Ignite Your Passion at Sage Oak May 19, 2017

Ignite Your Passion at Sage Oak

How Personalized Learning is Helping Sage Oak High School Sophomore, Mikala, Pursue Her Passion for Piano

A student’s education should be harmonious with the activities they love. At Sage Oak, students enjoy a flexible personalized learning option that leaves plenty of time in the day to pursue their passions. Take, for instance, Sage Oak high school sophomore, Mikala. At age 16, Mikala is already a master pianist, performing complex pieces in front of audiences. Meanwhile, she is also excelling in the classroom. Here’s how Mikala keeps the balance between homeschooling and piano in perfect tune.

A Customized Curriculum

At Sage Oak, students and their parents are able to choose a curriculum that fits their preferences. They also have complete control over their class schedule on a given day. For Mikala, this means she can attend piano lessons and other activities with Sage Oak vendors during the day, rather than having to schedule everything in the evening hours.

Dedicated Days for Schoolwork

Mikala and her mother, Jacqi, choose to make Tuesdays and Thursdays their primary academic instruction days.

“She gets more done when she can focus on her work for a full day,” Jacqi says. “Plus, it’s more like a college class schedule, so she’ll be fairly accustomed to college life when that time comes.” 

While Tuesdays and Thursdays are when Mikala spends the majority of her time focusing on core subjects such as math, science, history and English, she is completing schoolwork outside of the instructional window throughout the week. Jacqi calls Mikala’s schedule “flexibly structured,” meaning they have an agenda to follow, but it can be altered as needed. 

“Learning doesn’t always have to happen in a set class,” Jacqi says. “We are always evaluating where Mikala is in all subjects, where she wants to be, and what she needs to focus on.”

With Tuesdays and Thursdays making up the bulk of Mikala’s instruction time, she has Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to spend time practicing piano and catching up on assignments as needed. The freedom seems to be working for Mikala, as she aced an AP biology class as a freshman and is in the National Honor Society. Jacqi credits the Sage Oak staff for always supporting Mikala’s goals. 

“Our teacher facilitator, Erin Bunch, and the rest of the team at Sage Oak is truly superior,” Jacqi says. “They are a big part of the reason why Mikala has been able to accomplish so much.”

Learning from the Best

Mikala is currently taking her piano lessons with Sage Oak vendor, Yoko Hoshihara, one of the most sought-after piano teachers in the Inland Empire area.

“She’s amazing,” Mikala and Jacqi say simultaneously.

Jacqi continues, “If Mikala didn’t go to Sage Oak, getting into lessons with Yoko would have been tough to swing.”

In just four short years since she first started playing piano, Mikala is already doing recitals with Hoshihara, playing complex musical pieces from The Transformers, Batman: The Animated Series, and other well-known comics. She says she loves the progression from initially thinking a piece is way too hard to play to learning it and nailing it in front of an audience. Every year on Columbus Day, Mikala plays music for a play at her sister, Samantha’s, elementary school. The tradition started when Samantha’s teacher wanted to add a musical element to the annual play, to which Samantha volunteered Mikala.

A Bridge to a Musical Career?

In her junior year, Mikala will be taking AP psychology, along with statistics. Why did she choose such challenging subjects? They fit perfectly in her vision of going on to major in psychology and become a therapist or psychiatrist. Perhaps Mikala can integrate music into that career, such as musical therapy. Regardless, it is clear that Mikala has a bright future ahead in music, school, and life.

To learn more about flexible learning at Sage Oak, click here.