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2013-06-06-Donna-Headshot (10)-Edit-crop5x5 smallHi, I’m Donna Bixby, Founder of Bixby Educational Events, Inc., fondly known as B.E.E.,  a non-profit Educational Arts Integration company servicing the Home, Private and Charter School Communities of Orange County.

While Home Schooling my sons over the last 18 years, I found that the Arts made a significant, positive difference in my children’s learning capacities. The difference in learning is that the Arts turn knowledge from a collection of facts into knowledge experienced for long-term retention. In order to share this golden nugget with all Home School parents, Bixby Educational Events was founded in 2007, as way to bring the arts to the Home School community.

Arts integrated experiences are the important pieces of learning that are missing from today’s all core academic education. When teamed with the academics, these arts experiences are re-organized within long-term memory, which can then be utilized for problem solving, critical thinking, and to enhance creativity and innovation. This is the backbone of B.E.E.’s educational philosophy and the foundation of our entire program.

Understanding how the Arts promote the development of our neurobiological system was a huge eye opener for me, and it answered many issues I was seeing in my own son. The Arts nourish and grow our sensory, attention, cognitive, emotional, and motor capacities, all of which are a part of the neurobiological system, the driving force behind all learning. Academics alone cannot and do not teach the essential mental habits and thinking skills needed for learning.

Today’s business environment is looking for people with skills in innovation, creativity, those who learn to see new patterns, those who know how to learn from their mistakes and how to envision solutions that will succeed. Integrating the Arts became a necessity for us, not an option. I saw that if we continued to shape our curriculum in a way that produced high test scores that only recalled established facts, that we would not be preparing our sons to be innovative or acquire any leadership skills that would help them deal with the world.

Home School parents are faced with difficult questions about which curriculum to use, what cognitive levels should be reached and when, where to find learning disability coaching, if there is temperament and learning style testing available, and so many other things that come up that you cannot plan for. This is where B.E.E. comes in. Our Educational Specialist can help you with how to choose a core study and any questions you may have on GPA credits or Common Core.

One of the areas of concern for me was whether my sons would be have the necessary skill sets for career readiness. Because of this I began a partnership with Junior Achievement and Michael E. Gerber Companies. Together we are providing high quality Business and Life Skills classes in which Junior High and High School students will have hands-on experiences with life skills before entering the job market. The students under Gerber are taught to build a business of their own, learn to create their vision, mission, and write a white paper. For the student who doesn’t think they know what they want to be, or doesn’t want to run their own business, their time in the JA Company class is life changing. As students enter into this class and take on their different positions and responsibilities, they learn so much about themselves, each other, and the real world of business.

Being a Home School Parent, I know how hard it is to come up with the extra finances, or to even qualify for government assistance, in order to be able to take advantage of the many wonderful professional Arts programs in Orange County and LA County. With this in mind, and knowing how important it is to integrate all of the Arts modalities into your curriculum, BEE has contracted with Segerstrom Center, The Muckenthaler Cultural Center, Arts and Learning Conservatory, LA Troupe, and many more professional artists to bring the same Orange County and LA County professional Arts programs to our community.