Elle Power is a second grade students at Athens Renaissance School.
She is a blended student attending Monday, Wednesday and Friday every week. She transferred to ARS this year from a private school she has attended since preschool.
Elle’s mother Patti was searching for something more. She wanted her daughter to be in a STEM environment.
Patti researched the public elementary school for which they were zoned. She also researched various homeschool options in this area. You see, like many parents, Patti’s work commitments and her daughter’s extracurricular activites make it difficult to honor all out-of-town obligations while keeping absences within an acceptable range. Elle is an athlete. She is passionate about competitive cheerleading, and that dedication comes with serious commitments. Patti heard about Athens Renaissance, but like many, did not understand what kind of school it was.
After attending orientation at Athens Renaissance, Elle’s mother was very excited to enroll her daughter.
Patti was kind enough to share with us a little personal reflection of her ARS experience.
“This has been a completely new experience this year! It took adjusting at first simply because we were not accustomed to using a computer and were expecting worksheets and the typical spelling word lists. We have been pleasantly surprised. Elle has handwriting and some “normal” classroom instruction while at ARS. She also receives one-to-one instruction based on her needs. Her typical classroom is made up of children of various ages and grade levels from kindergarten to 3rd grade. Its amazing to see what each age group contributes to the class! They travel to the Maker Space Lab every Monday where they use their imagination and perform creative hands on projects. One Wednesday a month they go to the public library. This is a favorite event for us and has developed a love of reading and story telling.” – Patti, ARS mom
The curriculum is delivered on a platform that is intentionally fun so as to foster a love of learning. It is interactive and engaging. Elle earns game time in the virtual arcade when she performs well on her assignments or answers bonus questions. Her day always begins with a cute joke popping up on her computer. She earns badges along the way. The school environment is less rigid and more interactive. Her typical school day allows time to explore her own self interest and recognizes her need to take “brain breaks” whenever needed. For Elle, this is invaluable. She is not forced to stay on a classroom schedule. She chooses what subject to work on and when. And while working from home, her teacher is just an instant message away.
Elle states that she never wants to leave Athens Renaissance. She plans to stay in this learning environment until she graduates. She and her family have every reason to believe she will make a seamless transition to college because she has learned how to learn on her own, research and study. They believe this is not something that is always easily acquired in a large classroom environment. For Elle’s family, they see a large classroom as a place where all the children are expected to learn the same thing at the same time and in the same way without opportunity to advance or explore different learning methods.
And because we just had to know, we asked the age-old question. Would Elle and her family recommend Athens Renaissance School? To whom? And why?
“I have no less than 10 families who have requested more information. Three have come to watch Elle during a typical homeschool day. I highly recommend ARS due to the opportunity to learn at your own pace while still having a teacher, socialization and accountability. I am most likely to suggest ARS to work-from-home moms such as myself as well as private school families. In my opinion, the education my daughter is receiving this year is far superior to any previous year. Her previous school was a great school with a wonderful, loving environment. But ARS is also a great school with a wonderful loving environment with the invaluable benefit of providing a much more advanced and interactive curriculum – and it is free!!! That being said, I would pay for ARS if I had to! I have suggested ARS to many families.” – Patti, ARS mom
The teacher-student relationship of this Athens Renaissance student on a daily basis is, by definition, blended. Elle’s experience with her teacher has elements that are typical of this cutting-edge, innovative program.
Elle has classroom group instruction as well as one-to-one time. When she is home and has a question, she emails her teacher for clarification. If she has difficulty reading a word in her teachers response, she can actually have the computer read the teachers email by clicking the speaker icon. Elle and her mother also collaborate with her teacher by text message. They interact with the other ARS parents though group text for things such as party planning and field trips. There are many avenues of communication available.
“It is exciting to see my daughter develop into a self disciplined, independent thinker while also being part of a diverse group of children. The only way I can describe our experience at Athens Renaissance is it has all the benefits of an advanced homeschool environment while having all the perks of public school. It really is the best of both worlds! I look forward to enrolling my younger son when he is school age!” – Patti, ARS mom