There are many things we do in our program to prepare our students for college. Instead of filling their day with the traditional, typical, intense instruction and homework, we model our program after colleges.
1. First, like most colleges, our classes do not meet every day. There is time between classes to do research and complete assignments independently rather than sit in class with other students and the teacher.
2. The time between classes is important for processing information, forming opinions about the concepts, and considering the relationships of new information and prior knowledge. It doesn’t look like much is happening at this stage but it is critical for long-term memory, understanding the subject in depth and the ability to thinking critically about the subject.
3. Students have a choice of the classes they want to take, the teacher, the time of day, and how they will cover the required material. They can choose textbooks, movies, games, computer simulations, field trips or field experiences to complete their coursework.
4. They learn to be independent and prioritize their workload. Once in college, students have to know how long it takes them to do an assignment, how well they can do on a given style of assignment, and manage their time and resources accordingly. Our students have a lot of practice with this type of work.
5. College students need to see their teachers as partners. Our students are used to that relationship because of our one-on-one instruction. This allows our students to feel comfortable seeking out college instructors during their office hours for critical assistance, giving them another advantage over students who see teachers as adversaries.
6. What college student doesn’t drop courses when their progress is suffering? As Kenny Rogers sang, “Know when to hold them and know when to fold them.” Our students learn to evaluate a teacher’s style and know if it is a strong style for them or weak style for them. You may have to drop that one impossible class in college to make the others work well. We encourage students to evaluate why a course is or is not working for them.
7. A rigorous curriculum is one that allows the learner to study a concept in depth and at a complex level. It doesn’t mean more homework.