Research: Many curricula utilized in schools today focus on cramming a vast quantity of content into students’ heads with the expectation that they will not only know it, but also be able to evaluate, apply, and think critically about it—all on a high-pace timetable. More focus is placed on what they know than how they think, with a worrisome sense that our kids won’t “know everything” by the time they’re 18. Our founder, Karen Fogle, notes that it’s important to step back and realize that children aren’t going to learn everything. As such, trying to teach them more than they can process is a waste of time and energy. Instead, it’s more valuable to cover less material and have it be remembered than cover a lot of material and have it be forgotten. Students need time to process information and figure out where and how to store it, otherwise they will have no memory of learning it and certainly no ability to use it to solve problems. In today’s world, there is no lack of information and very little need to memorize facts when they are at your fingertips. What’s really valuable is knowing how to access resources to gather what you need to know and be able to think critically about what you discover.
Practice: At Chrysalis we value deep learning that requires complex thinking over shallow, superficial coverage of a subject. We place our focus on teaching the student, not solely the content, which allows us a great deal of flexibility in what we cover, how long we take, and the methods we use with each student. The content serves a a vehicle for larger lessons. Our students aren’t burdened by massive loads of reading and homework because we know just how much to give them to make their learning meaningful and challenging, without burning them out in the process.