FAQ - General Questions

+ What do all those words in your school name mean?

We chose the name Threefold because of the three desires the founders have for their own children and other young people: that they might grow in wonder, grow in community, and grow to serve the world around them.

We are affiliated with Acton Academy, named after Lord Acton (1834-1902), a Victorian scholar of Freedom who saw liberty not as a license, but as the freedom to do what was right. He was suspicious of power for the sake of power, which led to his most famous quote: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” As an Acton Academy, we celebrate his defense of economic, political, and religious freedom.

+ What grades do you offer?

Threefold School will open an Elementary Studio in the fall of 2019 to welcome students aged 6-11. We are planning to add a Middle School Studio in 2021.

+ Will children be grouped together by grades?

No. We believe that children learn best when working with others both younger and older than themselves rather than split up into groups based solely on age. In addition to individualized curriculum, students work together in multi-age groups within each studio. This allows children to be both teachers and learners, further developing each student's own learning.

+ How are parents expected to be involved at Threefold School?

We believe parents are the most influential adults in any child’s educational journey, and we exist to empower and reinforce that relationship. Threefold School is currently structured as a homeschool co-op where parents are responsible for complying with all Pennsylvania homeschool laws. Parents, students, and Guides will work together throughout the year to set appropriate learning plans and goals. Students will finish the year with an assembled portfolio showcasing all of their academic progress in core skills and Quest projects.

+ What is the school calendar and the daily schedule?

We have an eleven month calendar that comprises of 6 sessions with breaks in between, however, we do not impose attendance requirements in the studio.

Our studio is open from 8-3 each day. Our learning time is broken into core skills time, Socratic discussions, collaborative Quests/projects, PE, Art, and free time. Multiple outside recess breaks are an important part of each day.

+ What is next year’s tuition?

For the 2019-2020 school year, tuition is $4,900 with a 20% sibling discount and a per family maximum of $12,000.

+ Can I come for a tour or a visit?

Yes! Please schedule a call with Charissa to inquire about Tour Availability.

+ Is Threefold School accredited?

Yes, the school is accredited through the International Association of Learner Driven Schools.

FAQ - School Philosophy

+ Is Threefold School a Montessori school?

No. We respect and incorporate Maria Montessori’s philosophy, and in addition to Montessori methods, we use the latest interactive technologies, hands-on projects, and the Socratic Method for discussions.

+ Is Threefold School a religious school?

We believe that each person is created in the image of God and has been given unique gifts and abilities that they can use to impact the world in a variety of ways. At Threefold School, we seek to inspire learners to pursue and discover that calling. While we expose learners to the importance of exploring spiritual questions and stress the importance of historical Christianity in Western civilization, we welcome families of all faiths to our studio and promise to work to create a community where it is safe to dig deeper into one’s own faith journey.

+ Why do you call your space a “studio” instead of a “classroom”?

A studio is a place where someone goes to learn, practice, or study. A classroom implies a space where a group of people are all being directed in the same activity at the same time. At Threefold School, we want to create a learner driven environment where children can learn, practice, and study at their own pace while being encouraged by others.

+ Why do you call the adults “Guides” instead of “teachers”?

We believe that children are natural learners who need adults to inspire them to wonder rather than prescribe an educational path. We believe that with the proper guard rails set in place by a Guide, a child will be inspired to pursue a Hero’s Journey and learn to be, learn to do, and learn to learn.

+ What is a Socratic Discussion?

Socratic discussions consist of questions designed to challenge the thinking of students and to encourage them to come to new and deeper understandings of themselves and the world around them as they appreciate and wrestle with different perspectives. Through formulating their own answers to Socratic questions, students gain a better understanding of a topic than they would from lectures. In this way, the Socratic method creates critical thinkers, willing to take a stand for something they believe, having experienced deep learning.

+ What do you mean when you say every child is a hero? And what is a "Hero's Journey"?

We believe that a hero is an ordinary person who says “yes!” to a challenge -- one who pursues difficult tasks, gets up when they fall down, accepts responsibility, and keeps going when their task is hard. Heroes see a need and act creatively and bravely to shape events to meet that need, not shying away from obstacles to be overcome. Each hero faces trials and tests on their journey that must be faced with integrity and purpose in order to live a satisfying and fulfilled life. At Threefold School, our goal is to prepare each learner for that journey.

+ What do you mean by “every child can change the world?”

We believe each of our learners will find a passion — something they love and have a gift to do. They will use this gift to serve others and fulfill a need in the world. This may be by becoming a shoe-shiner who tells stories and makes people’s day just by doing his job with love and vigor; it may be by becoming a coach who sees the light in a child’s eyes and guides her to pursue a dream; it may be by becoming a father or mother who leads a family on a Hero’s Journey; it may be by becoming an entrepreneur or business leader guided by compassion and integrity; or it may be by becoming an artist or writer who brings beauty to people’s lives.

+ What is an “independent learner”?

Someone who can research questions, follow instructions, solve problems—admit that they don’t know something and figure out a solution when they hit a roadblock without asking an adult for help — participate in discussions, and strive for mastery.

+ What is a “Running Partner”?

Running Partners are studiomates who meet together regularly to set goals and hold each other accountable for meeting those goals. Running Partners encourage and inspire each other by asking good questions, listening, and providing affirmation.

FAQ - Learning Environment

+ What is a learner driven environment?

At Threefold School the students run the studio by agreeing together on the rules for behavior and treatment of one another. Often, these are revised by the learners as they work through challenges and discover better ways of interacting with one another. Learners also budget their time and choose their areas of focus for the day and adjust these based on their performance. We believe that learners achieve more when they have control of their learning. This creates a sense of independence and confidence that will serve them well in all areas of life.

+ How do you use technology for learning without having too much screen time?

Using the incredible, self-paced eLearning tools now available, we are able to provide the rigor needed for learning math, vocabulary, spelling, and grammar in less than two hours each day, while freeing up the rest of the day for engaging, project-based collaborative learning. The two are highly complementary.

+ How much homework is there?

None. We believe that children need time to play, relax, and be with family and friends, and are committed to ensuring plenty of learning during studio hours so that time outside the studio can be free for other pursuits.

+ How do you track progress?

Students at Threefold School demonstrate progress through student portfolios, learning exhibitions, peer reviews, goal monitoring, online dashboards, learning badges, and a once-a-year standardized test. In place of traditional letter grades, Threefold School uses a system of badges which are not earned until a student has reached mastery in that specific area, thus ensuring that students successfully learn and process what they're studying. Badges are translatable as transcripts to other academic institutions.

+ What kind of student thrives at Threefold School?

Students who love to learn; who are curious, self-motivated, and respectful; and who can tackle challenging questions and solve problems.

+ Does Threefold School serve special needs children?

Threefold School’s flexible approach to learning is a great fit for many who do not thrive in a traditional environment. Students who have trouble sitting still through a standard school day often flourish in our studio, which provides space for breaks, comfortable and flexible seating, and room for individual self-regulation. However, we have noticed areas that provide challenges for the special needs student. Our school curriculum relies on dynamic group projects, and the environment can be very stimulating, so students that struggle with cooperation, self-regulation, and sensory issues may have special challenges in our studios. We are not trained to serve children with serious learning disabilities, but many of our affiliate schools have been able to successfully serve young heroes with dyslexia and mild spectrum disorders if they receive special help outside of the studio.