What is the League of Independent Learners?
We are a group of homeschooling families who wanted some or all of the following:
Help with the basics in ELA and math.
A set of classes in which we, the parents, did not have to teach or participate.
A full day of activities in a drop-off setting.
A space where kids could be with other kids their own age on a regular and frequent basis.
The League’s mission is threefold:
Deliver the basics in ELA and math from a qualified educator
Alleviate the pressure on parents of being their child’s sole educator and thus allow the parent/child relationship to take priority over the educator/student relationship again.
Provide a space for homeschooled kids to make meaningful social connections in a more organic manner than they typically have a chance to.
Why do you use traditional classroom structures as opposed to self-directed learning?
We believe there is inherent value in self-directed education and that of course children learn best when they are motivated by passion, interest, and meaning. And we think that works great in particular for the very young, who should still be allowed to play and explore interests, and for adolescents, who presumably have their educational foundations and a wider perspective along with more insight as to what they want to learn.
But there is a reason that K-5th grade is called ‘elementary’ school. In addition to our belief that self-directed learning is a wonderful thing, we also believe that there are certain basic elements of education that need to happen in the middle years, whether the kids are inspired by internal motivation or not. These elements are called reading, writing and math.
Sometimes learning these foundational skills can be boring, challenging, uninspiring, rote and otherwise not-fun. And if children are not learning them in a self-directed manner, or the family is not finding joy working on them at home, parents that enroll with us believe it is their responsibility to intervene by seeking outside help. Of course our educators, like most educators, try to make learning fun and connected to meaningful experiences.
Enrolling in our classes does not mean that a family has to give up on any of their styles or philosophies that are working for them. It means that a family wants support in some of the basic skills that scaffold all types of learning.
Why do you follow a traditional single-subject format instead of using project-based, collaborative, critical thinking, creative, blended, soft skills, etc, etc approach?
Families that enroll with us have 5 other days available to pursue more progressive modalities of learning, which we of course encourage and which we ourselves pursue during our non-League hours. We use a traditional format here for the same reason schools do, it is an efficient way to teach specific, foundational sets of facts to multiple children at once. We have limited time with our kids (our trimesters average 21 days over the course of 3 or 4 months) and so our lessons are lean and direct while at the same time engaging and respectful.
Why aren’t your classes mixed age?
Mixed age is tricky balance of ratios, personalities, settings, educators and activities and needs to be done not just well but perfectly in order to keep younger ones from getting hurt physically or emotionally and older ones from getting bored. We prefer to go the safe route and generally group our children into pre- / emerging readers (approx 6 - 7 years old) and kids that are already reading (approx 8 - 12 years old). That’s enough of a mix for us.
Why don’t you offer single-day options?
One of the elements of school our homeschooled kids can miss out on is repetition. We have found there is not enough reinforcement by attending a class once a week, particularly with the foundational academic skills we are focusing on.
Another element we found our homeschooled kids were lacking was the ability to make those ‘school-like’ connections with other kids. We were unsatisfied having to micromanage their social lives and we found they weren’t making strong enough connections with kids they only saw once a week. We wanted them to have a place where they could have their own world with their peers, away from parents and younger siblings. We wanted them to see each other on a regular basis and for longer periods of time.
Is there homework?
We offer the option of take-home work for families that want it. Sometimes parents appreciate having an external motivation to get kids to do some schoolwork. We can provide that. Some parents want their days out-of-class to be free of schoolwork. We can provide that too. Take-home work is never something that needs to be done for the next class, it is optional take-home reinforcement.
That said, these classes are not a replacement for school and are not meant to bear the full burden of satisfying educational requirements.
Still have questions?