Our Story

"Tell me the Dreaming Spires story"

Dreaming Spires Home Learning had its start in 2012, but like all journeys in home education, the story goes back much, much further.

It's a story worth telling to anyone thinking of using Dreaming Spires for outsourcing, just because nobody wants to delegate their child's education to a stranger without good reason, without connecting on some level.

Hopefully, the way Dreaming Spires got its start and continues to grow will encourage you to trust that all of us who teach for the company are sort of like the you that you could be for your kids if you could just clone yourself!

Remembering back to those early days of career and then children and then the idea of educating at home, conjures up feelings of push and pull, stress and worry, and also relief. And that's exactly what it was like for our founder, Kat Patrick.

She had been in academic and education careers, both in the US where she was born and the UK where she spent most of her adulthood, for many years before having her first child in 2000. She struggled with the tug-of-war between her desire to be super-teacher to her students and basically just surviving with a new baby. Ultimately, the baby won out.

You can read about this decision on her personal blog, Boyschooling.

Over the next decade, she dabbled in various styles of homeschooling from Konos to Five in a Row, Heart of Dakota to Montessori, but the best fit for her four children, all within 6 years of each other, was the Charlotte Mason method.

In the meantime, she was building connections with home educating families throughout Oxfordshire, England, and its surrounding counties. The history co-op she ran out of her home for seven years played a huge part in what became Dreaming Spires, because here is where she met and taught with Jackie Pavlenko, Jenny Wells, and Alison Samuels, the creative writing, art history, and classics tutors respectively.

Then came the crunch moment: Kat's eldest was then 12, an avid and excellent reader, and thinking that it would be the perfect time to jump onto Ambleside Online's Year 7 curriculum, she ran into another few homeschooling moms on its Yahoo forum who were wanting to do the same thing, even though they were dotted all over the UK and the US.

This was when the idea for live, online tuition by a subject expert began: Kat's original Middle Ages Literature with her daughter among the guinea pigs ran from 2012-2013. The next year, she ran the Middle Ages Lit course for another group of home educators while adding Renaissance Literature for her daughter's group from the year before, and this pattern continued until all four years of English were created and running simultaneously.

Kat still runs all four of these courses today, three of them have already maxed out their numbers for 2019-2020.

While growing Dreaming Spires organically in these early years, she also leveraged her teaching experience to mark national exams in the UK, called IGCSEs in English Language, and started a intensive "crammer" course to help home educators to the kind of information and preparation that schooled kids receive from their teachers-cum-examiners. These revision courses run three times a year, and for those who can't attend a live webinar, she has written a step-by-step revision guide that's available on Amazon.

The next phase of Dreaming Spires came when, after the co-op disbanded for teens to go their own ways, Kat approached her former tutor friends and asked them to create some courses. As before, most of these were trialed by Kat's own children, especially as the benefit of outsourcing to experts was becoming more clear as the children moved into the latter years of secondary school.

In 2016, Kat moved back to her home town in Texas, kept running Dreaming Spires, started a new local co-op, and it was at this stage that she met Kim Jones, a local homeschooling science teacher. It wasn't long before Kim was recruited for Dreaming Spires, and ever since, expansion in the company's timetable has come thick and fast: Joel's foreign language courses, Yvonne's history, and new for this year, Sandra's geography, Jenny's art history, and Robert's probability courses.

All the while Dreaming Spires has been growing in the courses that it offers, happy clients have returned year and year, signing up their whole families, spreading the word to their friends and acquaintances, talking about it on social media, so that, at last count, we have served over a thousand students who live in more than 35 countries.

The take away from our story should be clear: this is a genuine venture of home educators for home educators, a family borne from one family and is now many.

We've been around long enough now that we're seeing how our courses are impacting the lives of our students, how they're getting accepted into places like West Point and Edinburgh University, Gordon College and Cambridge, UK.

And this summer, Kat has graduated the child who began it all, Dreaming Spires' Student Zero. She has been awarded an academic scholarship to study English and Entrepreneurship at Mt Holyoke College in Massachusetts, and will also swim for them. An interview about how she navigated this journey to a competitive college program can be found on the 7 Sisters Homeschooling podcast.

For more information about the part that Dreaming Spires Home Learning can play in your child's innovative learning journey and the reasons why families all over the world are choosing us over the other options out there, please see this page.

No comments

Post a Comment