We are proud to unveil a new blog feature this week called Cultivating Courage, intended to help Alpine Valley School families feel confident in their choices. Supporting our students means becoming more informed and helping each other along this road less traveled. These posts will address common questions and provide a variety of useful resources.
Today’s question is: How do Alpine Valley School students learn the basics when they’re allowed to do whatever they want?
We often hear this question from new families who are trying to understand how their child will acquire foundational skills such as mathematics or literacy when they aren’t necessarily taught these subjects in a formal classroom. In reality, there are better places to learn these things than classrooms.
Not only do we find that acquiring the “basics” happens naturally, without any additional pressure from outside forces (parents, teachers, etc.), students actually learn better in the natural learning environment we provide at Alpine Valley School. In particular, they spend their time focusing on things they actually enjoy rather than subjects they are compelled to study, and they’re faced with a variety of real-life scenarios on a regular basis which provide excellent educational opportunities.
We asked AVS alum Joshua Mann about his experience, and here’s what he had to say: “AVS offers all of [the major] subjects, so long as the student is willing to put the effort and time into organizing and attending the classes. This is a method of curriculum that requires the student to be in charge of his or her own education in every sense. However, I believe there is so much more to learning than just that. Every conversation, every interaction, every moment we spend doing the things we want to do is an opportunity to learn. The reason I was able to learn so much at AVS is because that unstructured environment allowed me the freedom to do so.”
We also asked this question to a group of graduates at a recent panel interview. Watch a video clip below: we think you’ll find their answers fascinating and persuasive.
Dr. Peter Gray has written extensively about the subject of unstructured learning on his blog Freedom to Learn. Here are some brief examples of his insights:
So, what do you think? Does this match with your own child’s experience at Alpine Valley School? Contact us directly at email@example.com or via phone at 303-271-0525 – we’d love to hear your feedback!