One Parent’s Description of the Williamsburg Experience
Williamsburg Academy was the best decision we made regarding our son’s education. As homeschoolers since Kindergarten, we were accustomed to having flexibility, not only in our curriculum choices but our schedule. We always strived to keep our son Elliott challenged and interested while ensuring that the overall direction included enriched material required for that grade level. We wanted his education to be well-rounded with a depth not found in public school while maintaining his love of learning. While I completed my studies for a masters in nursing, I needed to be able to concentrate on my research study/thesis, but Elliott needed a strong high school program and transcript. In considering a variety of schools, online or brick and mortar, we had a few concerns. We were concerned about educators having agendas with which we did not agree; we were worried about not having our favorite math program; we did not want to lose ground in the development of his writing that was blossoming with the program we were then using.
Ultimately, we settled on Williamsburg Academy because of its emphases on experiential learning, working in teams, and a technology focus that our son needed to prepare for the coming age. By the time Elliott finished that first year, he wanted to stay, and we were impressed by his growth, the curriculum, and the mentors.
The focus at Williamsburg Academy is to grow thinkers, not program robots. The mentors and programs are not focused on just pouring certain facts into your child’s brain through the mind-numbing use of textbooks filled with twaddle. They create (or recreate when necessary) that desire to learn through lively conversations utilizing the Socratic method and the consumption of “living books” (see Charlotte Mason). The art of writing is not dead at this school; it is integrated into every course.
I am pleased to report that the mentors and leadership at Williamsburg have not pushed any particular political or religious agenda on us. On the contrary, they have helped our son to develop the critical thinking skills to reason through topics, continuing the understanding of conversational fallacies that we had begun in our homeschooling program. I cannot say enough about the quality of people involved and the wonderful relationships that my son has developed with the mentors over the years. They helped him to learn how to manage his time and energy with a variety of tools and foster an accountability that would have been extremely difficult and stressful for me to create at home!
So, as the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding! Our son graduated summa cum laude, an Honor Society member, and an Eagle Scout with excellent ACT and SAT scores! He has friends across the country. His essays enabled him to be accepted into his first choice for college, the private and selective Elon University, where less than 10% of applicants gain admission, and earned him a four-year merit scholarship and merit grant. He has been awarded one of the semifinalist scholarships for the National Honor Society with more than 9,000 students applying!
Williamsburg Academy mentored our son through some of his most developmentally difficult years. The leadership courses taught him to examine life and choices in a way that many adults will never do. I encourage you to look at the reading list and books of any school you are considering. I encourage you to give your children the gift of being a “Burger”! And I encourage you to read the books your child reads, as they move through this program. Even if you don’t discuss them, you will be fascinated to see the echoes of these writers’ thoughts in your child. Enjoy your journey––it doesn’t last long, and Williamsburg Academy will provide the support you need as a parent through their online meetings, assignment/grade access through the SIS/Canvas, mentor conferences, and even by guiding your child to assess what level of support they need from you each semester! I envy you at the beginning of your Williamsburg Academy life! You can feel confident that the choice for a Williamsburg Academy education will prepare your child for the future and for life!
Dagny Rivette, MSN, RN