The classroom is divided into two main sections: The Great Books Library, and Curiosity Labs. The Great Books Library contains courses in liberal arts based principally on the great books in western civilization. For more information, check out the The Great Books Library page. Curiosity Labs contains our Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math courses with a focus on using projects and experiments to teach the how and why. For more information, check out the Curiosity Labs page.
Our courses are built around a mixture of video lectures, interaction with our staff and other students on class-specific forums, live webinars, and self-guided projects and challenges. The number of lectures for each course will vary from class to class, but they are designed to fill a typical school semester when combined with projects and challenges. Generally speaking, students should expect to view between two and five lectures per class, per week, in order to complete the class in the course of a semester.
We don’t issue grades, but parents are welcome to do as part of their individual homeschools. As far as we are concerned, if you understand the material you get an “A.” If you don’t understand the material, keep at it until you do. We’ll work with you through the forums, office hours, or other means to help you.
Video lectures are not a fixed duration, but will rarely be longer than an hour. In a given week’s worth of lectures there may be two 15 minute lectures, one 50 minute lecture, and one 5 min special topic; or it may consist of just one 60 minute lecture. We don’t fix the number of hours of “face-time” at some arbitrary level, and only occupy the time we feel is necessary to convey the key ideas and topics.
Video lectures aren’t recordings of a traditional lecture taking place in a standard classroom or lecture hall. They may be recorded in Doc Johnson’s workshop, Elizabeth’s library, or even the back pasture if there is a reason to do so. Each instructor sets the environment up to suit their preferences and the class needs.
We work hard to produce high quality videos, but please understand that we don’t charge nearly enough for tuition to support a professional editing staff or to rent and equip a sound stage. Additionally, neither Doc Johnson nor Elizabeth are professional actors or presenters. As a result, there will be glitches, production flaws, and you will probably hear background noises from time to time. As hard as we try, it’s nearly impossible to keep Murphy and Rufus (Doc Johnson’s constant shadows) completely calm and quiet for as long as it can take to record a lecture. If there are things that you find significantly impact your ability to focus on the content let us know and we will endeavor to fix them, but please be gracious and understanding of minor imperfections.
The commons is our collection of online forums. Each class will have a dedicated forum for class related discussions, class notifications, and as a place for students to post their projects. Depending on the class, instructors may or may not actively moderate class forum content. Each student (and their parents if applicable) is responsible for ensuring appropriate behavior and compliance with the forum rules.
In addition to class forums, there is an open-discussion forum available for students to use for off-topic discussion that complies with the overall forum rules. We believe it is important for students and parents to have a place to discuss challenging topics, exchange polite notes, and generally get to know each other. To help ensure a safe environment, access is restricted to Curious Minds Classroom staff, currently enrolled students, and parents of enrolled students. We cannot moderate 100% of forum posts or guarantee compliance with the forum rules, so parents should monitor their student’s forum activity. We will respond in the manner we deem most appropriate if we discover, or are notified of, inappropriate forum content.