Classes, also called projects, are created and owned by approved Mentors who seek to fulfill the vision and mission at SVLA. The board does not seek out member mentors to teach. Members submit class proposals to the board. Classes are then approved or denied based on scheduling needs, mentor skills, and ability to create excellence in the classroom. Mentors determine their class needs including, but not limited to, materials, fees, class size, appropriate age or scholar phase, classroom policies on discipline, expectations, etc. Guest mentors are invited as requested by the members.
Projects and classes may be comprised of either: 1) one lead mentor, 2) a lead mentor and assistant mentor(s) (adult or youth), or 3) Youth mentor(s) and their responsible adult. For the protection of both mentor and student we highly encourage having at least 2 deep leadership in each class, however some classes may not require both.
There are two types of classes offered at SVLA. Core Scholar Projects/Classes and Enrichment Classes.
Core classes incorporate the following five skill-based elements within whatever subject matter that is presented.
Thinking – Speaking – Writing – Computing – Reading
They are more project based in nature. They can integrate several topics and expose students to a broad body of knowledge or be thematic unit studies that take students to a deeper level of understanding. Core projects/classes typically require work outside of class (typically 4-6 hours weekly per class hour), sometimes more depending on the Scholar Phase the class is geared for.
Enrichment classes are typically based around a very specific topic and skill set (ie band, karate, watercolor, ballroom). This does not mean that it cannot also incorporate scholar skills or integrated subjects, but it is less focused on the 5 scholar skills and more focused on topic. These classes should enrich the students learning and not require much, if any, work outside of class.
How to choose Projects/Classes
Personal projects and interests should be considered and evaluated when enrolling for classes. Keep in mind they are meant to enrich the student’s time, not take it over.
First year scholars are encouraged to only take 1 Core Project. SVLA classes are not meant to consume all of the scholar’s study time. Core projects require a lot of work outside of class and practice scholars still need time to explore their own personal projects at home. Core classes will be designated as such on the registration form. For newer scholars they are categorized on the schedule and the registration form as ‘Beginner Practice’ and ‘Upper Practice’. Both categories are geared for first or second year scholars, but may be taken by any scholar if they feel it fits their schedule and mission or interests.
A more seasoned scholar or a scholar entering at an older age (14-16) may consider taking two core classes. However, ‘Apprentice Scholar’ classes outside work requirements increases substantially.
We promote a freedom-based education and encourage students to own their education. Parents should never force a student to participate in a class at SVLA they do not feel ready for. This only hinders their long term progress. We encourage students to choose their classes and ‘choose in’ to the work and opportunity the class offers them.