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 recently 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.