A: We are a Liber Community that seeks to meet the needs of the whole family. Membership in our community is a family level commitment. Our parent mentors are trained by the Leadership Education Mentoring Institute (LEMI). Leadership Education is not just an educational philosophy, but rather it is a family and community culture. When you choose a Leadership Education for your family, there are many principles you will incorporate, including:
A Core Book - A book(s) that contains your values.
Leadership - Both in the home and the community.
Virtue - Both private and public.
Education in phases - Including your own.
Actively mentoring your children through their education.
Family involvement - Parents taking responsibility with their children to guide, direct, and own the education of family members.
These principles are part of a culture that is not found in every neighborhood. So when people sense their value, they immediately start trying to find others to join with them in this culture, for themselves, and especially for their adolescent youth.
Q: How often do you meet?
A: We meet every Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., depending upon what parent-led classes you attend. The dates vary from year to year, but we generally meet from the Thursday after Labor Day until the last Thursday of April. Students participating in the Shakespeare Conquest project will also be *very* busy during the last week or two before their performance in the spring.
Q: What age range are the classes?
A: At Polar Star, most of the classes are centered around the youth scholars, aged 12-18 years old.
Q: Do you offer any classes for my younger children?
A: Our children's classes are primarily for the children of the mothers who are at the building teaching or mentoring. We offer a children's class (ages 5-11) and nursery (ages 0-5) in the morning. In the afternoon, we have a class for young children (ages 0-8) and a Ninja Scholar Skills class for the older children (ages 9-11) that are transitioning to Scholar Phase. This class helps develop skills that will be needed once they enter the scholar program.
Q: What classes are offered?
A: We offer Scholar Projects designed by The Leadership Education Mentoring Institute (LEMI) which you will find listed on our course description page. Additionally, for the youth, we have leadership, choir, and social dance. There are also children's classes and a parent class that is strongly suggested for new families.
Q: How much does it cost to be part of Polar Star?
A: You can visit our fees page to find out the typical semester fees. These prices do not include the cost of the books. The books are purchased by each family depending upon what classes you take. To find the book list go to our Book List page. These prices are subject to change at any time.
Q: What is Kickoff?
A: Kickoff is our activity before the beginning of the school year. It is an all day adventurous activity for the youth (ages 12+) and often requires many parent volunteers. Those who have ordered a Polar Star t-shirt will receive it at kickoff.
We "kickoff" our theme for the year and discuss the book we have all read that introduces our theme. It is a day filled with fun and adventurous activities, a chance to meet new friends and reconnect with old friends, and it helps set the tone for the upcoming school year.
Q: Why does Polar Star offer dance classes?
A: Social/ballroom dance is a fundamental part of the Polar Star culture. It is one thing to be in an intensive academic class with peers, but another thing to have the chance to interact with one another in a fun environment. They get to know one another in a more personal way in a comfortable and safe atmosphere. Everyone is taking these classes; it is fun to do it as a group.
The dance classes prepare the youth for the annual Polar Star family dance and formal. This allows our youth to go into that often awkward situation knowing what to do and how to handle themselves. They not only learn a few basic dance steps, but they are also taught social etiquette and traditional roles of men and women at dances. This sets the foundation for fun filled dances - and they actually dance!
Polar Star offers both Social Dance (required the first two years; unless a variance has been made) and Ballroom Plus. These classes are for youth, ages 12+, and run for the first 6-8 weeks of each semester.
Q: What is the Family Dance?
A: The Family Dance is held in the month of October and has been a long standing tradition at Polar Star. This casual dinner and dance is for the entire family (and sometimes even grandparents) and Polar Star alumni to attend. It is always well attended and fun for all ages.
Parents are able to get better acquainted and the youth get to practice their new moves. We offer a wide variety of fun dancing music from different eras and styles: fun group dances, line dances, waltz, cha cha, old songs, new songs and everything in between!
Q: What is the Winter Formal?
A: The Winter Formal is just that - a formal event for the parents and their youth. While it is still a family event, it is just for family members twelve years old and older. It is a super fun dance in a clean, safe environment. Church dress or formal wear is appropriate. No dates are allowed, unless they are over the age of 18 (and practically engaged) so that everyone can feel comfortable dancing with everyone. This is also a well attended event that is a huge part of the Polar Star culture.
Q: What is a book colloquium?
A: The definition of colloquium is a meeting where people analyze and discuss a specific topic. So a book colloquium is where we have the scholars read a book and then come together to discuss and analyze the principles learned within the reading. These discussions are usually held 3-4 times a year on a Friday night, hosted by different Polar Star families. We have Youth Colloquia Leaders and Mentors that help decide the books and guide the discussion. Only those Scholars who have read the book are allowed to come and everyone is expected to add to the discussion by saying something that they learned from the book. These gatherings are always fun for the youth and usually end in some type of activity.
Q: What are Parent Scholar Nights?
A: Parent Scholar Nights are an adult only evening. It is a night for us to come together for leisure and joy. We usually have tasty food along with a discussion of a book or topic.
Q: What is Family Foundations?
A: Family Foundations is a class offered to parents at Polar Star. We have seen some amazing insights and breakthroughs for people that have taken this class AND it helps us connect with one another and strengthen our friendships. It will give you a greater vision for yourself, your family and your homeschool.
Family Foundations is a two-pronged project to strengthen your homes and help the adults in your community to grow in their application of leadership education principles in their homes. The first prong is facilitated by mentors who attend training and are prepared to lead other parents through powerful learning environments such as colloquia, simulations, and lectures. Each month has a different area of focus such as Vision, Mission, Abilities, Skills and Knowledge which are augmented by an online curriculum (the second prong) which is delivered to a parent’s email inbox each week so they can go deeper and have a Socratic experience. These lessons are part of the Family Foundation membership which includes tools for enhancing your home schooling and can be found at www.libercommunities.com . Here is a video that gives a short description.
Q: Are parents required to stay all day at Polar Star on Thursdays?
A: Yes and no! How's that for confusing? While we need all parents to engage in one way or another, we realize that each family situation is different. If you are pregnant or until your baby is a year old, we give you a pass on volunteering in any capacity. If you are a new family, we don't expect you to mentor a scholar class your first year. We are not trying to blow you out of the water. We would appreciate your help in one of the classes, in choir, or at an event like the kickoff or dances. It's a great way to get involved and get to know other moms.
So back to the question: Do you need to stay all day? It depends upon what you are doing for your volunteering. Many people are there most of the day so that we have enough people to run Polar Star as effectively as we do. If you have children, ages 11 & under, we ask that you stay in the building. We are happy to help you arrange your teaching/mentoring/helping schedule so that you have a "prep" period. Your family will benefit more, the more engaged you are as a parent!
Q: Do I have to go to LEMI Training?
A: The quick answer is NO. You are not expected to attend LEMI training for a Scholar Project your first year. Each family is expected to regularly (about every 3 years) attend the LEMI philosophy training (held this year in June and July online and in person depending upon the class).
As you gain experience in your homeschooling, we hope you will decide to set the example for your youth by being trained in one of the Scholar Projects and becoming a mentor of one of the Scholar Classes at Polar Star.
Q: What if there is a steadfast rule at Polar Star that I feel we cannot comply with?
A: We realize that not everyone's lives and personalities are the same. We offer a variance form for this type of situation. The variance form is accessible once you are a member. It will be filled out explaining why you feel like you need us to consider a change from normal policy. The Executive Board will review it and then contact you to discuss a resolution.
Q: How do I get on the waitlist?
A: We are interested in like-minded families ready to join us at Polar Star. Click here to find out what to do next. We will contact you once we have an opening.
Glossary of Terms
Glossary of terms you may not be familiar with: Commonwealth A commonwealth creates an environment in which families of like culture can study the classics and become great citizens by gaining a greater vision of our country and ourselves. A commonwealth signifies “the common good or happiness; thus it is a form to secure the public good.” While usually associated with governments of countries, ‘commonwealth’ can be applied to many other aspects of society. A commonwealth takes the “co-op” group to the next level: to a community that self-governs, that exists beyond the creators whose children are now raised and gone, and can stand the test of time. To learn more, read The New Commonwealth School by Aneladee Milne & Tiffany Earl
TJEd - Thomas Jefferson Education or "Leadership Education" is a philosophy and methodology of education which is popular among some alternative educators, including private schools, charter schools and homeschoolers. It is based on the Seven Keys of Great Teaching and the Phases of Learning. It also operates on the idea that all of us have inherent genius and that self education is the only real education. Mentors and parents strive to inspire a love of learning and scholarship. To learn more, read A Thomas Jefferson Education and Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning by Oliver DeMille or visit www.tjed.org.
Scholar Phase Scholar Phase naturally follows for a healthy youth who has an active Core Phase and rich Love of Learning phase. This transformational time coincides with puberty, and the young person can now think abstractly. Peer involvement that supports the student’s best self (including educational philosophy and goals) is important during Scholar Phase. It is well for a parent to look ahead to this time and do some concerted community-building in order to facilitate the “scholar projects” that are so ideal to meet the needs of youth in Scholar Phase. Scholar Phase has four main Sub-Phases, as described by Aneladee Milne:
Practice Scholar (see info below)
Apprentice Scholar (see info below)
LEMI - Leadership Education Mentoring Institute An organization dedicated to the development of mentors and scholars. They hold trainings for mentors and have created “scholar projects” that are designed to develop scholar skills in youth and adults and help them have a successful “scholar phase”. They also seek to build young men and young women of great moral character. To learn more, visit www.lemimentortraining.com
Scholar Project™ Freedom enriching thematic units. The goal of each Scholar Project™ thematic unit is to expose students to a specific body of knowledge (such as Shakespeare or the U.S. Constitution) and instill within them a greater vision of themselves by incorporating the five environments of learning (as discussed in A Thomas Jefferson Education). This ultimately entices them to ask the question, “What is the purpose of my life?” As students gain a greater vision and love for freedom and see themselves as contributors to the cause of freedom worldwide, they become motivated to seek and develop their latent vital abilities. They gain the skills they need to make a real impact. Each of the Scholar Projects incorporates five skill-based elements. 1. Thinking2. Speaking3. Writing4. Computing5. Reading Each Scholar Project invites the students to examine their own character by exposing them to great men and women in history.
PRACTICE SCHOLAR PROJECTS inspire your youth to:
Start doing the "hard things".
Learn time management.
Discover more about who they are.
Understand their duty as a citizen.
Study for extended periods of time out of personal choice.
Write independently and with insight.
Think deeper, study things that may not interest them at first.
How do you know if your YOUTH is ready for the Practice Scholar level?
Are they asking to be with their peers a lot?
Do they tell you that you are interrupting their study time?
Have they had a good Core Phase where they've learned right from wrong?
Do they have initiative? Is it time they learn initiative?
Do they enjoy learning?
Can they read?
Are they ages 12-16?
If your youth dislikes learning or just isn't interested, its okay; there's a way to help change that. Our Practice Scholar Projects are fun-filled, interesting and most of all include a community of peers. This is especially appealing to the homeschooled youth.
APPRENTICE SCHOLAR PROJECTS teach students to:
Transition from studying 2-4 hours a day to 6-10 hours a day!
Become a self-directed scholar
Gain scholar skills such as: reading difficult material, writing, debating, teaching, researching, using mentors
Be a homesteader rather than a squatter
Find personal mission
Gain a vision for "contributing" to society
If your student is between the ages of 14 and 16 and has a desire for a great education, they are probably ready for this level.
Key of Liberty is a practice scholarproject which:
Includes the American Founding and Revolutionary War era
Gets students on the path of great thinking, writing, and public speaking
In-depth study of The Declaration of Independence and The United States Constitution
Shakespeare Conquest: a practice scholar project focusing on an immersion approach to learning and studying Shakespeare and includes actor's training
Classical Acting follows Shakespeare Conquest and includes more in-depth development of acting skills, provides directing opportunities and branches out to other great plays.
Sword of Freedom: a practice scholar project focusing on the American Civil War time period.
The Hero Project guides the transition from practice scholar to apprentice scholar through a study of the World Wars. They learn what qualities Heroes have and gain a desire to emulate the individuals they study. Students will be mentored by both the living and the dead by hearing their stories and coming to understand that each and every person has a unique mission to perform in this life.
Georgics shows the power of being reconnected to the earth and learning principles of community and self-reliance. They learn the Georgic Principles (mission, entrepreneurship, forgiveness, self-validation, community stewardship, interdependence, real estate ownership, etc.) which are not only part of agriculture but part of life.
Pyramid Project is also a project that facilitates the transition from practice scholar to apprentice scholar and focuses on the search for truth, the development of the characteristics of a scientist, learning to reason and use logic and the improvement of math and science knowledge, skills,and application.
Quest I, II, & III: A four semester apprentice scholar project focusing on statesmanship and leadership, supreme court cases, worldviews, and natural law.
Edison Project: In this self-directed scholar project, students develop their own specific area of interest, create a detailed plan with the mentor and then pursue it. They master the knowledge of the 6 Powers: Knowledge Power, Task Power, Authority Power, Relationship Power, Material Power, & Personal Power. They learn the skill of how to turn the seemingly unattainable into reachable steps. They learn how to engage the specific mentors required to fulfill their dreams. They become life-long learners. They create. They show courage. And they change.