Welcome to WEquil.School!

Updated: Jun 10


Hello Friends and Families and welcome to WEquil.School!


During the pandemic we began an experiment in education that led us to create the world's first project based, self-directed, virtual learning platform. "We" are the McPhail family living in Falls Church, Virginia. We never set out to create our own school, but one discovery led to another and what began as a necessity to practice self-directed learning became an opportunity that transformed the way we think about education and how to prepare for the new digital creative economy.

In this article we share everything you need to know about www.WEquil.School including how to join, safety and security, our principles of learning, our process, our platform, and how to get started! This will help you to get the most out of your time with us. So let's jump right in!


How to join


Those who wish to join www.WEquil.School can do so immediately by joining our Facebook Group (Link below). From there you will be able to receive updates, watch Demo Days, and participate in a public community of families that have an interest in applying our Project Based + Self-Directed philosophy. All our virtual classrooms are available to the public on our website. We accept member Project Submissions by email ahead of Demo Days if your young people wish to join!


https://www.facebook.com/WEquilSchool


We also host a private community of families that we are slowly growing. We accept applications to join from the public community if they apply and successfully demonstrate the creation of a project! So if your young person has a project to showcase please email us at the address below and indicate that you wish to join our private group!


\WEquil.School@gmail.com.


Applying families can live anywhere in the world and have kids of all ages, but they must agree with our principles of learning and demonstrate this with a project. We hold up a high bar for letting in families to our private community of WEquil.School families because this is our daughters school. Our private community WEquil.School will always be first and foremost an ideal place to learn, grow, and create for our daughters.


Safety and Security


WEquil.School is designed to be safe and secure, but we provide no guarantees and accept no liability for your children. Collaboration has risks, and while we make an effort to manage these risks we cannot avoid them completely. There are bad actors in this world that would do harm to our family and our daughters as well as your family. This reality is the biggest challenge to building a truly global and collaborative school. In this section we provide details on how we are approaching these risks. We also provide a link to our interview with GoGuardian back in 2019, before we started WEquil.School, on our approach to technology in childhood education which informs our approach to safety and security today.

https://www.goguardian.com/blog/safety/from-consumers-to-creators-how-one-parent-leverages-technology-for/


We instituted the two tiered, public to private, community approach in order to control who has direct access to full member families at WEquil.School. Full members are mostly people we know personally, but we do make exceptions for those who provide a strong application and started building a relationship with use through our public community on Facebook.


As a result, our members tend to be very entrepreneurial, curious, innovative, and help us to promote a culture consistent with our principles of learning. We reserve the right to remove members in order to promote the best possible learning environment for our friends and family.


For those of you who believe in what are doing so strongly that you want to help, we would love to collaborate with you! We are teaming up with a virtual school in India, hired a programmer in Africa, learning from a kids coding school in Houston Texas, training an army of FlutterKids...but mostly we are creating a community of families across the globe that want to help their kids survive and thrive in our new digital economy. You can help by contacting us directly and telling us how you want to help!


WEquil.School@gmail.com You can also join our network of Social Media platforms where we are sourcing ideas and growing our presence so we can reach more families!


Principles of Learning


When the pandemic of 2020 first hit we started by asking a simple question...what are the principles of learning? In other words...what are the ingredients that make for the best possible learning environment?


After interviewing over 100 families and doing a lot of fundamental research we identified five principles of learning. In short, people learn best when they


1. Teach about their passions

2. Create real things that add real value

3. Build on their natural strengths

4. Collaborate around shared deep interests

5. Cultivate curiosity by having the freedom to explore


We have grown WEquil.School upon these principles. While we are still iterating and improving our approach, the basic process won't change much. In the next section we share details on our process so new members can jump right in.


As a result of these principles, our members tend to be very entrepreneurial, curious, innovative, and help us to promote a culture consistent with our principles of learning.

Because our community revolves around principles we have a very diverse group. We are teaming up with a virtual school in India, hired a programmer in Africa, learning from a kids coding school in Houston Texas, and training an army of FlutterKids...but mostly we are creating a community of families across the globe that want to help their kids survive and thrive in our new digital economy. You can help by contacting us directly and telling us how you want to help!


WEquil.School@gmail.com You can also join our network of Social Media platforms where we are sourcing ideas and growing our presence so we can reach more families!



Our Process


Everything at WEquil.School comes down to creative projects that add value to other people. Projects can be about anything, but they must be unique and make the world better.


To help members start making creative projects we developed what we call the Creative Learning Process. Here is an example from one of our early interviews, but it essentially comes down to three simple questions:

Creative Learning Process:

  1. What are your interests?

  2. Why?

  3. How can you channel this interest to add value to the world?

One stunning discovery from talking to hundreds of kids is that we are often the first school to ask them these questions, because traditional schooling has set curriculums without much room for the unique strengths and passions of our children.


By asking these questions we help young people (and adults also) discover a new source of curiosity and energy. Channeling that curiosity and energy, by harnessing the power of their uniqueness, is the catalyst that gets new members rolling.


Our Platform


Our platform is currently built on a private Slack group combined with a website. New members are invited to join Slack and are given a free blog upon which to publish projects. Creators own their content and are free to remove and edit it at anytime.


Slack provides a safer environment for families because the private setting is based on a set of channels that are available to view by all students and parents. All these eyes help to avoid inappropriate behavior and encourage collaboration around constructive activities.


Many of the channels have corresponding "Virtual Classrooms" on www.WEquil.School. This encourages members to build relationships and collaborate around shared deep interests like 3D Printing, App Building, Animation, Lifeschool, and a growing list of other educational topics. Here is the Lifeschool virtual classroom as just one example.


When members publish new projects they are invited to tag them and share them in the appropriate virtual classroom. As a result, new members can easily review other creative projects already published by member families. This process helps to facilitate collaboration and connection between families that happen to be enjoying similar activities.


Members are invited to Demo new projects every Saturday in an event we call Demo Day. Demo Day consists of two sessions. The first is a private session at 1pm for members that wish to only share with members of WEquil.School. The second is a public demonstration that we air live on Facebook and publish on YouTube. Public Demo Days revolve around a theme such as Genomics, App Building, and Comedy. We invite guest speakers to attend as well to share thoughts on member projects and discuss their experience in their field.


Here is one example from recent Demo Day on App Building.

Getting Started


New members can jump right in by following these steps!


  1. Sign up to our Google Calendar! https://calendar.google.com/calendar/u/0?cid=d2VxdWlsLnNjaG9vbEBnbWFpbC5jb20

  2. Join Slack and meet our members! Please create a bio that uses your real first name (last name optional), a broad geographic location (ex. Virginia), your kids ages, and why you joined WEquil.School. We will then introduce you to everyone!

  3. Take a personality test! This is a great way to start using our Virtual Classrooms and teaching your kids about their strengths! https://www.wequil.school/personalities

  4. Meet and greet over Zoom! We want our members to build relationships around shared deep interests. We meet with our members every Friday at 5pm eastern time as you can see from our calendar. Chek Slack for the Zoom Link!

  5. Build a Project! Once you have a draft, share it on the appropriate classroom channel in Slack. We give free blog space to members that have at least one solid project to share on Demo Day.


Project based + self-directed learning does not happen on its own. Neither do relationships. You get what you put into it at WEquil.School because that's how life works.


--


That sums up the basics on WEquil.School! We hope you find it as enjoyable as we have. Our daughters love learning and are learning faster than they ever did before. The best part is, they are learning to take charge of their own education and are building real world skills today because they are making the real world a better place.


Please tell us what you think and how we can make WEquil.School an even better place for you and your family!


Sincerely,

WEquil School Team








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