IRVING, Texas — Shooting homemade rockets in the backyard can be a lot of fun for kids. It’s one of the many projects middle schoolers at The Humanist Academy in Irving are doing while they learn from home.
With the rocket experiment, the students are learning science, chemistry and even presentation skills, as they hosted more than 50 parents in a virtual exhibition.
At this private school, learning is nontraditional. It is student-driven and hands-on.
“Children are far more capable than we can ever imagine,” said Vijay Shah, a co-founder of THA. He said transitioning from school to home learning has worked for them. He hopes their ideas can help other parents, too.
The elementary school students started writing their own blogs. One student wrote a post titled “Frustrated” and gave six easy tips to help calm frustrations.
The middle school students are also holding virtual debates. They are given a topic to research and discuss. “We only ask questions as Socratic guides. We never answer them. They have to figure it out themselves,” said Shah. He wants his students to be independent thinkers.
Another project for the students is a psychology quest, where they are encouraged to think deeper about their relationships to “stuff." They are counting everything they own and assessing the value it brings to their lives through self-experiments. Some experiments include not eating sugar for a day or not using technology for a day, and seeing how it applies to their life.
Students are also upcycling and recreating something useful from what most people would consider trash.
They are also compiling information to create a documentary.
"Set simple guardrails. Let's be safe. Let's have fun," Shah said.
These are some of the many activities the students at The Humanist Academy have been doing. The school is an Acton Academy affiliate with a value-based learning environment. For more information about the school, click here.