At American Family Education we do not automatically group students according to their age. In traditional education, a child’s birthday is typically the sole indicator of which class they will participate in. We believe there are other components that should be evaluated when deciding what group is most appropriate for each child. When making this decision, AFE leaders help parents understand the purposes of each developmental level and may make a recommendation, but it is up to the parent to decide what is appropriate for their child. Students can move from group to group as quickly as is deemed beneficial by their parents.
Instead of “grade levels,” we use 4 main developmental levels. These are: Foundations, Explorers, Scholars, and Mission. Depending on campus location and enrollment, AFE leaders and parents can opt to divide these groups further into a junior/senior level for each group.
Within each level, teachers personalize their lesson plans for the specific needs of each student thereby enabling each child to grow at their own pace and have interactions with children that have similar skills and maturity. In order to facilitate communication and accountability, parents and teachers share a record of established recommended goals.
Descriptions of each developmental level are given below:
Foundations: This group is appropriate for students who are not yet independent readers. Student ability may range from little/no knowledge regarding literacy, to being fairly confident decoders that need to sharpen their fluency or comprehension. Foundations students are focused on learning the following character values: Individual Worth, Unconditional Love, Patience, Honesty, Diligence, Trust (Trustworthiness), Compassion, Courage, Gratitude, and Courtesy. Academic learning at this level is focused on literacy basics, foundational math and science concepts, beginning writing skills, and learning to conduct themselves respectfully in the classroom.
Explorers: This group is appropriate for students who are confident and independent readers. These students are developing a true love of learning as we provide experiential, hands-on opportunities to learn academic skills, explore new thoughts, discover interests and talents, and to learn how to ask meaningful questions. The academic focus for this group includes character building leadership principles, Language Arts (grammar and communication), Math (numeration, fractions/decimals, algebra, geometry, statistics, percents/ratios), Science (scientific method, research, health & nutrition, botany and other natural sciences), History (geography, government, culture, legacy).
Scholars: Once a student demonstrates adequate self-discipline/maturity at home and in the classroom and has mastered certain academic building blocks, they are invited into the Scholar group. Initially, parents set the pace and focus for their student’s personal goals but over time, the Scholar transitions into setting their own goals while remaining accountable to their parents for mentoring and guidance. Parents and students participate in monthly mentoring sessions with their group leader/teacher. In these meetings, teachers may offer suggestions, ask questions, and encourage students to honor their parent’s direction. Scholars use their academic knowledge to understand the world and their individual missions– applying their knowledge and skills as they discover their personal “Why.” As they master the AFE Scholar goal guides, these students have what they need to start personalizing their education to match their personal mission. Scholar level students are in the process of becoming life-long, self-motivated learners with a servant leader mindset and resolve. “Graduation” or transition from the Scholar level comes after mastery of academic skills and knowledge, completion of goal guides and any curriculum assigned or approved by parents, and the writing of a thesis explaining their purpose/mission.
Mission Phase: These individuals are self-directing their education, have the desire to take action towards living their purpose, and demonstrate a academic mastery equal to that of a college level associates degree in the areas of grammar, mathematics, and writing/research in the field of their interest. These people are preparing and living the Mission Phase of their education/life. This is a stage where youth and adults can attend workshops, seminars, and classes specific to their interests and needs. Many students blend a collection of independent study, group projects (e.g. community action/service or labs), classes from experts, apprenticeships, internships, and mentoring with those who have aspects of the student’s desired results. At this stage a student often completes a college degree, becomes a master communicator, gains valuable work and life experience, starts their own business, expands their vision with meaningful service opportunities, and more. This phase doesn’t ever end for the purpose driven leader/learner. At American Family Education we desire to inspire our community and facilitate the opportunities that will enhance your ability to live the life you want, a life of joy, success, excellence and purpose.