“Do I have to do my homework?”
It’s the same battle every night. Your child doesn’t want to do their homework, and you repeat the same reasons why they have to.
Well, at Atlas Academy that won’t be a problem, because there is no homework. All of the learning happens in school. They learn new material in their lessons, and then reinforce previously acquired knowledge with materials and activities.
They will have plenty to say when you ask them “What did you learn in school today.” So there’s no need for further practice at home. Anyways, we want to help our students to cultivate a healthy balance between work and home life.
As a kindergarten teacher, I once had a class of 28 students. No matter how hard I tried to teach all students, most of my time was spent with the middle 20 students; leaving the top 4 students bored, and the bottom 4 students lost.
At Atlas Academy, we’ll limit our class sizes to 15 students, which allows for 3 small groups of 5 students to get 15-minute targeted lessons each day in each of our 6 subjects.
They can also freely choose among a variety of learning materials based on interest and ability--allowing each child to move at their own pace.
For some students, school is too hard. They struggle in school and they struggle with homework.
For other students, school is too easy. They’re bored in class and homework is just busy work.
One reason for this is the severely limited public school curriculum. As a Kindergarten teacher in a public school, I basically taught only 2 subjects: literacy and math. Good readers, for example, were typically bored, and struggling readers were typically lost.
At Atlas Academy, we teach ALL students by providing a rich academic curriculum with 6 engaging subjects.
All students, regardless of aptitude, can learn about how the “Egyptians used ramps to build their pyramids”, or about “wheels, and how they reduce friction”, or about “the Ugly Duckling finding acceptance”, or about “adjective phrases and how they modify nouns”.
Our rich academic curriculum ensures that each child learns new, exciting content each day--regardless of aptitude.
Ever wondered why public education has become less and less academic? Why nowadays class discussions have replaced lectures, rubrics have replaced grades, and group projects have replaced studying?
Here's a quick history lesson.
All public schools in America are essentially the same; they all buy the same mass-produced curriculum; and they have all had the same "curriculum frameworks" since the 1990's.
Not only that, all American public schools have used essentially the same approach for over 100 years, since Progressive Education began in the early 1900's.
Progressive Education has taken a number of forms over the years, but to this day it's essence remains, and can be summed up by the popular maxim: "We don't teach history, we teach Johnny."
Here's what's wrong with that...
The Progressives were responding to the "traditional" academic approach to education - the "we teach history" approach - which was utterly boring and neglected Johnny's interests, feelings, and motivation.
So, the progressives threw out academic education entirely and replaced it with "skills" based education. The Common Core is the most recent version of a "skills" based curriculum. They don't "teach history", they "teach Johnny"--and what they teach him is a set of disconnected skills, such as how to draw a timeline of his life.
The Progressives (then and now) are right that the traditional academic approach is unmotivating. But they are wrong in throwing out academics altogether.
Academics--the deep study of history, science, grammar, and literature--is the bedrock of a good education. And more, contrary to what Progressives believe, ACADEMICS it is the ONLY curriculum that can truly MOTIVATE students. But only if it's taught the right way.
Just recently, in May, I taught free Zoom History lessons for public school students. Their parents told me that they were eager and excited for my lessons, but that it was like pulling teeth to get them to attend their public school teacher's Zoom lessons.
They were excited for my lessons because I really taught them history in a way that they could understand on their own. They really got it. And they were eager to learn more. Check out a video from this class on our website.
To me, the craft of being a teacher is figuring out how to connect a subject matter with students. The old Traditional education totally failed in this sense. Traditional education "teaches history" but totally ignores Johnny.
Likewise, Progressive education "teaches Johnny" but ignores a systematic study of history (which Johnny would love to learn!).
At Atlas Academy, we don't "teach history" and ignore Johnny. Nor do we "teach Johnny" and ignore history.
At Atlas Academy, we "teach history--to Johnny."
The Progressives don't think that it's possible to have BOTH an ACADEMIC education and a MOTIVATING education.
At Atlas Academy, we believe the exact opposite--we believe that it's impossible to have one without the other, that it's impossible to motivate students without an academic curriculum.
We believe that, if taught the right way, an ACADEMIC curriculum is the ONLY curriculum that can truly MOTIVATE students.