Embark Center for Self-Directed Education

Embark Center for Self-Directed Education

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Literacy is extremely important to effectively engaging with the world around us, personally and through media. Understandably, parents see reading and writing as essential to their goals for their children in a self-directed education world, sometimes worrying that a "laissez-faire" approach to learning will somehow pass these skills by.

As it turns out, learning to read and write is unavoidable, even for unschoolers, since so much of what they do is founded in play and other interactions with others. The experiences of self-directed learners evidence what appear to be seven principles that may cast some general understanding on the process of learning to read without schooling—

1. For non-schooled children there is no critical period or best age for learning to read.
2. Motivated children can go from apparent non-reading to fluent reading very quickly.
3. Attempts to push reading can backfire.
4. Children learn to read when reading becomes, to them, a means to some valued end or ends.
5. Reading, like many other skills, is learned socially through shared participation.
6. Some children become interested in writing before reading, and they learn to read as they learn to write.
7. There is no predictable "course" through which children learn to read.
Happy Thanksgiving! Embark! I am thankful I found you!
Why are parents negating childhood?

Why are today's kids allowed to do only a fraction of the activities their parents enjoyed? Just 10 percent walk to school. Tree forts have vanished. A 2018 study found kids play outside just half as much as their parents did. What gives?

These are the mysteries examined in the new documentary, Chasing Childhood, which is playing at the DOC NYC festival through November 19. The film—a cautionary tale—follows a family that pressured their daughter to succeed in school and college.
What do you want to do today?

"What was it like going to a self-directed education center compared to school?"

"I feel like that's an unfair comparison. It's two completely different places and two completely different mindsets. You can compare yourself in the two places but you can't compare the two places."
—Meghan and Grace, Embark Center Alumni
Embark's focus on free-play is very much informed by the work of Sir Ken Robinson, who passed away yesterday. He believed that "play is fundamental to human flourishing," which is the Center's keystone. His TED Talks have been watched by tens of millions and have inspired so many in their efforts to expand our engagement in authentic learning beyond the limits of institutional education.

Here, Sir Ken and Peter Gray talk about the incredible role play has in how we learn. Sir Ken will be missed, but his legacy endures.
Photo I got of Nugget this morning! ❤️
Late is better than never! Glad I made it in time to continue the celebration of your grand opening! #relatable, #autonomy #competency.

Embark is a community for young people ages 6 to 18 who would prefer to learn outside of the confines of traditional educational environments.

Embark Center for Self-Directed Learning is a resource center and community for youth who have decided to pursue their learning and life outside of school.

Embark Center for Self-Directed Education is a community of learners who wish to follow a unique personally designed path to pursuing their passions rather than exist within the confines of school. Members and their families may use our center however often and in whatever way they choose. Membership includes:

-Personal advisory relationship with Embark Center core staff member

-Minimum of three family meetings per year with personal advisor, more upon request

-Development of a family plan and a personal life plan

-Group classes and workshops at Embark Center

-One-on-one tutorials with Embark Center staff.

-Use of Embark Center during open hours for socializing and study

-Invitations to all trips and special workshops sponsored by Embark Center

-Support to design and complete private academic and/or non-academic projects

-Support to find volunteer work, jobs, and internships outside of Embark Center

-Support to find classes and activities outside of Embark Center

-Long-term support for alumni and families, including university admissions

Operating as usual

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 09/25/2021

Weekly Wrap-Up! Cooking, virtual reality, chess and more! ♟🎬🐍🧑‍🍳🎻

Embark Center Information Session 09/25/2021

Embark Center Information Session

Is your child refusing to go to school? We're here to tell you that they don't have to! At Embark Center for Self-Directed Education we believe that learning is natural, school is optional. Come to our next Information Session to learn how an educational path outside of the confines of traditional school may be just what your child is looking for.
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/embark-center-information-session-tickets-168444099837

Embark Center Information Session Are you curious about alternative educational options and want to know more about self-directed learning as a possibility for your child?

Embark Center Information Session 09/21/2021

Embark Center Information Session

Our next Information Session is just over a week away. We hope to see you there!
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/embark-center-information-session-tickets-168444099837

Embark Center Information Session Are you curious about alternative educational options and want to know more about self-directed learning as a possibility for your child?

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 09/18/2021

Weekly Wrap-Up!
Taking classes, exploring #historicleesburg , solving problems, and much, much more!

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 09/17/2021

Finding treasures at Black Shutter Antiques Center in historic Leesburg!

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 09/12/2021

First Weekly Wrap-Up of 2021-2022!
Making friends, scheduling offerings, exploring #downtownleesburgva and so much more! Thank you to everyone for a great week and see you tomorrow!

Volunteer - Embark Center for Self-Directed Education 09/09/2021

Volunteer - Embark Center for Self-Directed Education

Call for volunteers!
We're looking for people excited to share their time and talents with our members in the following areas:
Chess
Art
Film Studies
Photography
Hair Styling
https://embarkcenter.org/volunteer/
Thank you!

Volunteer - Embark Center for Self-Directed Education VOLUNTEERShare your time and talents with a young personEmbark Center volunteers greatly benefit our members and staff, helping us realize our commitment to community-based education. We are always looking for volunteers who would be able to serve the following roles: tutors class leaders workshop l...

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 09/09/2021

Checking out DIG Records & Vintage BUY SELL TRADE in downtown Leesburg. Have you been there?

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 09/07/2021

And we’re back!
Brainstorming classes, discussing how Embark works, choosing our community values, playing games, and getting to know each other. Phew! It’s been a busy first day!

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 09/06/2021

Thank you to everyone who helped spruce up Embark Center last week! We can’t wait to see you all tomorrow! ❤️

09/01/2021

Loudoun County, Virginia: Educational Alternatives

Thank you NOVANOW.TV for having Embark Program Advisor Catina Franklin Sweedy and Board Member and volunteer Jim Dunning on the show to talk about Embark Center and other alternative educational choices for families in Northern Virginia.

Joy is an Inside Job 08/25/2021

Joy is an Inside Job

We love to share updates from our community partners!

Joy is an Inside Job Our Keynote Lecture: Joy is an Inside Job, by Julia Cook

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 08/23/2021

Seeing old friends and meeting new ones at the first annual Embark Ice Cream Social! 🍦🍨

Embark Center Information Session 08/23/2021

Embark Center Information Session

Want to know more about Embark Center for Self-Directed Education? Come to our online information session tonight (8/23) at 7:00 PM!
Register here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/embark-center-information-session-tickets-165183778127

Embark Center Information Session Are you curious about alternative educational options and want to know more about self-directed learning as a possibility for your child?

08/18/2021

loudouncommunitypress.org

Hey there Loudoun County high school age young people! Don't miss this great opportunity through Loudoun Community Press! to be a part of their next student produced issue of Loudoun County Magazine! https://loudouncommunitypress.org/cover/

loudouncommunitypress.org

08/09/2021

Thank you to one of our Embark Parents for this beautiful review of our center!
“Embark Center for Self-Directed Education has been a dynamic part of my son's life for four years. The center provides an atmosphere that allows students to grow and learn based upon their own individual needs and goals. Each member is invited to participate and make their own contributions to the community. The support that is provided to both families and members is invaluable. The Embark Center is not only a learning environment but a place where students can grow, stretch their ideas and blaze their own path forward. Our family appreciates the center and the community for being a positive and vital piece of our son's educational journey.”

Thank you to one of our Embark Parents for this beautiful review of our center!
“Embark Center for Self-Directed Education has been a dynamic part of my son's life for four years. The center provides an atmosphere that allows students to grow and learn based upon their own individual needs and goals. Each member is invited to participate and make their own contributions to the community. The support that is provided to both families and members is invaluable. The Embark Center is not only a learning environment but a place where students can grow, stretch their ideas and blaze their own path forward. Our family appreciates the center and the community for being a positive and vital piece of our son's educational journey.”

07/26/2021

Memories from 2020-2021! We miss you all and can’t wait to see you again! Only 44 more days until our first day of 2021-2022 (but who’s counting?)!

Embark Center Information Session (Virtual) 07/23/2021

Embark Center Information Session (Virtual)

Does your child march to the beat of their own drummer? Are they the round peg trying to fit into a square hole? At Embark Center for Self-Directed Education in downtown Leesburg, we trust and support kids with their own educational choices. Come to our next online information session on Monday, July 26th, at 7:00 PM to find out how your child can live a happy, successful life outside the confines of traditional school.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/embark-center-virtual-information-session-tickets-161007751519

Embark Center Information Session (Virtual) Are you curious about alternative educational options and want to know more about self-directed learning as a possibility for your child?

Bilstad's Beignets 07/17/2021

Bilstad's Beignets

We are so excited to be hosting Bilstad's Beignets' next pop-up location on Saturday, July 24th, at Embark Center! Did you order your beignets yet? They sell out fast!
https://bilstadsbeignets.com

Bilstad's Beignets from our kitchen to your table

Giving Our Kids The Gift of Doing Nothing 07/06/2021

Giving Our Kids The Gift of Doing Nothing

The gift of doing “nothing” doesn’t have to be reserved for summer! At Embark Center, our members have the gift of embracing each day as it unfolds. Sometimes, they choose to plan in advance when it’s important to do so, but other times the gift of spontaneity yields so much!

Giving Our Kids The Gift of Doing Nothing In our busy, hyperactive lives giving our kids the space to do nothing can be one of the most precious gifts we give them.

07/02/2021

Don’t miss story time!!

We just made our Friday story time even more special! Come and see Vice Principal Annie Harris read If You Come to Earth by Sophie Blackall!

103 Loudoun Street, Leesburg
Birch Tree Books at the Embark Center back garden.

07/01/2021

Did you get your copy of Loudoun Now yet? Be sure to check page 8 for the wonderful write-up about us by Hayley Milon Bour.
If you didn't get the paper, you can still read the article here:
https://loudounnow.com/2021/06/29/embark-center-for-self-directed-learning-offers-reprieve-from-conventional-schooling/

Did you get your copy of Loudoun Now yet? Be sure to check page 8 for the wonderful write-up about us by Hayley Milon Bour.
If you didn't get the paper, you can still read the article here:
https://loudounnow.com/2021/06/29/embark-center-for-self-directed-learning-offers-reprieve-from-conventional-schooling/

Embark Center for Self-Directed Learning Offers Reprieve from Conventional Schooling - Loudoun Now 06/29/2021

Embark Center for Self-Directed Learning Offers Reprieve from Conventional Schooling - Loudoun Now

Thank you Loudoun Now for this fantastic article about us! We are so proud to be Virginia's only self-directed education center located right here in Loudoun County!

Embark Center for Self-Directed Learning Offers Reprieve from Conventional Schooling - Loudoun Now On weekday mornings, bells buzz in classrooms across the district to convene classes, just as roughly a dozen children settle

06/28/2021

Thank you to one of our member parents for this lovely review!
“Embark is a great place if you are looking for a community and self-directed, interest-based learning, with caring adults as mentors. It has been a good fit for my son.”

Thank you to one of our member parents for this lovely review!
“Embark is a great place if you are looking for a community and self-directed, interest-based learning, with caring adults as mentors. It has been a good fit for my son.”

06/27/2021

Community Meeting!
At Embark learning is so much more than academics. Members and staff run our center together, and Community Meeting is where we make announcements, solve problems, and work together to build an inspiring, supportive, and caring place welcoming to all. And we always end with thank yous and compliments. 🥰

Community Meeting!
At Embark learning is so much more than academics. Members and staff run our center together, and Community Meeting is where we make announcements, solve problems, and work together to build an inspiring, supportive, and caring place welcoming to all. And we always end with thank yous and compliments. 🥰

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 06/26/2021

Meet our awesome staff!

Andrea Cubelo-McKay founded Embark Center in 2017 after years of searching for an effective way of working with youth. Having been a therapist and a Montessori teacher, it was her work as a mom that led her to find a way to help young people create meaningful lives for themselves as she searched for alternatives for her own children.
Andrea lives in Hamilton, VA with her husband, children, dog, cats, and chickens. She enjoys gardening, knitting, and reading.

Catina Franklin Sweedy has over twenty-five years experience working in education as a private and classroom music teacher, nature educator, and homeschooler. She's a frequent lecturer and podcast guest about homeschooling, video game education, and self-directed education. She's also a Mojang certified Minecraft educator and lives in Leesburg with her husband, children, cats, guinea pig, rabbit, ball python, and who knows how many fish.

06/25/2021

At Embark education is about more than academics. Young people ages 6 to 18 learn how to be caring, contributing members of society, how to define their goals and reach them, how to let their creative, playful spirits shine, and so much more! Contact us today to find out if Embark Center for Self-Directed Education is the alternative your child has been yearning for.

06/18/2021

Birch Tree Books is popping up at Embark Center this summer! Come check them out!

See you tomorrow at 103 Loudoun Street! Open 11-6.

#shoplocal #loudouncounty #loudounmoms #loudounlocal #loveloudoun #visitloudoun
#leesburgva #leesburgbookshop
#downtownleesburg #shopdowntown
#birchtreebooks #bookstagram #bookish
#bookstore #indibookstore #bookworm
#booklover #newbooks #newreleases
#fictionbooks #bookseller #shopsmall

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 06/11/2021

Sunflower Shack LLC how do we love thee? We can’t possibly count the ways! Thank you for a wonderful year (and for all of the hot chocolate & candy!), and we’ll see you in the fall! ❤️🌻❤️🌻❤️🌻

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 06/10/2021

It’s a wrap! Thank you to everyone for making this year so amazing! To those of you moving on, we will miss you dearly, but you will always be part of our Embark family!

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 05/30/2021

Weekly Wrap-Up: Bearded dragon time, cooking class, bias in media workshop by Loudoun Community Press and more!

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 05/28/2021

Thank you Loudoun Community Press for your excellent workshop on Bias in Media yesterday! We learned so much!

Photos from Embark Center for Self-Directed Education's post 05/22/2021

Weekly Wrap-Up: Minecraft potatoes, baby bearded dragons, #rummikub and more!

Embark Center Virtual Information Session 05/21/2021

Embark Center Virtual Information Session

Are you exploring alternative educational options for your child for 2021-2022? Come to this online information session on Tuesday, May 25th, at 7:00 PM to learn more about Embark Center for Self-Directed Education in downtown Leesburg and our whole-child approach to learning!
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/embark-center-virtual-information-session-tickets-154481541449

Embark Center Virtual Information Session Are you curious about alternative educational options and want to know more about self-directed learning as a possibility for your child?

Join - Embark Center for Self-Directed Education 05/18/2021

Join - Embark Center for Self-Directed Education

Our Early Bird discount on tuition ends in less than two weeks! Contact us today to learn more about self-directed education and see if Embark is right for your child!
https://embarkcenter.org/join/

Join - Embark Center for Self-Directed Education If your family believes Embark and its self-directed education model are a good match for your young person, then let’s begin the application process. Our annual tuition is $13,100 for full-time membership and $9,400 for part-time (we pro-rate for members who join mid-year). We also offer a 10% Ea...

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103 Loudoun St. SW
Leesburg, VA
20175

Opening Hours

Monday 9am - 3:30pm
Tuesday 9am - 3:30pm
Wednesday 9am - 3:30pm
Thursday 9am - 3:30pm
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