Please view our newest blog for the current school year here: https://thablogyear3.wordpress.com
Please view our newest blog for the current school year here: https://thablogyear3.wordpress.com
“We’ve noticed her grow in her confidence… He’s become more resilient… He’s grown in his character… she is more courageous… he talks about integrity at home… he responds to challenges… his drive has improved… she holds herself more accountable… he’s becoming more independent and taking charge of his learning… he helps out around the house so much more… he can sit down and knock out his work when he needs to…”
– THA Parents during End of the Year Portfolio Conferences
On August 21st, 2017, our Warriors entered THA and set off on a new journey, a new adventure. They left the status quo, their ordinary world, crossed the threshold, and entered into a unique, and revolutionary learning environment that is The Humanist Academy.
Along the way, they would meet fellow travelers, and build amazing friendships. They would meet mentors and experts to guide them on their journeys.
By leaving the ordinary world, they dared to accept the challenge of creating their own learning environment, a sacred studio where they would take charge of their education.
In the 306 days to follow, there were several examples of how they embraced this challenge:
From getting their products sold out at the business fair (i.e. having a Warrior’s dad go out in the middle of the fair to buy more bread or having customers place backorders for their products!), to creating and designing their own incredible backdrops in a chaotic frenzy a weekend before the play. From creating a music video, designing engines, planning camping trips, uniting to overthrow King George, and writing, producing, directing, and acting in their very own play, to just the simple, yet extraordinary, day-to-day interactions like a thought-provoking comment during a launch, or a Warrior holding another Warrior accountable to clean up after himself in the lunchroom, demonstrating the courage it takes to uphold their own high standards — through this unique journey, without adults to answer their questions and solve their problems, they proved to the world that they are far more capable than we can ever imagine.
Yet, the journey was far from easy. They went through several trials and failures, and faced extremely difficult situations. In the studio, our Warriors receive life lessons and fight tough battles every single day. But they are resilient. The may struggle, cry, and fall, only to get right back up. They may go down, but never out. And it is in these struggles, these times of crisis, that they’ve found amazing treasures: perseverance, integrity, friendship, sincerity, courage, diligence, grit, gratitude…
Being a Humanist in the truest sense is being committed to such Human Values which we see being emphasized in the studio every day.
Embracing challenges, pushing yourself, entering the challenge zone, stretching those smaller “rubber bands” or new neural-pathways, and having a growth mindset are not merely topics of discussion, they have become a part of the studio culture.
We had a blast during the last few days of school as Warriors wrapped things up: portfolios, Celebration of Heroes, Field Day, studio maintenance deep clean, etc.
Can’t wait to do it all again next year!
Some fun memories:
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of all virtues, but the parent of all others…” – Cicero
The first two weeks of Session 7, our final session of the year, were jam-packed! There were: thought-provoking launches, reflections on the entire year, creating their portfolios, pacing and/or catching up with their Core Skills badges, IOWA testing, Sanskrit assessments, finishing Writer’s Workshop challenges, etc.
Here are some highlights of our discussions and learning challenges:
Looking forward to finishing strong as we close out the school year! Hope you enjoy the pictures!
Making the Impossible Possible: At the start of session 6, our Warriors (ages 5-13) were challenged with a seemingly impossible task: to act, direct, and produce their very own play, composed by themselves. Not only were they to hone basic acting skills, memorize their lines, and work on things like voice and projection, reacting, blocking (stage orientation), body language, emotional expression, etc. But they were also tasked with holding auditions, casting, directing, producing, designing sets, creating costumes, selling tickets, marketing, and just about everything else that goes into producing a play. Without a single smooth rehearsal, including their final dress rehearsal on stage before the big performance, with such a wide age gap among themselves, with short attention spans, tremendously diverse personalities, tensions rising, and over $1200 of costs to cover, the production seemed more and more like an inevitable yet equally valuable lesson in dealing with failure.
And then it happened.
On Tuesday, May 15th, at the Palace Theatre in Grapevine, the Warriors of The Humanist Academy made the impossible possible: they delivered a breathtaking performance, leaving their audience captivated beyond words. One parent said, “It was incredible, I had goosebumps throughout just about every scene.” Other parents said, “I am at a loss for words. I’m speechless. I had no idea how they could do such a thing… I was amazed at how professional they were on stage…” Their Warriors Song finale was met with a standing ovation from the crowd and they delivered a performance to remember for a lifetime. Once again they rose to the occasion and proved to the world emphatically that children are far more capable than we can ever imagine.
Interdisciplinary and Life-Oriented Education: This quest was a great example of interdisciplinary integration: it was robust with core skills and life skills application. It was not possible without the sincere application of reading, writing, math, art, self-governance, peer-to-peer collaboration, grit, patience, courage, and so much more. This quest had Warriors who were previously hesitant to read, developing better fluency by reading their lines incessantly for memorization or narration. Warriors who were generally shy, came out of there shells, auditioned for parts, and performed in front of hundreds of people. Elementary and Middle School Warriors had to write multiple drafts for of their scripts and the editing process continued through the final days of the quest. In so many ways they dared to be creative: bringing life and personality to their roles, composing a mad-scientist theme to connect the scenes, designing sets and backdrops, creating props, costumes, etc. It was an amazing integration of art as well. They also learned the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and applied math first hand. They analyzed their costs, created a budget, and came up with a strategy to market the play, sold tickets, and generated revenue. One Warrior even tried to get on a local radio station! Not only that, but they ended up covering their costs and making a $120 profit to be kept in a “Hero Fund” for their collective use.
Most importantly, they learned life lessons in teamwork and confidence: when a group of dedicated and sincere individuals come together, no matter how monumental the task may be, nothing is impossible.
It’s always extremely difficult to put into words the incredible happenings everyday and just about every moment at THA!
Here are some highlights:
Our Warriors have a monumental task ahead of them as they prepare for the exhibition on May 15th. While they have begun selling tickets, they are still working on memorizing their lines, beginning on cue, their expressions, voice projection, blocking, listening and reacting, etc. not to mention their sets, props, and costumes… Will they be able to pull it all off and be ready for the show in less than 8 days time? I guess we’ll have to wait and see…
In addition to discussing the applications of this inspiring poem, Warriors conducted Socratic discussions on metaphors, learned about this amazing 8-year-young hero who is changing the world with a recycling program, and many more thought-provoking topics.
Some additional glimpses from the week:
See you next week!
“This above all: To Thine Own Self Be True…”
– Shakespeare’s Hamlet
What an amazing week to kick off session 6!
Here are some highlights:
Among the many other highlights, including the beaming faces of Warriors eager to return to the studio, the peaceful and working environment of Core Skills, and self-governance of Studio Maintenance, etc. here’s an example of a Middle School Warrior book review that was approved this week. (Middle Schoolers have to pick a “deep book” get their pitch approved, read it, conduct the review, and get it unanimously approved in order count it towards their Reading Badge and consider it “Excellent Work.”)
Hope you enjoy the pictures! Also, please keep May 15th open for the THA Drama Quest Exhibition at the Palace Theatre and invite your friends and family!
– THA Parents
What an amazing few days! Warriors kicked-off the camping trip exhibition with a thought-provoking launch for parents at the THA studio before setting off to the campsite. After some inspiring videos, our Warriors asked Socratic questions to parents like who is more powerful: humans or nature? They went over the schedule for the trip, passed out an informative handout, and reviewed the rules of conduct, including the importance of “leaving no trace,” while interacting with Mother Nature.
A couple hours later we arrived at the campsite where Warriors put their Survivor skills to the test and helped parents put up their tents, created an amazing scavenger hunt that included knot-tying, map reading, using a compass, helped prepare meals, hikes, discussions, and so much more!
After an intense game of ultimate frisbee and lakeside yoga, some of the dads helped grill burgers while Warriors prepared and served food to parents. After dinner and clean up, we had a blast eating delicious s’mores and sharing “character call outs” over the fire. At night, parents enjoyed some bonding time by the campfire while they shared personal “crazy” stories as the Warriors went out exploring the woods.
We enjoyed the beautiful moonlight, the serene sounds of the wilderness, and we also battled the dropping temperatures as we retired to our tents and tucked into our sleeping bags. Many of our parents were first-time campers, but they all had a blast and embraced the experience as a part of their own hero’s journey!
In the morning, we hiked, had breakfast, cleaned up, packed up our tents, gathered our belongings, and met together one last time for a Warrior-led closing group. They asked us what survivor skills we learned through the exhibition and what things amazed us. It was awesome to not only witness the Warriors leading discussions and sharing their insights with confidence and respect, but also to hear highlights from parents about the wonderful community and amazing experience.
Nothing in words will be able to capture the powerful experience and amazing feeling that emerges when our awesome community comes together. These types of life-oriented educational, and community building moments centered around our young heroes are what make THA truly unique.
Can’t wait to do it all again next session! Definitely check out the pictures from the trip!
– Will Smith
What an amazing, inspirational, and jam-packed, adventure-filled week at THA!
Here are the biggest highlights:
2. Morning Launches:
3. Meet the Expert
“Do your best and always be prepared.”
We also had a blast using clay and making pottery in art! Super excited for our Camping Trip Exhibition this week!
It’s amazing to walk into the THA studio on a Monday morning during free time and see young heroes choosing to work (on identity maps, shelters, math, reading, etc.), instead of playing. Throughout this week, several Warriors chose to use their free-time in the morning and/or during lunch to work on their Quests and Core Skills. Despite not having any homework, several Warriors choose to work from home frequently, and as a result have mastered math and reading skills way beyond their respective grade-levels.
The Survivor Quest continued to put our Warriors into real world wilderness challenges. They really enjoyed learning some basics in first aid and put those skills to the test by diving into in simulations that tested their both their knowledge and decision-making in emergency situations.
This week’s launches included:
In art, they put finishing touches on their life-size portraits, in PE they continued their soccer unit, and during Civilization, in addition to the readings and challenges about Alexander the Great and Ancient Greece, Warriors had a blast engaging in a Civilization related Socratic discussion facilitated by a Middle School Warrior. For Writer’s Workshop, their challenges this week included completing the first drafts of their scenes, conducting peer critiques, and evaluating the “Voice” of their work.
Can’t wait for more adventures next week as we draw nearer to the Camping Trip Exhibition!