We plan to soon produce a comprehensive guide that explains Daedalus Education in greater detail. This FAQ will remain and changes will reflect discussions in our forums (please participate!). Please take a look around the rest of our site for more information. As we hear more questions, we plan to continually update this page.
Questions and answers by category:
Q: What's the story behind the Daedalus company name?
A: After several weeks of looking for a symbol to represent our mission and philosophy, we remembered the part of Daedalus (the "clever worker") in Greek mythology. Daedalus encapsulates the spirit of participation in the inventive crafting of our world, and also warns us of the pitfalls of achievement without wisdom. The story of the labyrinth built by Daedalus also contains an analogy to the modern world. In the end, the mind-boggling complexity of the labyrinth was hacked by a tool as simple as string.
Q: How do Daedalus programs differ from others?
A: At Daedalus, our primary goal is to build a culture of motivated learners who are both independent and collaborative. Students are challenged to unravel new concepts on their own or in small groups before these concepts are articulated by an instructor. Problem sets and projects are substantially more challenging than at school, and students left unchallenged are moved to higher level classes at the discretion of instructors. Curriculum is designed to be both more broad and to go deeper into topics. For instance, courses in mathematics include topics taught little in traditional curriculum such as number theory and probability. But we even take traditional arithmetic, algebra, and geometry to higher levels with more thorough exploration. While class can be intense at times, class time often also includes games and other opportunities to work in a social environment. Classes for younger students are designed to be inspirational. Older students are expected to help bring energy and leadership to the classroom.
Q: Do you plan to open additional Daedalus Education centers?
A: Our first goal is to build an excellent set of programs at one center. This will take an enormous undertaking. We plan to host classes in mathematics, communication, programming, engineering, science, economics, and whatever else students need in order to pursue their interests in an increasingly amazing world. Then will we think about what we might do next.
Q: Can parents sit in on class?
A: Yes, and we encourage it, provided there are enough chairs available in a given classroom. Parental involvement in class is not strictly necessary, but can be beneficial in many ways, including as an additional set of role models. We also believe witnessing our classes will enhance our reputation; We work hard to formulate the best classroom experience. We do however ask that parents respect the will of the instructor in regards to the flow of class, and save discussions about class until after the lesson is complete.
Q: Is mentoring/tutoring a better option than class?
A: That depends on what you are looking for, the needs of the student, course offerings, and a variety of other factors. A dynamic and interactive class may in many cases be more beneficial than one-on-one private work. The value of building culture and peer relationships cannot be overlooked.
Q: If I know my child will miss two or three classes in advance, or is too sick to join class, can you offer prorated classes?
A: We do not offer prorated courses. The only reason we ever prorate a course is when a new student to our program wants to join in the middle, and is judged to be capable of doing so during the initial interview. There are several reasons why we do not offer prorated classes. First, each course is capped, and classes are priced based on that potential enrollment. Also, the management time involved means more work for us, not less, when a studentís schedule involves being in and out of class, and that takes away from the time we invest in building and improving our programs. Each two hour class is usually the result of 20 or more hours of careful writing and choreographing of the process. This highly complete curriculum is given to students who miss a class to best help them keep up with our intense programs.
We do plan to have tutors on staff who can be hired to help a student catch up on missed material.
Q: If my child misses a class, is there a makeup class?
A: Only if we are running multiple instances of the same class, which depends on enrollment levels. If there are seats available, a student can shift over to the other class for a session as needed.
Our courses involved a complete engagement between students and instructor, and are a combination of prepared material, choreographed to perfection, and a high level of improv during group discussions. For this reason, makeup classes from various levels cannot be blended, and instruction time would be doubled. And we also believe that this is why our courses are so valuable! Our instructors work hard during class time to make it all work. Many classes are crafted to a level we consider performance art.
Q: Are classes recorded?
A: Our classes are highly dynamic! Discussion often revolves around the work that different groups are doing at different stations/white boards around the room. This helps us to maximize our time in class. Students spend time in the exploration process, but also get a more complete picture of a topic when they view the explorations of the other groups. Recording these classes would require a complex array of views, one or more camera operators, and good editing, which make the possibility prohibitively expensive. We like to think that demonstrates the wonderfully participatory and enriching aspect of our courses.
Instead of recording, we spend a great deal of time crafting the story of each class into the curriculum. In most cases, 20 or more hours of time has been spent designing a highly complete curriculum for each class, which serves the motivated student better and more quickly than any single-camera video could.
A: What do you mean? African or European swallow?
Q: How can I tell which level of class is appropriate for a child?
A: In some cases the course description may give a complete or nearly complete picture as to whom a class best targets. We do plan to post pre-tests and post-tests for some courses in the future. However, you can contact us and schedule an interview. While a 30 minute assessment is too short to give a complete picture, the process have proven effective and often gets students excited to begin working.
Q: How do I register for a class at Deadalus?
A: First, we meet with and evaluate each student prior to first enrollment. There is a $50 fee for each evaluation starting on June 1, 2014. We require a registration form to be filled out for each student (just once unless contact information changes). This can be done before or after an interview. After an evaluation, we recommend the most appropriate course(s) for each student. At that point, registration can take place in person, by phone, or here online (we encourage this last option).
Q: What new courses will Daedalus offer in the future?
A: There are several answers to this question. Programming and computing will be a high priority. Second, we plan to offer what we can that families demand. You can help us know what courses to build. Finally, just like everyone else, we don't know where the future will take us. We constantly look around and ask, ``What should be a part of our programs?" Times change and so will we.
Q: How much homework should students expect?
A: First and foremost our goal is to provide the most excellent classroom experience possible. This means that our efforts are aimed first at our primary curriculum. Homework requirements vary from program to program. Students taking courses aimed at middle and high school students usually need to spend as much time outside of class on materials as they do during class.
Q: Do students receive a grade for a class at Daedalus?
A: Currently, the answer is 'No.' However, if we move toward offering accredited classes in the future, we may reconsider the ways in which we evaluate students. Daedalus classes are different from school classes, and we don't want to set a "minimum goal" for students or encourage students to work toward the exact same goal, but instead encourage each student to take control of their education and get as much out of each class as they are able. Our current plan is to follow up each class with an evaluation of the progress of each student. A student's evaluations will be stored in a Google document that can be accessed by parents of the student at any time.
Q: Do students receive credit for courses completed at Daedalus?
A: Currently, no, though classes may help many students earn credit at courses at school, homeschooling curriculum, or make credential exams such as the AP exams easier to pass. Moving forward, we plan to give accreditation serious consideration, though many of our classes are outside the school of traditional schooling.
Q: Do you plan to offer standardized test preparation courses (SAT,ACT,etc.)?
A: We are considering it. If we do, these courses will differ from those normally marketed. For starters, much of the goal will be to help students develop long-term independence in shaping their learning habits. We will also tailor classes toward advanced students according to their needs.
Q: Does Daedalus offer scholarships?
A: As of the the Fall of 2013, the answer is no, but that we are looking into finding and making available resources that will help more students enjoy our programs. In a few cases, when students show particular maturity and the ability to communicate, we do plan to take on course assistants in exchange for tuition.
Q: Does Daedalus offer discounts, such as for multiple enrollments?
A: We are waiving registration fees for all students who enroll in one of our programs prior to September 30, 2013.
Q: Are Daedalus programs geared primarily toward academic competitions?
A: No, at least not primarily. Daedalus programs are geared toward students challenging themselves to reach higher and learn more. Many such students participate in academic competitions for a variety of reasons, and our programs can be an enjoyable and intense way to train. The Daedalus curriculum does include thousands of exercises taken from academic competitions both because they are challenging, and also lead students to a more complete understanding of beautiful concepts. Since our programs are geared toward long term development, they may even potentially get in the way of short term competition training. However, the opposite is often true: motivated students train harder upon exploring a more interesting and complete set of ideas.
Q: Do you offer courses geared toward academic competitions?
A: Yes. Currently we are planning courses aimed at MATHCOUNTS, the AMC, and the AIME mathematics competitions, and our other math classes are at a high level consistent with the challenge and beauty of math competition problems. We also hope to offer other competition oriented courses in the future for students who enjoy that form of challenge. It should be noted, however, that our regular math progression is oriented toward long term success. In some cases, they may result in short term improvements, particularly for the inspired student. But the curriculum doesnít not sacrifice mature development of skills for the sake of short term success. The competition courses are oriented toward the development of the more specific competition oriented skills.
Q: Will Daedalus classes help my child perform better at academic competitions?
A: While it is impossible to predict results on an individual basis, Daedalus staff has trained numerous state, national, and international competition champions, as well as hundreds of other award winning competitors. An excellent program can help students achieve more. There is a long history of academic coaches around the nation building programs with high success, and rarely does the full success continue beyond the career of the coach because it takes so many individual achievers to contribute to such success.
Another way to consider the effects of academic training is whether you think tennis practice or piano lessons will improve a leaner's competitive performance. Learners who want to compete usually benefit from training. Learners who do not want to compete are sometimes demotivated by the additional work they find uninteresting. The environment matters a lot too. Learners who enjoy the process and feel supported work harder. Our mission includes pedagogical aims and unique curriculum development, but also fostering an environment that balances enjoyment with work, and intensity with community support.