What does an American Family education really look like?
Get your questions answered or ask us a new one.
WHAT IS THE MISSION OF aMERICAN FAMILY EDUCATION?
- We support a process from parent-led to self-directed, purpose-driven, leadership education for the information age, building strong individuals, families, and communities. This a new educational system for all ages. Students learn, in a moral environment of purpose-driven, agency based education with the structure of a private school, including inspiring teachers and mentors.
Benjamin Franklin said, “The idea of what is true merit should also be often presented to youth, explained and impressed on their minds, as consisting in an inclination joined with an ability to serve mankind, one’s country, friends and family; which ability is with the blessing of God to be acquired or greatly increased by true learning; and should indeed be the great aim and end of all learning.”
The “great end and aim” of learning at American Family Education is to create honest and capable adults who have identified their life’s purpose and are living for that purpose. A purpose driven system of education supports each student’s holistic development. These principles can be applied no matter where students are learning (at home or at school etc…).
What is the role of the student?
- Students at AFE move through a maturing process in harmony with natural development. Students are expected to come to class prepared to learn and apply themselves. Young children rely on parents to guide and lead their education. As students mature, they begin to take on more responsibility for their academic achievement and begin to use parents and mentors as guides. The end goal is for students to become independent, servant leaders, in tune with their purpose, who know how to leverage mentors, academic skills, and their own talents and gifts.
What is the role of the parent?
- Parents are the primary educators of their children. At AFE, parents connect their children to approved teachers who support parental efforts to introduce and reinforce important principles and knowledge. This support allows parents to focus on the most important aspects of parenthood (i.e. family relationships and culture) but does not replace the need for parents to be involved in their child’s education. AFE allows for a team to support the student and their family in an effective and efficient way, allowing the student time to develop all the skills, talents and experiences that will help them live a purpose driven life. Parents lead and guide their children while being supported by AFE mentors and programs. Parents are expected to be in frequent communication with their child’s teachers, giving feedback and guidance about what their goals are for their children. Parents are also expected to attend a monthly Family Council Meeting.
What is the role of the teacher?
- Teachers at AFE are advocates for the parents to their children, working with parents and seeking to unify that most important relationship. Teachers do not assign arbitrary homework or label children with grades. Teachers keep the communication lines open between the classroom and the family. Teachers may give recommendations for optional activities at home. Teachers take input from parents and adjust their lesson plans to better serve the individual students. Teachers are seen as mentors and guides to inspire the students to accomplish the things that their parents expect. Because we are a private institution, we are not subject to teacher certification or accreditation requirements of the government. This enables us to have classes taught by industry professionals with actual experience in their area of expertise, dedicated and inspired parents, or anyone who has an interest and talent for inspiring youth and sharing their talents.
What is the role of Faith?
- Spiritual learning is not separate from temporal learning. We believe that God is the ultimate scientist, mathematician, orator, philanthropist, and healer. He is the source of all truth, light, understanding, and knowledge. At AFE we encourage students to bring their whole selves to class. American Family Education is a multi-faith organization. Our teachers and leaders each have their own personal faiths but do not teach the doctrines of specific faith traditions in class. Rather, we encourage the students to develop their spiritual selves through the faith tradition of their own family. We hold to a Judeo-Christian foundation and the five basic religious tenets held by the Founding Fathers.
- There exists a Creator who made all things, and mankind should recognize and worship Him.
- The Creator has revealed a moral code of behavior for happy living which distinguishes right from wrong.
- The Creator holds mankind responsible for the way they treat each other.
- All mankind live beyond this life.
- In the next life mankind are judged for their conduct in this one
Does AFE separate children by age into grades?
- No. Instead of using the K-12 label and sorting philosophy, the leaders at AFE work with parents and students to match each student to the environment that best fits their current needs. There are 4 main developmental levels: Foundations, Explorers, Scholars, and Mission Phase. Students can move through these groups as they are ready. Attitude towards learning, ability to self-govern, maturity and academic skills are each recognized as indications of student readiness to move forward.
WHAT AGES DO YOU SERVE?
- Depending on space and the needs at each location, AFE has programs for each developmental (about 5 years old and up, through adults).
What is the weekly schedule?
- One of the benefits of participating with AFE is our consolidated academic schedule. The weekly schedule will vary by location and can be altered to fit family needs. Generally, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings are the core academic school days. This includes 4 hours of group learning time which focus on Leadership, Math, History, Language Arts, and Science. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday afternoons and Mondays and Fridays are reserved for electives.
What electives are offered? sports?
- Depending on space and the needs at each location, we can offer any elective subject that parents feel will benefit their children (language, music, art, martial arts, sports, etiquette, dancing, technology lab, sewing, gardening etc). We also partner with local organizations for off-campus electives (horseback riding, musical theater, etc). All electives are subject to parent approval, student interest, and availability of teachers.
What is the homework policy?
- Students need to spend time outside of school hours studying, creating, reading, writing, and serving in their community and family. Parents and students decide what is appropriate and necessary in order for each student to accomplish his/her purposes. AFE teachers can offer suggestions to benefit their learning, but do not assign homework.
WHAT IS THE GRADING POLICY?
- AFE does not assign grades. Students are accountable to their parents for what is acceptable and what needs improvement. Students work towards mastery of developmentally appropriate content instead of meeting basic requirements and then moving on.
What is the testing policy?
- Because AFE is not a government funded institution, we are not required to participate in ANY standardized testing. In order to help parents know where their students are in their academic path, we suggest and offer diagnostic testing. Diagnostic testing can be done at AFE or in your own home. AFE has recommendations for when and what to test, but parents have the ultimate choice for what they want for their children. The results are for parents to then share with their child’s teacher. Any work done by the student is the property of that student or parent and nothing will be reported to any outside entity. The purpose of a diagnostic test is to help measure mastery and to show what is yet to be learned. If for any reason a student has high levels of anxiety about testing, it is not time to test and AFE will recommend other tools to help assess a student’s needs.
What is Family Council?
- The Family Council meeting is held once per month. This is a time for parents, teachers, and leaders to come together and discuss issues that affect the school. We go over the monthly budget, the needs of the students in the upcoming months, activities and events. The teachers and leaders will also provide a workshop to help train and inspire parents in the principles that support their family. It is important that all parents attend this meeting each month. AFE is a true community school and therefore it is important that each family consistently participate.
What is monthly mentoring or goals planning?
- In order to help parents make the shift from traditional education to the AFE model, it is helpful to meet with a mentor who can show you how to set goals with your children, inspire them to accomplish those goals, and hold them accountable to the plan. New AFE parents are strongly encouraged to attend a monthly mentoring meeting with their child’s teacher for the first 3 months their child is enrolled. Mentoring is available for as long as it is helpful to parents. You can choose to have mentoring sessions with or without your children present. Parents need to at least check in with their child’s teacher monthly to communicate about their goals and intentions for that upcoming month.
Does AFE have a dress code?
- Yes. We expect students to come to school ready to learn. We believe that how we dress sets the tone for the day, helps students stay focused, and to give their studies their full effort. Students are invited to come dressed, business casual or as would be most appropriate for their elective activities.
Where is AFE located?
- We currently have campus locations in: Mesa, Arizona; Kingman, Arizona; and Omaha, Nebraska.
How can I bring AFE to my community?
- If you are interested in bringing the AFE model to your community, all you need is a few excited families and a place to meet. We are happy to have you come visit us at our Mesa, AZ location to see what AFE looks like in action. All AFE locations are owned and operated by the families that attend there. The AFE home office provides support, training, and mentorship to anyone interested in bringing this model of education to their community. We are excited to help you get started!
How is AFE funded?
- We are privately funded by the contributions made by parents or paid for through scholarships. Parents invest in their children’s education by paying a modest tuition and/or contributing to the needs of the local campus. AFE is a not-for-profit private school. All tuition goes to pay for school buildings and utilities, to support teachers, and to furnish the students with supplies necessary for learning. Tuition varies by location. In Arizona, all private school students are eligible for State Tax Credit Scholarships which can be used to fully fund each child’s education. Some other states have similar options. We are happy to help you navigate your scholarship options.
How did AFE start?
- The revelation that corporate and federal influence in education was moving at an alarming rate towards very undesirable ends, inspired the Spencer family to find a solution outside the “public” school system for their children. After experiencing and/or studying just about every educational option, Kathryn Spencer had a collection of true educational principles but did not find an existing system of education that included all of these principles. Wanting to help multiple families rather than just their own, it became obvious the solution was to create a program that could incorporate true principles of education. With a few families, American Family Education started in 2014. Our first campus location was purchased just in time for the following school year.
What curriculum is used?
- We don’t hold to a certain curriculum or method for teaching since all students learn in different ways and different paces. Instead we have created academic goal guides designed to help teachers, parents, and students stay focused on progress. Teachers plan lessons based on the needs of their students, using these guides and other family-approved resources. If a student needs additional support for their goals either during or outside of school, AFE teachers may suggest additional resources, but there is no required purchase of curriculum to participate at AFE.
Is AFE An accredited school?
- No. AFE is not overseen by government accreditation. We feel accreditation would severely inhibit the opportunities for our families to be an influence in the education of their children. We will remain a private, unaccredited institution because our accountability is to the parents and the students, only.
How does a student apply to college from afe?
- There are many ways a student can apply for college without public high school transcripts. Because our programs are self-paced, most of our students are ready for college-level classes while they are in their early teen years and still living at home with their families. Often once a student accrues a certain number of college credits, they can transfer those credits to the college of their choice. If this is a concern or goal for your family, let us know and we can provide some additional resources.