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Frequently Asked Questions

    It’s an alternative to private schooling or homeschooling, granting a more personalized – and affordable – option for children that are not thriving in their current school. Instead of the traditional, single-subject, lecture-based classroom, the cohort model is based on generalist learning coaches creating personalized learning plans. These plans combine self-paced eLearning with expeditionary, project-based learning, to develop 21st-century skills. While cohorts share some characteristics with homeschooling, they typically take place at a studio or classroom space to accommodate a small number of students."
    No, Portals is under the umbrella of private education, so whether you are using Portals with your own children or setting up a cohort, you or your instructors do not need to be licensed. Also, Portals provides qualified teachers that will provide quality curriculum and support the instructors.
    Ultimately each site or family decides what is acceptable conduct, but Portals will help with training staff and parents and offer mentoring as desired.
    K-12 in all subject areas.
    Our learning model utilizes the research supported practices of project-based learning, choice/quest based learning, and literature based learning. Currently, we are using Portals Original content, Sonlight for some history and some literature, Berean and Apologia for science, and Math-U-See for math as our primary curriculum resources. These curriculum resources were selected with regards to the following criteria: 1) Faith-based - open to the full range of intellectual thought. The goal is not to shelter or shield learners from ideas, rather to avoid the ‘sheltering’ of secular ideologies to conceal the sacred from discussion. 2) Free market proven - We sought curriculum established and successful over time within the homeschool marketplace. 3) Multi-age integration or a topical approach that allows for multiple ages to study and work together.
    We include all classes expected of typical entrance qualification. Colleges generally require a specific number of years in particular subject areas and Portals will match or exceed each. We also support and encourage high school aged students to begin taking college level courses when ready, so they have a proven track record with college courses. This along with standardized test scores are sufficient for admission to higher education institutions. Some will request course descriptions which we provide. along with transcripts at the end of the year. In regards to accreditation, Portals is built on the premise that parents are the final ‘accreditor’ of education. National and/or State accreditation has not produced viable schooling systems for our children. Current government requirements are at times contrary to our beliefs and expectations for a robust and reason-based education. We see secular accreditation processes as a tool for government control of learning and part of the problem with government schools. Accreditation is a non-system to enforce worldview and compliance without popular vote or public discourse. Accreditation assumes that the accreditors matter, with school choice options outperforming public schools consistently, state accreditations simply don't matter as much as they may have in the past. See
    Yes! Portals is committed to the core tenets of the Christian faith and we are passionate about teaching the Gospel and modeling what it looks like to have a personal relationship with Christ. Our curriculum resources are chosen with respect to the worldview. We are non-denominational and willing to work with any families and churches that share our core beliefs. See Portal’s Beliefs to learn more.
    Yes! The Portals team members are all committed Christians. Site instructors and staff are required to be professing Christians and agree to our Statement of Faith. However, being a Christian is not a requirement of subscribing and using our resources.
    We value all areas of learning that allow our students to gain knowledge about God, the world and themselves. We want to give our students the opportunity to develop skills in areas outside the essential subjects and glorify God through their exploration and mastery. Therefore, we fully integrate art and stem into our projects and activities and will continue to add resources and options as we grow. Music, physical education and foreign languages are scheduled for the afternoon and are determined and organized by the site. For Families that want to emphasize one of these other areas beyond the projects we include. Portals is flexible enough in scope and time for you to add things in in the afternoons or on Fridays. For example, if you want a more intense music regimen, you simply enroll for lessons, or buy the curriculum, and make time for it each week.
    For our curriculum, you will want internet access, at least two computers (one for instructor and one for the student), and a printer.
    Ultimately, the amount of time spent on digital platforms will be determined by the learning coach facilitating the learning. The desire and goal of Portals is to prepare students for a tech savvy world so we do suggest and encourage more exposure and opportunity to develop technology based skills as students advance through our program. The amount of time that adds up to, depends largely on the age group and the project they are working on. We don’t support technology being used for its own sake though, so any tools or materials that are not enhanced by being online will be provided offline as well.
    Currently Portals is prepared for a nine month calendar (180 days) starting in September and wrapping up in early June. Portals has a four plus one weekly schedule. Monday through Thursday organized in flexible sessions for reading, language arts, math, history, science and projects. Fridays are reserved for exploration and extension through such activities as field trips, guest speakers, internships, projects and additional support. Plan for a 180 day school year if using Portals resources.
    Fridays are designed to be as flexible as possible to allow sites the time to add additional programs and adventures as fits the needs and interests of the community.
    One of the most significant barriers to parents having their children attend a non-public school is the tuition. One of Portals’ founding goals is to provide access to high-quality Christian education to students from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds. Through scholarships, fundraising, and resource trading Portals ensures that no child will be turned away due to finances. You can learn more by consulting with our team by contacting us via our website.
    Student driven pacing on Language Arts and Math are both accommodations for special education. We also suggest a number of sites like: and will work with sites to find and identify support for special needs. Support systems are readily available to families. Also, note that a number of more recent behavioral special needs designations are the outcome of grading systems, high population spaces, age segregation, and standardization in government schools and over time are minimized or ‘cured’ in micro-school or homeschool settings.
    We suggest that coaches/parents review every project and product with the student, noting areas of skill, creativity, and areas where the student can either improve next time, or edit and revise now. Immediate feedback systems work much like performance reviews or seeing the reaction of others to our work. These produce both motivation as students know all work is seen, and reflection as students think about how to grow. Traditional grading systems are both inconsistent and differ based on the person doing the grading. They are useful in sorting processes for mass-schooling and are used to divide ‘high’ ability and ‘low’ ability students, but have nominal impact on student learning. In other words they serve adults more than learners. Grades have been shown to 1) Create risk avoidance in work, 2) Create an unwarranted sense of completion, and 3) often don’t provide clear direction for growth. Where grading provides a false sense of success or failure, it is not success or failure in itself - which is generally the outcome when a learner follows up assessment. Grading does not aid or help students to master content or progress through material more quickly. Instead of assuming grades are important, we strongly encourage coaches to simply review work and provide feedback to students. Trust that joy, intention, and solid curriculum will provide a better educational foundation for learning. We do not require sites to use grades, nor do we collect ‘grades’ outside of annual standardized test scores which do provide both progress, and areas to work on in the following year.
    No, Portals provides a model that is a balance of both physical and digital materials, resources and activities. The amount of work being done online depends on the nature of the work (eg. sewing versus coding) and the developmental appropriateness (eg. kindergarten verses a senior). Portals views technology as a tool to be wisely leveraged to provide the following services: To consistently provide a quality education To have a program that is readily replicable To lower the cost and increase the quality To facilitate continuous improvement To facilitate current events discussion To provide consistent curriculum and lesson plans To automate the assessment process (testing, etc.) Outside of communication and data collection, most online resources and materials provided by Portals are optional and site instructors have final say when and how much students spend online.
    We believe that children learn best when working with children younger and older than themselves rather than split up into groups based solely on age. For some subjects, students are separated by level (not age) such as in math and reading. For subjects like science and history, students within the same developmental stage are easily grouped together. Bible curriculum is aligned across all ages. For many projects, fieldtrips, and exploratory activities all the students work and learn side by side even though they are gaining knowledge and skills specific to them. For homeschooling, this allows for segments of the day to be done together as a family and differentiation at other times.
    Portals is now developing it's own daily Bible curriculum with the intent that it equips parents/teachers to share their faith in their own way. Our common ground is the scripture, so we stick to that primarily. Our Bible curriculum... is the Bible. YEARLY: Over the course of three years, your learner will get an over view of the entire Bible. High Schoolers read it in it's entirety over three years, then are given the challenge to read the Bible in a year before graduating. WEEKLY: We provide 1 verse for memorization or recitation each week. These are selected as an overview of a theme for the year (Teachings of Jesus, Hope from the Psalms, etc.). DAILY: As in every other subject, we follow the Read, Think, Do approach. We provide daily readings (Read) with prompts for questions to ask to draw out the main ideas (Think) and we have age appropriate projects for each of the main levels to allow time to absorb and/or use the text in life (Do). By the way, GREAT question! This is the most important aspect of any child's education - do they know God's Word or not?
  • How do I get started?
    When you register for Hub Support, we start the wheels moving on our end. That looks a little different depending on you. Below are three overviews of the startup process for each group.
  • For Families: What does the process look like between sign up and starting school?
    Family Start Up STEP 1: Subscribe by Purchasing 'Hub Support': You'll choose from four levels of education grouping students developmentally or by age level. Each level has unique curriculum, reading materials, and project ideas that change each year to best support the developmental stage of each learner: ​ Founders Ages 5-8 (Early Elementary) Growers Ages 8-11 (Late Elementary) Thinkers Ages 11-14 (Middle School) Leaders Ages 14-18 (High School)​ ​​ ​For a short overview of these levels, please reference levels under Philosophy of Learning. If you have learners in different levels, you'll need to purchase hub support for each. Book lists are available for each level if you would like to look through the 2023-24 school year ahead of time. We will unlock member pages with Hub Support and start connecting you with other families. If you are transferring out of a public/government school, you will need to 'withdraw' them, if needed, we'll share a template form for this. ​ Space is limited. We can only grow so fast! Registration will be cut off when we reach our capacity to serve and create a quality experience for you. ​​ STEP 2: ​Set Levels for Math and Reading: After signing up for the Hub Support, you will be contacted by a Portals representative to determine math and reading placement. It may take a day or two, but we will reach out. We'll walk you through this if you need help. Math and Reading are not connected to age level, (or Portals Levels), they are based on competency. You can tell us where you want to place your child, or we can use placement testing to identify their readiness. We will also talk about your text and laptop needs and talk you through how to save you the most time or money on texts. ​ STEP 3: Arrange for Curriculum Materials: We do not include print materials or a laptop with hub support as some families would rather save money by purchasing used books or using the library. Some families prefer the convenience of having Portals send it all to their home. The price for "Reading Materials" is an average at-cost price across all levels, or the lowest we can get that price for you. After Step 2, you'll know what math and language arts to find, so you can go book hunting with the book list. Or you'll need to purchase the texts below for each level you have. Material purchases are time sensitive - Reading materials and laptop purchase options will only be available through July 1st, allowing us time to order and ship them prior to the start of the school year. STEP 4: Professional Development: In August 2023, we will have training to walk you through the philosophy of learning for Portals, strategies for teaching in each subject area, and setting up spaces for project-based learning. This training is free, and we will video cast for remote families. If you want to come in person, you'll need to arrange for hotel reservations. More information will be sent once the date and location have been determined. ​ STEP 5: Start Learning: Lesson plans will be delivered prior to the start of the school year. The school year begins after Labor Day weekend.
  • For Cohorts: What does the process look like between sign up and the start of school?
    STEP 1: Subscribe by Purchasing 'Hub Support' You'll select the levels you plan to have at your school. Founders Ages 5-8 (Early Elementary) Growers Ages 8-11 (Late Elementary) Thinkers Ages 11-14 (Middle School) Leaders Ages 14-18 (High School) You will only need 1 Hub Support for each teacher to ensure they get the plans/projects for their level each week. (Not per student!). STEP 2: Student Placement We will send all Math and Reading plans for the Micro-school, so you are set for whoever enrolls. We'll also provide placement links to help you place students. STEP 3: Reading Libraries Use the book lists to start ordering your libraries. If you want help with this we can walk you through it, but as you are buying for the school and not individual families, it's best is the shipments come to your school. STEP 4: Do you need Start Up Support? Don't let stumbling blocks stop you from starting a school! Every Micro-school is different, very different, so we may need to talk about customization and start up itself. Based on your situation, you may want to have a more personal connection to help with planning and getting a school set up; or you may be good to go and just want the Hub Support. We offer an option called 'Micro-School Start-Up Support' just for you to have a Portals contact to help you think through start up processes and set up a plan that is customized to your setting. Decide if this is right for you or not. STEP 5: Professional Development Plan on your professional development for teachers. We offer this for free with your 'Hub Support' per teacher plan. You can join us in person or follow up with the video captures as a school team later. We recommend an introduction to literature and project based learning as it is NOT what most people experience in traditional learning models. The training is a two day workshop. STEP 6: Start learning: We begin after Labor Day weekend!
  • For Private Christian Schools: What does the process look like between sign up and starting a school
    The short answer is that we will have a Portals planner contact you for a time to meet via video call, learn more about your school, and design a partnership strategy that works for your school vision and plan. For the long answer, let's talk! =)
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