OUR LEARNING DESIGN
Heroes at Sanctuary Academy engage their bodies, minds and souls in learning. Two days a week are in the studio, and home-education is completed as families see fit, with support from our team. We address the whole person by emphasizing six relationship areas in the studio.
Relationship with God
Catholic spirituality is woven into studio days through stories of the great Saints who are ultimately the Heroes we want to emulate in giving all for the Kingdom of God, Heroes keep their own prayer and meditation journals, utilize virtue-call outs, and work towards creating their unique plan of life for human and spiritual formation, with support from their families. Heroes have many opportunities to develop a personal and tangible relationship with God that is unique to them.
Relationship with Others
Younger heroes have circle time to start and end the day as a group, and older heroes have mini-socratic discussions each morning and afternoon. These discussions inspire, equip or connect the heroes, and help them focus on studio needs, priorities for the day, or new processes to implement. Heroes learn positive communication skills and practice growth mindset praise. They learn leadership skills and self government as they build a strong tribe that respects and honors one another.
Relationship with Ourselves
We support heroes on a journey of human formation, which helps them become aware of their thoughts, feelings, beliefs and desires, and learn to love themselves in an ordered way. Jesus said, "...you shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:38). Through a structured program designed to develop ordered self-love, heroes have the foundation for love of others and love of God. St. Thomas Aquinas said "grace builds on nature". The natural, human formation supports spiritual growth and development.
Relationship with Our Bodies
Heroes participate in daily meditations with a focus on body awareness and relaxation. They also complete deep breathing and a short physical challenge each day. They have the option to earn rewards for participating in health challenges each session as well, with topics including hydration, exercise, balanced eating and rest. They learn the value of self-care.
Relationship with Nature
Studies repeatedly show the mental and physical benefits of spending time outdoors, especially in a natural environment. Rain, sun, or snow, heroes spend ample time outdoors exploring, working on projects and learning to love and embrace God's playground! The Retreat Center is a perfect location for growing in this relationship area, and we are always discovering new ways to enjoy the beautiful grounds.
Relationship with Learning
Our youngest studio (Sparks) focuses on learning with hands-on montessori materials based on what sparks their curiosity and interests them. In our Discovery and Adventure Studios, Heroes complete History twice a week, and also complete Quests. Quests are 7-8 week long projects, often based on a science topic, with a compelling narrative that draws learners in. Quests end with an Exhibition, where friends and relatives are invited to see the completed work. Exhibitions are 100% led by heroes, and provide an exciting way for heroes to work as a team and host an event. All learners become aware that learning is a lifelong process and that they are responsible for their own learning journey.
Families are invited to participate in learning through family challenges that coincide with the sessions of the year (lasting 7-8 weeks). Families are provided many resources for their parenting, education and faith journey, and we help families develop their own ways to build on the six relationship areas at home as well.
Each morning and afternoon, learners have mini-Soctratic discussions focused on priorities for the day, studio needs, new processes or inspiration and equipping.
A Quest is a four-to-six week series of challenges bound by a compelling narrative and designed to deliver 21st century skills. In the Elementary Studio, these are broad explorations of science and curiosity. Quests will take up most of the afternoon on in-studio days. Quests are set up by guides, then led by the community of learners.
Exhibitions: A great Quest starts with a powerful exhibition as the goal. Exhibitions showcase finished work and provide an opportunity for learners to share their projects with family and friends.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What grades do you offer?
For the 2023/24 school year, we are accepting heroes between the ages of 5-14 for our three studios.
Will children be grouped into grades?
We are embracing a "one-room schoolhouse model" where aspiring saints can take advantage of experiencing relationships and learning within a mixed age group. We will have three studios: Sparks (ages 5-7), Discovery (8-11), Adventure (12-14). We will eventually add Launch Pad (15-18). These ages are guidelines and not hard lines.
Are you a school? We are not a school. We are a homeschool support program for the whole family. We provide high-level homeschool support for families who love the idea of homeschooling and more family time, but also need support and community.
Is this program only for Catholics or Christians?
Our education program is certainly not limited to people of any specific faith background. As stated in our beliefs, we support all individual freedoms, including the freedom of Religion. All families interested are welcome to complete the application process. We guide and operate from a faithfully Catholic worldview.
What is the cost of tuition?
There is a one-time registration fee of $125. The tuition cost is $2000 per learner.
What does my tuition pay for?
Tuition money is used to pay for guides, rented space, and to purchase supplies for quests and other studio learning/activities.
What is a Guide?
A guide is an adult who leads aspiring heroes into independent learning. The role of a guide is to offer real-world challenges, encouragement and choices, as he or she hands over leadership to the studio. A Guide is warm-hearted and tough-minded. He or she provides guard rails and systems to help learners. A Guide never answers a learner's question, but instead responds with a question that will help the learner problem solve and find what they need on their own, or with the help of a fellow traveler.
How long is Sanctuary Academy in session each year?
For the 2023/2024 school year we will be in session from Labor Day through Mid-May, with breaks throughout the year.
What are your meeting days and times?
We meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30am-3:30pm.
Where is Sanctuary Academy located?
The studio location is on the property of the St. Francis Retreat Center in Dewitt. The property is beatiful, scenic, safe and convenient! Feel free to view their website:
How do I get more specific information?
Fill out the contact form on the "Apply Now" page to receive an Information Kit, which includes further details about our program!