Q & A

How much is tuition at Buckeye? Expand

Buckeye’s Board of Trustees has set tuition for this academic year at $7,960 for our Lower School and Upper School. True Play Pre-k pricing is below:

True Play Pre-K 1/2 Day and Full Day Pricing:

½ Day Programs  Days In Session 9 to 1pm Tuition
2- ½ Day Program Tuesday/ Thursday $195/ month
3-½ Day Program Monday, Wednesday, Friday $275/ month
5- ½ Day Program Monday-Friday $440/ month
Full Day Programs Days In Session 9 to 3pm Tuition
2- Day Program Tuesday/ Thursday $265/ month
3-Day Program Monday, Wednesday, Friday $385/ month
5-Day Program Monday-Friday $595/ month

Does Buckeye offer tuition assistance? Expand

Buckeye is dedicated to providing tuition assistance where needed. While our available tuition assistance for the 2021/2022 school year will be limited due to covid, we encourage families who are experiencing financial hardship to fill out the School and Student Service for Financial Aid (SSS), which helps us assess families’ ability to pay for tuition.

What is self-directed education? Expand

Self-directed learning is not the latest trend in education. It has been around since the beginnings of cognitive development, think Aristotle and Socrates. We have adopted this approach at Buckeye to inspire a lifelong love of learning.

At Buckeye our students  transform themselves from passive recipients of their education into active participants by pursuing what they are passionate about.

What is project based learning and why is it important? Expand

According to wikipedia Project-based learning, ‘is a student-centered pedagogy that involves a dynamic classroom approach in which it is believed that students acquire a deeper knowledge through active exploration of real-world challenges and problems.’

At Buckeye Project-based learning could be designing and building a rocket ship. It could be writing a play or choreographing a dance. It could be studying the soil, trying to optimize acidity and nutrient content by planting cover crops in order to maximize output of Garden the Great. It could be creating a budget for Garden the Great and investing the revenue from our farm stand into the stock market. 

Whatever project our seeds are working on, they are assured a challenging, rich learning experience where all of their academic skill is applied to solving real world problems and developing the agency to go from DREAM to Do!

Why is it so important? 

According to Edutopia ‘PBL Helps Students Develop Skills for Living in a Knowledge-Based, Highly Technological Society – The old-school model of passively learning facts and reciting them out of context is no longer sufficient to prepare students to survive in today’s world. 

Solving highly complex problems requires that students have both fundamental skills (reading, writing, and math) and 21st century skills (teamwork, problem solving, research gathering, time management, information synthesizing, utilizing high tech tools). With this combination of skills, students become directors and managers of their learning process, guided and mentored by a skilled teacher.’ 


What is experiential learning? Expand

Buckeye kids learn by doing.

I hear, and I forget.
I see, and I remember.
I do, and I understand.
Chinese Proverb What is a mixed age pod and how do they work? Expand

Mixed age pods allow kids to truly collaborate within a group of diversified learners. Age is not an effective measure for determining when a child is ready for proficiency in a skill or subject. Mixing ages gives kids the opportunity to teach one another which builds confidence and relationship skills.

Pods are the main working groups of Buckeye. They consist of 8 to 12 seeds, the word we use for students, assisted by a primary co-learner who is their champion and guide.

Pod members work closely together and rely on each other for support and accountability. When seeds learn from one another they develop leadership, maximize comprehension and develop relationships. They learn to have difficult, authentic conversation while exploring what it means to be accountable to their pod.

Separating kids by age creates intense peer pressure which reduces empathy and takes energy away from development and mastery.

The best way to learn something well is to teach it to another.

Why do we call our teachers co-learners? Expand

At BFS, we believe that teaching at its best  is a reciprocal, organic process where student and teacher learn together.  Teaching is not something you do TO someone, it is something you do WITH someone. 

Our job is to help kids discover how they learn best and pair it with what interests them most.  Our co-learners serve as collaborators, mentors, supporters, and allies. They go hand-in-hand with their seeds into adventures and explorations.

We know that kids thrive when they feel loved. We know that listening is one of the greatest expressions of love. Our Buckeye co-learners are exceptional listeners. They hear creativity, curiosity and the desire to learn. They listen intently for opportunities to inspire, cultivate creativity and guide our seeds through their self-discovery and subject mastery.

Our co-learners understand that they too must show up and be seen, they must share their vulnerabilities and imperfections in order to model the courage needed to live with integrity. They believe that all children are worthy of love and belonging. They work to inspire curiosity, cultivate creativity and help our seeds discover who they are and what they love to do.

Why is celebrating failure so important? Expand


At Buckeye, success is in the doing. Mistakes are mined for the valuable learning they contain. At Buckeye we understand that failure is an integral part of success. Creating something is vulnerable, it takes courage and the willingness to fail. Unless you are prepared to get it wrong, you can’t ever take a chance on getting it right.

By stigmatizing mistakes in school and making the wrong answer the worst thing you can do, we condition kids out of their creativity and ability to think outside the box.We dramatically reduce their natural ability to improvise and problem solve by insisting that the correct answer is the only valuable answer.

Celebrating failure and answers that don’t work, results in extremely agile children who can navigate an infinite number of obstacles through inspiration rather than blame avoidance.

This is why at Buckeye F always stands for find another way.

What are intellectual dependency & provisional self esteem? Expand

‘Good students wait for a teacher to tell them what to do.’ Good students accept everything the teacher tells them as the absolute truth with no push back. Successful students do only the thinking assigned to them. We teach them that they must wait for someone who knows better than they do to tell them what to do.’

Over time kids become conditioned to believe that good people wait for an expert to tell them what to do. They are unable to make decisions for themselves, move forward without the most explicit instruction nor improvise when something unusual presents.

Provisional Self-esteem – ‘If you have ever tried to wrestle into line kids whose parents have convinced them to believe that they will be loved in spite of anything, you know how impossible it is to make self-confident spirits conform.’

Instead of celebrating kids no matter what, we are constantly evaluating them relative to each other and this myth of a future they are supposed to be creating. These kids are conditioned to evaluate themselves based on outside factors created from the constant barrage of testing, grading, evaluating them relative to their peers. ‘Self-evaluation, the staple of every major philosophical system that ever appeared on the planet, is never considered a factor.’ (from Dumbing us Down – The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling John Gatto)

Buckeye is not a zero sum game, we connect, or re-connect kids to their own intuition, which helps them find their own definition of success. We develop their confidence by allowing them to make decisions and direct their own learning.

Why doesn’t Buckeye have grades? Expand

Grades encourage risk averse attitudes. Innovators must have a willingness to get it wrong. By punishing kids for doing so with diminutive grades, we encourage them not to take risks or think outside the box.

Grades become the goal, getting an A becomes the goal, not understanding the question, material or skill. By removing grades, we can celebrate the learning and proficiencies for their inherent worth.

Grades are a bizarrely narrow form of feedback for something as limitless as a child.

Again, the only thing F stands for at Buckeye is find another way.

We know that when success is tied to a percentage, letter, or placement on a bell curve, it does little to help our kids master their lives. We find that grades are used as a tool to categorizing children as better than or worse than.

At Buckeye we believe that all children are worthy, we do not believe in classifying kids based on a narrow assessment. In fact, we don’t believe in ranking kids at all. Our seeds have infinite potential, we simply need to help them realize it.

How will I know my child is getting a great education? Expand At Buckeye we replace grades with authentic assessments. Our evaluation of each seed is rooted in our view of nurturing and educating the whole child, including social, emotional, physical, and intellectual growth. Our seeds learn to evaluate themselves relative to their personal definition of success. With the support of their co-learners, their digital & physical portfolios, their peers and parents, our kids can answer how they are progressing and demonstrate it to their community. When our kids are empowered to do this they develop self-discipline, responsibility, accountability and self-worth. We rely on time with the kids, observation and most importantly detailed, thoughtful communication. We teach our students to evaluate themselves and not to rely on outside experts or empty measurements to determine their progress. Our co-learners write thoughtful narrative evaluations that are shared with parents and discussed in student led conferences at the conclusion of each trimester.  When a seed is struggling to meet a goal or they aren’t progressing as expected through their plan, their community of co-learners and parents will help them find additional support. Each seed’s plan can be modified to address their needs as they move through their work. We encourage feedback throughout the process and ask parents to look closely for the wholehearted outcomes we are cultivating. How our kids are creating, relating, communicating, behaving, inquiring, sleeping, eating, helping, exploring and playing will be considered within the seed of success. What is positive discipline? Expand

Developed by Jane Nelson Ed.D, Positive Discipline is the program and shared language used in Buckey’s Common Tongue. As our seeds grow and develop who they are, Positive Discipline will define our classroom boundaries and help us troubleshoot when these boundaries are crossed with supportive, unconditionally loving solutions. We use this to

Will my child be able to get into college? Expand

Absolutely! Our research demonstrates 100% acceptance rates for innovative schools.

Buckeye is not a prep school, it’s a life school. Buckeye values our kids as they exist in the present moment, not as a work in progress that will have value once we’ve ‘educated them.’

Our goal is to help our kids cultivate the skills to navigate a life that is fulfilling and full of purpose. If college is part of their dream, Buckeye will help them achieve it.

Buckeye college applications will stand out in their uniqueness because they are thoughtfully written descriptions and not a letter grade or a % that can be skimmed over.

Colleges understand that personalized, project based curriculum produces extremely agile and effective learners which makes our seeds highly desirable critical, creative and divergent thiners. Buckeye seeds will have many references and experiences from their connections within the community that will stand out on any application or resume.

Lastly, because our seeds will have had years of work experience in multiple areas of study paired with self-reflection and evaluation within the framework of unconditional love and worth. As a result, we hope their choice to go to college will be born of a desire to add to their toolbox, not from an aspiration to perfect or from the belief they will be less than if they don’t go to college.

How are Buckeye kids socialized within a small school? Expand

Buckeye kids are equals, their voices are encouraged, heard and their words impact decisions, directions, experiences and more. Our seeds are encouraged to lead their own presentations, problem solve their own conflicts, express their desires and concerns while negotiating their relationships. These skills make them powerfully socialized in a way unavailable in many larger programs.

Within the boundaries defined by our students, kids can express themselves in limitless ways. They will be interacting with large homeschool groups, community leaders, business leaders and mentors. They will collaborate within their pods and in their larger community. Buckeye seeds will be leading presentations, parent/teacher conferences and performances. Our seeds will be taught early with daily practice how to look everyone in the eye and give them a firm handshake.

Because of our mixed aged empathy and empowerment to solve conflicts, bullying and other negative social interactions are rare occurrences and dealt with immediately.  Silence at Buckeye is encouraged for self-reflection, not as a means to control.

Our seeds will be allowed to socialize at lunch regardless of what they are eating. They will be able to move around the group and interact with everyone.

Our kids will never be discouraged from speaking out and expressing themselves.

What will happen if my child changes schools? Expand

Because Buckeye produces such agile learners, most kids are able to make these transitions successfully. Though we will not be prepping our kids for the industrial model curriculum, our kids experience teachers as equals which makes them far more accessible as resources should a change need to happen.

Buckeye works to cultivate skills needed for all types of obstacles, new schools and curriculum can be successfully navigated with trust and support.

Does Buckeye serve special needs like autism, attention or anxiety disorders? Expand

We hope that kids with additional needs will thrive in our innovative environment. All our kids must be able to participate safely within the group and be able to communicate well enough to understand and function within our structure. We will be using modern approaches to support a wide range of learners. We don’t believe in a one size fits all approach, we meet students where they are and will work to help kids needing additional resources.

Cases will be handled individually, while fair and equitable time will be protected for all.

Is religion part of Buckeye’s curriculum? Expand

At Buckeye we honor all religious choices. We do not limit our spiritual teaching to one religion or sect. We celebrate and honor them all. We believe strongly that helping children cultivate their faith is profoundly beneficial and we want to make certain that all of our seeds feel supported in this regardless of what their specific practices are.

How is the community involved? Expand

We will have mentors and strategic partners throughout the community to ensure infinite richness in the experience we offer at Buckeye. Experts in our community will share their knowledge both on-site at the farm as well as in the field.

The community will participate in intensives as well as offering internships and apprenticeships so that kids can develop their skills and passions.


What are the expectations of the parents? Expand

The energy, skills and expertise of our parents will enrich everyone and everything at Buckeye.

We encourage all parents to research our resources. By understanding the origins of Buckeye’s philosophy, parents can make informed decisions and be better equipped to contribute to our Buckeye community.

Parent feedback will shape our path and impact our decisions. Vulnerability is paramount to the wholehearted living we value at Buckeye. We invite our parents to model it for our kids by having difficult conversations in person or through phone calls or zoom when face to face isn’t available. Texting and emailing things that make us uncomfortable can cause us to miss incredible opportunities and they often confuse rather than connect.

We hope our parents will help us troubleshoot areas of concern while enriching our culture with opportunities. Buckeye will be a lot like the CEO program but for littles, our parents can help us achieve this by sharing their skills and networking with other possible mentors.

Thank you all for taking this journey with us. We are so glad you are here!