The studios at The Humanist Academy are flexible spaces for work, learning, and play. Each studio is a tight-knit community of mixed-age learners who support each other and collaborate daily. This environment fosters a culture of respect and much of their character development occurs here.
This studio follows the Montessori curriculum and method, providing a strong foundational basis for our youngest students as they begin their journey at THA. The goal of this studio is to spark an interest and curiosity in learning by providing an environment rich with self-correcting and hands-on materials to help foster their natural inclination at this age to refine gross and fine motor skills, build perceptual and language skills, and develop mathematical and scientific thinking.
Elementary Studio (7-10)
Here, students become ready to take the journey to become an independent learner. They learn how to set goals, work collaboratively, and love learning, while also helping and being helped by their friends in the studio. The goal of this studio is for students to develop responsibility of their own learning process, respect, proactivity, self-control, honesty, leadership, and growth mindset
This studio is where students transition from childhood to adulthood, achieving more freedom and taking on more responsibility. Middle School is for those who have already proven that they are able to work independently. Students work on difficult real world problems, and learn to write and think more deeply. This studio ultimately brings students to a deeper understanding of their character, while exploring where they are headed.
Students in Launchpad spend the critical years of high school preparing for the real world. In addition to self directed core skills and hands-on quests, Launchpad students spend a lot of time working alongside real professionals through apprenticeships, engaging in hours of service, and exploring passions through independent projects to prepare them for life beyond.
Core skills are the basic toolkit that students need to master to become lifelong learners. Students spend approximately three hours each day, setting SMART goals and choosing which Core Skill (reading, writing, and math) to improve. THA uses the Montessori method, as well as the latest in adaptive online systems and educational gaming in a purposeful, meaningful way, allowing students to learn at their own ability level and at their own pace. Online systems, such as Khan Academy and
Dreambox, deliver an immersive and customized learning experience which motivates and challenges THA students, while also functioning much like a GPS navigator for each individual.
Projects and quests are carefully developed and designed for students to learn traditional topics like science, social studies, and history, while concurrently instilling and incorporating the growth of valuable real world skills and abilities. Quests are student-designed projects which not only provide opportunities to learn concepts through “doing,” but when strung together, answer larger questions, fuel student passions, and motivate students to strive for a gamer-like set of rewards. In these ways, student quests become powerful drivers of learning.
The purpose of Writer's Workshop is to instill a love of writing, reading, and story-telling and to empower young heroes for the rest of their lives with an understanding that putting clear thoughts to paper leads to freedom and opportunity. To establish the habit of always striving for excellence through repeated process and daily writing for the entirety of the Elementary School journey.
Each session of Writers’ Workshop is based on a different genre. The guides design a new writing quest each session in which students have full freedom in their choice of content; however, they must learn how to navigate the creative constraints that come with each genre. Writers’ Workshop takes place 2-3 days per week for 1.5 hours. It begins with a launch that includes a call to action for the day. During the launches, students are introduced to new writing techniques through various mentor texts.
Formal PE occurs twice per week, one hour a day, where students complete units of various sports/games, so striving for mastery in personal fitness and sportsmanship become part of the Hero’s Journey. Students also have between two and three periods a day of free time outside, breaks that are important because they allow nervous physical energy to be released.
Formal art happens once a week and is incorporated in the quest for the session. Students are given the chance to express their learning in a creative manner through various art projects that expose them to different art mediums. Students are also given a variety of tools for artistic explortion during their free time.
Guides at THA use the Socratic method rather than lecturing as experts or asking leading questions. A Socratic guide sets up scenarios and asks questions to stimulate critical thinking through debate and inquiry.
Launches and closes are critical, consistent Socratic periods in each day at Acton Academy. We begin each day and major block of work time during the day (e.g. Core Skills or Project Time) with a 15-minute launch to create high energy and focus. During the Socratic launches, a guide might share a story, a video clip, or a world-class example to inspire and encourage, address the purpose behind the upcoming activity, bring up a community need, focus on building character, or establish priorities for the day. Alternatively, the guide might set up a scenario that puts students in the shoes of someone facing an important decision, and ask the students what they would do in this hero's position. Such Socratic discussions are also great tools for maintaining the learning community and addressing standards that are not being met in a more collaborative manner.
The acronym D.E.A.R. stands for "Drop Everything and Read". Students spend 30 minutes every day developing a love for reading by, well, reading! Students choose from a wide selection of books in the THA library, find a comfortable place to sit, and silently delve into a book of their choice.
Sanskrit is one of the most ancient languages to have ever existed, yet paradoxically it is indisputably the most scientific. Not only will exposure to Sanskrit at younger ages enhance vocabulary, sharpen phonetic awareness, and improve memory, but the intricate grammar of Sanskrit will allow students to acquire other languages faster and the emphasis on creativity inherent in the language will nurture unbounded cognitive development. Perhaps most important, exposure to Sanskrit texts and verses will inherently cultivate a heighten awareness of ethics, morality, and human values. Warriors work on their Sanskrit with weekly guidance and independent challenges that develop their proficiency.