A Student Driven School with a Socratic Approach
Nowadays, it seems like education has become a battlefield. From school codes, to curriculum to homework, our kids endure a lot to sometimes learn very little. Especially after almost two years of online learning, the next generation has had their schooling used as a pawn.
Tim Kennedy on Season 6 episode 14 of the Making Bank podcast decided to do something about it. He decided to start his own school.
As someone who was homeschooled from a young age, Tim understands the importance of the parental role in a child’s development. At the time, being homeschooled was an unusual practice but as the years have passed, Tim could only thank his parents more. He saw how much he benefitted from this alterative approach, springing him on the path to many adventures in life, including UFC fighting, the Special Forces, and now, his ventures into business and education.
What is Apogee Academy?
One of those ventures is Apogee Academy, located in Cedar Park City, Texas. With a small acceptance rate, Apogee lets in those who are willing to take up the mantle to educating and fulfilling tomorrow’s generation.
Apogee Academy combines several approaches to education, the primary being an Acton school and the Socratic method. But what are those and what do they accomplish?
An Acton Academy
An Acton academy builds core skills in children through hands on learning, as well as real-world application. It focuses on strengthening critical thinking through discussion and a variety of products.
Apogee academy adopts many of the approaches that an Acton academy does, even in the language. At the Apogee Academy, the students are known as “heroes,” taking on the heroic journey of knowledge and finding one’s purpose. What would otherwise be known as the teachers are called the “guides,” who guide the children to the answers they seek, instead of preaching at them.
The guides also utilize Socratic method to help their heroes learn.
The Socratic Method
Stemming from Greek philosophy, the Socratic method is one in which the students—or heroes—engage in a dialogue that challenges their ideas, attitudes, and critical thinking. It encourages heroes to actively debate topics, think outside the box, and question what they know until they come to some conclusion. As opposed to being lectured at by a teacher, heroes actively seek the answers through their questioning, debating, and thinking.
The teachers—or guides—at Apogee help facility and mediate these conversations, therefore guiding the children to their own conclusions. The Socratic method teaches heroes not only the solutions to the questions they tackle, but also how to search for those solutions themselves. The children can then take these lessons and apply them to life.
Different Learning Styles for Different Children
Another method that Apogee follows is individualized learning. With only 30 heroes, the guides at Apogee have plenty of time and attention to dedicate to each child. The truth of the matter is that every child learns differently. We know this. Yet, public schools are just not equipped to handle this. No matter how much money we throw at the system, Tim believes it is impossible to accomplish individualized learning.
Tim recounts it in his own family. His youngest is a spitfire kid, with an enthusiastic and energetic view on life. His young son is quiet, well-read and curious, just like his mother. Tim’s older daughters have an even different approach to learning.
Whatever the case, you’ve probably seen it in your own children or the children around you. From food preferences, to style, to personality, each child is unique. Why should their education be any different?
When Tim first opened the school, he received applications from over one thousand families. He only accepted about thirty. So, what did he look for in his heroes?
He looked at both the children and the families. His criteria? Everyone has to be on board. Both or the singular parent—and especially the child—have to want to take this leap of faith.
As much as Tim loves Apogee, he recognizes it’s not for everyone. If you’re someone who wants your child to learn in a traditional manner, then Apogee may not be the right fit. However, if you’re someone who wants your child to have a holistic approach to learning and feel that the public school system is not providing that, then Apogee may be for you.
Similarly, your child must be on board. Even though they may not fully understand the difference between Apogee and traditional school, they must be open to a new experience. Tim iterates that if the parents are willing participants, and the child is not, then it won’t work out. At the end of the day, Tim believes that Apogee’s approach should never be forced on anyone.
Those that are meant to follow this path, will do so.