What is a Family School?

The best way to answer the question, “what is a family school?” is to go out into the community and ask parents and children what they want in their educational experiences. The answers provided guide and shape the family school concept, from design to day-to-day learning. As you can imagine, there are as many answers to the question as there are people, giving the family school idea many dimensions. Indeed, we call the school we’re opening this fall in Durham Dimensions Family School.

The best way to think about a family school is to begin with the challenges homeschooling families have. Being homeschoolers, we know that these encompass many aspects of our children’s education: building community; nurturing emotional needs; managing time and resources; and supporting our own needs as adult educators. These are just a few challenges among many that a great family school addresses.

How does all of that work? In a word: participation. Dimensions Family School is in the early stages of creation with the involvement of as many people as possible. We’ve been spending time in the community to listen and build support for the family school. Here’s what we’re hearing about what Dimensions needs to be to meet your and your students’ needs:

  • A community-based social learning environment
  • A safe place for exploration
  • A diverse environment that welcomes everyone
  • A resource for parents to learn and grow as educators
  • A source of academic rigor and emotional support
  • An opportunity for structured learning, and creative, collaborative problem solving

That’s just a glimpse of what we’re building. We’re also working on a sample schedule so you have a more concrete view of how this may play out in your daily work. Thanks to you and your participation in the process, we’re making a new kind of school — a family school — that we can all benefit from so that we and our students’ grow through life-long learning.