Southern California charter schools can use local resources to supplement the textbooks. California is full of opportunities -- historical sites, zoos, public gardens, museums. While mainstream schools unfortunately don't have the time or budget for field trips, for a student pursuing a non-traditional path to education, it is foolish to ignore these resources.
Method Schools have three different enrollment tracks. In the iRotate 4 Day Track, our most structured track, students attend school at a Method center four days a week. In the iRotate 1 Day Flex Track, students attend school at a Method Center one day per week, and work at home or on-line the rest of the week. In the iFlex Track, our most flexible track, students do the majority of their work on-line, coming in to the school as needed when they need to consult one-on-one with their teachers. During the days that the student is not physically at the Method center, that's when they can visit San Diego Zoo or Los Angeles Zoo to study animals and their habitats. Students at our Arcadia facility can visit the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden to study plants and ecology. Students at our Murrieta facility can combine PE and nature study hiking through Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve. Students at our San Diego facility can visit Casa de Estudillo while studying history.
San Diego County has over 90 museums, some big like the Museum of Man or the Air and Space Museum, some small like the Julian Pioneer Museum or the Timken Museum of Art. From art to aviation, from model railroads to music, from surfboards to 19th century ships, almost every science, art, and heritage is represented in San Diego's museums.
Los Angeles has more museums than any other city in the United States, and Los Angeles County contains nearly 150 museums. From the La Brea Tar Pits to the SS Lane Victory to the Museum of Tolerance, nearly every aspect of history can be studied in Los Angeles. There are museums for science, art, and specific occupations and ethnic cultures. There are, of course, several museums dedicated to Hollywood and film making.
At Method Schools, we are not interested in preparing students to take and pass standardized tests of dubious value. We are interested in helping students learn. Our students utilize a variety of resources: textbooks, library books, on-line lessons, websites, and hands-on projects. During the days students are not physically in one of our facilities, we encourage them to explore the many opportunities in the area.
We also acknowledge that learning does not divide neatly into discrete categories. A trip to the Korean American Museum teaches art, history, and geography. A follow-up trip to Korean Cultural Center gives students a chance to compare and contrast two different museums with similar themes. Visiting Will Rogers State Park offers a chance to walk the hiking trails (PE), observe the wildlife of the Santa Monica Mountains (science), visit Will Rogers' home (art and architecture), and learn about Will Rogers himself (history and political science). Our students' projects reflect this by covering more than one academic subject as they demonstrate what they've learned. The average student can demonstrate what's been learned far more effectively in a small group or solo project than by filling in a scantron sheet or writing an essay. Project based learning makes the student an active participant in the learning process, not a passive observer who absorbs knowledge. This helps the student retain the knowledge longer, rather than learning for the test and promptly forgetting the information afterwards.