The Open School Everywhere is a self-directed democratic school that is fully virtual, so families can enroll from anywhere in the world.
Just like in any self-directed school, students can spend all their time however they like. There are no mandatory classes or homework, but there is lots of structure to help students build deep friendships and pursue their interests in a community.
The Open School Everywhere is a full-time program. Students are expected to participate every weekday and contribute to a vibrant community. However, we offer a lot of downtime and let students control their time. A student could spend anywhere from one hour to the entire day attending events and connecting with others, depending on their desire.
The heart of the program is scheduled events. In a virtual program it’s essential to keep a strict schedule and show up on time, since otherwise you’d never know when others are going to be online. This can be challenging for students at first, but it’s a valuable learning experience in time management.
Events are opportunities for students to meet up using voice or video chat and do an activity together. The possibilities for activities are limited only by students’ imaginations. Popular activities include online games, pet show & tells, music jam sessions, Dungeons & Dragons, and philosophy discussions.
Sometimes a staff member will be present at an event and sometimes not. It’s important for us to give students practice at independence and a chance to solve their own problems. But we keep our finger on the pulse of student activity, and if there is a big problem we step in quickly.
Discord is a group messaging app and serves as The Open School’s virtual hub. Here students and staff can post things for all to see, share something with a particular group, or message someone privately. They can also get together on group voice or video calls, and access the school’s virtual bulletin boards to find out what’s happening.
Our Discord server is always online and this allows students to connect with each other 24/7, even on holidays and school breaks. We have trained student as well as staff moderators who keep an eye on things and protect students from harassment and inappropriate content when it arises.
All decisions at The Open School are made democratically, and students can participate in the democratic process. Through making proposals, participating in debate, and voting, they can help shape the school’s policies and learn how to advocate for themselves.
Students can also be elected to certain leadership positions and serve on committees. Committee meetings happen several times per week and are a great way for students to practice leadership and management.
Once per year, students from around the world travel to our Orange County campus for a week-long “Camp IRL”. This is a unique opportunity for students to meet each other face-to-face, while also getting to visit local attractions and experience what goes on at the physical Open School campus. Students can travel with or without parents, and we offer communal lodging so students can stay together.
Every student who enrolls in The Open School Everywhere will be sent a laptop at no extra cost. We send out laptops because it’s important for students to have high-quality, working technology in order to be able to participate in activities.
Parents of Open School students get access to our family coaching program. This is an opportunity for parents to receive individualized support and grow in their own understanding of parenting and education within the framework of children’s rights. Our expert facilitators will guide parents on their paths of self-exploration and will provide a wealth of resources, information, and encouragement along the way.
The Open School Everywhere’s unique one-to-one program means that it is more staff-intensive than our in-person program. However, we are committed to providing access to a self-directed democratic school to families of all kinds. You will be assigned a personalized tuition that is reasonable for your family’s financial situation. Learn more about our indexed tuition here.
Want to know more? Read about how learning happens at The Open School.
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