Embark Center for Self-Directed Education

Embark Center for Self-Directed Education

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Literacy is extremely important to effectively engaging with the world around us, personally and through media. Understandably, parents see reading and writing as essential to their goals for their children in a self-directed education world, sometimes worrying that a "laissez-faire" approach to learning will somehow pass these skills by.

As it turns out, learning to read and write is unavoidable, even for unschoolers, since so much of what they do is founded in play and other interactions with others. The experiences of self-directed learners evidence what appear to be seven principles that may cast some general understanding on the process of learning to read without schooling—

1. For non-schooled children there is no critical period or best age for learning to read.
2. Motivated children can go from apparent non-reading to fluent reading very quickly.
3. Attempts to push reading can backfire.
4. Children learn to read when reading becomes, to them, a means to some valued end or ends.
5. Reading, like many other skills, is learned socially through shared participation.
6. Some children become interested in writing before reading, and they learn to read as they learn to write.
7. There is no predictable "course" through which children learn to read.
Happy Thanksgiving! Embark! I am thankful I found you!
Why are parents negating childhood?

Why are today's kids allowed to do only a fraction of the activities their parents enjoyed? Just 10 percent walk to school. Tree forts have vanished. A 2018 study found kids play outside just half as much as their parents did. What gives?

These are the mysteries examined in the new documentary, Chasing Childhood, which is playing at the DOC NYC festival through November 19. The film—a cautionary tale—follows a family that pressured their daughter to succeed in school and college.
What do you want to do today?

"What was it like going to a self-directed education center compared to school?"

"I feel like that's an unfair comparison. It's two completely different places and two completely different mindsets. You can compare yourself in the two places but you can't compare the two places."
—Meghan and Grace, Embark Center Alumni
Embark's focus on free-play is very much informed by the work of Sir Ken Robinson, who passed away yesterday. He believed that "play is fundamental to human flourishing," which is the Center's keystone. His TED Talks have been watched by tens of millions and have inspired so many in their efforts to expand our engagement in authentic learning beyond the limits of institutional education.

Here, Sir Ken and Peter Gray talk about the incredible role play has in how we learn. Sir Ken will be missed, but his legacy endures.
Photo I got of Nugget this morning! ❤️
Late is better than never! Glad I made it in time to continue the celebration of your grand opening! #relatable, #autonomy #competency.

Embark is a community of people ages 10-18 who prefer to live and learn outside of traditional school Embark Center for Self-Directed Education is a community of learners who wish to follow a unique personally designed path to pursuing their passions rather than exist within the confines of school.

Members and their families may use our center however often and in whatever way they choose. Membership includes:

-Personal advisory relationship with Embark Center core staff member

-Minimum of three family meetings per year with personal advisor, more upon request

-Development of a family plan and a personal life plan

-Group classes and workshops at Embark Center

-One-on-one tutorials with

Operating as usual

04/08/2022

Parent support for the win!

If you love the book The Self-Driven Child, or just the concept of raising self-driven children, a FB parent support group has formed around the book. Check it out below.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/selfdrivenchild/permalink/1096033980956022/

Embark Center for Self-Directed Education - GiveChoose 03/29/2022

Embark Center for Self-Directed Education - GiveChoose

Today is Give Choose!
Embark Center for Self-Directed Education receives no public funding. However, we are committed to making our program economically diverse and available to youth and families regardless of their ability to pay full membership fees. Tax-deductible donations allow us to maintain our dedication to accepting applicants without regard to their economic means. Consider making educational freedom at Embark Center available to all by supporting us today!

"Give Choose is a 24-hour day of online giving organized by the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties to benefit local charities serving our community. The goal: inspire our community to come together to give generously to charities that make our community the best place to grow up and grow old."

Thank you!

https://www.givechoose.org/EmbarkCenter

Embark Center for Self-Directed Education - GiveChoose The mission of Embark Center for Self-Directed Education is to re-define education by co-creating a community with youth that supports them socially, emotionally and intellectually as they discover their self determined path and transition into adulthood. 

03/29/2022

At Embark we celebrate and support the natural learning that surrounds us every day. Here one of our members excitedly works out how many fish and what kinds he can have in his new fish tank based on an inches to gallons ratio. That’s right, folks, math IS exciting and fun when it has meaning to you. 🐟🐠🐡

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 03/27/2022

Weekly Wrap-Up!
Mentor-meetings, Ukrainian apple cake, game-schooling, paranormal investigation results and more!

03/08/2022

ATTN + YOUTH!! Join Safe Space NOVA for this awesome free virtual event next Tuesday to hear real q***r love stories ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜🤎🖤🤍

Register with link in bio now!

ATTN + YOUTH!! Join us for this awesome free virtual event next Tuesday to hear real q***r love stories ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜🤎🖤🤍
Did I already mention it was free??
Register with link in bio now!

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 03/02/2022

Lunch at Puccio's New York Deli today!

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 02/27/2022

Weekly Wrap-Up: Making tacos, peer-to-peer teaching, learning Icelandic, and so much more!

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 02/25/2022

How much fun is it that Finch Knitting + Sewing Studio is right across the street from us? Thank you for helping us pick the best knitting needles and teaching us about the different kinds of yarn! 🧶

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 02/20/2022

Weekly Wrap-Up: Cookies, Financial Management, Autism Rights Movement, and more! And did we mention the cookies?!! 🍪🍪🍪

What Still Matters? North Star Alumni Over Age 30 02/18/2022

What Still Matters? North Star Alumni Over Age 30

Did you miss the North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens panel discussion with their alumni about their lives after North Star? Well, you're in luck! Here's a video of this informative and inspiring event:
https://youtu.be/cYiIsSBcK5g

What Still Matters? North Star Alumni Over Age 30

Across cultural lines, home schooling has boomed since COVID-19 hit - Virginia Mercury 02/14/2022

Across cultural lines, home schooling has boomed since COVID-19 hit - Virginia Mercury

Shout-out to Embark Center founder Andrea Cubelo-McKay and Embark alumna Becca Berglie for being featured in this comprehensive The Virginia Mercury article about homeschooling styles and options in Virginia.
https://www.virginiamercury.com/2022/01/03/across-cultural-lines-home-schooling-has-boomed-since-covid-19-hit/

Across cultural lines, home schooling has boomed since COVID-19 hit - Virginia Mercury More and more Virginia families are opting for home schooling

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 02/13/2022

Weekly Wrap-Up!
Workshops, museums, playgrounds, and more!

What Still Matters: A Panel of North Star Alumni Over Age 30 02/10/2022

What Still Matters: A Panel of North Star Alumni Over Age 30

One of the most common questions we get is "what happens to self-directed learners after they leave Embark Center?". Well, now you can know! On Wednesday, February 16th, at 8:00 p.m., five North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens alumni over age 30 will talk about what their lives look like now.
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/what-still-matters-a-panel-of-north-star-alumni-over-age-30-tickets-261223575747

What Still Matters: A Panel of North Star Alumni Over Age 30 Several older alumni of North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens gather to share some reflections on their experiences

Under the Madness Magazine 02/09/2022

Under the Madness Magazine

Congratulations Embark member, Noah, on your recent publication in Under the Madness Teen Literary Magazine!

Under the Madness Magazine

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 02/09/2022

Thank you, Museum of the Shenandoah Valley for an excellent tour today! We learned so much!

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 02/06/2022

Weekly Wrap-Up!
Doing puzzles, baking brownies, fixing scooters, and so much more!
This week we also checked out the Douglass Community Center and are looking forward to going back to play more games and play in the giant indoor sandbox!
We also had a blast at our first ever Spelling Bee, created and run by one of our members.

02/03/2022

Don’t miss this FREE webinar!

Join me for this free UNSCHOOLING YOUR MIND webinar, the first in my Year of the Untigering series!

I will help us shift away from schoolish ideas and reframe what learning is so that we can lean into liberated self-directed learning with more confidence.

Spaces limited so register if you’re interested!

http://untigering.com/webinar-unschooling-your-mind/

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 02/03/2022

Sometimes mentor meetings aren’t all about checking in, setting goals, finding resources, and planning adventures, sometimes mentor meetings are spontaneous trips to giant indoor sand boxes! 🏖

Does Unschooling Prepare Children for the World of Tomorrow? • Blake Boles dot com 02/01/2022

Does Unschooling Prepare Children for the World of Tomorrow? • Blake Boles dot com

Excellent blog post from Blake Boles about whether or not unschooling and self-directed learning prepare young people for the future. Spoiler: they do!
https://www.blakeboles.com/2022/01/does-unschooling-prepare-children-for-the-world-of-tomorrow/

Does Unschooling Prepare Children for the World of Tomorrow? • Blake Boles dot com I just finished reading A World Without Work: Technology, Automation, and How We Should Respond by Daniel Susskind, a Fellow in Economics at Oxford University. The book offers a solid (if dry) overview of how technological progress is supplanting various types of human work, why this takeover will a...

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 01/31/2022

Thank you Blandy Experimental Farm and the Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program for all of the free seeds from your seed exchange! We can’t wait to plant them! 🌸🌿🌱🌾🌲

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 01/30/2022

Weekly Wrap-Up: exploring downtown Leesburg, learning about animal-assisted therapy, ghost-hunting, quilting, and more!

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 01/29/2022

Thank you, Sam from Ride-on Ranch for talking with us about animal-assisted therapy, and thank you even more for bringing in Roady to visit us!

Embark Center Information Session 01/26/2022

Embark Center Information Session

Embark Center is redefining education by empowering young people ages 6 to 18 in creating their own learning paths within a caring community of friends and mentors. Embark members generate their own programming, from classes to field trips to apprenticeships and more, and together with staff and volunteers create a community that is welcoming and supportive to all.

Find out how your child can start living their best life right now at our next online Information Session on Monday, January 31st, at 7:00 PM.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/embark-center-information-session-tickets-250799156027

Embark Center Information Session Are you curious about alternative educational options and want to know more about self-directed learning as a possibility for your child?

Think For Yourself Scholarship 01/26/2022

Think For Yourself Scholarship

Think For Yourself Scholarship The Think for Yourself scholarship is an essay contest from Let Grow. Young people show us how they're independent in their everyday lives.

01/20/2022

We will be closed today, 1/20, due to the timing of the impending bad weather. Please stay safe!

01/18/2022

Embark Center will be closed tomorrow, 1/18, out of an abundance of caution given the hazardous road conditions throughout Loudoun County. Stay safe!

01/04/2022

Embark Center will remain closed on Tuesday (1/4) out of an abundance of caution due to freezing roadways and ice.

01/03/2022

Embark will be closed today, 1/3, due to inclement weather. Stay warm and safe, everyone!

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 12/15/2021

What do you do on your first trial day at Embark Center? Why go have vanilla ice cream with unicorn sprinkles at MOCATINAS of course! 🍦🦄

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 12/05/2021

Thank you to our board President, Martha Mason, for providing treats from BKD Bagels and SideBar for our first ever Coffee Social for Youth Professionals networking event!

c.tadst.com 11/28/2021

c.tadst.com

For all who celebrate, we wish you a Happy Hanukkah!

c.tadst.com

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 11/25/2021

Thank you to all who came to our Volunteer Gratitude Luncheon yesterday! We appreciate you so much!
A special thank you to Karen Wenner Cooper for hosting and to The Purcellville Pub for the delicious food!

Embark Center for Self-Directed Education 11/22/2021

Embark Center for Self-Directed Education

We’re hosting a free Coffee Social networking event for professionals who work with children and teens on December 3rd from 8:30 to 10:00 AM at Embark Center in historic downtown Leesburg. Please send an email to Catina at [email protected] if you would like an invitation. Space is limited. Hope to see you there!
Embarkcenter.org

Embark Center for Self-Directed Education A hybrid of homeschooling and school, Embark Center is an alternative program for youth that combines the best of school—peers, classes, and mentors—with personalized attention and the freedom to choose what and how you learn.

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 11/20/2021

Weekly Wrap-Up!
We had two fantastic workshops this week: photography and financial management. Thank you to our volunteers for sharing your knowledge with us!
Plus all of our other fun adventures like cooking class, art, and chess in the garden.

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 11/11/2021

Thank you Embark founder and Andrea Cubelo-McKay for your service! We love you!

Videos (show all)

How Does Self-Directed Education Work?
What Is Embark Center?
Support Embark Center!
What Is Embark Center?
Thinking Outside the BoxHomeschooling and self-directed education doesn’t have to look like school. Here’s how:
Corona Gap YearWith all of the uncertainty facing students this fall, why not look at education an entirely different wa...

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103 Loudoun St. SW
Leesburg, VA
20175

Opening Hours

Monday 9am - 3:30pm
Tuesday 9am - 3:30pm
Wednesday 9am - 3:30pm
Thursday 9am - 3:30pm

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