As a parent, it can be difficult to find educational opportunities that spark enthusiasm and motivation within our children. For this reason, I was ecstatic to find out about Apollo Academy here in Tampa! Apollo Academy is a unique learning community that provides students with the tools to take control of their own education and uncover their passions.
Although I knew from the beginning that Apollo Academy was the right fit for our family, I was still a bit apprehensive.
You might be thinking the same things as you consider the choice to look at your children's education differently. I learned so much during our first semester at Apollo Academy. I learned more about my kids, about my parenting style, and also about myself.
Here are some major takeaways from our first semester as an Apollo Academy family that we didn't quite expect.
Initially when I thought of this “child-led” approach, I was really worried. “Could I let go of control?” In all honesty there is definitely a learning curve there, but it was actually a lot less “hands-off” than I thought. As my child adjusted to the new dynamics of the school I found that giving them the space they needed actually fostered more intentional and connecting interactions. After school discussions transitioned from “how was your day” to “let's talk about these decisions you made and why it was important”. Yes, having less communication from the school was a bit of an adjustment as a parent, but with time and adjustment, it led to more impactful interactions with my child.
As a new parent at Apollo, the adjustment period can be a bit of a challenge. The self-directed learning model is quite different from traditional education and it takes time for both parents and students to get used to the new approach. However, the founder and guides have been incredibly supportive and are always available to answer questions and provide guidance. With time and patience, the transition becomes easier along the way. Both parents and students alike come to appreciate the unique opportunities and benefits of the Apollo Academy experience. We recently started attending the Parent Bootcamp which gives us even more info on what it's like to be a family at Apollo. We have found it to be incredibly helpful so far and we encourage any new families joining to attend as well!
One of the biggest adjustments when coming to the Academy for most families is the thought “what are my kids doing all day?” As much as I knew that letting go of tests, grades, and homework was so important it was still a hard adjustment not having tangible metrics to gauge how they’re doing. I learned very quickly that the magic that was happening in the studio could never be tracked on a report card. They were having socratic discussions and building character by facing hard decisions. They were learning independence and how important goal setting is. They were trusting in themselves and their own capabilities to teach their fellow learners a new topic or idea. There were some days they struggled, but learned how to get back up. Our first semester at Apollo Academy was not this linear uptick of progress, but instead my child was learning the rhythm of learning and growing to be the best version of themselves.
You are not doing this alone. The other families within the Apollo community have helped make this experience so much better. Once we started to really connect, we found that there were less insecurities and we were able to talk about those lingering questions we all had. We are on this journey together and knowing that made the experience truly special. The sense of community at Apollo Academy has been such a breath of fresh air and is such an important part of its success.
We have learned so much during our time at Apollo Academy. We truly feel that it has been the solution to our child’s education needs and we are so happy we made the decision to enroll. Overall, being a parent at Apollo Academy requires an open mind and a willingness to embrace a different approach to education. By understanding the philosophy, communicating with your child, getting involved in the community, supporting self-directed learning, and trusting the process, you can play a vital role in your child's learning journey and make this a special and impactful experience for your kids!
This is the second blog in a series of "Being an Apollo Parent" written by one of our own families. To read the previous post, click here.