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What Mixed Age Learning Looks Like at Raising Brain

Welcome to Raising Brain Learning Enrichment Center, where we equip learners with the essential tools for success in their social, emotional, and academic endeavors. A common inquiry revolves around the structure of our days when accommodating students of varying ages, below you will find a detailed example of what a day may look like for different learners.

In the vibrant atmosphere of our mixed-age community learning enrichment center, each day begins with a flurry of activity and anticipation. As the clock nears 9 am, students eagerly arrive, greeted by the welcoming environment they've come to know as their second home.

Upon arrival, learners begin to settle in for the day. They hang up their belongings, stow their water bottles on their personal shelves, and if needed, tuck their lunches into the fridge. With these routines completed, they have a brief window of time before the morning meeting to pursue their interests.

Some students use this time to check on ongoing projects, while others may plan out their day ahead, glancing at the board for a glimpse of what's in store. For those seeking camaraderie, quick games offer a chance to bond with peers before the structured activities begin.

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Friends welcoming each other with morning games

At 9 we will start our morning circle; learners of all ages converge for a time of sharing and reflection. Exciting news, worries, and questions find a welcoming audience, fostering a sense of community and support. The day's rhythm and upcoming events are discussed, setting the tone for what lies ahead.

Raising Brain Homeschool Co-op Microschool Flint Hill Rappahannock County Northern Virginia
A small cozy morning circle with engaged learners of mixed ages 5-13

Following our morning circle, it's time to dive into History Makers Society, a dynamic exploration of past and present. Unit studies unfold organically, driven by individual interests and collaborative pursuits. From the marvels of biomimicry to the intricacies of architectural design, each learner finds their niche amidst a tapestry of knowledge and creativity. For instance, our unit may be Biomimicry and we may open with a discussion of George de Mestral, and how he was inspired to invent Velcro after walking his dog through burrs seeing that they stuck to them. From here younger learners may decide to study how Velcro works by looking at it with a magnifying glass and experimenting with the material testing hypothesis. Older learners may decide to further research biomimicry inspired inventions that we use today, this may be more formal research for some choosing to write a small report and share with their peers, and for others this may look like designing a graphic advertisement for Velcro or collaborating with others to make a 20 ft long timeline of biomimicry inspired inventions throughout time. Teachers are there to guide the students, and also prime activities to incorporate core studies. This model allows them to be self-motivated learners, with access to the information they need to research their interests. 

After their hard work, learners often find themselves ready for a snack around this time. Empowered to listen to their bodies, they have access to their packed snacks whenever hunger strikes. Sometimes they will even grab a small snack while working. Snack time is not just about nourishment; it's a social occasion. When one child decides it's time, their peers often join in, fostering a communal atmosphere where cleaning up and socializing go hand in hand with enjoying a well-deserved break.

Learners gather to prepare meals, they have full access to a refrigerator and microwave giving them full independence when preparing their own food.

After snack, art becomes a canvas for expression, seamlessly weaving together lessons from History Makers into visual masterpieces. Whether exploring the intersection of nature and engineering or drawing inspiration from renowned artists like M.C. Escher, students immerse themselves in a world of imagination and discovery. Some learners may want to dive deeper into biomimicry in architecture after seeing Escher’s works, we will show them structures designed inspired by nature, perhaps showing them the Shanghai Natural History Museum and how it was inspired by a mollusk shell, and how the spiral shape refers to the Fibonacci Sequence. 

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A local florist, Jules Got Flowers in Sperryville, Donated these beautiful cut flowers for our Georgia O'Keeffe Garden Science study

Lunchtime offers a chance for nourishment and connection, with options ranging from outdoor picnics to spirited games of chess. Empowered to manage their own needs, learners forge bonds of friendship and independence. Some learners may even decide to keep working on their projects while eating lunch.

Raising Brain Microschool Homeschool co-op Flint Hill VIrginia Rappahannock, sperryville, fauquier, culpeper, winchester, front royal, warren county, gainesville northern virginia
Lunch in a tree, at a covered picnic table, or on a nice blanket, learners enjoy finding the perfect spot to eat.

Afternoon brings movement and play, as bodies stretch, and minds engage in collaborative games and activities. From yoga sessions to lively rounds of freeze tag, energy finds an outlet in joyful movement.

Raising Brain Homeschool Co-op, Microschool, Northern Virginia Flint Hill Rappahannock County Fauquier County Culpeper County Warren County
Having fun outside playing games and working together

As the day draws to a close, a sense of purpose infuses the air as students come together to tidy their shared space. Guided by principles of community and responsibility, they take pride in their roles as stewards of their learning space.

With tasks complete and hearts full, the final moments of the day offer a chance to unwind and recharge. Whether lost in a book, crafting a masterpiece, or adding the finishing touches to a project, students revel in the freedom to explore and create.

In our mixed-age community learning enrichment center, each day is a journey of discovery, empowerment, and belonging. Guided by a philosophy of "free to learn within boundaries," learners chart their own course, supported by a community that values curiosity, collaboration, and the joy of lifelong learning. Whether they're coding a game inspired by biomimicry, recreating a bird's nest in the yard, or delving into the mathematical wonders of the Fibonacci sequence, every experience is an opportunity for growth and self-expression. The mixed age aspect allows the older children to take mentor/leadership roles, and allows the younger children to model this within their peer group. We provide space for them to separate but often will find a 12 year old working with an 8 year old, a naturally formed collaboration not to be discouraged. All learners thrive in an environment that balances freedom within boundaries, allowing them to emulate real-world interactions. Mixed-age groups offer ample opportunity to foster a sense of community and belonging, while simultaneously honing social, emotional, and academic skills.

Raising Brain Homeschool co-op microschool Northern Virginia, Flint hill, rappahannock county, fauquier county, culpeper county, warren county, front royal, warrenton, sperryville, luray
Garden Science week, children planned, built, and planted their garden with plans to donate their harvest to the Rappahannock Food Pantry

Check out some of our social emotional learning games:

Social Skills UNO grab it here:

Emotional Charades grab it here:


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