Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How is ACRES different from a regular school?
A: There are many ways we differ from traditional school. 1) Students will learn in a mixed age group. 2) Students will work at their own pace on core skills like reading, language, and math, which will require mastery before moving on to new skills. 3) Students will engage in projects to demonstrate the skills they have learned or are working on. 4) There will be no direct instruction, only support and guidance. Learning guides will facilitate learning socratically to help foster critical thinking skills and forge independence.
Q: What is a learning guide?
A: This is our term for “teacher.” We call this person a “guide” because that is the role that they play in the learning experience. Traditionally, teachers are receptacles of knowledge that they must transmit to children through direct instruction. In our learning environment, the guide does not have the answer. They use questions to help guide children through critical thinking exercises to empower them to think independently
Q: What does “Socratic” mean?
A: This is the traditional way of “teaching” used by the Greek philosopher Socrates. This involves the teacher posing difficult, open ended questions that facilitate deep thought and guides the learner toward understanding. Socrates was committed to never answering questions so that his students had to seek answers for themselves and gain knowledge through thinking deeply.
Q: What grade levels do you offer?
A: We will begin with an elementary school, only. While this includes kids ages 5-9, approximately kindergarten through 4th grade, all students will learn together and at their own pace. We hope to grow and eventually add a middle school (ages 10-13, 5th-8th grade), and a high school (14-18, 9th-12th grade).
Q: Do you give grades?
A: No. Students will not be given a grade, as there are no traditional assignments. Students will work at their own pace until they master a certain skill and earn achievement badges. They will not simply move on because they can answer 60% of questions correctly. This is not mastery.
Q: How do you know that a child has mastered a skill?
A: Students will work in technology-based, adaptive programs that provide us with a wealth of data on their progress and mastery. Additionally students will be expected to demonstrate mastery of skills through ongoing projects and exhibitions. All components will be compiled into portfolios to demonstrate success as they progress through content.
Q: Is this school religious?
A: No. Explicitly teaching beliefs would violate the basic tenets of our philosophy. We hope that through learning thoughtful inquiry and critical thinking, students will be able to deeply hold whatever belief you practice in your home because they have tested it and found it to be true.
Q: Is this a private school?
A: ACRES is a microschool, which frees us from regulations associated with private school state accreditation and reporting and allows us, simply, to do things differently. As such, you would have to file homeschool paperwork with your home district as part of the enrollment process at ACRES.
Q: Where is the school located?
A: To start, the school will operate out of the Carter home in Brookland, AR. There is approximately 600 square feet of space that will be designated as the school studio in the upstairs of their newly constructed farmhouse. Additionally there is a surrounding 17 acres that includes pasture, woods, a manmade pond, and a natural creek that will be used for outside exploration, gardening and animal projects, and of course recess and P.E.
Q: How do I know if ACRES is a good fit for my child?
A: Being successful at ACRES is as much about you, as a parent, as it is about your child. If you encourage your child to explore, be curious, learn through natural experiences, fail, struggle, accept natural consequences, and learn from mistakes, he or she will probably do just fine. If you would consider yourself a “helicopter parent,” feel the need to micromanage your child, or if you find it difficult or inconvenient to let them struggle, they (and you) may have trouble adjusting. Fill out the enrollment application to find out
Q: Do you serve children with disabilities?
A: We are not equipped to serve children with severe disabilities, however children with mild learning disabilities can easily be accommodated because our program is self-paced and mastery based.
Q: What is the Arkansas Children’s Educational Freedom Account Program?
A: This is a proposed program currently being debated in the Arkansas legislature that would allow families to access the funds that would otherwise be allocated directly to their local public school. Funds would be placed in a spending account for participating students to use for approved educational expenses.
Q: Will you accept ACEFA funds if the program is approved?
A: We hope so! We are following the legislation closely to see what is required to become an “approved provider.” This will determine if we are able to accept ACEFA funds.