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Onboarding with Galileo

Planted January 01, 2022

As part of exploring what self-directed learning looks like for us as a family, Son1 has decided he wants to enrol in Galileo. I want to be able to reflect on this and, potentially, provide value to other parents considering a similar move so will be blogging about our experience.

We’ve just completed our onboarding and I’ve been really impressed. Son1 and I both found it a very helpful process. Let’s look at the two prongs of onboarding - the parent and student paths.

Parent onboarding

Parent community

I came across Galileo last year and was really excited about it. At the time, I joined the parent community and read through their self-directed education course. This was super valuable and interesting.

The community is based in Circle and has the expected posting, commenting and liking facilities with other parents. This is a mix of parents who currently have enrolled students, prospective parents and parents whose kids are taking a break from Galileo.

There is a book group and the discussions are spam free. I haven’t dived into these a lot but it was encouraging to see other parents on this path.

I also met a parent on a course we were both part of and this connection helped me feel more confident about Galileo.

Email Automation

While going through the onboarding process, there is an email automation sent from one of the founders. This sequence does a great job of asking questions, pointing out problems and defining the issues with traditional education - all while providing Galileo as a possible solution.

All told, I felt pretty confident as a parent that this seems like a good fit for right now. There is are two more shared pieces of the onboarding but I think they more naturally fit in the student onboarding section.

Student onboarding

Enrolment form

When filling out the application form, I was struck by what it asked for and what it didn’t ask for. We weren’t ask for the academic ability or grade level of our son. Rather, there was an emphasis on understanding what made him tick, what made him excited and what interested him.

It was fun filling in this form and it helped me chat to Son1 about the things that were inspiring him.

Initial meeting

Once the form was in, we got a Calendly link to book an onboarding meeting. I love Calendly and appreciated the ability to schedule this myself.

We met with the manager of the Learning Coaches and were joined by one other prospective family. This was great as already the focus was on the community and not just the individual experience.

There was a big overview of Galileo, some views of the platform and learning opportunities and time for questions. Son1 and the other prospective student were super keen to get started straight-away. I felt pretty confident about moving on to the next stage.

First meeting with learning coach

We paid our first months tuition and then had a meeting with the learning coach setup. Learning coaches can have up to 28 students. They are the main source of connection with Galileo and help students to craft their goals and formulate their schedules.

Son1’s learning coach is based in Tanzania and was super enthusiastic and helpful. To help him engage with the platform, she had him share her screen and then annotated through Zoom to show him where to click. Excellent use of this tool!

She gave a lot of information and answered a lot of questions. Son1 would be in a learning group of 4 which (I think) meets twice a week. He’ll also meet with his learning coach 1:1 once every two weeks. She’s available on chat all the rest of the time and they tested sending messages to each other.

Son1 left the meeting again excited to get going. He was encouraged to only pick a few things to start off on and build up when he got to grips with everything.

Selecting clubs

Son1 decided he’d start with the Galileo offered clubs (I’ll take about other “learning experiences” later). There was a big list and each of them had a section in the Galileo Dojo (learning management system). Each club facilitator used these in slightly different ways but we were surgical in looking for the schedule and the intro video.

We worked through each of them, took note of when they were on and then watched the video. Almost all of the videos made Son1 excited about the topic and I was a bit worried he’d want to do everything straight away.

Once we’d been through them all, we made 4 lists: “Now”, “Soon”, “Later” and “Never”. We put each of the clubs into the list and aimed to have no more than one thing each day for now.

So, Son1 is now ready to start in Japanese and Drama club. I thought he’d just pick the coding clubs but was excited that the videos made other areas of learning intriguing for him.

It’s early days and there are lots of other ways that Galileo offers for learning: Agora, Learning Experiences, Boot Camps and Hackathons. I know very little about these but I’ll follow along with Son1 and write about how he finds it all.

There are also student led clubs on everything from Dungeons and Dragons to Self care.

As a former Maths educator, I was surprised to see no Maths. I get that Khan Academy and similar resources are used for Maths skills but what about a fun Maths club, a la Maths Circle - maybe this could be something I offer to see if there is any interest?


  • How is this going to work with our family? Is it sustainable?
  • Will this make it more challenging to get time outdoors?
  • Will Son1 make friends through Galileo? How will this be different from conventional school based friendships?
  • With Son2 being too young and, in any case, not ready for Galileo, what will that mean?
  • Will Galileo help or hinder the adults in our house getting any space and time individually and together?
  • Can this help Son1 have more ownership and autonomy over his learning?
  • Will he be able to think of interests and learning desires beyond “what’s on offer”?

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