As the number of homeschoolers climb, so do the resources. Unfortunately, many of those resources are inaccessible to a large number of single income homeschooling families. Regularly we see posts on homeschool group pages asking how someone can earn some money while homeschooling. A large number of parents have to do some serious financial juggling to pay the bills much less afford academic and enrichment opportunities for their kids.
A primary mission of the Athenian Academy from the beginning was to meet the needs of all homeschool families. That takes families with limited financial resources into particular consideration. As a mom of four, it was only through the flexibility and generosity of others that I was able to provide my kids the opportunities that allowed homeschooling to be the bountiful opportunity it should be. I regularly talk to homeschooling parents who are uncomfortable talking with me about what scholarships or discounts might be available. It is important to me that each of us recognizes homeschooling as a team sport. There are some who are blessed with consistent and reliable incomes, and others who struggle to pay the bills. However, regardless which camp we fall into, we, collectively, share a responsibility for ensuring each child has access to the tools to allow them to discover their passion and nurture it.
I will continue to offer discounts and in some cases full scholarships for children who need it. However, in an effort to meet the general need of most homeschoolers, I have created a flat rate approach to courses. Traditionally, science classes (particularly high school science) have demanded annual class fees of $500 or more per year. While compared to a private school education its a bargain, for many this rates mean that they have to make the difficult decision to tighten their already tight financial belts even further, short change their students high school science education or even enroll in public school to ensure their child has the opportunities to pursue their goals. For this reason, no matter which class it is - social science, language arts, science, middle school or high school - all classes will have a monthly tuition of $25 per month. that works out to be less than $8 per week. Material fees will vary, and high school science lab fees will be slightly more, but even these fees are subsidized and do not reflect the actual cost of materials for classes.
This is not a heroic effort. This is simply me determining what I need to make per hour to help support my family. So, if I can meet my families needs while helping yours, then maybe we can see some dreams come true.
The Athenian Academy is not a "school". While I offer academic instruction in a professional, classroom environment, it is not my intention to be your student's sole source of education. It is my goal to support homeschooled students by providing classes that may require expertise, specialized equipment or group learning opportunities that may not be available at home.
Rarely will my classes not require outside work. Students should expect to spend at least as much time on the material at home as they do in the classroom. With high school level classes, that expectation is closer to three times that spent in the classroom. I depend on students and their parents to be responsible for ensuring outside work is completed, and don't plan on teaching (in general) time management or organizational skills. While I am always glad to collaborate with parents on how to approach at home learning, I don't allocate class time to this purpose.
Over the last 14 years, I have been teaching homeschoolers everything from art to chemistry. I have taught all grade levels, and have been privileged to work with many kids who learn outside of the box. I call it a privilege because it has challenged me to grow and evolve as a teacher.
My experiences led me to return to school, so that I could have a solid holistic understanding of the human mind. (I am excited to have received by BS in Psychology from VCU.) My students and my coursework have given me so much insight on how we learn. This has led me to move further and further away from straight textbook learning . I have worked to design and seek out curriculum that is able to provide an academic equivalent to traditional classroom learning, but designed for truly exceptional students. My classroom welcomes both the gifted and the challenged (and many times they are the same person) while creating a community where all students thrive.
I believe that educational opportunities should be available to everyone. That ALL children have the right to be inspired and nurture their dreams and curiosities. While I can't meet the need of every student for every discipline, I am committed to being a part of making that happen for as many kids as possible. This means I will work with parents to accommodate instruction to suit a students needs, allowing for alternative assignments and partnering students in a way that everyone benefits. It also means I adjust my pricing and fees whenever I am able to make sure that families who find their resources stretched too thin to cover the full fee, can still join in.
Both to create a more comfortable learning environment and to keep overhead costs low, I have dedicated a portion of my home as a formal classroom, outfitted with all the necessary furnishings to ensure we can focus on learning.
I believe that kids are people deserving of respect. While I don't feel that it is my job to take a servant status, I also feel that students should feel comfortable to share ideas. While it is absolutely my job to lead and direct our studies, I believe that learning occurs best in a collaborative and mentoring style atmosphere.
In light of this, I work hard not to undermine anyone's belief or faith traditions, nor do I allow others to do so. I have been so wildly blessed to see our students grow in this setting to a point that they can stand firmly on their traditions, while giving space to others to believe differently. It is in these moments I have so much hope for the future. So, while I am a Christian who is active in a faith community, my curriculum is NOT faith based. It has been my experience that Christian homeschoolers have not found instruction that is contrary to their faith AND that those of other faiths and atheists have not found material that has been watered down or compromised to promote a Biblical worldview. I am so appreciative of the families I have worked with from a variety of faith traditions who have trusted me to provide education with integrity and sensitivity.