robertogreco + homeschool   571

Let’s Be Clear: Sudbury Valley School and “Un-schooling” Have NOTHING in Common | Sudbury Valley School
[See also this response: "SVS/Unschooling Controversy"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22N5WaTXNrc ]

"All in all, the contrasts—perhaps better labeled as “contradictions”—between the principles underlying homeschooling and those of Sudbury Valley lead to an important outcome, that is well worth recognizing: for the most part, any marriage between the two ends up in an unpleasant parting of ways. From a recruitment point of view, it is always best for those involved in the admissions process at SVS to do their best to discourage unschoolers from enrolling, or at least warn them of the possible pitfalls of such a move. From the point of view of unschooling families thinking about finding an “unschooling school” where their children could spend time away from home, while still being basically homeschooled in the way the family would like them to be, it is always best to look somewhere else.

Actually, the most concise summing-up was given by the person who made homeschooling famous: John Holt. Here is what Pat Farenga, a leading advocate for homeschooling/unschooling, reported he learned from his mentor:

I’ve been asked to define unschooling since 1981. The simple answer I learned from John is unschooling is NOT school.

And, as John Holt himself informed us directly when he looked into our school at the time of its founding in 1968, unschooling is most certainly NOT Sudbury Valley School."
unschooling  deschooling  sudburyschools  education  2016  johnholt  self-directed  self-directedlearning  patfarenga  schools  schooling  learning  howwelearn  howweteach  children  parenting  homeschool  sudburyvalleyschool  lcproject  openstudioproject  sfsh  tcsnmy 
january 2019 by robertogreco
SVS/Unschooling Controversy - YouTube
"This is a commentary on the currently controversial article by Daniel Greenberg https://sudburyvalley.org/article/lets-be-clear-sudbury-valley-school-and-un-schooling-have-nothing-common . The article is not summarised during the commentary so it will be necessary to read it before listening. Further discussion is available to join on the forums at www.self-directed.org.

"Differences Between Self-Directed and Progressive Education" can be read here https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/comment/924407 . This commentary is offered by Jeanna L Clements in her private capacity and does not represent any other individual or collective. Please feel free to share. Thank you."
education  schools  schooling  sudburyschools  self-directed  self-directedlearning  progessive  petergray  je'annaclements  howwelearn  howweteach  teaching  learning  unschooling  homeschool  deschooling  montessori  northstar  agillearningcenters  agilelearning  tcsnmy  lcproject  openstudioproject  sfsh  jeannaclements  individualism  collective  collectivism  parenting  danielgreenberg  children  2018  johnholt  patfarenga  sudburyvalleyschool  agilelearningcenters 
january 2019 by robertogreco
Inside and Outside the Cage – spottedtoad
"School, as I’ve said a number of times, serves this purpose already. I’ll sometimes encounter people who treat the idea that kids learn relatively little in school, that it’s a pointless hamster wheel that doesn’t get anyone anywhere, as some kind of scandal or shock. Maybe, but have you seen adult life lately? Is what kids do on an average school day so much more pointless and lonely and anomic than what you did yesterday- not than your ideal of what a ten year old or thirty year old should be doing, but what you actually, personally did? American parents are insanely competitive and push their kids and their kids’ schools to do all kinds of pointless shit, because we literally don’t have any other idea how to fill their and our days. They’re already staring at screens for nine hours a day. It could get worse. Four times as many young women 25-34 years old overdosed last year as in 1999. I don’t think school is the problem.

Maybe it’s a Tragedy of the (Missing) Commons. Maybe if you, and you, and you, and you, all pulled your kid out of school, tuned in, turned on (to Jesus or Allah or John Dewey or whoever), and dropped out, let them run around and build forts and make out or read Dante or whatever, maybe they can reinvent society on better grounds. The Benedict Option, like Rod Dreher says.  I’m not saying it’s impossible, and maybe we all need to be more utopian on our home turf even while being less so on other people’s. The ideal- or at least our own ideals- might be more within our grasp than we think. Maybe.

Or maybe what limited store of self-reliance we have is going to be destroyed, utterly, by the next wave of technology, or the next, and the best we can hope for is a benevolently paternalist technostate, the FitBit vibrating on our wrist to tell us to stop being inert, urging us to less self-destruction than we’d otherwise tend, telling us, whether we’re ten or fifty, to turn in our homework next time they see us and to remember to put our names on our papers if we want to get credit on the test."
education  homeschool  2017  unschooling  deschooling  commons  johndewey  benedictoption  roddreher  utopia  self-reliance  individualism  schools  schooling  freedom  technology  via:ayjay 
january 2019 by robertogreco
Bria Bloom: A Grown Unschooler Dedicated to Liberating the Next Generation - YouTube
"Bria Bloom is the Community Manager of the Alliance for Self-Directed Education (ASDE). In this interview with ASDE board member Scott Noelle, Bria shares her educational journey and provides a behind-the-scenes look into her work with the Alliance, advancing the SDE movement."
briabloom  2018  unschooling  homeschool  education  self-directed  self-directedlearning  srg  edg  schools  schooling  learning  howwelearn  scottnoelle 
december 2018 by robertogreco
Kitchen Table Cult
"Kitchen Table Cult unpacks all the things Kieryn and Hännah learned at the kitchen tables of their childhoods in conservative Christian homeschooling families. Every week we take your questions and drill down on various topics about Quiverfull, the Religious Right, and our childhoods in high-demand groups (otherwise known as cults).

We’re not surprised about the rise of Trump, Christian fascism, or evangelical white women voting for someone like Mike Pence, and we want to take you back through the beginning of it all to explain why."

[Kieryn and Hännah on Twitter and elsewhere online:

Kieryn Darkwater
https://twitter.com/mxdarkwater
https://www.responsiblehomeschooling.org/about-crhe/who-we-are/kieryn-darkwater/
https://homeschoolersanonymous.org/?s=Kierstyn+King
https://mxdarkwater.com/

Hännah Hettinger
https://twitter.com/haettinger
https://tinyletter.com/haettinger/archive ]

[Fascinating conversation with harrowing experiences. One apprehension (from Episode 1): seems to oversell public (and private) school education and doesn't mention the many, many terrible outcomes that come from it.
https://soundcloud.com/kitchentablecult/episode-one-beginning-at-the-end
https://kitchentablecult.com/2018/07/18/episode-one-beginning-at-the-end/ ]

[Some other episodes of note:

Episode Three: Diligently Taught
"Hännah and Kieryn discuss the intersections of homeschooling, race, privilege, and children's rights."
https://soundcloud.com/kitchentablecult/episode-three-diligently-taught
https://kitchentablecult.com/2018/08/01/episode-three-diligently-taught/

Episode Five: What is HSLDA? (lots of refs in post)
"Hännah and Kieryn talk with Kathryn Brightbill, Legislative Policy Analyst at CRHE about the Homeschool Legal Defense Association – what their role is in the current state of things, where they came from, and why they’ve managed to win so far."
https://soundcloud.com/kitchentablecult/episode-five-what-is-hslda
https://kitchentablecult.com/2018/08/20/episode-5-what-is-hslda/

Episode 10: Educational Neglect
"Kieryn and Hännah delve into the negative aspects of their homeschool educations, and why they are so passionate about advocating for homeschool reform. When homeschooling goes wrong, it can go very very wrong..."
https://soundcloud.com/kitchentablecult/episode-10-educational-neglect
https://kitchentablecult.com/2018/09/26/episode-ten-educational-neglect/ ] ]

[more from Kieryn
https://www.autostraddle.com/i-was-trained-for-the-culture-wars-in-home-school-awaiting-someone-like-mike-pence-as-a-messiah-367057/
https://www.autostraddle.com/author/kieryn/ ]
homeschool  education  evangelical  school  schooling  learning  neglect  unschooling  howwelearn  christianity  children  parenting  2018  fundamentalism  girls  stayathomedaughters  women  gender  hslda  sexuality  politics  religion  hännahettinger  kieryndarkwater  christofascism  resistance  activism 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Unschooling Unpacked – A Semantic Musing | Growing Minds
"IN DEFENSE OF UNSCHOOLING

Unschooling on the other hand represents my resistance to the dominant model and the resulting dominant mindset of compulsory schooling and all that it represents.

For me, schooling is THE most potent agent of continued colonialism. It is the master’s tool to keep the master’s empire intact. It is where we learn to live in and uphold empire. It is colonizing by nature: the pedagogy; the coercive nature; the content and mindset that speaks to white-heteropatriarchal-capitalist power, planetary destruction, creative destruction, competition, adultism, epistimicide, cultural extinction and language extinction.

And so unschooling is resistance: It is by nature decolonizing, it is more in tune with nature, open to all knowledge systems, embracing of the multitude ways of learning, nurturing, cooperative, culturally regenerating, child honoring and consent based!

Of course there are and always will be the dissenters and disruptors that emerge from the industrial schooling system, swimming against the tide and resisting the effects of schooling (lf you’re reading this then you’re most likely one of the dissenters!). But by and large, as we all exit the schooling system, we exit with our minds colonised into a particular understanding of the world, of what constitutes knowledge and learning and how learning looks. This is not something we can simply shrug off. It takes considerable work to deschool from this and potentially a lifelong process of deschooling. In the meantime communities, children, families and the earth suffer.

While I was working on this piece I was going to suggest that maybe our native unschoolers, as the next generation, can shrug off the word as Wendy proposes. But then I got a massage from Ben Draper that debunked that thought. He writes about the influence of those schoolish messages that now show up for him as a father, even though he grew up relatively free of the coercive schooling institutions. The influence of the school mindset extends to even those that have lived and learned outside of it!

Finally, schooling epitomises social injustice. Its compulsory nature takes away the right of a child to have any say in her education. It is adultism in action, laying the foundation for the other kinds of oppressive practices, like racism; classism; sexism; cissexism; heterosexism and ableism. It would make sense that schools should be the agents of change instead of agents of entrenchment. They aren’t. Unschooling begins with social justice. First for the child, which by its nature requires us to investigate and then resist the systems that perpetuate the multitude of societal oppressions that is supported by the schooling structure.

And that is why I can’t give up on the word unschooling. That is why it resonates with me. That is why I am comfortable with the word schooling being there. It needs to be there. In the same way that colonization makes up the bulk of the word decolonization – which serves to name that system that fundamentally changed our psyches and cultures and societies and continues to do so, I want to understand it , name it rather than erase the source of how I came to be. Similarly, I don’t want to erase the role and responsibility of schooling in how I now think, act and feel and that thanks to schooling I am in need of constant introspection to safeguard myself from reverting to patterns of thought and actions dictated by my constantly lurking schooled mindset. Schooling has a significant historical and contemporary role to play in how society functions. It is ever present and therefore the need for the word unschooling is ever present. For me.

Maybe John Holt didn’t envision this word unschooling to represent decolonization and social justice in this way, But I am claiming it for myself. That is the nature and evolution of words.

As long as schooling is around and it influences how we see children, learning and is instrumental in creating and upholding this unjust society , I will be using this word uschooling. Despite Ursula K Le Guin’s warning that “To oppose something is to maintain it”.

I fear I am unable to take heed of her words just yet."
2018  unschooling  deschooling  zakiyyaismail  education  howwelearn  learning  children  johnholt  language  english  homeschool  resistance  colonialism  decolonization  ursulaleguin  opposition  adultism  agesegegation  cissexism  injustice  socialjustice  ableism 
november 2018 by robertogreco
The 'Unschooling' Movement: Letting Children Lead Their Learning | On Point
"Is a child who spends the day watching videos or playing in the backyard actually learning? Yes, say advocates of the "unschooling" movement.

Is a child who spends the day watching videos or playing in the backyard actually learning? Yes, say advocates of the "unschooling" movement.

Interview Highlights
On a typical day for children being unschooled

Maleka Diggs: "Every day has a different tune, and for our family, unschooling or self-directed learning is something that we've embraced over the years. It allows them the freedom to be able to explore ideas, thoughts, whether it be read a book or maybe start off and kick off the day watching television. Either way, it's their decision and my focus becomes to guide them through whatever decisions that they make to ensure that their experience is as fruitful as they'd like it to be.

"It totally begins with freedom. They are morning folks, I am not. At 11 and 13, they are able to prepare their own food. So I don't have to have that stick of — 'Oh, let me get up and cook breakfast for my daughters this morning.' That's not our case. The beginning starts off with a meal. ... And it just progresses from there, whether they have workbooks that they're interested in. And I think there's a misnomer when it comes to unschooling that young people don't use books if it is their choice, most definitely. And that's what one of my daughters does, she enjoys reading and engaging in workbooks and learning about different topics of her choosing, where my other daughter is very much focused on the humanities. And she loves music and dance and drumming."

On the decision to unschool

MD: "I was going to take the typical route and do formal education for my daughters. Like many parents, I moved to a neighborhood where the catchment would kind of secure providing quality access to education for my daughters. What that means, in many areas, is that if you are a person of color, as our family is, you, many times, have to move to a predominately white area, and that's what we did. I went because I wanted to ensure this quality education and I did that. When we got up to the school to enroll my oldest daughter, it was a very difficult moment because the principal there did not believe that I lived in that area, and she asked me for proof of my identification, and several things that were dehumanizing and oppressive, and just marginalizing as a whole. And that was the beginning for me."

On the unschooling movement

Peter Gray: "I have to say, 'unschooling' is not my favorite term. Because it's kind of a negative term. It says what you're not doing, and it terms to put other people on the defensive — 'Oh, you're not doing school? You're not doing what we're doing?' -- instead of saying what you are doing. So I prefer the term 'self-directed education.' ... It's not that we don't believe in education. We believe in education, we just think it works best when children take charge of their education. And the other reason that I don't use the term 'unschooling' in my own writing is because self-directed education can occur in a school-like setting. There are schools for self-directed education. They are not schools that give tests or have a curriculum. There are schools where there's all kind of opportunity for learning, for interacting with other kids, there are adults to help you if you want to ask the adults to help you, but they're not going to come to you and say it's time for you to do this or that. You have to go to them. Much of my research has been in that kind of setting."

On kids who don't have self-direction for this type of learning

PG: "This issue of self-directed — what does it mean to be self-directed? I'm an evolutionary psychologist, so I'm interested in human nature and the nature of children. Look at little kids: Have you ever seen a little kid who hasn't yet gone to school who's not self-directed? Who's not just curious and playful and eagerly doing things? They're exploring the world almost from the moment they're born. They're looking around — 'What's out there? What's new? What can I learn about?' Think of all of the things that children learn before they ever go to school. And this is not just some children that learn it, this is essentially all of the children. They learn their native language from scratch, they learn an enormous amount about the physical world around them and the social world around them. So unschooling is this: What if we just let them continue to do that? Instead of, put them away where their own questions don't count anymore; where their own play is considered, at best, recess, which is increasingly being taken away, rather than a way of learning; where socialization is almost cut off because they're not really allowed to talk to one another or to cooperate. ... We send them to school and then we wonder why they're no longer self-motivated, because we've taken away the basic motives for learning: curiosity, playfulness, sociability."

On how unschooling could contribute to challenges for the public school system

Michael Apple: "I think that it's only a small percent of home-scholers that are doing this, and the research on this is actually quite limited, and mostly limited to middle-class people. We have to remember as well that if you're going to go into this, you need to be fully dedicated, and the vast majority of parents are working two jobs. They're being not just unschooled, but deskilled, in terms of their incomes, with incomes falling within minoritized communities, and because of this I am a little more skeptical about whether this is a model I would like most people to follow. I must admit as a parent of an African-American child myself, I am not a romantic about what goes on and I have a good deal of sympathy for what Maleka is struggling to do, and I think successfully. To me the issue is what do we to collectively? The vast majority of students in the United States will never see a self-directed learning program or an unschooled program. They will go to regular public schools, which, by the way, were victories, not only defeats. African-American and Latino and indigenous people were forbidden from going to school. So let's remember that the school is the last truly public institution. Everything else is being privatized. And there's massive attacks on teachers and schools, turning them into voucher plans and for-profit schools. And to the extent that the unschooling movement grows, it actually, unfortunately, and certainly not consciously on the part of its participants, it contributes to the attacks on teachers and schools. And it will lead to defunding of public schools, which will be a disaster for many more children than will see an unschooling program.""
unschooling  homeschool  education  children  learning  howwelearn  malekadiggs  petergray  michaelapple  schools  parenting  self-directed  self-directedlearning  2018 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Rethinking Learning to Read, by Harriet Pattison — A Book Review | Alliance for Self-Directed Education
[via: https://twitter.com/cblack__/status/1056254550397485056 ]

"Parents in the sample drew on a diversity of approaches and practices when supporting their children in learning to read. Perhaps unsurprisingly parents’ views in the sample were heavily influenced by phonics. However what was significant was that not all families used phonics based methods, some were openly critical of it and some of the children did not respond well and resisted a phonics based approach. Families shared: “No phonics, no flash cards, no traditional teaching methods were used in our home – for reading or anything else” and “Phonics doesn’t suit every child – as a very strong visual learner my daughter finds the individual sounds in words meaningless ... she hears words as a single sound.”

Some families drew on whole word learning approaches, some an eclectic mix, while others acknowledged the limitations of using methods and a number preferred to use no methods at all because this is what they felt was the best approach for their particular child and that they would learn to read naturally by engaging in everyday life. “Living a life style of literacy”; “Living life in a world where words are everywhere” and “Given time and exposure children will learn to read and will enjoy it.”

Some children also developed their own methods which drew on word recognition, memorisation and guessing, or together with a parent they co-created a unique approach which suited them. It was apparent that what suited one child may not suit another and this included children within the same family, one parent said: “There is not a “one-size-fits-all” magic formula” and another family: “often requiring different resources to be available at different times rather than following a single ‘method’ throughout.”

Away from phonics families were actively and pragmatically choosing methods and approaches with the best fit for the child and they were using those methods in ways that were facilitative of their relationships, the child’s learning and their emotional well being. In taking this open and flexible approach families were placing the child at the centre of the learning experience. For example, a parent said “Go with what works for that particular child” and another “The method is not important; the important [thing] is that the child likes it.“

The sample was characterised by a diversity of accounts, there was no one singular approach that could be used to describe the theoretical positions adopted by this group of parents. In fact as a home educating parent and also as a researcher Pattison explains that it is not necessary for a parent to hold an understanding of what reading is or how reading happens for it is precisely this “not knowing”, questioning and flexible state of mind that enables a parent to be reflexive and responsive to their child, putting the relationship first and re-thinking what reading actually is."
howweread  reading  education  unschooling  phonics  pedagogy  2017  emmaforde  harrietpattison  children  language  deschooling  schooling  schools  homeschool 
october 2018 by robertogreco
▶ The Jet Set Breakfast, 1 Sep INTERVIEW - UNSCHOOLING · SAfm - iono.fm
"Further to our previous conversation regarding unschooling and homeschooling, we spoke to Zakiyya Ismael to get a better understanding of this"
zakiyyaismael  2018  unschooling  deschooling  homeschool  johnholt  history  india  southafrica  learning  informallearning  intentionallearning  unintentionallearning  petergray  academia 
september 2018 by robertogreco
The Kiva Center
"It began with a dream…

A yearning to provide children with learning experiences where they could feel at home within their community, revel in the wonders of the outdoors, and be recognized for their unique gifts in the world. We envisioned a place where kids could discover their intellectual and creative gifts outside of standardized test scores.​

It spontaneously launched with a request...

When families in the Boulder community asked the founders to host a backyard outdoor day camp in August 2014, we began to see an opportunity for growth.

And it continued with heartfelt enthusiasm…

“Well, are you going to continue?” asked a Father of three students on the last day of camp. “I want to send my kids here throughout the entire school year to get them outdoors and off the couch and screens.”

The Kiva Center was born. When it began, there was no classroom – just the awe-striking beauty of the outdoor scenery of their riverside home. Younger children arrived early in the day, and were joined by their older buddies who rushed over as soon as they got out of school.

Within a month, as the chill of the Fall began to set in, children, parents, and friends (including “Garrett the Carrot” who joined The Kiva Team) joined together to convert an old garage into The Kiva Center’s first classroom.

The Story Lives on...

The work of The Kiva Center now operates throughout Colorado, providing local school outreach programs, homeschool enrichment, summer camp enrichment, and family learning experiences. This work ignites a passion in our students to preserve and regenerate the natural environment by exploring the outdoors, planting permaculture gardens, sharing their stories through theater, learning traditional living skills with their families, and making lifelong community connections. In early 2017, The Kiva Center officially became a 501c3 non-profit, and within the first 9 months, we are proud to report that our programs reached nearly 600 students. That number is growing everyday! Come join us!"
boulder  colorado  education  openstudioproject  lcproject  homeschool  unschooling 
july 2018 by robertogreco
Science / Fiction — Carol Black
"‘Evidence-based’ education, scientific racism, & how learning styles became a myth."



"1. The Debunkers
2. The Map and the Territory
3. The Evidence
4. The Territory Beyond the Map
5. Here Be Dragons"



"A disturbing feature of this discourse in education is the frequency with which it takes the form of male researchers and pundits telling female educators that their views on learning are cognitively childish and irrational and should therefore be disregarded. Cognitive psychologist Daniel Willingham, a prominent debunker, has shared some rather patronizing speculations as to why the vast majority of (mostly female) teachers persist in thinking their students have different learning styles ("I think learning styles theory is widely accepted because the idea is so appealing. It would be so nice if it were true.") His paternal tone is especially disturbing since he makes his case by failing to mention the existence of legitimate competing views from respected scientists and education researchers."



"But despite the debunkers' undeniable passion on the topic, the fact is that there are extremely reputable scientists on both sides of this debate. In other words, as Grundmann and Stehr put it, "the basic rift in these debates is not between lay people and experts but between two alliances that advocate different courses of action based on divergent basic values and knowledge claims... we see representatives of science and the lay public on both sides."

So what are the two alliances in the case of learning styles? And what are their divergent basic values?

Luckily, you don't have to dig very deep to find out. If you review the writings of the most vocal learning styles 'debunkers,' you quickly find that they are almost always simply advocates for traditional, teacher-controlled direct instruction. They tend to favor a traditional "core knowledge" curriculum, traditional forms of discipline, and they adhere to a traditional IQ-based view of intelligence. In other words, they’re just educational conservatives. (In the UK they openly call themselves "trads" as opposed to "progs.") They trumpet any research that supports their preferences and ignore or attempt to discredit any research that leans the other way. They don't like progressive or self-directed or culturally relevant approaches to education. They don't tend to concern themselves overmuch with less tangible aspects of children's well-being like, say, "happiness" or "creativity" or "mental health." They define "what works" in education in terms of test scores.

But the reality is that you can’t say ‘what works” in education until you answer the question: works for what? As Yong Zhao explains in “What Works May Hurt: Side Effects in Education,” it’s reasonable to assume, in education as in medicine, that any given intervention may have negative as well as positive effects; if we want to claim to be evidence-based, we need to look at both. What raises test scores may lower creativity or intrinsic motivation, and vice versa; this study, for example, found that direct instruction hastened young children's mastery of a specific task, but lowered exploratory behavior. So “what the research supports” depends on what you value, what you care most about, what kind of life you want for your children."



"The first thing to understand about learning styles is that there is no agreed-on definition of the term. Multiple frameworks have been proposed, from the popular Visual-Auditory-Kinesthetic framework, to the Concrete-Abstract framework, to the Holistic-Analytical, Impulsive-Reflective, Convergent-Divergent, Field-Dependent-Field-Independent, Cognitive-Affective-Physiological –– one literature review identified 71 different models. As Kirschner and van Merriënboer grouse, if we consider each learning style as dichotomous (e.g. visual vs. verbal) that means there are 2 to the power of 71 possible combinations of learning styles – more than the number of people alive on earth.

They say that like it’s a bad thing. But as astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson remarked recently, “In science, when human behavior enters the equation, things go nonlinear. That's why physics is easy and sociology is hard.”

Zhang and her frequent collaborators Robert Sternberg and Stephen Rayner, co-editors of The Handbook of Intellectual Styles, are not fans of the 'debunkers.' They use the term intellectual style as an "umbrella term for all style constructs," (including learning styles, cognitive styles, perceptual styles, and thinking styles) which relate to "people's preferred ways of processing information and dealing with tasks." (Notice the word "preferred" here, since that will come up later.) As these authors see it, intellectual style differences are complex, involving cognitive, affective, physiological, psychological, and sociological dimensions. Researchers Maria Kozhevnikov, Carol Evans, and Stephen Kosslyn use the term cognitive style (which includes learning style constructs), to describe "patterns of adaptation to the external world that develop through interaction with the surrounding environment on the basis of innate predispositions, the interactions among which are shaped by changing environmental demands."

The most promising style constructs, in Kozhevnikov's view, are not the narrow visual-auditory-kinesthetic (V-A-K) perceptual categories, but the richer constructs of "context-dependency vs. independency, rule-based vs. intuitive processing, internal vs. external locus of control, and integration vs. compartmentalization." These cognitive tendencies are neither set in stone nor completely malleable; they intersect with cognition at multiple levels, from perception to concept formation to higher-order cognitive processing to meta-cognitive processing.

So it's complicated. And yet despite what researchers Elena Grigorenko and Samuel Mandelman call "the very fine texture" of the "intertwined threads of intelligence and personality" that make learning styles so devilishly hard to define, in practice these differences are not at all difficult to see.

Which is probably why somewhere between 75 and 90% of teachers believe they exist.

In self-directed learning situations where children are able to follow their curiosity in their own ways, differences that might be muted or masked in a controlled instruction setting become very clearly visible. Sensory preferences intersect with social, emotional, and cognitive differences in complex and individual ways that profoundly shape how each child enters and explores and takes hold of the world. One child will spend quiet hours poring over illustrated books about science or history; another child is quickly bored by those, but gets deeply engaged in active social projects like building or filmmaking or citizen science. One child listens in on adult conversations and remembers everything she hears, absorbing knowledge like a sponge; another child creates and constructs knowledge in her own hands-on ways, writing her first book before she reads one. One child is observant and cautious, always making sure of things before venturing into unfamiliar terrain; another child is bold and intuitive, diving in head first and filling in the gaps later in a "fake it till you make it" spirit. The river moves steadily toward the sea, but it follows many divergent pathways, and the shortest distance between two points may not be a straight line.

In other words, human learning differences are complex, multi-dimensional, and difficult to definitively pin down, but this much is clear: the kids have different styles of learning. So how does something so intuitively obvious and readily observed cease to exist in the eyes of the debunkers?"



"The debunkers admit that people have fairly stable learning preferences. They also admit that people have variable abilities in visual v. auditory memory, etc. When you combine preference with ability –– e.g. "I have a good visual memory, and I prefer information presented visually" –– that’s probably what many speakers of the English language understand by the term “learning style.”

So that thing? That exists.

But here’s where the crucial elision occurs, and the claim shifts to the matching hypothesis. In a literature review of learning styles research, Pashler et al. state it this way: the theory of learning styles is only confirmed if we can successfully sort individuals into groups “for which genuine group-by-treatment interactions can be demonstrated.”

What are “group-by-treatment” interactions? Well, in this scenario the teacher diagnoses and sorts the learners into groups, applies a randomized instructional “treatment” to each group, and then administers a test to determine which “treatment” worked better –– like a drug trial.

It's important to note that the debunkers' claim is thus based almost entirely on studies of teacher-controlled direct instruction; they don't involve scenarios where learners have agency. But the problem with studying learning in teacher-controlled settings is that it may be unclear whether you're measuring something about the learning or something about the teaching. In other words, you have to be sure that "Treatment A" isn't just a better or more interesting lesson than "Treatment B."

How can you solve that problem? Simple. By excluding from the list of methodologically acceptable studies anything that involves the kind of creative activities that good teachers might come up with to address the needs of diverse learners.

From the standpoint of strict scientific method, this is, of course, correct; your experimental protocol should control every variable except the one you're testing. How can you achieve this? By further simplification, of course: by creating a lesson so lacking in complexity that it can’t possibly be interesting to anyone. Like memorizing a random list of words.

Here’s where you run … [more]
carolblack  learningstyles  evidence  2018  paulkirschner  jeroenvanmerriënboer  li-fangzhang  mariakozhevnikov  carolevans  elenagrigorenko  stephenkosslyn  robertsternberg  learning  education  data  danielwillingham  daviddidau  joanneyatvin  power  yongzhao  research  unschooling  deschooling  directinstruction  children  happiness  creativity  well-being  iq  intelligence  traditional  testing  intrinsicmotivation  mastery  behavior  howwelearn  self-directed  self-directedlearning  ignorance  franksmith  race  racism  oppression  intersectionality  coreknowledge  schooling  schooliness  homeschool  multiliteracies  differences  hierarchy  participation  participatory  democracy  leannebetasamosakesimpson  andrealandry  pedagogy  teaching  howweteach  colonization  leisterman  ibramkendi  standardizedtesting  standardization  onesizefitsall  cornelpewewardy  cedarriener  yanaweinstein 
june 2018 by robertogreco
World'sSmartestGman on Twitter: "Imagine thinking taking the most inquisitive creature in the world, human children, and putting them into a prison with nothing but punishment to enforce learning and wondering why they don't"
"Imagine thinking taking the most inquisitive creature in the world, human children, and putting them into a prison with nothing but punishment to enforce learning and wondering why they don't

Have you ever met a child that hasn't been to public school yet, or been raised by telescreens? They want to know everything. You don't have to try to get them to learn

If you have a kid, everything you do is a chance to teach. When you're cooking dinner, there's physics, botany, history, chemistry, metallurgy, anything. Encourage them to ask questions.

"What if he/she needs to learn something that I don't?"

If it's important to know, why don't you know it? If you have trouble with it, get a book for them, and read through it so you understand it better too.

Involve your kids in everything. Teach them how to be safe around dangerous tools, then gradually let them learn to use them. Have books about everything. They'll read them.

If your kid brings you a rock, or a stick, or a bug, learn about that thing, whatever's appropriate for their age and knowledge. "This is a branch from a tree" or "This is from an Elm tree" or "This is Ulmus laevis"

We live in a miraculous time, where the monopoly on information is broken, where texts can be copied infinitely and effortless and knowledge is trivial to communicate. Schools are stone age, comparatively.

We're so prosperous that people all over take their free time to put information about their areas of expertise online for anyone to see, for free. We should rejoice at our fortune.

You can ask questions on any topic of millions of experts on anything, from your kitchen, and they'll answer, for free. To squander this resources and waste a childhood in govt school is a sin.

It would be like sending your kid to carry water home all day, when you have a faucet in your house. That's what govt schooling is like in the age of free information.

I'm not saying it isn't challenging, but you're also losing a tremendous amount of challenges associated with 12 years of govt schooling that you are taking for granted.

And more than anything, it's your child. They trust their parents. Govt school teachers them to trust whatever rando in whatever school you are forced into because of your street address.

When you're wrong, you can tell them, and explain why. When the rando teacher's wrong, they have to learn the wrong thing or be punished.

You also have friends and family, who are smart and good at stuff. When you're socializing, they're still learning. If your brother's a mechanic, they'll ask him mechanical questions.

We're so conditioned to think of learning as structured, formal, teaching, education, at school, because people are getting paid off it. But it happens all the time, naturally.

Some things are better taught sitting down, like reading and maths, but once those are mostly out of the way, a lot of things can be taught in situ.

Even sports and games are teaching. Trigonometry, statistics, history, biology, sociology, culture. We don't think of things as teaching because we're used to kids hating learning, because learning is punishment in govt schools.

When you go to the park, history, botany, biology, geology. When you go to the library, art, architecture, English, history, chemistry. When you go to the grocery store, botany, history, chemistry, sociology, economics.

Most of the people I interact with on here, I can tell have the joy of learning and knowledge in their hearts. That's all you need. If you never had it, because of govt school, find it, it's wonderful.

Because if you have the joy and love of learning and knowledge in your own heart, it will flow out to everyone around you, especially if you have children."
unschooling  education  deschooling  homeschool  learning  children  parenting  schooling  schools  howwelearn  howweteach  teaching  schooliness  internet  web  online  curiosity  childhood  publicschools  2018 
may 2018 by robertogreco
Article: Notes On An Anarchist Pedagogy – AnarchistStudies.Blog
"But, at this particularly dark moment in our nation’s history, I feel the need to act inside the classroom in a manner that more readily and visibly embodies the important and insightful critiques and guideposts of critical pedagogy,[2] perhaps in a manner, inspired by Graeber and Haworth, that rejects and abandons (education) policy, and more demonstratively and communally embraces the liberatory and transformative power of education itself, free from the bondage of neoliberalism.

Early on in Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology, Graeber offers us: “against policy (a tiny manifesto)”. Graeber tells us:

The notion of “policy” presumes a state or governing apparatus which imposes its will on others. “Policy” is the negation of politics; policy is by definition something concocted by some form of elite, which presumes it knows better than others how their affairs are to be conducted. By participating in policy debates the very best one can achieve is to limit the damage, since the very premise is inimical to the idea of people managing their own affairs.

(2004: 9)

And, as the people I have identified in these notes thus far all document, policy (education reform) is little more than a “governing apparatus which imposes its will” on teachers, students, administrators, and entire communities with high stakes testing, the deskilling of teachers, the cuts to and diversion of funding for public education, and the imposition of the corporate model to direct and control all “outcomes”. And, following Graeber’s pushback to “policy”, I want to enact, to whatever degree possible, “an anarchist pedagogy” to acknowledge, confront and overcome the very dominating and authoritarian dynamics at work in the classroom today from kindergarten right on through to graduate school.

I want to evoke and provoke the issue of anarchy as a counterforce and impulse to the “governing apparatus which imposes its will on others”. I want to engage education as the practice of freedom methodologically, and not just ideologically (of course, I would agree that a genuine embracing of education as the practice of freedom ideologically would axiomatically mean to embrace it methodologically as well – as I believe Paulo Freire and bell hooks demonstrate, and many others also successfully participate in such engaged pedagogy).

But for my musings here, I want to consider enacting freedom directly and in totality throughout the classroom. This is the case, in part, because I want to challenge myself, and to some degree many of my colleagues, to once again consider and reconsider how we “are” in the classroom, living and embodying education as the practice of freedom, and, in part, to accept the need to acknowledge, confront and address the reality that we “operate”, however critically, within the very “governing apparatus which imposes its will”. As a result, I am, for the sake of these notes, forcing myself to fully embrace freedom, and, to whatever degree possible, attempting to reimagine and recomport myself toward promoting education as the practice of freedom.

As good a “critical” pedagogue as I believe I am and have been, for me these notes are a call to identify my beliefs, habits and pedagogy, not unlike Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy were for him. These notes are a consideration of how I embrace and enact those beliefs, habits and pedagogy, and represent a challenge to improve upon my pedagogy. I have decided that rethinking my own pedagogy in light of an anarchist pedagogy might prove the most challenging, informative and constructive mediation on pedagogy I could contemplate and enact at this moment."



"As many of us directly involved in the “field of education” (working as teachers and administrators from kindergarten through twelfth-grade, or those working in schools of education and on various education initiatives and in policy think-tanks) have witnessed (and sometimes promote and/or confront), there is much emphasis on a “best practice” approach and on “evidence-based” support for said practices. As a result, so much of education research and teaching is “data-driven”, even when the data is suspect (or just wrong). And, still more harmful, there exists a prejudice against “theory” and against a theoretical approach to teaching within a social/political/cultural context that emphasizes other aspects and dimensions of teaching and learning (such as the history and legacy of racism, sexism, class elitism, homophobia and biases against those with abilities and disabilities that render them “problematic” or outside the mainstream of education concern). All of this leads to an obsession with “information”, to the detriment of teaching and learning (see Scapp 2016b: Chapters 5 and 6). We also wind up with no vision or mission – education becomes little more than a “jobs preparatory program” and a competition in the market place. This is what leads us to the litany of reform programs (from the Bush administration’s “No Child Left Behind” to Obama’s “Race to the Top”, never mind the practically innumerable local initiatives attempting to “fix” education). The results are proving disastrous for all.

At the same time, even though someone may employ a theoretical stance and perspective, this doesn’t guarantee a successful classroom dynamic. We need to remember that how we are (a concern of these notes from the very start) is just as important as what we are presenting, and even why. We need to establish trustworthiness and a sense that students have the freedom to explore, challenge, work together, and even be wrong. Of course, I recognize that the classroom dynamics will look different in elementary school than in a graduate seminar, but for the sake of this meditation on pedagogy, I would like to posit that while acknowledging the differences that exist at different levels of instruction, the essential character of “education as the practice of freedom” ought to be manifest at every level, and at every turn. The hard and important work of good teaching is helping to create and establish that freedom."



"There is a long tradition of attempting to create such an “other space”. Feminist pedagogy has argued for and provided such other spaces, at times at grave personal and professional cost (denial of tenure, promotion, as well as ridicule). So too have disciplines and perspectives as diverse as Ethnic Studies and Queer Studies, and Environmental Studies and Performance Studies offered challenges to the constrictive traditional learning environment (space) and also offered new possibilities of reconfiguring those spaces (in and outside the classroom). In his essay “Spaces of Learning: The Anarchist Free Skool”, Jeffery Shantz rightly notes that:

Social theorist Michel Foucault used the occasion of his 1967 lecture, “Of Other Spaces”, to introduce a term that would remain generally overlooked with his expansive body of work, the notion of “heterotopia”, by which he meant a countersite or alternative space, something of an actually existing utopia. In contrast to the nowhere lands of utopias, heterotopias are located in the here-and-now of present-day reality, though they challenge and subvert that reality. The heterotopias are spaces of difference. Among the examples Foucault noted were sacred and forbidden spaces which are sites of personal transition.

(in Haworth 2012: 124)

It is precisely this effort to help create another kind of space, a “heterotopia”, that leads me to disrupt the distribution of the syllabus as the first gesture of the semester, and to solicit and elicit contributions and participation from the class toward this end.

Part of the reason that complying with the “syllabus-edict” is problematic is that it fully initiates and substantiates “the banking system” of teaching that Paulo Freire so astutely identified and named, and so thoughtfully and thoroughly criticized (as oppressive). Participating in the automatic act of handing out the syllabus (hardcopy or electronic) constitutes the very first “deposit” within the banking system, and renders students passive from the very start: “This is what you will need to know!”. So, the very modest and simple gesture of not distributing the syllabus initiates instead the very first activity for the entire class, specifically, a discussion of what the class will be.

Of course, such a stance, such a gesture, doesn’t mean that I would not have thought through the course beforehand. Certainly, I envision a course that would be meaningful and connected to their program of study. But, what I do not do is “decide” everything in advance, and leave no room for input, suggestions and contributions to the syllabus that we create, to enhance the course we create. This offers students a (new?) way of interacting in the class, with each other and the teacher, a way of engaging in social and educative interactions that are mutual and dialogic from the very start. As Shantz claims:

Anarchist pedagogy aims toward developing and encouraging new forms of socialization, social interaction, and the sharing of ideas in ways that might initiate and sustain nonauthoritarian practices and ways of relating.

(in Haworth 2012: 126)

I am claiming that the simple and modest gesture of extending a welcome to participate goes a long way “toward developing and encouraging new forms” of teaching and learning, new forms of mutual and dialogic interaction that are both respectful of the subject matter and of the students, and, if successful, does create the very “heterotopia” Foucault and Shantz describe.

I also ask students about the ways we might be able to evaluate their work and the course itself, evaluate the success of the teaching and learning, and my ability to help facilitate successful teaching and learning. The results vary, but students always come up with interesting and innovative ways to evaluate and … [more]
pedagogy  anarchism  anarchy  deschooling  decolonization  unschooling  learning  teaching  bellhooks  ronscapp  paulofreire  freedom  liberation  neoliberalism  capitalism  lucynicholas  postmodernism  michaelapple  angeladavis  henrygiroux  roberthaworth  descartes  stanleyaronowitz  stephenball  pierrebourdieu  randallamster  abrahamdeleon  luisfernandez  anthonynocella  education  dericshannon  richarkahn  deleuze&guattari  gillesdeleuze  michelfoucault  foucault  davidgraeber  jürgenhabermas  justinmuller  alanantliff  kennethsaltman  davidgabbard  petermclaren  alexmolnar  irashor  joelspring  gayatrichakravortyspivak  colonialism  highereducation  highered  cademia  politics  2018  resistance  corporatization  betsydevos  policy  authority  authoritarianism  howweteach  government  governance  colonization  homeschool  power  control  coercion  félixguattari  conformity  uniformity  standardization  standards  syllabus  heterotopia  lcproject  openstudioproject  tcsnmy  sfsh  cv  utopia  collaboration  evaluation  feminism  inclusion  inclusivity  participation  participatory  mutu 
may 2018 by robertogreco
Home schooling concerns rooted in class and ethnicity, say researchers
"
Class and ethnicity are determining whether parents who educate their children at home are treated as “lifestyle gurus or thought criminals”, researchers have warned.

Middle-class families who choose home schooling are often seen as “ahead of the game”, according to a major analysis by the Universities of Birmingham and Portsmouth.

By contrast, poorer families who make the same choice – particularly if they are from minority groups – are frequently regarded as problematic and even as threats.

These starkly opposing perceptions have developed from a misguided belief that risk “lies in type, not practice”, said research co-author Professor Kalwant Bhopal from the University of Birmingham.

“Class and ethnicity have become absolutely central to how policymakers and wider society perceive parents who choose home education for their children,” she said.

“One narrative revolves around a middle-class family’s leap into a world of adventure and freedom, as if they have made a challenging but inspired lifestyle choice.

“The other narrative revolves around a poor, inadequate and often marginalised family for whom home education is viewed as representing a kind of falling off the radar.

“In such instances families are seen as presenting some form of future risk – as shown, for example, by claims that Muslim children schooled at home could be radicalised.

“So on the one hand we have families who are practically held up as lifestyle gurus, and on the other we have families who are portrayed almost as thought criminals.

“In both cases home education is routinely used as a means of reinforcing racism and other biases that are related to notions of British identity and British values.”

The arguments are set out in detail in a new book, Home Schooling and Home Education: Race, Class and Inequality, which brings together extensive research.

One of the underpinning studies suggests that Muslim families are most likely to choose home education to save their children from bullying in the mainstream school system.

This contradicts recent concerns – as expressed by Ofsted – that home schooling could be used as a cover for the radicalisation of some Muslim youngsters.

Professor Bhopal, a Professor of Education and Social Justice at the University of Birmingham said: “The reality is that all families who choose home education are trying to do what is best for their children.

“What seems to be too easily forgotten is that some can make this decision as a lifestyle choice while others have to make it because they have no other choice at all.

“In other words, there are families for whom home schooling is one of many available options and families for whom home schooling is virtually the last option left.

“Policymakers should focus on distinctions like these, not distinctions that are based largely on stereotypes and ingrained biases, if they want to address this issue.

“Ultimately, the key risks around home schooling lie in the practice itself rather than in the people who choose to pursue it – and this is what needs to be recognised.”"
homeschool  class  race  unschooling  parenting  society  education  learning  children  alternative  policy  uk 
may 2018 by robertogreco
QuantumCamp
"We were founded in 2009 on the simple idea that humans love to learn, and intentionally design an educational experience that supports this in our classrooms. The result is an exciting intellectual and social environment where students leave a class or a summer camp fulfilled, energized, and excited to continue exploring these ideas.

QC AT-A-GLANCE
QuantumCamp is a school enterprise with a core mission of delivering amazing, hands-on math and science courses to kids via three main platforms:

1. In-School Labs
2. Home School
3. Summer Camps

Students
Both homeschoolers and summer campers come from all backgrounds and from all academic skill levels. QuantumCamp students come from all nine Bay Area counties.

Faculty

QuantumCamp instructors are given one main task: facilitate an environment which allows student-driven discovery. We pride ourselves on our curriculum - developed by in-house content experts, and value the importance of collaboration. We are looking for innovative educators, who are excited to teach small classes, and contribute to our growing math and science program."
homeschool  marin  education  lcproject  openstudioproject  bayarea  camps  math  science 
march 2018 by robertogreco
Solidarities of Resistance: Liberation from Education: Reflections on education, colonization, and freedom | The Dominion
"In today's society, school is sometimes spoken about as a necessity for a happy life and as an inherent good. The concept of education is thought to be synonymous with learning, and separates those who are knowledgeable from those who are deficient. This is true even in radical pedagogy circles, where education is portrayed as a universal need and a means of liberation.

Only at the edges of radical movements are people calling the very concept of education into question, creating a culture of school resistance they say rejects the commodification of education and its connections to state building, and even genocide.

“Education is a concept that co-evolved with capitalist society, which has long been known by dissenters to be a tool for streamlining capital accumulation, with classrooms that resemble factory floors, and bells that mirror the break-time whistles,” says University of Victoria professor Jason Price. In his book In Lieu of Education, Ivan Illich pointed out that the word “education” only appeared in the English language in 1530, at which time it was a radical idea and a novelty.

“Schools have been functioning for some time to create students with obedient minds, rarely pondering beyond the controlled learning habits they promote,” says Dustin Rivers, an Indigenous youth from the Sḵwxwú7mesh Nation.

Before the process of education was commodified, says Rivers, “learning was present everywhere in my traditional culture. Even our word for 'human being' can be deciphered into a 'learning person'.”

Important skills were demonstrated through mentorship, and were inseparable from culture. “Some of these aspects of the traditional culture remain” says Rivers, "but it often does so in spite of institutions like schooling, politics, and occupations attempting to dissuade or direct focus towards lifestyles that don't reinforce traditional ways of life."

A look back through history indicates that the separation of learning from community and the natural world is not only intertwined with the rise of capitalism, but also with the formation of nation-states. “All nation-states practice a continual effort to homogenize, using for this purpose the institutions and particularly education,” writes Gustavo Esteva, author of Escaping Education.

In his book, Esteva notes that of the 5,000 languages left in the world, only one per cent exist in Europe and North America, the birthplace of the nation-state and where education is most prevalent. Thus, says Esteva, where education goes, culture suffers.

A Mexican study shows one impact of education on culture: In San Andres Chicahuaxtla, Oaxaca, 30 per cent of youngsters who attend school totally ignore their elders' knowledge of soil culture, and their ability to live off of the land; 60 per cent acquire a dispersed knowledge of it; and 10 per cent are considered able to sustain, regenerate, and pass it on. In contrast, 95 per cent of youngsters in the same village who do not attend school acquire the knowledge that defines and distinguishes their culture.

Schooling as a tool to homogenize Indigenous youth into national patterns is especially obvious in Canada and the United States, writes Ward Churchill in his book Kill the Indian, Save the Man. In both countries, says Churchill, genocidal policies designed to “compel the adoption of Christianity, reshape traditional modes of governance along the lines of corporate boards, and disperse native populations as widely as possible” were carried out through compulsory boarding schools. According to Churchill, these schools were administered with such vigour that the survival rate of children was roughly 50 per cent. According to the Assembly of First Nations, the last Canadian residential school closed in 1996.

“What came down through compulsory schooling was very harsh, very damaging, and very brutal for our communities,” says Rivers. “It still is to this day, because it is all a part of the assimilation process. There is a responsibility for us to find new paths, and new ways.”

“I have a lot of suspicion about the entire school model," says Matt Hern, a long time advocate for school resistance. "I think pretty much all its basic premises and constructions are suspect—bound up with a colonial and colonizing logic aimed at warehousing kids for cheap and efficient training of industrial inputs.”

School resistance is a movement that attempts to undermine dominant narratives around school, and to broaden the deschooling movement to create new ways of engaging and learning together. “I strongly believe we need counter-institutions, ones that can support people and their passions, assist different types of learning, introduce people to new subjects and experiences, pass knowledge down (and up!), provide meaningful work, pay fair wages if possible, build a community infrastructure, reach out to people from different backgrounds,” says filmmaker Astra Taylor.

There are many people in the deschooling community who are doing just that. Hern co-founded the Purple Thistle Centre with eight youth 10 years ago. Today, the Thistle is a thriving deschooling centre in Vancouver.

“We need to be building alternative social institutions—places for kids, youth and families that begin to create a different set of possibilities,” he says. “Something new that begins to describe and construct a different way of living in the world, and a different world.”

Unschooling is simply defined as life-learning. Unschoolers spend their time exploring, learning and doing their passion, often with rigour and on their own time. Unschooling does not mean anti-intellectual; in fact, according to proponents, it is the opposite. “Unschooling is that very moment when you are really sucked into something, whether it's an idea or project and you just want to study it or be involved in it, master it,” says Taylor.

There is certainly a strong emphasis on deschooling at the Thistle, but that does not mean the centre is only run and used by youth who are unschoolers. In fact, most of the youth are local schooled kids. Of the 25 youth on the collective, five are unschoolers, and a few have college degrees. Out of 200 plus youth who use the space, the ratio is the same.

The Thistle is not anti-school per se, rather it is about creating something new, according to Hern. “We wanted to rethink it all—rather than start with 'school' as the template—let’s start over entirely and create an institution that is for kids, by kids, has their thriving in mind, and takes that idea seriously, however it might look,” he says.

While there are also alternative schools with mandates aimed at undermining and changing conventional school, Hern says they are often part of the problem. “These schools are inevitably lovely, nurturing inspiring places, but if they are providing one more great opportunity for the most privileged people in world history, then they are regressive, not progressive projects. They are making the fundamental inequities of the world worse.”

Even the schools that challenge that status quo in a meaningful way are subject to corporate and government interference, he says. Although Taylor and Hern describe deschooling as a collective, grassroots effort, it is still very much on the fringe of society and social consciousness. The reasons are many; primary is the belief that school is inherently good for us.

“The stigma around drop-outs and incomplete graduations is daunting, and you rarely hear of a positive outlook on leaving school,” says Rivers. Despite this, he left school and became a thriving unschooler who has spent the past few years reconnecting and building his community. He currently runs Squamish Language workshops for his community on his reserve.

Indigenous people face an especially difficult stigma for resisting school. Cheyenne La Vallee, from the Sḵwxwú7mesh Nation, also left school to become an unschooler. “It’s considered shameful if you don't finish high school,” she says. “In my experience, I did face a lot of resistance to the idea of unschooling from family members and friends.”

La Vallee knew that schooling and colonization went hand in hand, but she had never "thought it through that the act of unschooling can be a direct link to begin the process of decolonization.”

“Once I left school I found a deep love for my family and myself, my community and culture, life and my landbase, where I got to actually learn my culture, language and land," says La Vallee. "Going back to my land taught me about how my ancestors lived and I saw that as a way to decolonize.”

“As an unschooler I felt very empowered as a citizen—I volunteered, I wrote a zine, I protested, I read widely, I made stuff—but when I briefly attended public high school I suddenly became a student, my interests were compartmentalized and my sense of agency was dramatically diminished," says Taylor.

Schools can be a barrier to ones own cultures and values. “School does everything in its power to make you feel disempowered and ashamed for being Indigenous, for being a youth, for being alive,” says La Vallee.

But leaving school isn't easy for many to imagine. “Narrowly describing de/unschooling as simply 'getting out of school' tends to privilege those with resources, time and money. Generally, middle-class, two-parent, white families,” says Hern.

The same can be said for homeschooling, says Hern. “I think there are some things that many schools do well and are worth considering and respecting. Schools tend to put a lot of different kids together and when you're there you are forced to learn to deal with difference: people who don’t look, act, think or behave like you do. That’s really important, and often deschoolers end up hanging out with a lot of people who are very similar to themselves.” Which is why he thinks deschooling needs to be a form of active solidarity and activism.

An important … [more]
carlabergman  mikejobrownlee  gustavoesteva  2010  resistance  liberation  education  unschooling  deschooling  vancouver  britishcolumbia  indigeneity  indigenous  society  learning  capitalism  accumulation  jasonprice  ivanillich  obedience  mentorship  culture  wardchuchill  genocide  firstnations  matthern  schools  schooling  purplethistlecentre  alternative  lcproject  openstudioproject  youth  grassroots  decolonization  homeschool  difference  activism  solidarity 
march 2018 by robertogreco
On Seeking Unschooling Advice | A Muddy Life
"I love to write about and share how my children learn without school here on the blog. And I feel it’s important to share not just the abundance of good stuff and the leaps and bounds of learning, but also to show the underbelly: the doubts, insecurities and fears around taking risks or being judged.

But if I could give one piece of advice to parents just setting out on their own unschooling journey with their children it would be this:

Don’t seek too much advice.

I know that sounds paradoxical, but here’s the thing: you are unique. Your children are unique. Your life together is unique. And because of all that individuality and rich diversity, the what, when, why, where and how you and your children live and learn will be innately different. If you trust yourself as a parent to offer gentle guidance and support without interference (and that’s a tall order in and of itself) and if you then extend that trust to your children to be curious and inquisitive, you’re half way there. The other half of the journey will unfold in glorious and magical layers and sometimes very ordinary ways, if we just let it happen naturally.

Insecurities and doubts about how our children will learn without someone teaching them are normal. We’ve been conditioned to believe it’s neither possible nor socially acceptable. We fear giving our children freedom because most of us have been well trained ourselves to stay within the confines of societal rules and regulations. We are led to believe that offering our children autonomy means giving up any sense of structure, or that we may even be putting them in harm’s way. Society tells us that following, obeying, and perpetuating rules and paradigms we don’t necessarily believe in are all part of being a good citizen, and dare I say, A Good Parent.

Those same parameters and restrictions are sometimes seen in online unschooling communities. Many believe if we follow certain rules and can check off certain criteria, we are being “good” unschoolers. Stray from those norms, and you’ve wandered off into a sub strait or separate faction that needs yet another label. These likenesses form out of a need to belong, to do things the “right” way, to fit in and yes, even to comform to expectations about how we parent, guide our children in their learning, and help them explore their world. It’s human nature to want to learn from others, to seek support when we feel uncertain, even to rely on those with more experience to guide us. There is often great comfort in knowing that we are not alone in our doubts, that others have trudged through the obstacles and survived. It’s affirming to be inspired by real examples of unschooled children who have conquered criticism and surmounted physical or developmental obstacles, to be bolstered by stories of children who come to reading and writing later in life, children who don’t seem interested in anything or anyone, until one day, when everyone seems to have given up on them, they are moved by interest or curiosity or some great unknown force within themselves and cannot, for any reason, be torn away from the object of their intent. There is always relief when we recognize our children or ourselves in these stories and we let out a sigh of relief. Phew! I feel so much better.

But there is a difference between asking for comfort, support, suggestions and reassurance and receiving it in a non-judgemental and constructive way, and taking too much advice from those we deem experts. Particularly if that advice goes against our instincts and better judgement. Many in the unschooling world would argue with me, but I am a firm believer that there is no such thing as an unschooling “how to.” Of course, we need to offer examples about what unschooling is and what it isn’t as a way to explain it. It needs to be called something so that we can refer to it, talk about it, write about it. But can we really assign it a global definition? And do we need to?

If we boil it down to it’s essence, unschooling is really just living, fully and freely. If the institution of school had never existed, society would not have collapsed. Learning would not have died off. And certainly, we would be more intriquitely woven together–as families, communities, as a society, and probably as a world filled with different and unique individuals, each contributing, each respected.

It’s wonderful to ask for and receive loving support. Ask for suggestions, but don’t follow anyone else’s path. Seek advice, but know that it’s okay to sift through it and toss out what doesn’t work. Look to those with more experience, but don’t try to replicate. Try things. Weigh them. Discard. Be inspired. Let in what resonates. Fail. Succeed. Try again. Follow your children, follow your instincts. And listen to yourself. Trust. And never let anyone tell you you’re doing it wrong. Your unschooling is not my unschooling. Or anybody else’s. And that’s exactly how it should be."
unschooling  advice  education  learning  individuality  parenting  deschooling  multitudes  2018  ellenrowland  homeschool  howto 
january 2018 by robertogreco
The Joy and Sorrow of Rereading Holt’s "How Children Learn" | Psychology Today
[Also here: https://medium.com/the-mission/the-joy-and-sorrow-of-rereading-holts-how-children-learn-ffb4f46485e9 ]

"Holt was an astute and brilliant observer of children. If he had studied some species of animal, instead of human children, we would call him a naturalist. He observed children in their natural, free, might I even say wild condition, where they were not being controlled by a teacher in a classroom or an experimenter in a laboratory. This is something that far too few developmental psychologists or educational researchers have done. He became close to and observed the children of his relatives and friends when they were playing and exploring, and he observed children in schools during breaks in their formal lessons. Through such observations, he came to certain profound conclusions about children's learning. Here is a summary of them, which I extracted from the pages of How Children Learn.

• Children don’t choose to learn in order to do things in the future. They choose to do right now what others in their world do, and through doing they learn.

Schools try to teach children skills and knowledge that may benefit them at some unknown time in the future. But children are interested in now, not the future. They want to do real things now. By doing what they want to do they also prepare themselves wonderfully for the future, but that is a side effect. This, I think, is the main insight of the book; most of the other ideas are more or less corollaries.

Children are brilliant learners because they don’t think of themselves as learning; they think of themselves as doing. They want to engage in whole, meaningful activities, like the activities they see around them, and they aren’t afraid to try. They want to walk, like other people do, but at first they aren’t good at it. So they keep trying, day after day, and their walking keeps getting better. They want to talk, like other people do, but at first they don’t know about the relationships of sounds to meanings. Their sentences come across to us as babbled nonsense, but in the child’s mind he or she is talking (as Holt suggests, on p 75). Improvement comes because the child attends to others’ talking, gradually picks up some of the repeated sounds and their meanings, and works them into his or her own utterances in increasingly appropriate ways.

As children grow older they continue to attend to others' activities around them and, in unpredictable ways at unpredictable times, choose those that they want to do and start doing them. Children start reading, because they see that others read, and if they are read to they discover that reading is a route to the enjoyment of stories. Children don’t become readers by first learning to read; they start right off by reading. They may read signs, which they recognize. They may recite, verbatim, the words in a memorized little book, as they turn the pages; or they may turn the pages of an unfamiliar book and say whatever comes to mind. We may not call that reading, but to the child it is reading. Over time, the child begins to recognize certain words, even in new contexts, and begins to infer the relationships between letters and sounds. In this way, the child’s reading improves.

Walking, talking, and reading are skills that pretty much everyone picks up in our culture because they are so prevalent. Other skills are picked up more selectively, by those who somehow become fascinated by them. Holt gives an example of a six-year-old girl who became interested in typing, with an electric typewriter (this was the 1960s). She would type fast, like the adults in her family, but without attention to the fact that the letters on the page were random. She would produce whole documents this way. Over time she began to realize that her documents differed from those of adults in that they were not readable, and then she began to pay attention to which keys she would strike and to the effect this had on the sheet of paper. She began to type very carefully rather than fast. Before long she was typing out readable statements.

You and I might say that the child is learning to walk, talk, read, or type; but from the child’s view that would be wrong. The child is walking with the very first step, talking with the first cooed or babbled utterance, reading with the first recognition of “stop” on a sign, and typing with the first striking of keys. The child isn’t learning to do these; he or she is doing them, right from the beginning, and in the process is getting better at them.

My colleague Kerry McDonald made this point very well recently in an essay about her young unschooled daughter who loves to bake (here). In Kerry’s words, “When people ask her what she wants to be when she grows up, she responds breezily, ‘A baker, but I already am one.”

• Children go from whole to parts in their learning, not from parts to whole.

This clearly is a corollary of the point that children learn because they are motivated to do the things they see others do. They are, of course, motivated to do whole things, not pieces abstracted out of the whole. They are motivated to speak meaningful sentences, not phonemes. Nobody speaks phonemes. They are motivated to read interesting stories, not memorize grapheme-phoneme relationships or be drilled on sight words. As Holt points out repeatedly, one of our biggest mistakes in schools is to break tasks down into components and try to get children to practice the components isolated from the whole. In doing so we turn what would be meaningful and exciting into something meaningless and boring. Children pick up the components (e.g. grapheme-phoneme relationships) naturally, incidentally, as they go along in their exciting work of doing things that are real, meaningful, and whole.

• Children learn by making mistakes and then noticing and correcting their own mistakes.

Children are motivated not just to do what they see others do, but to do those things well. They are not afraid to do what they cannot yet do well, but they are not blind to the mismatches between their own performance and that of the experts they see around them. So, they start right off doing, but then, as they repeat what they did, they work at improving. In Holt’s words (p 34), “Very young children seem to have what could be called an instinct of Workmanship. We tend not to see it, because they are unskillful and their materials are crude. But watch the loving care with which a little child smooths off a sand cake or pats and shapes a mud pie.” And later (p 198), “When they are not bribed or bullied, they want to do whatever they are doing better than they did it before.”

We adult have a strong tendency to correct children, to point out their mistakes, in the belief that we are helping them learn. But when we do this, according to Holt, we are in effect belittling the child, telling the child that he or she isn't doing it right and we can do it better. We are causing the child to feel judged, and therefore anxious, thereby taking away some of his or her fearlessness about trying this or any other new activity. We may be causing the child to turn away from the very activity that we wanted to support. When a child first starts an activity, the child can’t worry about mistakes, because to do so would make it impossible to start. Only the child knows when he or she is ready to attend to mistakes and make corrections.

Holt points out that we don’t need to correct children, because they are very good at correcting themselves. They are continually trying to improve what they do, on their own schedules, in their own ways. As illustration, Holt described his observation of a little girl misreading certain words as she read a story aloud, but then she corrected her own mistakes in subsequent re-readings, as she figured out what made sense and what didn’t. In Holt’s words (p 140), “Left alone, not hurried, not made anxious, she was able to find and correct most of the mistakes herself.”

• Children may learn better by watching older children than by watching adults.

Holt points out that young children are well aware of the ways that they are not as competent as the adults around them, and this can be a source of shame and anxiety, even if the adults don't rub it in. He writes (p 123), “Parents who do everything well may not always be good examples for their children; sometimes such children feel, since they can never hope to be as good as their parents, there is no use in even trying.” This, he says, is why children may learn better by watching somewhat older children than by watching adults. As one example, he describes (p 182) how young boys naturally and efficiently improved their softball skills by observing somewhat older and more experienced boys, who were better than they but not so much better as to be out of reach. This observation fits very well with findings from my research on the value of age-mixed play (see here and here).

• Fantasy provides children the means to do and learn from activities that they can’t yet do in reality.

A number of psychologists, I included, have written about the cognitive value of fantasy, how it underlies the highest form of human thinking, hypothetical reasoning (e.g. here). But Holt brings us another insight about fantasy; it provides a means of “doing” what the child cannot do in reality. In his discussion of fantasy, Holt criticizes the view, held by Maria Montessori and some of her followers, that fantasy should be discouraged in children because it is escape from reality. Holt, in contrast, writes (p 228), “Children use fantasy not to get out of, but to get into, the real world.”

A little child can’t really drive a truck, but in fantasy he can be a truck driver. Through such fantasy he can learn a lot about trucks and even something about driving one as he makes his toy truck imitate what real trucks do. Holt points out that children playing fantasy … [more]
childhood  learning  parenting  play  sfsh  johnholt  petergray  unschooling  deschooling  education  howwelearn  control  children  motivation  intrinsicmotivation  schools  schooling  future  homeschool  present  presence  lcproject  openstudioproject  reading  skills  keerymcdonald  doing  tcsnmy  workmanship  correction  mistakes  howchildrenlearn  hurry  rush  schooliness  fantasy  mariamontessori  imagination  piaget  jeanpiaget 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Imagination School, Bay Area, K-8 Progressive School
"To succeed in the 21st Century, students must not only know facts and information, but know how to learn. They need a capacity for creativity, critical thinking, problem solving and effective communication. They must be culturally and globally aware, technically literate, and have a sense of personal and collective responsibility.

At Imagination School, our K-8 program engages high-ability students in collaborative, hands-on learning experiences so they develop the skills and habits of mind necessary to succeed."
schools  paloalto  homeschool  afterschool 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Ancestral Schooling: Unschoolers No More
"After eight years our family is switching gears, we are unschoolers no more.

It has been a long time coming yet, we barely just noticed the need for a change.

Personal and family journeys of decolonization are often slow and take many twists and turns...lots of ups and downs. When it comes to our life learner's journey into self-direction, this issue hasn't been the exception. Twist and turns abound indeed. We are surprised not to have noticed but the signs were there all along.

They were there when my Mom and Mother in Law took turns taking care of me for 40 days after I gave birth, giving me caldo and tea so I would get strong and produce lots of milk for my newborn. They were there when my daughter was seven months and I tried to carry her using a sheet around my back when I couldn't find an affordable Mexican rebozo.

They were there when I was at the library and a hip looking Mom from the dominant culture asked me if I was an attachment parent and would I mind telling her more about my methods...And I said I didn't know what that was and she looked at me like I was stupid as I replied "I'm just doing what my Mom and the women in my family do" and got the heck away from her and her kid as soon as I could, just to avoid her contentious stare.

They were there when I instinctively knew to seek a circular community of women in the same situation as me, with children like my child so she would have others to speak Spanish with.

They were there when I knew to let her play with dirt. When I knew to let her cook among us, the women in the family, because regardless of age women of our kind always have a part to play and a weight to carry in a cooking circle. Which happens to always turn into a life wisdom sharing circle, as we work.

The signs got a little blurry when the women in my circle started sending their kids to school and their kids started to disappear into the business of their school days. I remember telling my husband, I didn't like how quiet and stiff our daughter looked when we tried out a formal classroom for a day. Would he be willing to consider homeschooling?

The sign was there when he replied with an obvious, yet shocking question..."Aren't you homeschooling already by being part of that Spanish immersion coop? What would change?" Indeed I was! So this time I followed the sign and reminded myself of how, when I was twelve and our family's fortune changed, I was "unschooled" by our oppressive circumstances and was given the chance to work alongside adults. A valuable experience, which turned out to be the secret to my professional success later in life. The sings blurred again, as the pressure of the dominant culture told me my child wouldn't learn to read if I didn't teach her and yet she did. On her very own at an early age.

The signs began to get fuzzy again, as I sought online guidance an read things that resonated with me. Mostly Unschooling literature and advice..."Deeper multi-generation connections within the family and community"check. "Emotional safety and connection are necessary for learning to happen" check. "Value and enjoy the journey and process" check. "Unschooling produces life long learners" check. "Learning takes place anytime and anywhere" check."Learning is pleasurable and noncoercive" check. "Learning happens as a coincidence as we go about our lives" check."Learning is a communal activity" check. "Learning comes as a product of emotional connection" check. Check on all those things I could recognize, as part of my own personal educational experiences. I immediately thought...I must be an uschooler!!! That's what we are, I affirmed to my husband and child. They followed suit.

Then more signs crossed my journey but I overlooked them. Like when after doing research and realizing school is mainly and instrument for colonization and destruction of cultures like ours, how it is mainly a European invention used to disconnect children and youth...here I was...Learning from others that were not my kin, who had very much sanitized and reclaimed our old ancestral customs calling them new. I had been sitting on an ancestral treasure a treasure of self-directed education and knowledge preserved thru thick and thin so it could sit invisible right in front of me after generations.


Then the moment of truth came after having unschooling discussions among other women of color, who also felt discomfort using the unschooler label for themselves and their families. The moment came, after several visits to México in a short amount of time. During which I took the time to interview some of our elders, for oral history purposes and I realized many of our ancestors grew up under "unschooling' circumstances just like I did.

Circumstances which for them, involved being put down and marginalized for their informal ways of learning, of playing barefoot and unsupervised in nature, for breastfeeding, for working alongside adults to earn a living, for working as if they were adults to contribute to the family finances, for carrying children in rebozos or seeming too emotionally attached to their children for the taste of the dominant culture.

Instances when they were devalued, mocked and even marginalized for having a deep emotional connection to family and community, for being innate and informal life long learners, for the deep generational emotional connections formed while learning. For solving conflicts among family circles of equal power, regardless of age. For learning as a vehicle for mere survival.

It finally hit me. Calling ourselves unschoolers is no way to honor that journey and all those sacrifices. Because it does not give our family the credit it is due.

Because now that our ancestral ways of carrying children with prohibitively expensive "baby wraps", breastfeeding, attachment parenting, non violent communication and self-directed learning is all too fashionable, especially for relatively affluent women from the dominant culture...credit is not generally given where it is due and when it is, it is talked about as a thing of the past, something we no longer do in the present day.

I'm here to tell you, we very much do, otherwise I would not have been able to innately find it among the remains of my family's culture and customs. We are indeed unschoolers no more. If we continue to call ourselves unschoolers, we are contributing to our own cycle of oppression, by erasing the merits of an entire culture and not acknowledging where that knowledge comes from and the sacrifices it took to preserve it. The next time another Mom from the dominant culture approaches me wanting to learn about the ways in which we "unschool"... I will proudly correct her and say..."We are not unschoolers. We are ancestral schoolers. What do you want to know? I will gladly share""
unschooling  homeschool  education  mexico  affluence  colonization  schooling  learning  history  oppression  informallearning  informal  parenting  language  words  meaning 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Education Used to Happen Outside of School | Intellectual Takeout
"Prior to passage of America's first compulsory schooling statute, in Massachusetts in 1852, it was generally accepted that education was a broad societal good and that there could be many ways to be educated: at home, through one's church, with a tutor, in a class, on your own as an autodidact, as an apprentice in the community--and often all of the above.

Even that first compulsory schooling statute only mandated school attendance for 12 weeks of the year for 8-14 year olds--hardly the childhood behemoth it has become.

Acknowledging that schooling is only a singular model of education opens up enormous possibilities for learning. Looking to successful education models of the past and present, we can imagine what the varied and vibrant future of education could be.

In earlier generations, individuals and groups often created dynamic learning communities all on their own, without coercion. The esteemed thinker, Noam Chomsky, references the rich and varied ways in which people learned prior to the onslaught of mass schooling. He states:

"I grew up in the Depression. My family was a little, I'll say employed working class, but a lot of them never went to school in the first grade, but [were familiar with] very high culture. The plays of Shakespeare in the park, the WPA performances, concerts, and it's just part of life. The union had worker education programs and cultural programs. And high culture was just part of life. Actually, if you're interested, there's a detailed scholarly study of working class people in England in the 19th century and what they were reading, and it's pretty fabulous. It turns out that they didn't go to school, mostly. But they had quite a high level of culture. They were reading contemporary literature and classics. In fact, the author concludes finally that they were probably more educated than aristocrats."

The scholarly study that Chomsky alludes to is Jonathan Rose's book, The Intellectual Life of the British Working Class. In the preface, Rose writes that "the roots of that autodidact culture go back as far as the late middle ages. It surged again in the nineteenth century... Thereafter, the working-class movement for self-education swiftly declined, for a number of converging reasons."

A main reason was the rise of compulsory schooling mandates in Europe and in the U.S., and the corresponding shift in education provided by individuals, families, and local community groups to the obligation of the state. Since then, schooling and education have become inextricably linked, with mixed results.

For example, the literacy rate in Massachusetts in 1850, just prior to passage of that first compulsory schooling statue, was 97 percent.[i] According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the Massachusetts adult literacy rate in 2003 was only 90%. Nationwide, the literacy rate today stands at 86 percent.

Like cars are to transportation, schooling is a ubiquitous and popular mode of education. But it is not the only one. There are many ways to learn, to be educated, particularly as technology and information become increasingly accessible.

The power of technology and the Internet to propel learning without schooling is documented in extensive research by Dr. Sugata Mitra and his colleagues. In one study of their "hole in the wall" experiments, Mitra presents compelling findings on how children from disadvantaged backgrounds in 17 urban slum and rural areas across India used publicly available computers to gain literacy and computing skills on their own, without any adult interference or instruction.

The children, ranging in age from six to 14 years, acquired these skills at rates comparable to children in control groups who were taught in formal, teacher-directed classroom settings. Mitra and his colleagues define this self-education as “minimally-invasive education,” or MIE.

In further studies, Mitra and his colleagues revealed that these same poor, formerly illiterate children also taught themselves English and learned to read simply by having access to computers and the Internet in safe, public spaces within their villages. Mitra's powerful, award-winning 2013 Ted Talk about his "hole in the wall" experiments and findings is definitely worth a watch.

By disentangling schooling from education—to truly de-school our mindset about learning--we can create enormous potential for education innovation. Schooling is one mode of education; but there are so many others to explore and invent."
informallearning  learning  education  unschooling  deschooling  schools  kerrymcdonald  homeschool  sugatamitra  literacy  jonathanrose  autodidacts  self-directed  self-directedlearning  schooling  history 
may 2017 by robertogreco
NOMAD
"Inquiry-Based Mobile Education

NOMAD is a mobile middle school where students drive their own learning using the resources of cities in which they live. Students work with community members and experts, engage in local issues, and explore the spaces of the Bay Area. Our converted school bus classroom is our mobile learning lab. The Depot, our home base, maker lab, and community hub.

NOMAD is centered around meaningful, inquiry-based experiences curated to provide a cross-curricular academic program in collaboration with students through thematic arcs. Each arc is comprised of phases of learning that correspond to the exploration of the topic from a variety of angles, the proposal of individual or small-group projects, and the completion and presentation of those projects to the NOMAD community. NOMAD's arc topics will vary by semester and emphasize real tools, working with real experts, and saying yes to as many ideas as possible."



"THE BUS(ES)

The NOMAD school bus is the cornerstone of the NOMAD learning experience. This mobile classroom will function as the learning lab for students as we take advantage of full mobility, driving ourselves where inquiry and exploration take us.

We just completed an Indiegogo campaign and successfully raised funds for our first bus!! We aimed to raise $25k to buy and retrofit an old school bus and are extatic to report we've already purchased a bus - the banner picture is our actual bus. Check out our campaign at https://igg.me/at/NOMAD-Education to see how it went!

The end vision for NOMAD is a fleet of buses segregated by subject matter. Each bus will have an allocated Guide (educator) who specializes in a specific set of core skills. At full enrollment, NOMAD will have 3 buses/cohorts:

1. Humanities - this bus will focus on English language arts, history, and social studies.
2. STEM - this bus will focus on science, technology, engineering and math.
3. Arts and Making - this bus will focus on written, visual, sound, music, mixed media and theatrical arts as well as building, prototyping and making.

Students will explore thematic arc topics on each of the buses throughout the week allowing them to work closely with each of our Guides (educators) and alongside all attending students."



"A Maker's Dream

The Depot, located at Folsom and 22nd, is a gorgeous 1,400 SF workshop and maker lab. We've completed the build out on our new space, The Depot will house a full wood shop, 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC routers, and digital and physical arts labs. We couldn't be happier with the results!

While the bus may be the soul of nomad, The Depot is the heart. More than just a workshop, this space allows the full student body to meet and participate in group events, social emotional learning opportunities, and large group projects. The Depot is our home - the place we start our day and come back to to warm up and reground after a day on the road."



"Experiential, Meaningful, Nimble

MOBILITY + COMMUNITY = IMPACT
NOMAD believes students have the power to enact real change. Our curriculum and projects are intended to educate and empower students to create change in their own communities. Being fully mobile allows us to participate in our communities and take advantage of all the learning potential of our entire city. By talking to our neighbors, asking questions, and collaborating with organizations and fellow city residents of all ages, we find ways to give back to the community in the projects we undertake. During the Fall 2016 semester, NOMAD students designed the Burlingame city flag with input from members of the community, requests from City Council, and research from historians and librarians. In the past, students have designed tiny homes for the homeless, volunteered with local non-profits, and created apps to prevent bullying. We are replacing the prescriptive nature of most classroom projects with meaningful, real-world impact.

PROJECTS
Learning by doing is crucial to the NOMAD experience. Projects are inspired by our exploration and multi-disciplinary study of the current thematic arc topic. Teachers explicitly teach and model effective project management strategies, guiding students through the process of proposing, planning, executing, and presenting on a project until they are prepared to produce on their own. NOMAD students complete a range of independent, small group, and whole group projects over the course of their time with us, and they are required to complete one project for each subject area per year. Students and teachers curate documentation, assessment, and portfolios of each child's work for all subjects and arcs.

CORE SKILLS
At NOMAD, we believe that core skills aren't the end goal but rather are necessary tools to create the projects of our dreams and to deeply explore the world. We define core skills as the academic basics that enable successful communication and computation required to thrive in today's world. We teach core skills through mini lessons, short but frequent skills practice, a variety of tried and true resources like NEWSELA, Howard Zinn Education Project, and Big History Project. Our educator(s) are experienced in implementing, modifying, and creating curriculum to meet the diverse needs of our mixed aged, mixed ability classes.

SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Cornerstone to the learning experience at NOMAD is social-emotional development. Educators have 1:1 conferences with each child, set goals and track progress collaboratively, and have regular transparent conversations about building and sustaining relationships. We incorporate elements of council circles, restorative practices, self-awareness, reflection, and mindfulness. Open, progressive conversations about race, class, gender, and sexual orientation are paramount to our comprehensive program.

PERSONALIZATION
Each student learns differently and has unique interests and needs - personalizing education is key. To ensure that every child is deeply known and receives 1:1 academic and lifeskills mentorship, we limit our class sizes to 8 students.

EXPERTS
Because we aren't limited to a traditional classroom, we can visit professionals, experts, and influential thinkers in their natural habitats. Whether that means driving to Sacramento to sit in on federal court sessions or walking down the street to watch a local print-maker in action, we learn more by visiting members of our community in their offices, workshops and labs, not reading about them or bringing them into our classroom."



"Connect The Dots.

Each school year is defined by the exploration of an initially narrow seeming topic. Through inquiry, exploration and creation, students will discover unending depth and connection.

INQUIRE
Inquiry is driven by the initial thoughts, questions, and feelings the topic of study inspires. Through simulations, experiences, stories, and theories, we co-create a map of what we want to explore, questions that need answered, and ideas we hope to pursue. Inquiry is the foundation of our program; we created a mobile school to enable our curiosity.

EXPLORE
Following the map of our inquiry, NOMAD classes venture out into our city or surrounding cities to take advantage of the resources and untapped learning potential that is all around us. While in the community, students begin answering their initial questions and find interconnectedness in all that we learn. We pull from primary and secondary texts, literature, problems to solve, discussion, online resources, game play, and experiences to learn about and around our topic.

CREATE
After inquiry and exploring the arc topic, project ideas begin to emerge. Students pitch personal and small-group projects, identify experts and mentors they would like to consult, and work strategically to bring their ideas to fruition. Teachers become project managers who help students find their place in their work, tackle obstacles, and leverage strengths to reach a point of culmination. Their work is shared with the larger community through NOMAD culminating events held a few times per school year."



"Mobility Done Two Ways

NOMAD offers two unique ways to get on the bus -- full-time and custom-schooling.

FULL-TIME
Full-time students will attend NOMAD Monday-Friday, participating in the full curriculum. These students will belong to one of two 8-student troops (think homeroom) led by a guide (educator). They will move through the curriculum both as individual troops and as a larger group with all NOMAD students.

Two days a week will be dedicated to the Humanities curriculum, two days to the STEM curriculum and one day to Maker and Physical Arts.

CUSTOM-SCHOOL
Custom-schoolers (also called home-schoolers or indie-schoolers) are able to get their NOMADic experience a la carte. They can choose to do 2, 3 or 4 days a week. For the 2 day option, custom-schoolers can choose between the Humanities curriculum or STEM curriculum. The 3 day option allows students to add on the Maker and Physical Arts curriculum. The 4 day option allows for Humanities and STEM participation.

For the 2017/2018 school year, Monday - Thursday will be dedicated to Humanities, Tuesdays and Thursdays to STEM and Fridays to Maker and Physical Arts.

THE TWO TOGETHER
The full-time and custom-schoolers will be moving through the curriculum together. The only difference between the two groups of students will simply be the number of days they attend."
schools  sanfrancisco  mobile  neo-nomads  nomadic  middleschool  homeschool  christieseyfert  lisabishop  taylorcuffaro  brightworks  sfsh  education  cityasclassroom  learning  inquiry  community  personalization 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Why are Democratic Schools Growing so Fast in France? | Alliance for Self-Directed Education
"There are several things about France which make it the right place for this movement to emerge.

France has one of the most outdated education systems within the Western World, and people are getting seriously fed up with it. Most people may think this about their own country, but believe me, France is far behind all of them. So-called “alternative schools” represent a tiny portion in French education, such that more than 99% of French kids are more or less doing the same standard thing, be it in public or private schools. Despite government efforts to reform the system, it seems like things are rather going backward than forward. At this stage, people are generally fed up with the system, and the media (even mass media) regularly and generously bashes conventional schooling. A general feeling of frustration and resentment over their own past is motivating parents to look for alternatives, and some of them are open to explore seemingly radical ones.

Freedom of education and freedom of enterprise are so sacred that independent schools are highly protected. The French don’t kid about their famous “liberté, égalité” motto. It’s truly there, in the Constitution and the Law. Contrarily to Germany and Spain, for example, homeschooling is allowed. (Sure, academic inspection doesn’t always make it easy for parents, but it’s allowed). Opening a private school requires a simple declaration, and the academic inspection is only supposed to make sure the school is safe and clean, that it allows students to socialize and develop their personalities, that secularism is respected, and that there are sufficient means for them to get some basic education, all of which are easy to show for a democratic school. Up to now, our 17 democratic schools, seven of which are based on the Sudbury concept, were easily able to open and run, and we have encountered no major hurdles with authorities.

It seems like France usually takes more time than other countries to change (women’s voting rights, for example), but when it changes, it’s sudden, and it’s real. Indeed, France has already shown its ability to initiate radical, pioneering change, with the whole country moving as one. This aspect makes us a good candidate to reach a Tipping Point in our education system."
france  democraticschools  democracy  schools  deschooling  unschooling  sfsh  2017  education  homeschool  raminfarhangi  sudburyschools  alternative  tippingpoint  change  schooling  freedom  democratic 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Self-Directed Education—Unschooling and Democratic Schooling - Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education
"Education, broadly defined, is cultural transmission. It is the process or set of processes by which each new generation of human beings acquires and builds upon the skills, knowledge, beliefs, values, and lore of the culture into which they are born. Through all but the most recent speck of human history, education was always the responsibility of those being educated. Children come into the world biologically prepared to educate themselves through observing the culture around them and incorporating what they see into their play. Research in hunter-gatherer cultures shows that children in those cultures became educated through their own self-directed exploration and play. In modern cultures, self-directed education is pursued by children in families that adopt the homeschooling approach commonly called “unschooling” and by children enrolled in democratic schools, where they are in charge of their own education. Follow-up studies of “graduates” of unschooling and democratic schooling reveal that this approach to education can be highly effective, in today’s word, if children are provided with an adequate environment for self-education—an environment in which they can interact freely with others across a broad range of ages, can experience first-hand what is most valued in the culture, and can play with, and thereby experiment with, the primary tools of the culture."
petergray  unschooling  self-directed  self-directedlearning  learning  education  deschooling  democratic  culture  homeschool 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Wildflower Montessori
"ABOUT

Wildflower is an innovative, open-source approach to Montessori learning. Its aim is to be an experiment in a new learning environment, blurring the boundaries between home-schooling and institutional schooling, between scientists and teachers, between schools and the neighborhoods around them. At the core of Wildflower are 9 principles that define the approach.

A growing number of shopfront Montessori lab schools have been started using the Wildflower approach. These schools are listed here.

ORIGINS

Wildflower Montessori is the labor of love of our founder, Sep Kamvar. Unable to find a school which combined Montessori education, an inclusive family environment, and a small, responsive school size, Sep was inspired to create his own. A professor and scientist, Sep sought the support of experienced Montessori leaders to design the school and to identify ways in which the long-history of experimentation and scientific practice in Montessori could be linked to his research. The outcome is a collaborative team of Montessori experts, scientists and designers working together to create a child-centered learning experience.

After the first Wildflower school was created in January of 2014, there was intense interest in the school and the approach. This interest led us to open-source the model and help other family groups and teacher-leaders to create new Wildflower schools. Each teacher-leader at each Wildflower school serves on the board of at least one other Wildflower school, creating a community of schools that are linked by both a shared philosophy and a network of shared relationships. However, each school is autonomous and independently run, with no operational involvement from Sep or MIT. Sep currently serves as an advisor to the Wildflower Foundation, a foundation that was set up to support teacher-leaders at Wildflower schools."



[9 Principles]

1. An Authentic Montessori Environment: providing a peaceful, mixed-age, child-directed environment.

In identifying Montessori as our guide for Wildflower schools, we were drawn to the unique combination of a few factors. The Montessori Method emphasizes the potential of the child, if served well, to change the world. We valued its intrinsic respect for that potential, its promotion of peaceful communities, and its specific pedagogical structures. As a model which prioritizes the development of the individual child, we value the balance of Montessori's scientific approach to children's development and its assertion that childhood is a unique period of growth to be protected at its own pace.

2. A Shopfront, Neighborhood-nested Design:</strong> committed to remaining small, teacher-led, integrated in the community, and responsive to the needs of children

Inspired by the work of Christopher Alexander, Wildflower schools are shopfront schools that consist of a single classroom, with the faculty both teaching in the classroom and administrating the school. By preserving a small scale, teachers are able to make decisions in their day-to-day teaching that respond to the intellectual needs of the children, and are able to make decisions on a school-wide basis that respond to their own vision and the contextual needs of the families. The shopfront model also allows these communities to seamlessly integrate into neighborhoods. Children are visible in the community as they walk to and from school, to their local playground or garden, and to civic spaces that would otherwise be on-site in a larger institution.

3. A Lab School: serving as a research setting dedicated to advancing the Montessori Method in the context of the modern world.

Each of the Wildflower schools serves as a lab school to help us better understand and advance the Montessori Method, and to help us propose empirically-supported design for new materials. We seek to integrate modern technologies in observation and documentation without changing the concrete, didactic nature of the classroom itself. We further seek to refine the development of Montessori-consistent apparatuses that prepare children for the cognitive patterns of modern fluencies.

4. A Seamless Learning Community: blurring the boundaries of home-schooling and institutional schooling by placing high priority on parent education and giving parents and integral role in the classroom.

Wildflower schools look for ways in which children's home, school, and community environments can offer more seamless experiences, reflecting consistent perspectives on children's development and engaging them as authentic contributors in each setting. We believe that parents and families offer a knowledge about children which is equally important to the professional preparation of teachers, and seek opportunities for parent-knowledge to inform classroom practice and teacher-knowledge to inform the home.

5. An Artist-in-residence: bringing richness to the learning environment by giving the children opportunities to observe and interact with adults doing day-to-day creative work.

Because we believe that children learn best in environments that model lifelong learning and creativity, each Wildflower school engages an artist-in-residence. Each school offers their artist studio space in a place accessible to the children, where the children can see them doing the work of their lives. In exchange, artists offer their work back to the classroom weekly, teaching children about their craft and helping children to develop their own skills. Through the artists-in-residence program, we seek to increase the awareness of the inner lives of children available to artists of all kinds and to protect children's understanding that learning and creating can happen throughout their lives and beyond their formal school experiences.

6. A spirit of generosity: Reflecting a spirit of generosity to all stakeholders, to children, to parents, to those in need, and to the local community.

Often, schools are seen as a service relationship, with parents as customers, teachers as service-providers, and children as recipients of the service, to be filled with information and assessed. We see it differently -- we see that each constituency brings their special gift to one another. We see the teachers bring the gift of their love and skillfulness to the children and the parents, the parents bring the gift of nurturing and advancing the teachers in their practice and growth as teachers and leaders, and the children bring the gift of helping all of us see in a new way.&nbsp; Importantly, this spirit of gift extends beyond the walls of the school: each school seeks to bring their gifts to the broader community, by being involved in the local community, by making educational opportunities that are free to the public, and by reserving slots in our schools for those in need.

7. An Attention to Nature: emphasizing the nonseparation between nature and human nature through a unique living-classroom design and extensive time in nature.

It is both a contemporary imperative and an essential quality of our design that we think proactively about the impact of our work on the environment around us. By limiting the footprint of each school to a storefront, we necessarily limit the availability of private, outdoor space. Instead, we design the interior of the school to allow children to learn to care for their living environment and to surround them with abundant plant life. We site schools near to public play spaces and work with city partners to design sustainable urban gardens for which the school and neighborhood community can care. We carefully consider the materials used in the classroom and choose sustainable, nontoxic and earth-friendly options. Finally, we maintain nutritional standards that are earth-conscious and protect natural, healthful diets for children.

8. A Role in Shaping the Neighborhood: working with the community to improve local parks, streets, and establishments to create an urban environment that is healthier for children.

Wildflower schools should change the way their immediate communities function and, as a part of a larger network, change the nature of their entire cities. The integration of children and families into the daily fabric of the neighborhood, we believe, will influence the lives of other neighbors, the questions asked in other educational settings, and the priorities of policymakers. We implement, then, structures that make our work transparent to their communities and expand who we define as "stakeholders" to include more than just the families we serve. From opportunities for passers-by to stop and observe the classrooms to the presence of children in local eateries, from the public gardens we create and tend, to the regular, open information sessions to inform our community about our work, we judge our approach not only by its influence on enrolled children and their families but on the city beyond our rolls.

9. An Open-source Design and Decentralized Network: advancing an ecosystem of independent Wildflower schools that mutually support one another.

Finally, we recognize that issues of scale -- including increased centralized decision-making, larger administrative bureaucracies and operational overhead -- decrease the autonomy available to individual classrooms. At the same time, we value the practical benefits of a community of learners and professionals working together, and the economic efficiencies that can arise from shared resources. To balance those concerns, each school sees itself as a node in a network, maintaining autonomy in school-level decision-making while able to access the resources of the network when those resources are useful and compelling to the school. Reciprocally, each school also sees itself not only as responsible for its own operations, but as responsible for helping other schools in the network, and for helping other interested family groups to start their own Wildflower schools."
schools  education  small  microschools  montessori  via:aimee  opensource  homeschool  christopheralexander  labschools  networks  community  art  generosity  urban  cities  lcproject  sfsh  openstudioproject  decentralization  sepkamvar 
march 2017 by robertogreco
Being and Becoming Film
"Being and Becoming explores the theme of trusting children and their development, and invites us to question our learning paradigms and options.

The filmmaker takes us on a journey of discovery through the US, France, the UK and Germany (where it's illegal not to go to school.) We meet parents who have made the choice of not schooling their children, neither at school nor at home, but of letting them learn freely what they are truly passionate about.

It is a quest for truth about the innate desire to learn. It belongs to a wider theme than education, connected to a change in our belief system and to our society's evolution, as well as to the importance of reclaiming one's life and self-confidence."

[trailer: https://vimeo.com/91040919 ]

[See also: http://www.johnholtgws.com/pat-farengas-blog/2016/10/8/being-and-becoming-1 ]

[previously: https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:54cb697e374d ]
sfsh  film  documentary  education  children  us  france  germany  uk  unschooling  deschooling  homeschool  learning  clarabellar  measurement 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Alliance for Self-Directed Education | Home Page
"The Alliance for Self-Directed Education (ASDE) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to informing people about the benefits of, and methods for, allowing children and adolescents to direct their own education. The Alliance’s ultimate goal, its vision, is a world in which Self-Directed Education is embraced as a cultural norm and is available to all children, everywhere, regardless of their family’s status, race, or income.

A Fundamental Premise

CONCERN FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
A fundamental premise of the Alliance is that top-down, coercive systems of schooling, imposed by states and nations, violate the human rights of children and families to direct their own lives, learning, and paths to adulthood. If there were evidence that coercive schooling were necessary for the welfare of the people on whom it is inflicted, such a system might be justifiable; but, as explained elsewhere in this website, there is no such evidence and there is much evidence to the contrary.

Why an Alliance?

BUILDING A MOVEMENT

The term Alliance in the organization’s name emphasizes its goal of bringing together the various organizations and individuals who are already actively promoting and enabling Self-Directed Education. The founders of the Alliance recognize that there are various flavors and manifestations of Self-Directed Education (for examples, varieties of home-based Self-Directed Education, democratic schools, and learning centers).

A goal of the Alliance is to create a collaborative space where we can all link arms, learn from one another, and collectively amplify the truth that is common to all of our experiences—that Self-Directed Education works! Success in achieving our common vision will depend, in large part, on the numbers of people who take an active stand and work together to support the movement.

The movement away from coercive schooling toward Self-Directed Education has been inching along for decades. It has not yet taken flight because (a) most people still don’t know about Self-Directed Education or about the success of those who have taken this route; and (b) most who do know about it shy away from it because it seems so “non-normal.”

So, the Alliance is designed to give wings to the movement by (a) using all means possible to spread the word about Self-Directed Education and its success, and (b) normalizing Self-Directed Education by making it a brand, showing how it is done, publicizing the research evidence of its success, and connecting people to the tens of thousands of families happily pursuing this route.

The Alliance is financed entirely by donations from individuals and organizations who support the cause of Self-Directed Education. All members of the Board of Directors are volunteers, who receive no financial remuneration for their work for the Alliance. Donations to the Alliance are tax deductible and allow the Board to hire freelance consultants to manage projects that would not be feasible on a purely volunteer basis."



"Education that derives from the self-chosen activities and life experiences of the person being educated.

Let’s start with the term education. In everyday language people tend to equate education with schooling, which leads one to think of education as something that is done to students by teachers. Teachers educate and students become educated. Teachers give an education and students receive this gift. But any real discussion of education requires us to think of it as something much broader than schooling.

Education is the sum of everything a person learns that enables that person to live a satisfying and meaningful life.

Education can be defined broadly in a number of ways. A useful definition for our purposes is this: Education is the sum of everything a person learns that enables that person to live a satisfying and meaningful life. This includes the kinds of things that people everywhere more or less need to learn, such as how to walk upright, how to speak their native language, how to get along with others, how to regulate their emotions, how to make plans and follow through on them, and how to think critically and make good decisions.

It also includes some culture-specific skills, such as, in our culture, how to read, how to calculate with numbers, how to use computers, maybe how to drive a car—the things that most people feel they need to know in order to live the kind of life they want to live in the culture in which they are growing up.

But much of education, for any individual, entails sets of skills and knowledge that may differ sharply from person to person, even within a given culture. As each person’s concept of “a satisfying and meaningful life” is unique, each person’s education is unique. Society benefits from such diversity.

Given this definition of education, Self-Directed Education is education that derives from the self-chosen activities and life experiences of the person becoming educated, whether or not those activities were chosen deliberately for the purpose of education.

Self-Directed Education can include organized classes or lessons, if freely chosen by the learner; but most Self-Directed Education does not occur that way. Most Self-Directed Education comes from everyday life, as people pursue their own interests and learn along the way. The motivating forces include curiosity, playfulness, and sociability—which promote all sorts of endeavors from which people learn. Self-Directed Education necessarily leads different individuals along different paths, though the paths may often overlap, as each person’s interests and goals in life are in some ways unique and in some ways shared by others.

Self-Directed Education can be contrasted to imposed schooling, which is forced upon individuals, regardless of their desire for it, and is motivated by systems of rewards and punishments, as occurs in conventional schools. Imposed schooling is generally aimed at enhancing conformity rather than uniqueness, and it operates by suppressing, rather than nurturing, the natural drives of curiosity, playfulness, and sociability."
self-directed  self-directedlearning  education  homeschool  unschooling  learning  schooling  conformity  culture  humanrights  coercion  children  akilahrichards  patfarenga  petergray  laurakriegel  jackschott  kerrymcdonald  scottnoelle  tomisparker  stephendill  cevinsoling  brookenewman  daniellelevine  jenspeterdepedro 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Home Schooling and the Question of Socialization on JSTOR
[via: "Research suggests that homeschooled children actually gain closer ties to their community, relating to people outside of their grade level. Homeschoolers learn to become active participants in their neighborhoods and soak up the etiquette of adult life in the process."
http://www.businessinsider.com/homeschooling-is-the-new-path-to-harvard-2015-9 ]
homeschool  unschooling  socialization  education  community  2000 
november 2016 by robertogreco
With a little help from my (edu)friends – Jonathan D. Becker, J.D., Ph.D.
"If you were to meet my son, you wouldn’t immediately notice anything “atypical,” especially if you’re an adult; he loves talking to adults. He doesn’t have much use for other kids, though.  And, that’s pretty characteristic of kids on the spectrum. He has some other pretty classic non-neurotypical features as well. For example, he has some pretty serious sensory integration challenges. Big crowds and loud cacophonous spaces are a problem for him. He’s never worn jeans; he always wears sweatpants or shorts. I could go on…

Schools are designed for neurotypical kids, especially public schools, I would argue. But, my son never went to public school. From preschool through 4th grade, he attended a small, progressive independent school with a “child-centered” orientation1. And, I love this school dearly. I’m on the board of directors. My daughter is thriving there. My son never did. He just never wanted to be in school, anywhere.

In an article about the school from 6 years ago
[http://www.styleweekly.com/richmond/the-power-of-play/Content?oid=1441743 ], the Executive Director said of the school that “…the approach isn’t right for every child — an extremely introverted kid, or a fiercely independent learner, or one that learns better in a more structured school environment, for example.”

Fiercely independent learner. That’s exactly my son."
schools  homeschool  unschooling  education  2016  schooling  neurodiversity  parenting  diversity  introverts  independence  howwelearn  howweteach  allsorts 
september 2016 by robertogreco
The Secret Appeal of ‘Captain Fantastic’: It’s Left-Wing AND Right-Wing | Variety
"“Captain Fantastic,” starring Viggo Mortensen as a shaggy father of five who has raised his children off the grid, in the deep forests of the Pacific Northwest, is an independent movie that’s at once original and softheaded, tough and sentimental, honest and manipulative. It’s far from great, but it’s highly worth seeing, and the secret weapon of why it’s been connecting with audiences is that it’s the rare movie that can truly be called left-wing and right-wing at the same time. It’s a blue-state-meets-red-state domestic wild-woods fantasia that swings in both directions at once, and that isn’t a matter of dramatic confusion. It’s a matter of how well the film channels the confusions of our time.

We’re living at a moment, after all, when Donald Trump is on the right, Bernie Sanders is on the left, and Hillary Clinton is at the center — but the supporters of Trump and Sanders have more in common, in many ways, than either faction has with the supporters of Clinton. The left and the right in America are now selling different versions of anti-establishment fervor, and “Captain Fantastic” doesn’t just reflect those two poles; it fuses them. It taps the topsy-turvy sympathies that now rule the political-cultural zeitgeist. The movie, however, isn’t necessarily out to do any of that. It’s just trying to tell a story that might be described as “The Swiss Family Robinson” meets “The Wolfpack.” Here’s a breakdown of the intriguing, and largely unintentional, ways that “Captain Fantastic” is left-wing and right-wing at the same time:"
viggomortensen  captainfantastic  politics  mattross  2016  film  unschooling  homeschool  education  donaldtrump  berniesanders 
july 2016 by robertogreco
[Watch]: Viggo Mortensen & Matt Ross On ‘Captain Fantastic’: Sundance | Deadline
"“Being a father.” That was director Matt Ross’s biggest influence in bringing Captain Fantastic to the screen. Best known as an actor who plays steely types such as tech exec Gavin Belson on HBO’s Silicon Valley and corrupt Mormon sect leader Alby Grant on Big Love, Ross was at the Sundance Film Festival with his sophomore directorial effort, this one about a counterculture dad of six who wrestles with returning to everyday society following his wife’s suicide. Viggo Mortensen, who knows a thing or two about playing dads in perplexing circumstances after A History of Violence and The Road, plays the title character here. In this clip from Deadline’s Sundance hub at the Samsung Studio, both Ross and Mortensen reflect on how fatherhood shaped the film. eOne acquired Captain Fantastic‘s U.K., Canada and Australia/New Zealand territories back in August. Bleecker Street will release the film this summer in the U.S. Today is the final day of the Sundance Film Festival."
viggomortensen  mattross  parenting  fatherhood  film  filmmaking  2016  captainfantastic  unschooling  education  schools  homeschool 
july 2016 by robertogreco
School is out - Salon.com
"The important thing about home schooling isn't getting away from school. It's getting back into your home."



"Then the canine squad searched the local high school, and found a joint in a car. Would they get around to searching the grade school our kids attended? No. But a police sergeant brought a dog around and introduced him to all the kids. And you can bet there wasn’t any discussion of the Fourth Amendment with the pup, Fido, Sparky, I really didn’t care what his name was. I just didn’t want him included in my children’s education. I didn’t want them taught to sit still for suspicionless searches.

I wrote more letters to the local editors, actually the same letter in many moods — funny-sarcastic, terrified-hysterical, insane-obscene — then we took the kids out of school.

Did we have any doubts? Nothing but doubts. I’d taught elementary school for a year in my 20s, but in addition to getting some classroom experience that wouldn’t apply in this situation, I’d only proved to myself unassailably that I wasn’t qualified to teach children anything. Daniel and Lana were willing and curious, but a little confused. Cindy didn’t know where to start either, so we agreed to start anywhere.

And we did. We started getting up later and hanging around together and Cindy and I tried to teach Lana and Daniel, formerly of the third and fourth grades, what the professionals were teaching over at Mt. Hall Elementary. We began by spending about three hours at it every weekday, using a first- through eighth-grade mail-order curriculum from the Calvert School, a correspondence outfit that’s been in business for a century. I didn’t like it any better than real school, and pretty soon I wasn’t helping much. In fact before long it began to seem to me not only possible but maybe even desirable and perhaps even wonderful that our children would develop into ignorant savages.

To anybody curious about the essentials of home schooling, I’d say that’s the key attitude: a willingness to fail utterly at doing what the schools do. Because what the schools do is stop the children from doing what the children can do.

Within a year, none of us really cared any more what the professionals were teaching. What we’ve derived in the way of a system continues to evolve, but I’ve just conducted a survey among the participants, and here’s how things presently stand:

Everybody has to be up by 8 a.m. on weekdays, and sometime before lunch the kids have to do their chores (laundry, dishes, dog food) and complete one lesson each from the Saxon Math curriculum. The kids presently don’t seem to know how many Calvert School grammar lessons they’re expected to do per week. Two? Three? It’s three, actually, but the irregularity makes it easy to skate. Once a month or so I put them to work writing an essay, using examples from a college textbook, the only thing handy. Sometimes they finish, and sometimes I forget I ever assigned it. Three days a week we drive to town for singing lessons, dancing lessons, tae kwon do. In the winter they go skiing every Friday."



"Just as people used to ask me how much my Great Dane weighed and how much he ate, people invariably ask about home schooling — “How will the kids be socialized?” When in turn I ask what it means to be socialized the answers vary wildly, but everybody seems to agree that there’s no better way to get it done to you than to be tossed into a kind of semi-prison environment with a whole lot of other persons born the same year you were."

[via: http://www.sesatschool.org/blog-article/?id=5043 ]

[Note: This came up again (through Austin Kleon) when Denis Johnson died on May 26, 2017.]
1997  homeschool  education  unschooling  deschooling  denisjohnson  children  parenting  society  socialization  learning  sfsh 
june 2016 by robertogreco
What changed this teacher's mind about home schooling - Chicago Tribune
"Other teachers know the experience, of feeling the entire weight of the class' resistance to an activity or a concept, and often trying to stand and lift that weight and steer it in a positive direction. It can wear down a teacher's sensibilities. But my home-schooler's ebullience and sincerity erased the group's negativity.

When I tried to will the class to be excited about author Raymond Carver, for whose story we were doing a critical analysis, she inferred my intent and mirrored it for the class first with body language and then a verbal barrage.

She was an ideal learner for, I assumed, the following reasons:

First, she had escaped the collateral damage from 12 years of conventional schooling. I'm thinking of my own lost years in elementary school, as a bored-out-of-my-gourd pupil in a classroom of 48 or more students doing busywork most of the day.

So the schoolroom was still a novelty for her.

Secondly, she applied her experience of one-on-one learning to the classroom format, as though she were the only one sitting in front of me. This led to plentiful and uninhibited conversation, and other students followed suit.

Third, having been the only person to be called on for 12 years, she did not use the group's mass as camouflage, or a barrier, but accepted every question, suggestion, lesson and instruction as her own responsibility.

Fourth, in home school she had daily conversations with one parent or the other about a myriad of subjects, whereas her texting, video-gaming, ear-bud-wearing classmates too often skated, side-stepped or escaped adult interaction much of their short lives.

If every student in my classroom were a radio, my home-schooled student was the one whose switch was turned on."
homeschool  unschooling  education  schools  teaching  2016  davidmcgrath  schooling 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Uber for School? - DML Central
"Disruptive innovation. Bleeding edge. Scalable solutions. The Uber for X. Silicon Valley is routinely ridiculed for the language of technology entrepreneurship and startup culture it has dispersed. Yet, the Silicon Valley vocabulary is fast becoming part of the language of education, and major tech companies are using their massive financial power to create their own new schools.

In the last few years, IBM has launched P-TECH, a network of “smarter schools” modeled on its Smarter Cities program. A former Google executive has established AltSchool, a chain of schools designed more like makerspaces than conventional schools. And, the widow of Steve Jobs of Apple has dedicated a huge philanthropic donation to a school redesign competition, XQ: Super School Project. Rather than tinkering in the margins of state schooling, Silicon Valley is setting out on a kind of creative destruction of the institution of education itself.

These innovations are, to borrow a phrase, the “Uber for School.” They are radically disruptive “startup schools” — new kinds of educational institutions that originate in Silicon Valley startup culture. These new schools are being designed as scalable technical platforms, underpinned by software engineering expertise; they are funded by commercial and venture capital sources; staffed and managed by execs and engineers from some of Silicon Valley’s most successful startups and web companies; and proposed to reinvent, reimagine and rebuild schools in the image of Silicon Valley itself."
uber  education  schools  benwilliamson  code/school  xq  superschoolproject  makerschools  altschool  homeschool  emersoncollective  robkitchin  martindodge  p-tech  greglinday  disruption  siliconvalley  scale  scalability  technosolutionism  ibm 
november 2015 by robertogreco
What if All they want to do is Play Video Games? | Sheila Baranoski
"“Easy for you to say unschooling works,” someone told me. “Your kids are interested in academic things. You don’t know my kids. If I unschooled, all my kids would do is play video games all day.”

To which I can only laugh. Because, you see, I could spin it two ways. I could tell you that before my son decided to learn Japanese, he read about how long-term and short-term memory works, and came up with a plan based on his research. I could tell you how my teenage boys have been to three different symphonies, and enjoyed them all. I could mention the programming they’ve worked with. I could tell you how well they work in the family business.

Or I could tell you that all they want to do is play video games.

Both versions of the story would be true. Because they are such avid video game players, they have pursued interests that came from their passion in video games, but their core passion remains video games.

Because of the hours and hours and hours and hours, day after day after day after day, month after month after month, year after year after year of video game playing, they naturally became immersed in Japanese things because that’s where Nintendo headquarters is. That led to their interest in manga and anime. They have Twitter accounts so that they can follow things about video games, and sometimes along the way, the video gamers they follow share an interesting article about something else. They listen to podcasts about video games, which, as podcasts often do, sometimes talk about off-subject things.

Their games sometimes have historical or mythological creatures in them, which gets them curious, resulting in google searches and family conversations.

Because of their love of Japan, I got them each a subscription to Japan crate for their birthdays, where they get a box of Japanese goodies each month.

The symphonies I mentioned? Video game themed. Music from the Zelda video games with footage from the games playing behind the orchestra. Once, the conductor used the Wind Waker baton.

As a matter of fact, through the years, they’ve been so into music because of video games. The Zelda series of games has always been, and remains, a favorite. The main character in the game, Link, plays an ocarina, so they bought themselves and taught themselves to play the ocarina. We listened to some of their favorite video game music on youtube, first on ocarinas, and then we listened to people playing guitar, piano, violin, harp, marimba, you name it. We learned about a lot of musical instruments through youtube, by following their passion for the music in their video games wherever it led us.

They took guitar lessons for awhile, and one of them took piano and trumpet lessons as well. Their sole reason for learning new instruments was to learn to play Zelda songs.

We went to the Renaissance Faire because the Zelda games have a very medieval feel to them. While there, one boy bought a pan flute and learned to play it.

The reason one of them took horseback riding lessons was so he could ride a horse just like Link. We found the most awesome teacher in the world, who was even willing to put the cones he was supposed to ride around in the shape of a triforce.

Of course, we had to sew our own costume so that he could look like Link while he rode. Then we made our own shields out of foam board. Then we decided to try making wooden shields with a jigsaw. We made rupee bags (rupees are the currency in the Zelda games). We hiked through the woods with our shields once, going on an adventure just like Link.

We used Sculpey clay to make triforces and our own ocarinas. We painted on magnifying glasses to make the Lens of Truth.

We went to Nintendo World in New York City.

We made cake pops that looked like Koopa shells. Well, we tried to make them look like Koopa shells. We made pumpkin soup, a delicacy in one of the Zelda games.

I took them to Pax East in Boston, which is a huge video game conference. While there, they were able to play many indie games before they went on the market, hear a panel of video game developers talk about their careers, and hear one of their favorite podcasts live. While we were there, they had their first Pho from a Vietnamese restaurant and fish and chips from a British restaurant.

Some of the very first words they read were video game-related (save, continue) , and some of their earliest reading was video game guides.

They’ve always enjoyed making up their own levels in games, from the time they were little and played Freddi Fish. They spent days making elaborate Lego versions of Mario Party games, complete with their own minigames. This inspired them to work on an idea for a game they wanted to make and sell as an app, which led them to learning some programming. They didn’t follow through on that to completion, at least not yet. Who knows what the future holds.

Some of the programming they learned was aided in part by Minecraft. When one of them was building a giant spider on Minecraft, he did a lot of research on spiders first. When I needed help figuring out drop box, they were able to easily help me, because they’d used it for Minecraft.

Sure, they work hard selling things in our family business. So that they can buy video games and add to their growing amiibo collection. Even when they were younger, they gave a lot of thought (thought that involved arithmetic) to how they would spend their birthday and Christmas money.

I haven’t even mentioned my daughter yet, who when she was around ten, was very into an online role playing game called Everquest. She played during the day when many kids her age were in school, so she played with adults who assumed she was an adult too, but one who couldn’t spell well. She was called “bimbo” one too many times, and because she was taking on leadership roles in the game and wanted to be taken seriously, got serious about figuring out grammar and spelling. She asked me the difference between to, too, and two and their, there, and they’re. She verified spelling of a lot of her words, or looked them up in the dictionary if I wasn’t around. She learned how to use commas and periods correctly. She started to be taken much more seriously in the game.

I never sat down and said, “Today, we’re going to learn about instruments!” or “Today, we’re going to have ocarina playing lessons!” I never said, “Our next project will be sewing a costume!” I didn’t even say, “Why don’t you pick a video game-related art project to do!”

I never said we had to supplement their video game playing with academic things, or told them that they had to “learn something” today. I trusted that they were learning all the time, and that their interests would take them wherever they needed to go. I paid attention and talked to them, and when they asked a question, I answered or looked it up if I didn’t know. I googled lots of things for them when they were little, and looked a lot of things up on youtube for them. When someone said, “I wish I could ride a horse like Link” I considered how we might be able to make that happen, and if they were interested in my ideas, we did them.

And some days, a lot of days actually, all they did was play video games."
unschooling  education  deschooling  learning  howwelearn  edg  srg  videogames  games  gaming  sheilabaranoski  2015  glvo  homeschool  informallearning  tcsnmy 
october 2015 by robertogreco
How My Son Learned to Read When We Stopped Trying to Teach Him — The Synapse — Medium
"We were homeschooling, and our son was six years old. He had a good vocabulary and comprehension of ideas beyond many kids his age. We knew reading would open up the world to him, we knew he’d like it, and we knew he was very capable of doing it. But he didn’t.

We tried flashcards. We tried read-alongs. We tried playing hardball and we tried being fun and exciting. We tried restricting activities until he’d done his reading lessons, and we tried giving rewards. All these efforts had two things in common: they didn’t help him read one bit, and they made our relationship with him worse. Being a parent and being a child cease to be fun when you’re at odds all the time.

So, at an age when we were starting to worry about his lagging behind, we simply stopped trying. We quit the whole effort. He was nearly seven when we gave it up in favor of more peace and harmony in the house.

Daily life was a little easier, yet we still had this nagging worry about him. What will happen if he’s behind where he’s supposed to be for his age? Still, everything about our efforts to make him read felt wrong, so we simply ignored the fears.

I was reading a lot of great books on how kids learn and I knew intellectually that kids need no instruction to learn to read. They will learn when they find it valuable and if they are in an environment where it’s possible — one with books and other readers. Still the head and the heart are very different things. I knew kids were better at self-teaching than being taught, but I had to watch my own son, sharp as he was, remain completely outside the wonderful world of the written word.

Then it happened, just like so many of the books said it would. You believe it in stories, but it’s still a surprise when it happens in real life. One night I overheard my son reading aloud to himself in his bed. And the first thing he read wasn’t Dick and Jane, but Calvin & Hobbes. Not light fare for a brand new reader.

Let me back up a bit. We would often read to him for a few minutes before bed, and lately he had been in love with some old Calvin & Hobbes comics I had from my adolescence. We’d read him a few pages and say goodnight. One night it was later than usual and he asked me if I’d read. I was a bit grumpy and tired, and I said no, I was going to bed. He protested a bit but could see I wasn’t up for it so he let it go, seeming defeated. Ten minutes later I heard him reading.

He later told me that he wasn’t actually reading it that night, nor the first several nights after when he spoke the words (and often laughed) aloud. He had heard us read it so many times he had the words memorized. He was looking at the pictures and reciting the words like lines to a familiar song. I didn’t know this until long after he could clearly read without first memorizing, but it really doesn’t matter. In fact, it’s probably better that my wife and I assumed he was reading it when we first heard him, or we might have been tempted to intervene and try to cajole him into reading it without the cheat of memory and illustrations. I know too well the kind of unhappy outcome that would have created.

For a year or more we fought with a kid who clearly had all the tools to read, and we got nowhere. He wasn’t faking his inability — he really couldn’t read. Reading was always an activity that interrupted his day and was associated with expectant and often visibly (despite attempts to hide it) stressed parents. It was a concept as useless as it was foreign. But once he had a strong desire — to enjoy his favorite comic strip — and his inability to read was the barrier, he overcame it in no time and never even celebrated or announced it to us. It was utilitarian, not some lofty thing to perform for a gold star or a pat on the back. His ability and interest in reading, then writing and spelling, only intensified as he found it indispensable for playing games like Minecraft and Scribblenauts.

We’ve since made a full transition from the imposed curriculum of homeschooling to the kid-created structure of unschooling. Looking back, I’m a little ashamed of the silly way we approached things before, but at the time it was so hard to let go with all that crippling fear. There are so many “shoulds” pumped into parents’ brains from the moment they conceive. There are percentiles and averages and tests and rankings galore. But these are useful only to the statisticians, and none of them have your child’s interest or happiness in mind. Aggregates aren’t individuals. Living your life, or attempting to shape your child’s life, to conform to the average of some population is not a recipe for success. At best it will produce blandness, at worst a broken spirit.

You can read any number of thinkers like John Holt, John Taylor Gatto, or Peter Gray on why our son’s experience is not exceptional, but normal. You can look at studies that show kids who learn to read at age four and kids who learn at age nine have the same reading comprehension by age 11. You can get story after story from places like the Sudbury Valley school about kids who taught themselves to read in a few short weeks once they got the interest, and even one girl who didn’t become interested until age 13 and then went on to win a literary prize. But it’s all theory and myth until you experience it with your own child.

Read the books. Look into the unschooling movement and literature. But above all, take a step back from your own kids and realize that they are only young once and for such a short time. Do you really want your memories with them to consist of fights and forced lessons? Enjoy them. Let them go their own way and navigate the world. There are few things more exciting than when they come to you to ask for your help or insight because they really want it, or when they never do because they figure it out on their own and gain a confidence that cannot be won any other way.

The world we live in does not lack for natural incentives to learn to read. The rewards are massive, as are the costs of illiteracy. We don’t need to artificially incentivize reading the way a poor farmer might have a few hundred years ago. When we do we do more harm than good, if not to our children’s ability to read then at least to our enjoyment of our time with them. They figured out how to speak — the most difficult, nuanced, and complex skill a human can master — without any formal instruction. They can learn to read too."
reading  learning  howwelearn  homeschool  unschooling  deschooling  children  teaching  howweteach  isaacmorehouse  cv  purpose  edg  srg  glvo  education  via:willrichardson 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Struggling with racial biases, black families homeschool kids
"Homeschooling, common among white Americans, is showing an increase among African- Americans kids as well. African-Americans now make up about 10% of all homeschooled children in this fastest-growing form of education.

However, the reasons for black kids to be homeschooled may not be the same as white kids. My research shows that black parents homeschool their children due to white racism.

This may come as a surprise since, for many, we live in an age of alleged color blindness and post-racialism, characterized by the declining significance of race and racism.

My research found strong evidence to suggest that racism is far from being a thing of the past.

I found covert institutional racism and individual racism still persist and are largely responsible for the persistence of profound racial disparities and inequalities in many social realms. Schools, of course, are no exception, which helps one understand why racism is such a powerful drive for black homeschoolers.

In the Spring and Fall 2010, I interviewed 74 African-American homeschooling families from around the US. While the size of my sample does not allow me to claim that it is representative of the whole African-American homeschooling population, it was nonetheless large enough to allow me to capture the main reasons why black parents tend to homeschool their children.

Eurocentric curriculum and teachers' attitudes

When it comes to schools, there are at least two important areas of concern: the curriculum and teachers’ attitudes and behaviors.

School curricula continue to promote a worldview developed by Western civilization. This wholesale Eurocentric orientation of most schools’ curricula, in a society that, ironically, is becoming increasingly brown, speaks volumes about a pervasive European ethnocentrism, that is, the notion that every one in the world thinks and does or should think and do like Europeans.

Peggy McIntosh, an anti-racism activist, often cites a list of things she can take for granted as a white woman. Her list reflects the nature of the curriculum that students grow up being exposed to.

As she says: “When I am told about our national heritage or about civilization, I’m shown that people of my color made it what it is;” as well as “I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that attest to the existence of their race.”

For black people, as I found, it is a totally different experience. Indeed, while European culture and thought are implicitly presented as universal and Europe as the only place from which great ideas and discoveries originated, Africa and African-descended people find themselves quasi-excluded from the curriculum.

As one of the fathers with whom I spoke in Atlanta succinctly articulated, “All we learn about is their stuff, and we know nothing about our stuff, our history, our culture.”

This results in a general school-sanctioned ignorance about Africa and its descendants and in a disdain for the black experience, as I found through my interviews. Eventually, this becomes a pervasive and potent form of institutional racism.

Racial stereotypes harm black kids

Furthermore, the attitudes and actions of white teachers (who make up 85% of all public school teachers) were questioned by many of the African-American parents with whom I spoke. They consistently portrayed white teachers as “overly critical, unresponsive, unqualified, insensitive, offensive, mean, hypocritical, and using double standards.”

Indeed, many white teachers seem to bring into the schools the many racist stereotypes and attitudes that have been ingrained in them, in particular the notions that blacks lack in intelligence, or are notoriously lazy and bent on criminality .

Studies of the impact of negative white teachers’ attitudes on the school experience of black children reveal that there are two areas where teachers’ unchecked prejudices have been particularly visible and tragic: the over-referral of black students to special education programs and to the criminal system.

Indeed, African-American students are more than twice as likely to be labeled cognitively “deficient” than white American students. Although they only make up 17% of the student population, they nonetheless represent 33% of those enrolled in programs for the mentally challenged.

What appears to be a false and incorrect labeling, has a dire impact on the ability of black students to attend college and achieve social mobility.

Harsh school punishments

Likewise, black students account nationally for 34% of all suspensions. In reality, harsh school punishments have become one of the primary mechanisms through which the school-to-prison pipeline operates, pushing large numbers of black children out of school and into the “justice” system to feed the prison industrial complex that has blossomed over recent years.

Certainly, the parents I interviewed were very much aware of and concerned about the “traps” set by many public schools for black children. One mother in New York poignantly declared, “I say America does not love my children. You know the statistics about prisons and all that. They have a plan for my children, and I am not going along with it.”

Given this state of affairs, it is hardly surprising that a growing number of black parents, frustrated with a school system that is quick to criminalize and disenfranchise their children, turn to homeschooling as an alternative.

Thus, for many black parents, homeschooling equates with a refusal to surrender their children to a system that they see as bent on destroying them. For them, it is an act of active and conscious resistance to racism.

African-American homeschooling

By taking the constant threat of harassment and discrimination out of the picture, homeschooling provides African-American parents the space and time to educate and socialize their children for optimal personal development.

I found the home education is planned and delivered primarily by mothers, who stay at home, or work from home. This mother-led home education process is commonly observed among homeschoolers.

In general, two strategies are commonly observed among black home educators: imparting self-knowledge and self-esteem through positive teaching about Africa and African-Americans.

While finding ready-to-use educational materials can be challenging, most parents reported creating their own materials, by drawing from different sources, such as books, documentaries, the internet, field-trips, etc.

Many go out of their way to provide exposure to black people who have achieved greatness in their domain, for instance, literature, science, or history, in an effort not only to educate their children about their history and culture, but also to instill racial pride and confidence in them.

In other words, many black homeschooling parents engage in racial protectionism, so that they will have the self-confidence and knowledge necessary to face and overcome the hurdles that white racism appears to place in their path."
homeschool  parenting  bias  race  schools  education  2015  amamazama  racism  curriculum  african-americans  prejudice  discipline  learning  identity 
april 2015 by robertogreco
HackSchool Colorado
"We're a one of a kind homeschool program that offers amazing opportunities for teens. We teach teens how to accelerate their learning through real-world projects and adventures. Whether solving local environmental problems, teaching English in the Brazilian Amazon, or painting giant murals with professional artists, teens will experience the world while learning how to accelerate and deepen their educational life.

HackSchool teens will work with organizations and businesses as creative partners to solve community problems. Unlike internships or extra-curricular programs, students work as creative partners with (not for) organizations and businesses to design and implement solutions to real-life problems. Through these creative partnerships, students develop the skills to work as professionals in any field at a young age. See our Programs page to learn more!"



"Our Mission

Traditional approaches to education are profoundly failing our children. Technological advances have created a world in which students can learn what they want, when they want it. The important questions in education are now questions about how to create things and experiences that make a difference in a young person's life—not about earning grades and jumping through hoops. HackSchool’s goal is to create a place where teens grow and create themselves as whole human beings.

We deeply appreciate the work that homeschool families do to find better and more authentic ways to educate their children. We want to learn from our community of families and provide teens with incredible, life-changing opportunities. We have consistently created these sorts of experiences in the past, and we are very excited to bring these incredible programs together in one place.

Our Future

We understand that homeschooling can get even more difficult during the teen years, so we plan to create our own full-time school for teens who decide that this is best for them. Because we are designing it with the help of our family community, the full-time school will be an easy transition for teens, but our part-time program will always be there for teens who decide homeschooling is the best fit."

[See also Paul Kim's Tumblr: http://hacking-curriculum.tumblr.com/ ]
nathanpaischmitt  paulkim  colorado  denver  hackschool  learning  lcproject  openstudioproject  unschooling  deschooling  homeschool  education  teens 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Liberated Learners, Inc.
"Mission:
Liberated Learners, Inc. supports the creation of centers based on the North Star model that promote living and learning without school.

Vision:
Liberated Learners envisions a world where all young people have access to a center based on the North Star model. Liberated Learners will organize a network of independent programs that share this approach, and work together in the areas of outreach, fundraising, and providing learning opportunities to their members.

The Story of Liberated Learners

Liberated Learners is the extension of a single innovative program that helps teenagers use self-directed learning into a network of closely related projects across the country and around the world. North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens began supporting teens to live without school in 1996, and its inspirational track record has led others to inquire about the model and in some cases to start their own versions of this model. The first full-scale programs modeled after North Star are now up and running.

North Star held its first small effort to share its model in a weekend workshop in 2007. Then, in 2011, North Star hosted its first Summer Replication Conference, involving seven programs. In 2012, the second Summer Replication Conference attracted eleven working groups. Throughout these years, North Star received numerous inquiries from people interested in learning more about the model.

The growth of this interest inspired the creation of Liberated Learners, a non-profit organization separate from North Star to direct the work of spreading the model. Liberated Learners handles the consulting and support necessary to assist others in starting their own programs towards our goal of seeing a self-directed learning program in every community.

Liberated Learners hosted the 2013 Summer Replication Conference, involving more than thirty people from nineteen programs.

A map of these people and programs can be seen here. http://www.zeemaps.com/pub?group=467412&legend=1

The North Star Model

The North Star model is based on the groundbreaking work of North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens which has been in existence since 1996.

The North Star Model is an approach to supporting young people to live and learn without school. The primary goal of North Star is to support teenagers feeling trapped in school to use homeschooling as a mechanism to stop attending school. North Star provides the ongoing support and community necessary for any interested teen to use this approach. North Star has a professional staff supported by an extensive network of volunteers that offer a range of classes, tutoring and mentoring. North Star also provides an advisor to each of its members to manage the transition to self-directed learning. North Star maintains a physical location in Hadley, MA that is open four days a week.

While each center in the Liberated Learners network uses this fundamental model as a guide, there are distinct variations depending on local conditions.

Liberated Learners centers are defined by adherence to the following principles:

• Centers adopt a mission of helping children and teens leave school, using homeschooling law to improve their lives and learning, and of helping existing homeschoolers sustain or improve their use of this approach.
• Members are not compelled to attend the center.
• All center activities are strictly optional.
• Centers are not accredited “schools” (nor should they use school, academy or other such synonyms in their names) and therefore do not offer grades, credits, or diplomas or require testing of their members.
• Centers maintain a physical space, open on a regular schedule, where members, staff, and volunteers participate in various group and individual endeavors, such as classes, workshops, advising, tutorials, and meetings with families."
kennethdanford  garybernhard  joelhammon  alisonsnieckus  catheinegobron  education  northstar  self-directed  self-directedlearning  homeschool  unschooling  lcproject  openstudioproject  alternative  networks 
march 2015 by robertogreco
The Crosshairs of High Expectations and Poverty | The Jose Vilson
"Our schools are currently underfunded, and our governments currently exacerbates this through long-standing property tax laws and inadequate state and federal formulas for funding schools. With such little political will to truly overhaul our public education system, frustrations ought to bubble. The safety net has withered from under us as our student population has become more diverse, and we’ve had little recourse in the educational debate but to stick to linguistic bunkers when discussing under-performing students:

“Kids don’t do well because of poverty!”
“Are you saying poor kids can’t learn?”
“Poverty means kids can’t sleep or eat well, and when they come hungry to school, they can’t concentrate.”
“That just sounds like an excuse to not teach students to the best of their abilities. We can’t accept that!”

These are arguments all worth listening to, even if the sources sometimes come off as suspect. On the one end, we have to acknowledge that poverty sucks the life out of our kids on multiple measures, from health care and life expectancy to school resources and college admissions. The more we use the word “poverty” to discuss learning and living conditions, the more we speak to social justice because, for many of our students, just getting to the classroom can be a struggle that many of my colleagues can’t comprehend. With the way poverty manifests itself in our schools, schools can’t always take the same trips, have the same lunches, or afford the same speakers to galvanize students. Schools in these environments are more likely to get shut down or restructured, and their teachers and administrators turn over more often because it’s that much more difficult.

On the other, too many of us in communities of color (not just Black or Latino, but Asian-American and Native-American communities too) have seen “highly trained” teachers who come into classrooms with pity and, eventually, resentment when teaching the students there. Many people of color acknowledge the condition they’re in, but they can’t afford for teachers to think of them as “poor” kids. In Latino communities for instance, when they hear “poor,” they also hear pobrecito, which translates to poor thing. People in poverty don’t want others to see their kids as poor things, but as people living in a condition they can’t control right now. They entrust their local institutions to do the best job possible, and for every good or average teacher who buoys up their children, there are those one or two who ruin the experience for a generation, too.

Racism, classism, and sexism manifests not just in the structures that hinder our most troubled schools, but also in many individuals within the system itself, carrying their rather visible knapsacks into our schools and dropping their bag of rocks on our kids.

That resentment leads people to turn to homeschooling or, in more recent times, charter schools. (Mostly white) activists are quick to dismiss the concerns of these parents, so, under the guise of “We want you and those schools don’t,” parents will turn to charter schools in these instances. Of course, it also means we have no idea what happens when our students get into school. For profit schools and the non-profit industrial complex have partnered up to shift the national dialogue about what school means, but those schools have made their names with zero-tolerance discipline policies and rampant de-matriculation too, so perhaps people are too quick to call it a solution.

With folks willing to give away our children of color to poverty pimps and school-to-prison-pipeline funders while so-called progressives build canoes for the kids to swim down the tubes (and all of them thinking they’re working against each other), perhaps political talking points for social justice activists of color just won’t do.

It’s important for all stakeholders to recognize that poverty matters and that achievement is a complex manifestation of environmental factors. It’s also why we shouldn’t treat outliers as miracles nor as rebuttals, but as case studies for us to examine in full (one of my bigger beefs with EdTrust / Doug Reeves 90-90-90 Theory). It’s important for all stakeholders to recognize that, despite and because of this, educators have to work to the best of their abilities because we are what’s left of the social safety net. Educators have to work in the aura of hope because our job is necessarily different, complex, and public. That also means our government officials need to vociferously support and properly fund schools in ways that make equity possible.

Instead of dwelling in the frustration of black parents or using the word “poverty” whenever we need an argument about the achievement of students of color, we’re better off discussing the systemic marriage of poverty and achievement while using our individual pockets of influence to affect change.

This isn’t an either / or argument. It’s a lot closer to the truth than 99% of what I read, though."
2015  poverty  education  schools  racism  class  classism  race  sexism  homeschool  schooltoprisonpipeline  politics  socialjustice  progressivism  acievement  casestudies  publicschools  equity  inequality  josévilson  charterschools 
march 2015 by robertogreco
The Techies Who Are Hacking Education by Homeschooling Their Kids | WIRED
“Do It Yourself” is a familiar credo in the tech industry—think of the hobbyists of the Homebrew Computing Club hacking together the personal computer, Mark Zuckerberg building the next great communications medium from his Harvard dorm room, or Palmer Lucky soldering together the Oculus Rift from spare parts in his garage. Progressive education is another leitmotif that runs through tech history—Larry Page and Sergey Brin have attributed much of their success to the fact that they attended a Montessori school. In recent years, Peter Thiel has launched a broadside against higher education, and Sir Ken Robinson’s lecture, “How Schools Kill Creativity,” has become the most popular TED Talk of all-time, with 31 million views. Now, all those strains are coming together to create a new phenomenon: the techie homeschooler.

This may come as a shock to those of us who still associate homeschooling with fundamentalists eager to shelter their kids from the evils of the secular state. But it turns out that homeschooling has grown more mainstream over the last few years. According to the most recent statistics, the share of school-age kids who were homeschooled doubled between 1999 and 2012, from 1.7 to 3.4 percent.

And many of those new homeschoolers come from the tech community."



"Perhaps it’s not surprising that the tech community—a group not known for mastering the delicate social mores of adolescence—might pursue an unconventional approach to schooling. “I never really fit in,” says Flickr and Hunch co-founder Caterina Fake, who has homeschooled three kids (two of whom have since moved on to public school) along with her partner, serial entrepreneur Jyri Engestrom. “I grew up not watching any TV, excluded from pop culture, sitting around reading T.S. Eliot and playing classical music. But those things benefited me so much! I felt different in a good way—like I had secret superpowers.”"



"Feel free to roll your eyes at this point. There’s something inherently maddening about a privileged group of forward-thinkers removing their children from the social structures that have defined American childhood for more than a century under the presumption that they know better. (And if you want to see how antiauthoritarian distrust can combine malevolently with parental concern, look no further than the Disneyland measles outbreak caused by the anti-vaccine crowd.) I hear you. As a proud recipient of a great public school education, I harbor the same misgivings.

And yet, as I talked to more of these homeschoolers, I found it harder to dismiss what they were saying. My son is in kindergarten, and I fear that his natural curiosity won’t withstand 12 years of standardized tests, underfunded and overcrowded classrooms, and constant performance anxiety. The Internet has already overturned the way we connect with friends, meet potential paramours, buy and sell products, produce and consume media, and manufacture and deliver goods. Every one of those processes has become more intimate, more personal, and more meaningful. Maybe education can work the same way."



"The Cook family are not just homeschoolers but unschoolers. They don’t prefer homeschooling simply because they find most schools too test-obsessed or underfunded or otherwise ineffective. They believe that the very philosophical underpinnings of modern education are flawed. Unschoolers believe that children are natural learners; with a little support, they will explore and experiment and learn about the world in a way that is appropriate to their abilities and interests. Problems arise, the thinking goes, when kids are pushed into an educational model that treats everyone the same—gives them the same lessons and homework, sets the same expectations, and covers the same subjects. The solution, then, is to come up with exercises and activities that will help each kid flesh out the themes and subjects to which they are naturally drawn.

All of which sounds great. But, to put this in tech terms, it’s an approach that doesn’t scale very well. It seemed exhausting enough for Samantha to help her two sons write one-sentence business plans; it’s hard to imagine anyone offering the same kind of energy and attention to each student in a 20-person classroom. Indeed, that’s precisely why schools adopt a one-size-fits-all model. Unlike the Cooks, they don’t have the luxury of tailoring an entire lesson plan to the needs and proclivities of one or two students. They have to balance the needs of individual students against the needs of the class as a whole—including kids who come into school with different interests, skills, and abilities. That’s why so many teachers aim for the middle of the bell curve—hoping to have the maximum impact on the largest number of students, even as they risk losing the outliers on either end of the chart.

Of course, there are plenty of private schools, charters, or gifted programs pursuing some version of what’s called student-directed learning. But most unschoolers told me that even these schools were still too focused on traditional standards of achievement. (To be fair, it’s hard to imagine that even the most enlightened private school would be able to stay in business if it couldn’t demonstrate to parents that it was teaching their children how to read or add.) Unless every family homeschools their children—a prospect that even homeschooling advocates say is untenable—it will remain an individualized solution to a social need.

And this is where technologists see a great opportunity—to provide differentiated, individualized education in a classroom setting. There’s a lot of excitement around Khan Academy because it steps in to handle a teacher’s least personalized duties—delivering lectures, administering and grading quizzes—freeing up time for one-on-one tutoring. Last year, Khan Academy launched the Khan Lab School, an offshoot that will create “a working model of Khan Academy’s philosophy of learning in a physical school environment.” AltSchool, a startup created by a former Googler, has launched a series of “micro-schools” in which teachers help students create their own individualized lesson plans.

Jyri Engestrom, Caterina Fake’s partner, signed up with AltSchool this year. The couple had been homeschooling for a couple of years, an experiment that gradually expanded into a 10-student “microschool” called Sesat School. This year, his students started attending AltSchool part-time, in what he calls a “hybrid” approach. He says it’s just one example of how a new crop of startups could use technology to create new educational models, somewhere between homeschooling and traditional school. He foresees a day when the same forces that have upended everything from the entertainment industry to transportation wreak havoc on our current model of education, when you can hire a teacher by the hour, just as you would hire a TaskRabbit to assemble your Ikea furniture.

“I’m feeling like something is brewing right now,” Engestrom says. “The cost of starting a company has gone down because there are online tools you can use for free. I can see that happening with school. So much of that stuff is just up for grabs.”"
homeschool  education  unschooling  parenting  siliconvalley  children  learning  2015  caterinafake  jyriengestrom  altschool  microschools  deschooling  libertarianism  trends  jasontanz 
february 2015 by robertogreco
What We Can Learn from Homeschooling - Hybrid Pedagogy
"I explain all of this not to suggest that homeschooling creates prodigies. It doesn’t, although some homeschoolers are advanced students. My daughter is a regular, bright kid who is flourishing because she has had the opportunity to follow a personal educational path with guidance and participation from the adults in her life. She has had the opportunity to work several grades ahead in her areas of strength and take her time with math, ultimately winding up ahead there, too. In addition, she has far more options for elective study. When I was in high school, I had to choose between orchestra and chorus. There wasn’t time for both. Using free or low-cost resources, my daughter has been able to pursue subjects that are important to her: art, music, computer programming, creating videos, writing novels, and reading — lots and lots of reading. She earns PE credit by taking karate classes, where she is always working towards the next goal of a tournament or belt test. Offering a selection of electives that aren’t necessarily offered by the school, and allowing students to choose several of them would either be impossible in or highly disruptive to the current system. Most kids in traditional school are riding atop an educational super tanker, huge, powerful, and slow to stop or change course, but because we can work outside that system, we’ve been able to speed around on a jet ski.

Let me clarify that I am not using personal learning to mean “personalized learning,” the theory advocating adaptive learning as a panacea for the efficiency problems seen in educating children. Education is a messy process. Like human history itself, it’s not linear but iterative, and we need to pay attention to where each child is on that somewhat unpredictable journey. I am an educational technology advocate who would agree that adaptive learning software is good (even fun) for learning certain things, and technology, used thoughtfully, is a tremendous tool in the hands of practiced educators. However, I would also assert that personal learning ultimately prioritizes human relationships, both faculty/student and students/peers. As in the case of my daughter’s math class, using telecommuting technologies may simply allow us to extend our network of faculty and peers beyond geographical constraints.

If we build this kind of flexibility with accountability into the curriculum, will teaching look different? Yes, and in many ways it will be more difficult. It will require working one on one with students in a very intense way. The hours may be longer, the scheduling different, and more will be expected in terms of collaboration, preparation, and continuing professional development. Finally, because such highly qualified professionals will require more compensation, they may be working with larger class sizes. That’s not ideal, just realistic. I suggest, though, that being an educator in this sort of environment will also be infinitely more rewarding. When educators become facilitators or even, as Chris Friend and Sean Michael Morris argue, “lab managers,” the student truly moves to the center of his or her own learning. If we prepare them, over time, to take control of that learning, then even when some require additional help, students are more likely to thrive."



"The University of Pennsylvania admissions page welcomes homeschooled applicants as “academically talented and often courageous pioneers who chart non-conventional academic paths.” The University of Arizona has a dedicated recruiter for homeschooled students, just as they do for each county in the state. MIT claims that they have long accepted homeschooled students, who become “successful and vibrant members of our community.” If the point of an education is to foster the kind of “intellectual vitality” noted by Reider in his search for Stanford University applicants, why wouldn’t we take what we’ve learned from homeschooling successes and apply it to the education of all our students? Forget iPads. Students need what homeschooling offers: autonomy, versatility, and freedom — in other words, jet skis."
melanieborrego  education  srg  edg  glvo  unschooling  deschooling  learning  colleges  universities  admissions  2015  chrisfriend  seanmichaelmorris  autonomy  homeschool  versitality  freedom  howwelearn  howweteach  messiness  relationships  personalization  personalizedlearning  personallearning  flexibility  johnholt  stanford  ucriverside  mit  penn  leifnelson  finland 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Home Schooling: More Pupils, Less Regulation - NYTimes.com
"Unlike so much of education in this country, teaching at home is broadly unregulated. Along with steady growth in home schooling has come a spirited debate and lobbying war over how much oversight such education requires.

Eleven states do not require families to register with any school district or state agency that they are teaching their children at home, according to the Coalition for Responsible Home Education, a nonprofit group that is pushing for more accountability in home schooling. Fourteen states do not specify any subjects that families must teach, and only nine states require that parents have at least a high school diploma or equivalent in order to teach their children. In half the states, children who are taught at home never have to take a standardized test or be subject to any sort of formal outside assessment.

And the movement is growing. Once mainly concentrated among religious families as well as parents who wanted to release their children from the strictures of traditional classrooms, home schooling is now attracting parents who want to escape the testing and curriculums that have come along with the Common Core, new academic standards that have been adopted by more than 40 states.

According to the most recent federal statistics available, the number of school-age children who were home-schooled in the United States was close to 1.8 million in 2011-12, up from 1.5 million five years earlier. According to federal data, the highest concentration of home-schooling families are in the South and West, although precise figures are difficult to collect because many states, including Connecticut, Oklahoma and Texas, do not require families to register with either a school district or the state education agency."

[See also: “The states that don't require homeschooled kids to learn math or English, in one map”
http://www.vox.com/2015/1/5/7495465/homeschooling-regulations-subjects-teachers ]
homeschool  education  2015  trends  via:audreywatters  unschooling  parenting 
january 2015 by robertogreco
American Experience . Ansel Adams . The Education of Ansel Adams | PBS
"Home-schooled until he was nine, Ansel Adams resisted formal education. After he had difficulties in a string of San Francisco schools, Adams' parents decided enrolling him anywhere else would be futile. He received the rest of his education from his father, tutors, the Panama Pacific Exhibition, and the world around him.

An enthusiastic beachcomber and insect collector, young Ansel lived in acute awareness of nature. Adams would later credit his father for tolerating his unusual path, saying, "I am certain he established the positive direction of my life."
In School
...Each day was a severe test for me, sitting in a dreadful classroom while the sun and fog played outside. Most of the information received meant absolutely nothing to me. For example, I was chastised for not being able to remember what states border Nebraska and what are the states of the Gulf Coast. It was simply a matter of memorizing the names, nothing about the process of memorizing or any reason to memorize. Education without either meaning or excitement is impossible. I longed for the outdoors, leaving only a small part of my conscious self to pay attention to schoolwork... (p. 17)

Lasting Revelations
...Sharp visions of childhood remain engraved in memory with an intensity far beyond their factual experience. Re-created in later years, they sometimes serve as catalysts for a better understanding of many occurrences. I recall one precious moment of an early summer. The persistent fog had lifted and the warm sun streamed into the dining room through the west-facing windows. I was setting the table for our supper. The light was unforgettable. Fog was still pouring through the Golden Gate and the foghorns could be heard. Why should such a situation such as this create a lasting revelation? Some might say that such memories are déjà vu, that we are building castles of imagination and nostalgic affirmations. I do not believe this. I feel that such events as this...offer a glimpse into a world-pattern beyond our conscious awareness.... (p. 42)

Excerpts from Ansel Adams, An Autobiography. With Mary Street Alinder. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1985."
anseladams  education  homeschool  unschooling  schooling  learning  howwelearn 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Unschooling: The Case for Setting Your Kids Into the Wild | Nature | OutsideOnline.com
"There’s a name for the kind of education Fin and Rye are getting. It’s called unschooling, though Penny and I have never been fond of the term. But “self-directed, adult-facilitated life learning in the context of their own unique interests” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, so unschooling it is."



"Fin and Rye are proficient with most of the hand and power tools that form the backbone of any working farm. By the time they were eight, both of them could operate the tractor and, in a pinch, drive the truck with a load of logs. They split firewood alongside us, swinging their mauls with remarkable accuracy. They are both licensed hunters and own .22 rifles and 20-gauge shotguns. They wear belt knives almost everywhere, oblivious to the stares of the adults around them, some concerned, some perplexed, and some, it often seems to me, nostalgic.

Our sons are not entirely self-taught; we understand the limits of the young mind and its still-developing capacity for judgment. None of these responsibilities were granted at an arbitrary, age-based marker, but rather as the natural outgrowth of their evolving skills and maturity. We have noticed, however, that the more responsibility we give our sons, the more they assume. The more we trust them, the more trustworthy they become. This may sound patronizingly obvious, yet I cannot help but notice the starring role that institutionalized education—with its inherent risk aversion—plays in expunging these qualities."



"“I look back at unschooling as the best part of my life,” Chelsea Clark told me between classes at the University of South Carolina School of Law, where she was accepted on full scholarship after graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the university’s undergraduate program. “It was a huge advantage, actually. I had the confidence of knowing what I wanted to do, and I wasn’t burned out on classroom learning like most college kids.” Chelsea was unschooled throughout her high school years in the small town of Dorchester, South Carolina.

Still, perhaps the best answer I can give to the question of what price my children might pay is in the form of another question: What price do school-going children pay for their confinement? The physical toll is easy enough to quantify. Diabetes rates among school-age children are sky-high, and the percentage of 6-to-11-year-olds who qualify as obese has nearly tripled since 1980. And what do children do in school? Exactly. They sit.

Inactivity is also bad for the brain. A 2011 study by Georgia Health Sciences University found that cognitive function among kids improves with exercise. Their prefrontal cortex—the area associated with complex thinking, decision making, and social behavior—lights up. The kids in the study who exercised 40 minutes per day boosted their intelligence scores by an average of 3.8 points.

Yet the physical and cognitive implications of classroom learning have played minor roles in our decision to unschool Fin and Rye. It’s not that I don’t want them to be healthy and smart. Of course I do—I’m their father.

But, in truth, what I most want for my boys can’t be charted or graphed. It can’t be measured, at least not by common metrics. There is no standardized test that will tell me if it has been achieved, and there is no specific curriculum that will lead to its realization.

This is what I want for my sons: freedom. Not just physical freedom, but intellectual and emotional freedom from the formulaic learning that prevails in our schools. I want for them the freedom to immerse themselves in the fields and forest that surround our home, to wander aimlessly or with purpose. I want for them the freedom to develop at whatever pace is etched into their DNA, not the pace dictated by an institution looking to meet the benchmarks that will in part determine its funding. I want them to be free to love learning for its own sake, the way that all children love learning for its own sake when it is not forced on them or attached to reward. I want them to remain free of social pressures to look, act, or think any way but that which feels most natural to them.

I want for them the freedom to be children. And no one can teach them how to do that."

[See also: http://www.npr.org/blogs/ed/2014/09/04/345827467/these-kids-grew-up-with-the-woods-as-their-only-classroom OR
http://www.wbur.org/npr/345827467/these-kids-grew-up-with-the-woods-as-their-only-classroom ]
benhewitt  homeschool  unschooling  education  parenting  vermont  2014  nature  learning  howwelearn  petergray  families  responsibility  tcsnmy  glvo  edg  srg  outdoors  risk  risktaking 
august 2014 by robertogreco
School starting age: the evidence | University of Cambridge
"arlier this month the "Too Much, Too Soon" campaign made headlines with a letter calling for a change to the start age for formal learning in schools. Here, one of the signatories, Cambridge researcher David Whitebread, from the Faculty of Education, explains why children may need more time to develop before their formal education begins in earnest."

[via: http://schoolingtheworld.org/a-thousand-rivers/ ]
education  schools  schooling  learning  parenting  2014  homeschool  age 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Rev Dan Catt: Heros
"Each one is trying (I believe) to normalise a way of doing something that's currently outside of the mainstream, until hopefully it becomes the new normal. The things they are doing are things that I believe should and need to exist. I'll also get back to that in a moment.

So where's my interest?

Well, we homeschool (UK) here, Modesty (12), Zachary (8) and Isobel (6) for various reasons, but one of them is this: In the last 10 years the internet and the world because of it has changed so much but the school system hasn't really kept up."



"We're practicing Autonomous (or "child led learning") learning, which in theory is letting your children loose to learn whatever they feel like learning while you support them. Our reality is that it's a bit more like one of those toy pull back wind-up car. You pull them back filling them with energy, point them roughly in the direction you think they aught to be heading and release.

In this case Modesty was playing World of Warcraft as was just at the right age to watch The Guild, which led onto watching Felicia's own videos, I can still remember the cry of delight and "Felicia plays Skyrim too, her favorite bow is the same as mine!", which indirectly led to her cooking Skyrim Sweet Rolls after watching Rosanna Pansino make some on Nerdy Nummies. Really getting into board games, watching Amy Dallen talk about comics, Nika Harper talk about writing and video games and then later making cool weaponry from games.

In turn that leads to thoughts such as "Hey, I could be a blacksmith or weaponsmith, or a leather armorer. Time to hit up the library and YouTube". Which is pretty much not what happens at school. Also the (I think) fairly obvious decision to present the content not as "Women in games/comics/magic/technology", but just normalised as cool people talking about cool stuff is just lovely.

Which brings me back to the behind the camera stuff. Richard with his podcasts, plays and theater performances. Sinking a whole bunch of money into trying to make things work outside of the normal TV/Radio/Theater commisioning process, working towards another way of doing things, because that other way of doing things should be just as valid and possible as the "normal".

Leila, here and here making a magazine, podcasts, conferences and more because they are things that aught to exist. They are things that aught to be able to exist, to be funded, paid for, consumed as though they weren't alternatives to the mainstream but just a different part of the mainstream.

Felicia making full-on half hour (US TV "half-hour") TV programs but on YouTube, as thought that's just how it should be. And I've seen the promise of "TV on the internet" for very long time, and each time I watch someone attempt it I'm like "go on, this time, please let this be the one that finally survives and makes it work"

Because...

Because... I'm betting on "Home Schooling" or rather outside of the mainstream education system as a valid route for our children, and when they "leave" I need things like Richard's independent radio/podcast programs to have worked, Felicia's new company that she's spent so much time on getting set up to succeed, Leila to not burn through all her savings and make her way of publishing a magazine and so on, a perfectly acceptable and doable thing to do.

So that when our children are ready for the "world of work" that world is an interesting place and there are people in it I can point to as an example of how things can be done.

In short, I need heros."
revdancatt  2014  heros  feliciaday  leilajohnston  richardherring  cv  homeschool  unschooling  change  future  heroes  hopes  dreams  learning  howwelearn  parenting  television  youtube  creativity  games  gaming  publishing  education  schools  schooling  schooliness  funding  kickstarter  internet  online  markets  alternative  mainstream  pioneers  passion 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Homeschooling and Finnish education :: Zengestrom
"Sahlberg’s reader will conclude that a great school is small, led by highly educated teachers who are free to do things their way, has short days and issues little homework. It relies on parents and other people who help the children learn to read early. When a child has difficulty learning something – which happens to many at some point – they get help from a specialized teacher without being stigmatized. Plus, everybody there benefits from well-designed spaces and good food.

To Sahlberg the key challenge now is personal media. Because children spend so much time on their screens, teachers find they are harder to reach. They read fewer books on their own and their learning is out of synch with their peers. Hence, more effort is required from teachers to engage each individual student. But schools are getting larger and as the kids get older, they become even less engaged and more dissatisfied. They no longer see any reason to be in class. They use their devices to access information and to communicate.

Sahlberg’s answer, which he calls the Big Dream, is school as a safe community where children are free to pursue their interests, learn more diverse things, and discover their unique talents. In the future he paints, classroom-based teaching gives way to customized, activity-based learning:
Rather than continue thinking of future schooling in terms of subjects and time allocations to them, the time is right now to make a bold move and rethink the organization of time in schools. This would mean having less time allocated to conventional subjects, such as mother tongue, mathematics, and science, and more time for integrated themes, projects, and activities.

He continues:
This would also mean a shift from common curriculum-baed teaching to individual learning-plan-based education. This would lead to extended time for all students to spend engaged in personally meaningful workshops, projects, and the arts.

Sounds a lot like homeschooling."

[Also posted here: http://sesatschool.blogspot.com/2013/12/can-homeschoolers-learn-from-finlands.html ]
yrizenhestrom  finland  education  homeschool  unschooling  schools  schooling  policy  small  pasisahlberg  2013  teaching  learning  autonomy  literacy  equality  children 
may 2014 by robertogreco
The Learning State
"Now that I seem to be building a relationship with some readers, it is time to own up to my hitherto secret purpose in writing this column. I want to see "VACATIONLAND" off the car license plates. I want to see it replaced by "The Learning State." Of course the point is not about license plates, which I suppose could be changed by decree from Augusta. It is about how we in Maine think about ourselves and our state, something that cannot be changed "top down" by government. It has to be created "bottom up" by the people of the state. By you and me and all of us.

It would be good for us to have the title of champion state in the field of learning. It would bring business and talent from away. But the driving reason to achieve excellence in learning is necessity. More than most states, our future depends on the capacity of the next generation to adapt to changing economic needs and possibilities. Mainers must be learners.

What would qualify us for the title is a combined score based on the quantity and quality of learning that takes place in the state and on our attitude towards learning and the role of learning in our future. On quality of learning we have a lot going for us. Although our schools have many problems, their students rank high on national tests. Outside of the curriculum itself the state is rich in nuggets of homegrown excellence in learning. As just one example drawn from a large collection I'll be sharing with you in the next months consider the fact that the kids of Deer Isle-Stonington have achieved national status in junior chess contests. And, of course, nobody would expect me to pass over the laptop initiative that has the eyes of the education world focused on our state.

On attitude we have work to do and this is where I hope to make a modest contribution through this column. Last December I wrote on these pages that the time has come for a change of ownership of the laptop initiative: it must stop being "the governor's laptop initiative" to become "our initiative." I outlined ways in which citizens could help and argued that only if many do will the initiative achieve true greatness. But the same arguments apply to all learning. The quality of learning in schools will advance best if the quality of the "learning culture" in our homes and communities advances.

The "home learning culture" is reflected in how we talk about and think about learning in our families. In my column about Bode Miller I tried to show how one can see every event in the world through lenses focused on the learning aspect. In a family with a strong learning culture people who see skiers jump fifty feet into the air and spin their bodies all the way up and down might respond as I did; my wife and I spent the next ten minutes talking about how anyone could possibly learn to do that. The quality of the family learning culture also shows itself in the response to kids knowing more than the grown-up. When your eight-year-old figures out faster than you how to do something with the VCR or the computer are you embarrassed or proud? Do you try to learn from the kid? Do you recognize that kids are experts on learning and can often teach you a lot about how to do it?

I'm trying to use this column to set an example, but using a monologue as an example defeats my purpose. I want dialog. I want to see discussion of learning. Starting next week I am going to make a point of dealing directly with the comments of readers that have begun to trickle into my email. To make this work please send more comments. So please tell me why you think I am crazy to think that Maine can be Number 1 in learning."

[Papert's Bode Miller column: http://www.papert.org/articles/BodeMiller.html ]

[Other column in this series:

"It Takes a Whole State to Raise its Schools"
http://www.papert.org/articles/ItTakesAState.html

"Hard Fun"
http://www.papert.org/articles/HardFun.html

"Computer as Condom"
http://www.papert.org/articles/ComputerAsCondom.html ]
seymourpapert  maine  learning  education  bodemiller  homeschool  unschooling  deschooling  2001  schools  policy  priorities 
january 2014 by robertogreco
The Homeschool Apostates
"For Ryan Stollar and many other ex-homeschoolers, debate club changed everything. The lessons in critical thinking, he says, undermined Farris’s dream of creating thousands of eloquent new advocates for the homeschooling cause. “You can’t do debate unless you teach people how to look at different sides of an issue, to research all the different arguments that could be made for and against something,” Stollar says. “And so all of a sudden, debate as a way to create culture-war soldiers backfires. They go into this being well trained, they start questioning something neutral like energy policy, but it doesn’t stop there. They start questioning everything.”

Many women leaders in the ex-homeschool movement had fewer opportunities than men to join debate clubs or political groups like Generation Joshua. They developed their organizing skills in a different way, by finding power in the competence they gained as “junior moms” to large families. “All of these girls who are the oldest of eight, nine, ten children—we are organizational geniuses,” says Sarah Hunt, a Washington, D.C. attorney who grew up the oldest of nine in a strict fundamentalist family. “We know how to get things done. We know how to influence people. Put any of us in a room with other people for 45 minutes, and they’re all working for us. That’s just what we do.”"
homeschool  fundamentalists  patriarchy  debate  2013  quivering  quiverfull  education  parenting  us  hslda  kathrynjoyce  religion  christianity  families 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Unschoolery
"I'm Leo Babauta, creator of Zen Habits, and father of six kids. My wife Eva & I unschool four of our kids, and we're so passionate about unschooling that I decided to share the philosophy and tactics that we love so much.

I'm starting this blog (Unschoolery) to grow and contribute to the conversation about learning, schools, homeschooling, and raising independent, intelligent, entrepreneurial young adults. What is unschooling?"



"So who am I, and what do I know about unschooling?

I'm Leo Babauta, creator of Zen Habits and mnmlist. I'm the father of six kids (well, one is an adult now), married to the beautiful Eva, and we live in San Francisco (formerly lived on Guam). I don't know everything about unschooling, don't have all the answers, but I do love it and am passionate about it and tell every parent I meet about how amazing it is.

Eva and I started homeschooling our kids about 5 years ago, and quickly adopted the unschooling philosophy. Here's the rundown on our kids:

1. Chloe and Rain are from my first marriage, and while I offered to homeschool them when we started with the other kids, they weren't interested. Chloe is now 20 and going to college. Rain is in high school.

2. Justin and Maia are my step-kids, from Eva, and were both in school 5 years ago when we pulled them out and decided to homsechool them. Justin is now almost 17 and considering going to college (more on that later). Maia would be starting high school now if she were in school.

3. Seth and Noelle are from both me and Eva, and neither of them have ever been to school.

So Justin, Maia, Seth & Noelle have been unschooled for about 5 years. We have a bit of experience, but we're still learning. We still don't know what the hell we're doing. We love it."

[http://unschoolery.com/about ]
unschooling  homeschool  education  leobabauta  blogs  learning  parenting  deschooling  alternative 
november 2013 by robertogreco
thefarmschool.tv [The Farm School SOLAR CAMPUS]
"We are a K-12 educational resource center.

We serve day students from The Farm community, Summertown, and the surrounding area, including Hohenwald, Leoma, Mt. Pleasant, and Ethridge. We also offer an umbrella program for home-based learners throughout the state of Tennessee. The Farm School is also available as a homeschool resource. At The Farm School we seek to nurture diverse individuals as they work and play towards personal, community and planetary well being.

We are a community school.
Our school is a community of diverse individuals connected by deep relationships; we all learn with and from each other. We invite our community to join us in our school and we spend much of our time learning out in the community.

The Learning Community (TLC) approach begins with three key ideas.

o We are Individuals: Each of us is born one of a kind with unique gifts and special needs and each of us follows our own path through life. These differences make us interesting to each other and enable us to make unique contributions to society.

o We are Social Beings: We are social beings with a natural desire to interact with each other as we each interact with our world. All learning results from these interactions.

o We Can Become Communities: When we are free to express ourselves and are skilled at communicating our differing and potentially conflicting points of view, we can put our gifts together and complete projects as a community that we would be unable to complete as independent individuals.

We use a responsive project-based curriculum.
We learn science, math, technology, social science and communication arts (i.e., languages, music and other art forms) as well as other social, emotional and practical skills as we engage in projects that come from our hearts.

We are an agreement school.
Our school governance is one of our key ongoing projects. We make agreements about how we function as a school (e.g., how we: resolve conflicts, schedule activities and do assessment) during meetings where each of us has an equal voice."

[via: http://instagram.com/p/dfKD2fO9dV/ ]
education  openstudioproject  schools  farmschool  unschooling  lcproject  homeschool  democraticschools  community 
november 2013 by robertogreco
First day of school: the way we do it - vomitingchicken.com
"I was a public school kid, and I liked school. So people have asked me, over the years, why I chose to teach my children at home. After all, I grew up in a very school-centered town and within a family very supportive of public education. I did like school, but the night before school started, after a long summer vacation, I always cried.

I liked school. But I liked home better. I was blessed to be raised in a home* where there were always things going on that I wanted to be a part of. Just a few points to illustrate what a lucky duck I was: Dad built me a dark room in the basement so I could learn about developing my own photographs, and he built a potter’s wheel so we could learn how to throw pots out of clay. Mom sewed our clothes, pickled beets, raised vegetables and adopted animals–runt pigs and orphaned calves and abandoned kittens–when her heart overruled her head. Which was often.

At our place, home was always more interesting than school."



"I knew a family who taught their children at home, and I admired the way their children behaved around other people. It was enough for me to talk Bryan (against his better judgment) into my teaching Matthew at home. For one year, only. That was our agreement. Then we decided that if he was doing okay after one year, we’d try another one. And eventually, when we could see that he was missing out on things in public school, we’d consider putting him in school. Our decision to teach our children at home never was a reaction against the public schools. It was just that we wanted a different lifestyle for our family. We were attracted to having a more family-centered, rather than a public school-centered life.

Well, one year went by and another and another, and we never did feel that we needed to put Matthew–or the five siblings who appeared, eventually–into public school. Not yet, anyway!"
amygutman  matthewmiller  homeschool  unschooling  education  parenting  cv 
october 2013 by robertogreco
The Human Rights Struggle in Europe: Educational Choice | Psychology Today
"State-mandated exams subvert self-directed education, because they dictate the content and timing of learning and undermine children’s sense that educational assessment is their own responsibility and pertains to their own personal, unique goals and values."
europe  netherlands  belgium  sweden  germany  homeschool  unschooling  standardization  standards  self-directedlearning  education  deschooling  learning  2013  petergray  assessment  humanrights  colonization 
august 2013 by robertogreco
art cart - Geospace Studio
"There is a family of urban artists in my city who homeschool their six children, have no car, and grow much of their food on their urban yard. The father is an accomplished painter and the rest of the family has beautiful crafts that they do - this is the sole income of the family. Without a vehicle the family was having a difficult time getting their artwork to the local art markets. They were also having a difficult time drawing attention to themselves in order to sell work out of their home. The family and I began to brainstorm what could be done to solve these problems. Together we envisioned some type of portable gallery for them that was true to their particular style. Ultimately we designed and built this lightweight, watertight cart, which is made mostly from recycled and repurposed material. It is pulled by hand to transport and display the family’s arts and crafts to local markets and festivals. The cart draws people to it, helping them sell their artwork, and provides a memorable identity for the family. They have been using the cart for more than three years now and have found ways to make it work for them by adding awnings and boxes to it. Most of the time it is parked in their driveway on a busy street where it acts basically as an unmanned store front selling cards and small crafts with a pay box attached to the inside wall. For me it has been very rewarding to see an object be so transformative to the family. I enjoyed the project because it gave me the opportunity to design and build something that was very needed and once completed changed the life of this small group of people. Below is a short video [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOHU-M_oEXo#! ] created by PEARL which includes film footage of the cart in use."
homeschool  glvo  design  mobility  urban  art  unconsumption  recycled  mobile  2010  visibility  geospacestudio  artcart 
march 2013 by robertogreco
patfarenga.com - Young Children as Research Scientists
"…current research that clearly supports John Holt’s ideas about how children learn…

Scientific Thinking in Young Children: Theoretical Advances, Empirical Research, and Policy Implications, Science 28, September 2012: Vol. 337 no. 6102 pp. 1623-1627

By Alison Gopnik

ABSTRACT: New theoretical ideas and empirical research show that very young children’s learning and thinking are strikingly similar to much learning and thinking in science. Preschoolers test hypotheses against data and make causal inferences; they learn from statistics and informal experimentation, and from watching and listening to others. The mathematical framework of probabilistic models and Bayesian inference can describe this learning in precise ways. These discoveries have implications for early childhood education and policy. In particular, they suggest both that early childhood experience is extremely important and that the trend toward more structured and academic early childhood programs is misguided."
lcrpoject  howwelearn  scientificthinking  homeschool  autodidacts  autodidactism  2012  scientificmethod  research  education  learning  unschooling  patfarenga  johnholt  alisongopnik  autodidacticism  from delicious
october 2012 by robertogreco
What Leads Families to “Unschool” Their Children? Report II | Psychology Today
"My goal now, in Report II, is to describe the paths by which the families that responded to the survey came to unschooling.  This report is based on a qualitative analysis that my colleague Gina Riley and I  made of the responses to Item 6 on the survey form, which reads as follows: 

6. Please describe the path by which your family came to the unschooling philosophy you now practice.  In particular:  (a) Did any specific school experiences of one or more of your children play a role?  If so, briefly describe those experiences. (b) Did any particular author or authors play a role? If so, please name the author or authors and what most appealed to you about their writing.  (c) Did you try homeschooling before unschooling?  If so, what led you from one to the other?"

[Part 1: The Benefits of Unschooling
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201202/the-benefits-unschooling-report-i-large-survey

Part 3: The Challenges of Unschooling
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201204/the-challenges-unschooling-report-iii-the-survey ]
homeschool  research  parenting  2012  petergray  deschooling  unschooling  education  learning  from delicious
april 2012 by robertogreco
The Benefits of Unschooling: Report I from a Survey of 231 Families | Psychology Today
"Here, in a series of reports in this blog, my intention is to present a more informal report of the survey results. In this first report, I present some general statistics about the families who responded and then  focus on their definitions of unschooling and their statements about the benefits of unschooling. In subsequent reports I'll focus on their paths to unschooling and the biggest challenges of unschooling. One thing I can do here, which we won't be able to do in the more formal academic article, is to present many quotations from the survey forms. Many of the respondents are eloquent writers, who had no trouble putting their enthusiasm for unschooling into words."

[Part 2: What Leads Families to “Unschool” Their Children?
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201203/what-leads-families-unschool-their-children-report-ii

Part 3: The Challenges of Unschooling
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201204/the-challenges-unschooling-report-iii-the-survey ]
learning  deschooling  2012  education  parenting  research  unschooling  petergray  homeschool  from delicious
march 2012 by robertogreco
n+1: Learning in Freedom
"I never say everyone should unschool or that we should replicate Albany Free School, which I don’t think could scale in its current formation (it depends, for example, on a volunteer ethos I don’t think we can or should expect from our educators)…foundation of unschooling philosophy is idea that we are, to quote John Holt, “learning animals,” & that we should tap into people’s intrinsic motivation to explore & understand the world…

…most liberal parents are desperate to help their children climb to the top of the meritocracy…top of an exclusionary pyramid…largely been rigged in their favor all along. How liberal is that? One of the virtues of unschooling, of the radical philosophy that underpins it, is that it calls the entire hierarchy into question…

Today, conventional wisdom has it that the solution is more, never less.

…taking a closer look at radical margins may help us ask better questions about what we really want from our educational system…how to go about getting it."
whiteflight  publicschools  schooliness  schooling  schools  homeschool  children  parenting  learning  education  segregation  diversity  policy  2012  albanyfreeschool  johnholt  society  deschooling  competition  meritocracy  liberals  danagoldstein  publiceducation  astrataylor  unschooling  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
Why Urban, Educated Parents Are Turning to DIY Education - The Daily Beast
"They raise chickens. They grow vegetables. They knit. Now a new generation of urban parents is even teaching their own kids."

[Lost some respect for Wendy Mogel due to the parts of this article that reference her.]

"And the kids? There’s concern that having parents at one’s side throughout childhood can do more harm than good. Psychologist Wendy Mogel, the author of the bestselling book The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, admires the way homeschoolers manage to “give their children a childhood” in an ultracompetitive world. Yet she wonders how kids who spend so much time within a deliberately crafted community will learn to work with people from backgrounds nothing like theirs. She worries, too, about eventual teenage rebellion in families that are so enmeshed."
2012  speculation  teens  deschooling  diyeducation  diy  learning  wendymogel  parenting  homeschool  unschooling  education  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
Village Home Educational Resource Center
"The Village Home community learning environment is best suited for self-directed, intrinsically motivated, lifelong learners who actively participate in their educational plans with their families. All learners are welcome at Village Home regardless of race, age, religion, creed, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disabilities, or education philosophy. Village Home is currently located on church property, but is an independent, secular organization."
homeschool  education  portland  beaverton  oregon  lcproject  freeschools  from delicious
december 2011 by robertogreco
My Parents Were Home Schooling Anarchists - NYTimes.com
"What my parents did embrace were countercultural values. Or, as my father likes to say, quoting Gerard Manley Hopkins, “all things counter, original, spare, strange.” (My dad’s father once grew corn in his backyard for the sole purpose of taking weekend naps among the stalks.) My mom maintains that she didn’t consider herself “an activist or anything like that. I was just part of a current that was happening, fertile ground for all the new ways of thinking.”

At the time, home schooling was almost virgin territory. My dad was attracted to home schooling because he felt “stifled” during his 16 years of formal education. “I was a poor student,” he says. “School was something I endured because I had no choice.” Not wanting his offspring to suffer the same fate, he informed my mom soon after she became pregnant with Mary that none of his children were ever going to school. “We were educational anarchists,” he says."

[via: http://hourschool.tumblr.com/post/12568871390/its-not-the-method ]
unschooling  deschooling  education  learning  travel  yearoff  glvo  cv  parenting  anarchism  radicals  1970s  children  sumerhill  ivanillich  johnholt  lcproject  counterculture  frugality  growingwithoutschooling  freedom  laissezfaire  homeschool  history  makedo  loneliness  displacement  progressive  margaretheidenry  from delicious
november 2011 by robertogreco
Nothing Grows Forever | Mother Jones
"Handled correctly, this could bring about an explosion of free time that could utterly transform the way we live, no-growth economists say. It could lead to a renaissance in the arts and sciences, as well as a reconnection with the natural world. Parents with lighter workloads could home-school their children if they liked, or look after sick relatives—dramatically reshaping the landscape of education and elder care."
economics  growth  sustainability  ecology  environment  petervictor  clivethompson  johnstuartmill  adamsmith  globalwarming  population  2011  thomasrobertmalthus  history  well-being  happiness  france  netherlands  unemployment  employment  leisure  leisurearts  art  science  dennismeadows  hermandaly  keynes  motivation  psychology  capitalism  no-growththeory  wealthdistribution  standardofliving  us  europe  homeschool  unschooling  deschooling  productivity  post-industrial  post-development  work  labor  uneconomicgrowth  artleisure  from delicious
october 2011 by robertogreco
3er Congreso Internacional Educación Sin Escuela
"Los casos de familias y comunidades que deciden educar sin escuela y educar en familia crecen aceleradamente en diversos países del mundo, incluyendo a Colombia. Este fenómeno es nuevo para los intereses de investigación científica académica universitaria. Las agudas problemáticas de la deserción escolar, el absentismo escolar y la baja o nula motivación de los niños, niñas, adolescentes y jóvenes para asistir a la escuela, tienen directa relación con este campo de investigación académica. En algunos países, como Estados Unidos, Canadá, Reino Unido, España, Noruega y Francia, ha ido creciendo rápidamente la investigación universitaria sobre esto temas, denominados generalmente como Homeschooling o Unschooling."

[via: http://www.patfarenga.com/pat-farengas-blog/2011/10/20/education-without-school-conference-in-bogota-colombia.html ]
colombia  bogotá  unschooling  homeschool  education  conferences  from delicious
october 2011 by robertogreco
IAmA 15 year old who unschools, AmA : IAmA
"I just got back from Grace's Not Back To School Camp where I spent one week with a group of other kids who are also unschooling, a great majority of these kids are unbelievably smart and directed.

My personal history is that I went to public school from preschool to grade 8, where although my grades were top notch, but I was so depressed that I couldn't keep it up. I stopped feeling interested in anything. Eventually I got my parents to take the book seriously and let me drop out for a while. Since then my mental health has grown leaps and bounds, I have rediscovered my love for marine biology, made friends across the country, and become a more mellow person in general. I love life now.

I really hope I didn't make a small spelling mistake that I missed in proofreading this, just to have everyone judge my method of schooling based on it.

TL;DR: I don't go to school, I teach myself. I went from a depressed shell of a kid to someone who loves life and is less scared of the future."
unschooling  deschooling  reddit  education  schooling  schools  schooliness  glvo  experience  alternative  homeschool  gracellewellyn  notbacktoschoolcamp  learning  freedom  discussion  2011  via:lizettegreco  from delicious
october 2011 by robertogreco
PsycNET - Display Record: The impact of schooling on academic achievement: Evidence from homeschooled and traditionally schooled students.
"Although homeschooling is growing in prevalence, its educational outcomes remain unclear. The present study compared the academic achievements of homeschooled children with children attending traditional public school. When the homeschooled group was divided into those who were taught from organized lesson plans (structured homeschoolers) and those who were not (unstructured homeschoolers), the data showed that structured homeschooled children achieved higher standardized scores compared with children attending public school. Exploratory analyses also suggest that the unstructured homeschoolers are achieving the lowest standardized scores across the 3 groups."
homeschool  unschooling  testing  standardizedtesting  2011  missingthepoint  research  structure  unstructured  via:cervus  from delicious
september 2011 by robertogreco
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