American Academy of Strategic Education

Free Trial Day

Welcome New Students! We are excited to have you attend one of our FREE in-person trial days.
10/26 at Newport Mesa
10/27 at Mission Viejo

We are offering one FREE day to students TK-8th grade on either 10/27 at our Mission Viejo location OR 10/26 at our Newport Mesa location:

  • Mission Viejo (near Saddleback College): 28892 Marguerite Parkway, Suite 260, Mission Viejo, CA 92692 (*Marguerite Plaza)  View Map  (upstairs in back)
  • Newport Mesa (near airport): 3920 Birch Street, Suite 105, Newport Beach, CA 92660 
  • (*Enter off of Quail St, second driveway.)  View Map
Kidspot (Grades TK-1) 8:45AM – 1:00PM

Activity-based, developmental program suitable for Grades TK-1. Our Kidspot (Grades TK-1) and Kidspot+ (Grade 1) activities are designed to provide a well-rounded experience and ensure that your child becomes a happy and confident individual. Research shows that children experience genuine and natural learning when they are having fun. Our play-based, project-based curriculum offers science laboratory experiments, music, P.E. activities, painting, reading stories, dress-up, STEAM, and many culturally rich activities.

Bridge (Grades 2-3) 8:45AM – 2:00PM

American Academy’s Bridge (Grade 2) and Bridge+ (Grade 3) program is developed for students who are bridging to the Academy next year. Students will work closely with the teacher to learn core subjects through projects that are developed specifically for them. We have found that students become deeply engaged in their learning when they have options on the projects that they choose.

Academy Program (Grades 4-8, separated into specific age groups) 8:45AM – 2:00PM

Includes Essential Discourse Classes (core-subject project-based classes) and Social & Academic Clubs

Essential Discourses & Projects is American Academy of Strategic Education’s cornerstone academic program. These captivating and engaging discourses meet California state standards and provide an excellent opportunity for students to be personally and deeply connected to important core subject matter. Students sharpen their ability to articulate and defend positions, consider different points of view, and enlist and evaluate evidence. Essential Discourses & Projects prioritizes the learner’s acquisition of knowledge and skills through active dialogue rather than passive teacher-centered lectures.

American Academy’s Club Hub – social and academic student-led clubs provide excellent opportunities for students to develop their verbal communication skills, develop their leadership talents, apply their cross-curricular knowledge, and make real-world connections. 

Information Day and Q&A

– Tuesday, Sep 7th: Transitioning to Flexible Learning Virtual Presentation

10:00a – 11:00p | 2:00p – 3:00p

Join us to learn how American Academy is providing a fun, safe, and innovative environment for students. Our programs allow our students to flourish academically and socially. This virtual event will be held by Angela Hansen, President and Founder of American Academy to answer enrollment questions for our 2021-2022 programs.

– Tuesday, Sep 7th: In-Person Open House (Walk-Ins Welcome)

Mission Viejo | Newport Mesa | 11:00a – 2:00p

Join us to learn how American Academy is providing a fun, safe, and innovative environment for students. Our programs allow our students to flourish academically and socially. Just drop in. RSVP is not required.

  • Opportunity to tour our Mission Viejo or Newport Mesa academy and meet with our director and teacher
  • Bring your child for fun STEM-based activities (Grades TK-12)
  • Learn about the programs offered .
  • Ask questions
  • Everyone is welcome! Current and prospective families.

Best Homeschooling OC!

American Academy of Strategic Education is honored to be elected as the winner of Parenting OC’s 19th Annual Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Homeschooling. Our heartfelt thanks to all those who have voted us for this prestigious position.

Open Houses Fun Youth Activities

Get to Know American Academy of Strategic Education
Fun Youth Activities

8,17, 8,18 | 8/25, 8/26 | 8/31, 9/2

  • Opportunity to tour our Mission Viejo or Newport Mesa academy and meet with our director and teacher
  • Bring your child for fun STEM-based activities (Grades TK-12)
  • Learn about the programs offered .
  • Ask questions
  • Everyone is welcome! Current and prospective families.

Public School: “Massive learning loss” reported by school board.

Angela Hansen
President & Founder
American Academy of Strategic Education

Many public school boards are hosting their final meeting the week of May 17, 2021. I attended one last night that, unfortunately, was about what I expected.

The meeting began 29 minutes late. Then school board members spent the first 36 minutes patting the teachers on the backs. They also voted to give the teachers a bonus for their efforts. Then attendees listened for 24 minutes to school board member’s experts explaining that there was “so much learning loss this year” and such “grave academic gaps that need to be filled,” so much so that next year will be a “repeat” and “a make-up year” for all students. …They also informed the masses who came to complain about their children having to wear masks at school, that the topic was being pulled from the agenda for the night. Then they somehow finagled a way for some of the attendees to speak about masks. It seemed like thousands of parents complained about the ill-health of their children due to wearing masks at school. The school board eventually got to the “cultural proficiency” curriculum topic at 12:10 AM. I spoke at 12:40 AM.

I want to address the issue of the Board’s incessant back-patting last night. While it is wonderful that the teachers figured out unique ways to do some teaching during the pandemic, it is important to remember, these teachers are getting paid to do their jobs. Sometimes I get the feeling that public school boards think they represent the teachers and the “Teachers’ Union” when in fact they are supposed to be representing the students, parents, and taxpayers of the district. I am so disappointed that this school board did not acknowledge the PARENTS for the work they did this year. Teachers were getting paid to teach our children even when parents are doing half the teachers’ jobs while at the same time, those parents are also doing their own jobs—hosting Zoom conference calls, trying to keep their own businesses afloat, etc. However, I know many parents who filled-in for public school teachers yet didn’t get any sort of pat on the back from our school board last night!

My own children, and the students who attend my academy did not experience any learning loss. Our students were being taught, in-person all year by courageous, diligent teachers. Our students learned all the State Standards and how to apply those standards in their lives. 

People keep asking my opinion about the two hot topics discussed at the meeting: the mask mandate and the cultural proficiency curriculum. Here are my thoughts on the mask mandate issue. The school boards were up against the State of CA and the State Board of Education pushing them to remain remote or require masks. Only a few boards chose to require students to wear masks and opened their doors to in-person learning for various grades at some point this past school year. Parents sent their children back KNOWING the rules. Afterwards, the parents claim that the masks are making their children very sick, listing a myriad of ailments their children experience daily, yet the parents keep sending them back wearing masks, day after day. At some point I would think that parents would have pulled their kids out of the toxic environment they described in such horrific detail and homeschooled them or sent them to an alternate academy like American Academy of Strategic Education. If homeschooling or private school wasn’t an option, parents could have gotten creative to figure out another solution for their children like so many other parents have done. 

The other hot topic was the new cultural proficiency curriculum. First, I want to state that it’s NOT the school’s responsibility to teach values which is what they are doing with this curriculum. Teaching values is the parents’ responsibility. No matter what the school board thinks, it isn’t their place to teach values. Although they might think they should teach values because they think they know best, but it is not their place—they are overstepping their bounds. Let parents teach the values they think are most important and schools stick to what they are paid to do—teach academics. 

Second, this curriculum might have been better received by parents had the school board posted the teachers’ lesson plans rather than a student’s version of the curriculum. Only posting the student’s version doesn’t feel 100% transparent. 

My biggest concern is that these lessons are further segregating our students rather than uniting them. For example, their discussion on bullying was really about differences in race, gender, family makeup and sexual orientation. This same lesson could be taught successfully without having to single out specific groups based on identity. This type of discussion these lessons propagate protects a select group of students while insinuating that the remaining, unprotected group, are the aggressors. 

Furthermore, it appears to me that the sample lessons they posted were actually more of a decoy for the real lessons the school board is planning to sneak into the curriculum with their book burning tactics and through implementing the new high school a-g courses such as “Equity and Access Inclusivity.”

I have two white sons who, through no fault of their own, due to programs such as this new “cultural proficiency” program, are now classified as the enemy and, although they are the nicest, kindest, most inclusive young men one could ever hope to meet, they are seen as the most hated people in America. I hope no school board adopts any kind cultural proficiency curriculum. I would rather they not perpetuate hate by focusing on differences. I want them to find a way to include and unite rather than exclude and divide. 

My final thoughts are about the parents who did what was right for their children this year. What’s right for one family is not necessarily what is right for another. There are many parents who homeschooled 100% on their own this year because they felt that was the right thing to do. I want to applaud PARENTS for all the teaching they did this year. If you are one of the millions who taught their own children this year, please give yourself a pat on the back!

I am proud that American Academy of Strategic Education could be part of the solution for many families. We had a huge influx of students in our hybrid programs. I am proud to say that our students  did not suffer a “massive learning loss” like students in public school suffered this year. American Academy of Strategic Education’s students will not have any need for “learning recovery” next year. Our students will be ahead of the curve.

Summer Camp 2021

Project-based & Academic-based Learning All Summer – Perfect for Filling in Learning Gaps!

Join us for an exciting summer filled with thrilling and stimulating programs!

Students can participate in fun, engaging, and hands-on STEM activities like designing a strategic escape room, outdoor wilderness shelter survival, game design, learning about the Olympics through our Amazing Race Challenge, physics egg drop experiment, creating exploding volcanoes, testing different slime recipes, entrepreneurship and business development as seen on Shark Tank, play strategic board games, learn how to code video games with programs like Tynker, FlowLab, and Scratch, join in the competitive action during our PE games and WiiFit. We will also offer fitness activities and active outings, such as walking field trips to eat lunch at a nearby park or cafe, community service opportunities, and more!

2-week camps; 3 days per week
Tuesday / Wednesday / Thursday
Remote or In-person
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m (In-person) | 10:30 a.m – 1:30 p.m (remote)
Aages 5 – 14

See details and register at our Summer Camp Page.

A Message from Our President and Founder

April 2021

Dear Prospective American Academy Families,

There are simply no words to describe what this past year has brought to all of us. What the world has experienced has been beyond what many of us could’ve ever imagined. However, amid the worldwide pandemic, in which many schools across the US are still boarded up tight, American Academy of Strategic Education remained open to educate children. Thanks to our courageous staff and our strong health and safety practices and following layered prevention strategies, American Academy proved to be among the safest places in the whole world while still offering children a comprehensive year of in-person or hybrid learning. Many of our students have chosen to return to the academy fully in-person at this point, we still offer remote options for students who are away from the academy.  

This year, while many other schools were struggling to meet their student’s needs, children at American Academy of Strategic Education completed fascinating Math, Science, English, and Social Studies projects! Children participated in real-world discussions, learned new languages, deconstructed machinery to explore it’s inner workings, coded unique video games, journeyed around the world through our Passport Program, and participated in clubs that are of unique interest to each of them. Student’s met their match in dodgeball tournaments during PE and enjoyed playing like children during recess.They attended academic field trips where they learned first-hand about whale migration, the importance of honey bees to our ecosystem, and the reality of the four forces of flight while airborne in a wind tunnel. They also panned for gold, learned about renewable energy, and explored Ocean Institute’s amazing array of marine creatures up close. The school year of 2020-2021 will go down in our history books as unique for many reasons, but for American Academy students, it will be because they had the opportunity, whether in-person or a hybrid of in-person and virtual, to be physically learning, engaging, designing, and exploring while other children were merely zooming.

Our commitment was to ensure that every child had the opportunity to receive an education that was just right for their situation. From the joy I see on our students’ faces as they enter their academy doors, and witnessing their lively discussions about real-world issues, along with their parent’s testimonials, I am satisfied that we have accomplished our mission.

We look forward to the opportunity to teach your child as partners with you. I promise you that American Academy’s commitment to your child is unwavering. 

Warm regards,

Angela Hansen
President and Founder
American Academy of Strategic Education

Free Workbook Download

Download our new St. Patrick’s Day workbook for a fun project to learn about this global celebration! 🍀

Our Fall Enrollment has begun! Learn about American Academy’s K-12 flexible education, kidspot program (ages 5-7), bridge programs (ages 8-10), social activities including monthly field trips & more. Schedule an appointment with us now and get an early bird discount here:

What are Your Standards? – Know Your Educational Standards in a New Era to Help Your Children Thrive

Executive Director – American Academy of Strategic Education

In recent times, there has been a paradigm shift with regard to how education is viewed. No longer are classrooms in brick-and-mortar buildings with desks in rows. Educating children is fluid and has changed drastically in less than a year for students and teachers. There are those who have been able to thrive with this drastic change. Families who have been homeschooling their children have had little disturbance in their child’s education. The flexible model of homeschooling provides children wonderful opportunities for them to learn and meet state standards in an environment that promotes higher-level thinking.

Educational standards for core subjects such as Math, English Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies are determined by each state. In addition, there are some states which have adopted national standards for Math and English. The reason for many states adopting these standards is to help unify learning outcomes for students across the country. 

The state’s educational board assures that these learning standards are concise, with written descriptions of what students are expected to know at their specific stage of education. There is a learning progression that is purposeful for learning across multiple developmental areas, stages, age, and grade-levels. The basic idea is to ensure that students are learning age-appropriate material and that educators are sequencing materials as they teach their students.

Highly proficient schools use curriculum mapping to help their teachers deliver instruction. Teachers work collaboratively on unit plans, lessons, cross curricular activities, and real world applications to help students meet the standards. Teachers incorporate as many modalities of learning such as sight, sound, feel, taste, and smell into their lessons to help students with different learning styles and help with retention of content.

Homeschooling and flexible schooling are adaptive educational options that give parents a greater role in the educational direction of their child. Children’s educational progress is tracked by parents or in the case of students who attend a learning center such as American Academy, student’s learning is tracked by the student’s teachers just like in a traditional school setting. American Academy of Strategic Education understands the importance of meeting the standards to help students become successful. Our project-based classes and personalized curriculum options assures our students not only fulfill state requirements but in most cases, surpass these requirements. 

American Academy teachers and administrators develop relevant and real-world units that promote student learning and intense student engagement. The academy’s project-based units reinforce the importance of curiosity and imagination, initiative, adaptability, critical thinking and problem solving, oral and written communication, collaboration, and assessing and analyzing information. These key indicators help the academy’s programs be successful in meeting each student at their learning level and deliver the standards for learning.

If families are new to homeschooling or flexible schooling, rest assured, there are plenty of opportunities to collect measurable achievements for children that are aligned to the standards. American Academy works closely with parents to provide meaningful feedback for students. We outline each educational unit ensuring they are aligned to the State Standards. In addition, having low student-to-teacher ratios help teachers assess students’ learning effectively. Furthermore, the academy’s flexible-tailored programs help students at their learning level which assists in bridging learning gaps created in previous academic years. Standards are surpassed at the academy through independent study where students are able to work at their pace of learning and higher-order thinking through discussion-based project-based lessons.

American Academy of Strategic Education takes great pride in helping students achieve measurable goals, supporting teachers with instruction, and using project-based lessons to showcase student achievement – all of which are aligned to the standards for each student at their learning level. Furthermore, the academy exceeded standards by helping provide consistency for student outcomes to give students the necessary tools for the twenty-first century workforce.

Character Counts: Helping Your Child Navigate their Complex Roles During COVID

Ask yourself. Amidst this pandemic, where has COVID left you…physically, emotionally, mindfully? Not only has COVID incited devastating tragedy, but it has also played with the minds and emotions of many…especially our youth. It is difficult enough dealing with the pangs and challenges of growing pains but now COVID has added a mask-ridden anxiety lifestyle to our children’s repertoire. Our youth now exist in a different world where their character development may be stymied due to the hiatus in society and nature of “regular life” as we know it.

How can we keep our children motivated and engaged when they are being told to stay home and when they have limited avenues of connection and social interaction? We can ask them to look within and use this time as introspection. The other day, out of the lips of a child, I heard, “2020 is the worst year ever…” While this year has been a challenge for many, especially those who have been personally affected by COVID, many are still fairing life as normal as possible with the exception of a few social changes. As adults we know that in times of trial and adversity, characters are often refined and defined. This is the ideal time to call on the attention of our youth and ask them to focus on their character.

In this day and age, we must ultimately understand that the character of our children is perhaps the most important, most urgent quality a parent must instill. Parents often worry about academic progress, homework, test performances, etc… As these are essential success factors for our children, we must also be concerned about the type of person that our children are becoming. Who are they? Who do they consider themselves to be? When no one is looking, does your child do the right thing? Is your child reflective about the way they treat others? What do they stand for or do they fall for anything? Sometimes, at our children’s whim, we give them everything they want, and why shouldn’t we? The world is a cold and unforgiving place and we want our time with them to be as loving and as nurturing as possible. But we also want to ensure we find a balance and we teach them about the different ways their character affects the world around them. The world is not only about them, no matter how precious they are to us. As a parent, it is our moral obligation to help our children develop their character.

Character is all about roles and how those roles are performed. Have each child analyze themselves. What different roles do they play? Have them consider the different aspects of their lives and the significant roles they play: son or daughter, sibling, friend, student, athlete, teammate, performer, artist, church member, neighbor, etc… 

Now have them make an evaluation of the roles they play to honestly assess how well they are meeting the expectations of each. Is each role barely meeting their expectation? Is there a role that needs more attention and energy? By doing a self-evaluation and by emphasizing the roles they play and how that affects the world around them–COVID or not, our children can honestly hold themselves accountable as they continue to develop their character of excellence.

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