What Mentors do that Matters

Alison SnieckusUncategorized

In my work with teens, I know that the foundation of good mentoring is a deep and engaging mentoring relationship. But what exactly do we do as mentors to get and keep that relationship, to make it matter? I came across this blog post from Search Institute that offers some direct insight on how all of us can support young … Read More

It’s Not Funny

Joel HammonUncategorized

If we had a “do-over” on the structure of schools, what would we create? What kinds of things would we focus on? The things on the left side of this image or the right? For most people, it’s a no-brainer—of course kids learn better under the conditions on the left, and these are the things we profess to believe in. … Read More

Support and Stand By

Katy BurkeUncategorized

In a previous post, Rethinking the Gaps, I argued that in trying to close the skill gaps that we fear children hold, we actually juxtapose pressuring kids and overprotecting them. We simultaneously push kids to check all the customary boxes while denying them the natural experiences of taking risk. Though we do it for good, this results in feelings of … Read More

Empowering Youth with Community-Centered, Self-Directed Education

Alison SnieckusUncategorized

The Alliance for Self-Directed Education is working to unify the many varying alternatives to traditional school that offer programs based on self-directed learning, an alternative to the curriculum-based approach offered in traditional schools. This video sorts the programs into three broad categories. In our learning cooperatives, we use the community-centered approach, which the video describes as “unschooling together”. As with … Read More

The Joy of Self-Directed Learning: A Personal Perspective

MaryBeth HealyUncategorized

  I have a hard time calling my job “work” – that’s how much I love it!   It hasn’t always been that way.  I had a long and “successful” career and, after leaving that, several “good jobs” all fine but none that I would describe as a joyful experience.  Then about three years ago I stumbled across an amazing … Read More

Dream BIG and Find Home

Katy BurkeUncategorized

I recently came across a social media meme that stated “If your dream doesn’t scare you, it’s too small.” Have you ever had an idea that made your heart pound? Or a vision for the future that you were embarrassed to share because it’s just “too ridiculous”? Little children dream freely like this all the time. This one wants to … Read More

Not Back to School

Joel HammonUncategorized

It’s “Back to School” time! For many young people this is exciting—reconnecting with friends, new classes, new teachers, new opportunities. For some though, as August fades into September the sweet feeling of freedom gives way to a rising sense of dread at the prospect of another school year: the homework, the boredom, the sound of the alarm at that ungodly … Read More

The Power of Believing You Can Improve

Alison SnieckusUncategorized

There’s so much talk these days about the need for children to develop resilience and perseverance, to learn to be open to failing and trying again, to be willing to put in the effort when something is hard, to be up for a challenge. I don’t want to oversimplify, but I believe that Carol Dwek’s ideas are a big part … Read More

Alfie Kohn and the Empowerment of Children

Scott GallagherUncategorized

As a parent and educator, one of my heroes is Alfie Kohn. If you don’t know him you should check him out. He will challenge you to reflect on the things you think are important for a child. He will also challenge you to reflect on how adults, however well-meaning, control children. One thing he likes to deconstruct (and that’s … Read More

Rock Climbing and Fear

Katy BurkeUncategorized

I hadn’t expected to be so afraid, and for a while I couldn’t figure out what I feared. Did I fear falling? Truthfully, not one bit. I trusted the equipment and the set-up completely. If anything, I probably have too much faith in man-made apparatuses; I’ve never been one to think the roller coaster might break down. Did I fear … Read More