Monday, February 1, 2010

Education in Apple Valley, Part 1

What and Why
I decided to do a series on how education in Apple Valley works, especially with the forthcoming changes. We will explore education from elementary school to obtaining an advanced degree. I wanted to move away from excessive skilling in my game and focus more on character development. This serves two purposes, one, it allows me to hone in on each sim's individual personality and preferences, two, it prevents excessive success. Right now, most sims are able to obtain a level 7 job without any trouble aside from making friends. This leaves very little room for variety in the game and most sims are financially well off. To ensure that I stay focused on this, I have now decided to try and do away with most toddler skills-instead focusing on teaching them how to walk, talk, etc.

The primary ways of educating the sims in all levels of education are skills, hobbies and interests. I often refer to skills as scores on "skill exams" (the number of skill points they have in a certain skill) or "core skill evaluation"-CSE (the number of total skills they have). Hobbies and interests will also be referred to in a similar manner. Now that the background is out of the way, let's move on.

Elementary School
Today, we're discussing elementary school. All elementary students, grades K-5 (ages 5-11), attend Apple Valley Academy. Currently they are being taught by Johan Shazad until they can find a primary school teacher to take his place.

The goal of elementary school is that each child graduates with at least a score of six on their CSE, and increase of 1 point on their CIE (core interest exam). Elementary school is also the place where students will begin to explore the world and perhaps find a hobby. Children can also be identified for the honors program starting in grade 3 (some exceptions allowed).

The honors program allows for more rigorous course work which results in higher scores on the CSE. In fact, students must have a score of eight on their CSE to remain in the honors program. Entrance into the honors program comes after a successful interview with the headmaster. The honors program requires an entrance fee of $1000, though some scholarships are available.

The typical day for an elementary school student is upon entering the school, their current score on the CSE is checked. If they are lacking any points, they are directed to skill or listen to a lecture on a skill. In cases where the skill can be combined with hobby exploration, then the student is directed to discover their hobby via music class, art class, dance class, PE, science lab or simply playing at recess. The academy has at least one opportunity for each hobby (exercise equiptment=fitness; cafeteria=cuisine; books/class movies=literature & film; ballet barres, musical equiptment=music & dance; basketball court/catch=sports; remote helicopter=tinkering; hunting for bugs=nature; art & pottery class=arts & crafts; ant farms=science; recess/computer lab=games). Students also spend their school days earning additional interest points in their top interest via reading magazines or sharing interests with other sims. During elementary school, the basic requirement is an interest increase of one in any interest. Students also focus on relationships and building hobby interests.

In summary,

Elementary School (K-5)
CSE=6/Honors CSE=8
CIE=+1 in any interest
Focus on Hobby Discovery


  1. This is all very interesting. Your system is certainly very detailed.

    "The goal of elementary school is that each child graduates with at least a score of six on their CSE, and increase of 1 point on their CIE (core interest exam)."

    What happens if they don't? Has it ever come up?

  2. -Carla, good question. So far it hasn't come up since it's a pretty low score to fulfill. Basically a child needs 6 skill points. If they play around in the pool, painting or toddler toys long enough they'll have 6 skill points. The CIE is the only thing they have to work at and they do this instead of homework is applicable. I guess if they don't make the skills, then they could go to summer school or depending if they have the doofus trait and accompanying limit on skill points, then they're placed in the special education program which may have lower requirements.

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  4. I found your blog yesterday and have read almost every post by this morning. I love what you are doing and the ideas you have given me so thank you very much!
    I'm trying to make sure I understand your school system. So in elementary school, everyday the children come in if they don't have the 6 points they'll need to graduate they are direct to work on a skill? And then after they have those six skills they are allowed to work on hobbies?

  5. -Pr3ttylilprobl3m, thanks for taking the time and reading the posts, that meant so much to me *huggles*

    Whenever I play my school (which is when I play the principal) I teleport in the students. I first check on their skill points-if they have the required points, then I check to see if they have discovered thier "One True Hobby". The discovery of the OTH is the Hobby Discovery portion. If they have both of these fulfilled, then they can read an interest magazine, have free will interactions (mostly spent tormenting the poor wombat) or persue their wants-so if they want to learn a new skill, I direct them to, if they want to talk to someone, I direct them to. Sometimes during skilling they discover their hobby-like an arts & crafts OTH while painting, or a sports while building body points on the basketball court. Most of the time my children can persue hobbies and their wants since they come with plenty of skills thanks to those toddler toys. Hope that helps and continue to ask away.

  6. When you play each family do the kids go to the normal Maxis school mon-fri? Also, is your school a community or residential lot?

  7. -Juliejaz1, thanks for reading and commenting. My kids still go to the normal maxis school , my custom school is a community lot owned by the principal and whenever I play the school lot, the students are directed to learn skills.

  8. Okay, thanks for answering back so quickly. I'm really enjoying Apple's a fun place to visit:0)

  9. -Juliejaz1, not a problem. Hope that answered your questions.


Thanks for reading and commenting!


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