Genius Hour What and Why (a video explanation for parents)

Last night, I hosted a parents meeting to introduce parents to the concept of the Genius Hour and explain to them how and why I planned to implement a Genius Hour as a replacement for the traditional research report. The support was overwhelming!  Still, some folks were unable to attend the meeting, and for them, I wanted to share a brief video explaining what exactly is a Genius Hour.

Now that we know what a Genius Hour is, some may be wondering WHY?  In my writing classes, I have students in grades 6-12.  By the numbers alone, I have to steer my teaching methods to cover six years of academic development, with five of those grades being in a single class together! Not only does Genius Hour enable me to guide students through the research process in a personalized, meaningful way, the science behind HOW and WHY we learn makes the concept of a Genius Hour, well….genius!

One of the things I asked parents to do for me during this research project was to let their children struggle.  Ask them meaningful questions that may help them work through the problem they are experiencing rather than giving them the ready answer.  (For example, if Will comes to me frustrated that he doesn’t know what to do next for his project, my response can be to say, “Tell me how you got here? Where do you think you could find the answer for your problem?” This is essentially asking a student to intellectually retrace their steps to help them find the answer.)  Most importantly, these types of scenarios are the precise moments when true learning occurs. We are not only teaching our students how to problem-solve, but we let them know that we believe THEY CAN resolve their problem on their own, with a little guidance. This creates (or reinforces) a growth mindset. Studies overwhelming show that students with a growth mindset not only fair better in school, academically, but they exhibit more self-worth and resiliency in life beyond the school years!

I will continue to share videos of student TED Talks, Q & A, and other resources as we work through the next eight weeks.  In the meantime, please know how excited I am, and how proud I am, of each one of our students! They represent homeschooling and YOU, very, very well!

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