th grade

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If you would like to talk more about finding a learning style for your family, feel free to schedule a phone consultation with Peggy Webb, the Founder and Director of West River Academy, here.

Homeschooling Global Summit 2020

Homeschooling Global Summit 2020

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An influx of questions has flooded the internet in recent months regarding homeschooling and we are thrilled to address an array of topics in this virtual event called the Homeschooling Global Summit!

There will be ten days of expert interviews, from the likes of Sir Ken Robinson, Pat Farenga, Peggy Webb, Lainie Liberti, Melissa Church and many more! With hundreds of millions of kids around the world learning at home for the first time ever due to Coronavirus, this knowledge is needed by parents more than ever.

We will be interviewing some of our currently enrolled families, as well as West River Academy graduates. Learn how self-directed learning can be an advantage to navigating this rapidly-changing world.

Event Calendar:

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As this is the second annual event, anyone who is interested in watching the 40+ hours of footage from the 2019 Homeschooling Global Summit is now able to do so for free!

Visit https://hgsummit.com/ to get your FREE premium pass.

We are so grateful to all of our families and graduates who are participating in this event with us this year. We hope you register for it and share it with your loved ones!
~ The West River Academy Team