Arrow AcademyLike arrows in the hands of a warriorPsalm 127:4
Quest-Based Experiential Learning
Arrow Academy exists to fill a need for an experiential learning co-op in Hamilton County Indiana and the surrounding area. While there are many co-ops and schools on the north side of Indianapolis, Arrow Academy is unique in the following ways:
- Our calendar consists of seven, four to five week, Quests.
- Arrow Academy meets on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10:30 to 3:00.
- Students participate in one service learning project during each unit.
- Students engage in one field trip per month to spark curiosity and provide learning experiences outside “the classroom.”
- Each day students are collaboratively engaged in the Quest challenge for that unit.
- In addition to the Quest, one hour is allotted for lunch/recess - i.e. social time/free play.
- Writing workshops are incorporated into the unit drawing from the quest theme for that unit.
- Students complete a Passion Project which is intended to incorporate all aspects of our guiding principles and education modules. Students choose a topic they are passionate about and research the topic deeply through reading, interviewing experts, and experiencing everything they can about their passion. At the end of the project, students develop a presentation to share with their peers and the other co-op families during the exhibition day at the conclusion of each unit. Over time, students will develop a portfolio of their projects documenting their progress and growth.
- Families are responsible for instruction in the core subjects (Reading, Writing, and Math) so that each student can move at his/her own pace/schedule in those areas. Resources are available, but families are free to choose other curriculum that best fits their child and family.
- For the 2019-2020 school year, Arrow Academy is only accepting students ages 7 to 11 at a second grade or higher reading level.
OUR SON LOVES ARROW ACADEMY
“Working with Arrow Academy has been (and continues to be) an outstanding experience. Since their approach to learning is 21st century education at its best, our son thrives and loves to go to Arrow. To our delight, he wishes Arrow met every day!”
Ryan and Shari, Arrow Academy Parents
Passion: Sadly, many people don’t have a mission in life… A calling… something to jolt them out of bed every morning. We each have God given passions, interests and skills that should be encouraged and developed, not wasted. We want to support our children in finding their passion.
Curiosity: This is innate in kids and should be encouraged. We learn best when we are curious and interested in what we are studying. While this curiosity is lost by most adults during the course of their life, we believe this is valuable at all ages and that the quality of your questions is critical to finding the answers.
Imagination: Leaders, visionaries and entrepreneurs imagine the world (and the future) they want to live in, and they develop solutions to make that future a reality. Kids happen to be some of the most imaginative humans around… it’s critical that they know how important and liberating imagination can be. Studies have also shown that imagination is foundational to developing empathy.
Critical Thinking: In a world flooded with often-conflicting ideas, baseless claims, misleading headlines, negative news and misinformation, learning the skill of critical thinking helps find the signal in the noise. This principle is perhaps the most difficult to teach kids and is sorely lacking in a traditional education curriculum.
Grit/Persistence: Grit is defined as “passion and perseverance in pursuit of long-term goals,” and it has recently been widely acknowledged as one of the most important predictors of and contributors to success. We want to teach our kids not to give up, to keep trying, and to keep trying new ideas for something that they are truly passionate about achieving.
Leadership: We want our children to be leaders, both now and in the future. We embed leadership opportunities into our curriculum to foster leadership dispositions and skills grounded in the spirit to include, the passion to serve, the courage to question, and the discipline to listen.
8 Elements of Education at Arrow Academy
The following modules are elements that are woven together throughout everything we do at Arrow Academy.
Module 1: The 3R Basics (Reading, wRiting & aRithmetic)
There’s no question that young children need the basics of Reading, Writing and Mathematics. The only question is what’s the best way for them to get it? Most of us parents grew up in the classic model of a teacher at the chalkboard instructing and homework at night. We believe that individualized learning in these areas allows children to move at their own pace and ensures that they are neither bored nor left behind. While individual families are responsible for directing their child’s learning in these areas, the co-op environment provides the support and resources of the other families and their shared experiences.
Module 2: Storytelling/Communications
Perhaps the most valuable skill to have in life is the ability to present ideas in the most compelling fashion possible, to get others on board, and to support the birth and growth in an innovative direction. This skill must be developed early in life. At Arrow Academy, our kids learn the art and practice of formulating, sharing and pitching what they are thinking about and learning. Ultimately, it’s about practice and getting comfortable with putting yourself and your ideas out there and defending them and overcoming any fears of public speaking.
Module 3: Passions
We need to help our children find and explore their passion(s). Passion is a God-given gift that is a source of interest and excitement and is unique to each child.
The key to finding passion is exposure - allowing kids to experience as many adventures, careers and passionate adults as possible. Historically, this was limited by the reality of geography and cost, implemented by having local moms and dads presenting in class about their careers. “Hi, I’m Alan, Billy’s dad, and I’m an accountant. Accountants are people who…”
In a supportive family-based education environment, the possibilities are nearly endless. Adding in the advancements in technology and the ability for our children to explore 500 different possible passions during their K-6 education becomes not only possible but compelling. At Arrow Academy, children share their newest passion each month with their peers and the co-op families, explaining what they love and what they’ve learned.
Module 4: Curiosity & Experimentation
Einstein famously said, “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” Curiosity is innate in children, and many times lost later in life. Arguably, it can be said that curiosity is responsible for all major scientific and technological advances – the desire of an individual to know the truth.
Coupled with curiosity is the process of experimentation and discovery. The process of asking questions, creating and testing a hypothesis, and repeated experimentation until the truth is found. We want to instill in our children the importance of curiosity and give them permission to say, “I don’t know, let’s find out.” We want to help our children learn the skill of asking a question, proposing a hypothesis, designing an experiment, gathering the data, and then reaching a conclusion.
Module 5: Persistence/Grit
Doing anything big, bold and significant in life is hard work. You can’t just give up when the going gets rough. The mindset of persistence, of grit, is a learned behavior and can be taught at an early age, especially when it’s tied to pursuing a child’s passion.
We intentionally highlight examples of leaders, entrepreneurs and others who persisted, stuck with it, and ultimately succeeded.
Further, we incorporate elements of persistence and experimentation through group projects, such as FIRST LEGO league, where children research a real-world problem such as food safety, recycling, energy and so on, and are challenged to develop a solution. They also must design, build and program a robot using LEGO WeDo®, then compete with other teams in an exhibition.
Module 6: Creative Expression & Improvisation
Every single one of us is creative. It’s human nature to be creative… the thing is that we each might have different ways of expressing our creativity.
We must encourage kids to discover and to develop their creative outlets early. We seek to expose our kids to the many different ways creativity is expressed – from art to engineering to music to math – and then guide them as they choose the area (or areas) they are most interested in. The freedom afforded by a family-based co-op allows for parents to develop unique lessons and experiences for each child based on their interests.
Adapting to change is critical for success, especially in our constantly changing world today. Improvisation is a skill that can be learned, and we need to be teaching it early.
In most collegiate “improv” classes, the core of great improvisation is the “Yes, and…” mindset. When acting out a scene, one actor might introduce a new character or idea, completely changing the context of the scene. It’s critical that the other actors in the scene say “Yes, and…” accept the new reality, then add something new of their own.
These types of role-playing and story-telling games with constantly changes variables help to develop creativity and improvisation.
Module 7: Empathy
Empathy, defined as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another,” has been recognized as one of the most critical skills for our children today. While learning this skill must start at home, it is practiced and developed when we interact with others. While this happens in our interaction on lab days, we want to be intentional about exposing our children to people and circumstances with which they are not familiar. One way we do this is through a monthly service project where the Co-op families come together to meet the needs of others.
Module 8: Ethics/Moral Dilemmas
Related to empathy, and equally important, is the goal of infusing kids with a moral compass. We want to engage our kids in conversation about ethics and morals, a conversation manifested by discussing and debating things happening in our world today and scenarios that our kids may one day face.