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At Halstrom Academy, we pride ourselves as leaders in innovative education who utilize research to drive our ideal educational approach. Currently, there is a buzz in educational research on peak learning times. Unlike the traditional school model that has a confined 8am-3pm schedule, Halstrom Academy’s flexible and intentional scheduling allows us to integrate this research to adapt to our student needs and advance student success.
So, when is the best time of day for your child to study? The research suggests that the average high school student is most mentally alert in the morning and least mentally alert in the afternoon. Morning learners have strengthened immediate memory recall, particularly in Mathematics and Language. Research also suggests that the average middle school student is most mentally alert in the afternoon and least mentally alert in the morning. Afternoon learners have strengthened long-term memory recall, particularly in Reading Comprehension and English Literature (Wile & Shouppe, 2011).
Halstrom Academy knows that every student has his/her own internal timing mechanism. That’s why we plan to implement the Learning Preference Inventory to determine your child’s peak learning time. The Learning Preference Inventory consists of 15 true/false statements to inform us of a single time of day your child is most productive: morning, afternoon, or evening. Once we identify the time of day your child is most productive, we plan to pinpoint their ultradian rhythm and peak learning times via an Ultradian Rhythm Tracker. Ultradian rhythms are 90-120 minute brain frequency cycles that occur throughout the day, affecting how alert and productive we are (Figure 1). The Ultradian Rhythm Tracker will track your child’s levels of focus, enthusiasm, and energy throughout each of these cycles. This will allow our Halstrom Academy team to better understand when, where, and how your child is most productive. By aligning your child’s natural ultradian rhythm to their schoolwork, we can increase their productivity and academic performance.
This is what sets Halstrom Academy apart! Our flexible scheduling allows us to match your child’s highest priority work to their most productive hours. By scheduling your child’s classes during their peak learning time, your child is able to enjoy learning at a faster rate without battling feelings of discomfort or fatigue. We are then able to plan extracurricular activities, social engagement, and relaxation during your child’s least productive hours. This model allows for your child to better retain new information and demonstrate mastery.
We’re not only focused on understanding peak learning times, but also how your child learns best. The forgetting curve states that we forget up to 90% of what we learn within 3 days without review (Figure 2). This is reflected in the average student at the traditional school setting. Newly acquired information is stored in their working memory for immediate retrieval. However without timely review, the student quickly forgets this information and never demonstrates content mastery.
At Halstrom Academy, we challenge the forgetting curve through flexible scheduling and Guided Study. Based on your child’s peak learning times, we schedule Guided Study sessions within 24-hours of acquiring new information. Guided Study provides your child with the opportunity to review new information with expert support. Research indicates that when a student reviews new information within 24-hours of instruction, they retain approximately 80% of the material taught (Karpicke & Roediger, 2003). This permits our Halstrom Academy students to consolidate newly acquired information into long-term memory, effortlessly retrieve it, and demonstrate content mastery.
As leaders in innovative education, we are excited to integrate the research on peak learning times to meet the needs of our students. We look forward to learning about your child’s focus, enthusiasm, and energy so that we can intentionally schedule their classes to optimize success!