Tried and tested programs for Mathematics, coupled with real world application.
Some disciplines need a certain amount of practice to master, and follow a logical process from the fundamentals up to the most complicated forms. Maths is a prime example of this. There already exist excellent programs to learn Maths in a logical and step by step format independently and at your own pace. These include Sumdog, Matheletics, and Khan Academy. Students would enroll in these programs, and follow through these at a pace they determine with guidance from parents and their learning counselor.
Maths also needs to be applied to be real though, and in this Maths principles can be addressed in two fashions. It is integrated into Passion Projects where different applications of the student's knowledge is reinforced through real world practiced.
Having a strong proficiency in communication is fundamental to much of education. While communication is integrated into our everyday lives, learning to read and write is something that comes with practice. In reading abundantly, students pick up core constructs and expand their vocabulary. In writing regularly, students learn to process their ideas. In discussion, they hone their communication and critical thinking skills.
Discussion groups are an important aspect throughout all learning experiences, whether it be a novel study, passion project, or maths. The intention behind these groups are to foster the critical skills, and can be student led, educator facilitated, or even driven by a member of our extended community such as a parent or local expert.
Reading opens windows to new worlds and perspectives, and through regular reading one's mind entertains increasingly complex and challenging ideas. For these reasons, students in Mira schools explore a variety of novels, and discuss these within groups of students working of the same book. Our recommended readings cover many signature pieces of literature.
A special part of the “Mira mix” is our lab time. Students are encouraged to sign up for multiple labs each week, looking for set experiments that meet their interests and experience level. These are arranged in boxes that are self contained kits to perform the experiment the students select. They may also select experiments that are beyond their aptitude, to experience a real challenge. Failure is encouraged, and channels are present to allow students to reflect on their failure and what they learned from it.
Science also enters the passion projects frequently. Whenever applicable concepts from Science are integrated into the real world projects, and a more holistic understanding is saught out. Here, our flexible scheduling affords us time to visit sites when studying ecology, agriculture, and other topics.
A connection to nature is critical to becoming a well rounded individual, although an understanding of technology is equally important to a citizen of the 21st century. With independent labs that range from simple design project to complex programming of controllers, technology is addressed in an exclusively hands on fashion.
Like Science, humanities cover passions brought in by the educators and students. These can focus on an epoch, or trace concepts throughout history analyzing them for change. These passion projects often emphasize a multimedia output, an artifact to share what has been collectively uncovered.
Why stick to mundane dates and names in history when so many fascinating questions can be explored. To really get to the meat and bones of humanities, big questions need to be addressed. Mira is not alone on feeling this is the way to address these subjects, as you can see through the Big History Project.