Common Sense Learning

Katy BurkeUncategorized

Many different cutouts to represent our kids, one square cut out to represent common core

“Common Core-aligned” has become the quality control test by which we measure a legitimate education. A quick Google search will reveal droves of businesses selling academic resources and programs on the basis of their “alignment.” Teachers are feeling constant pressure to “hit the standards,” standards that are meant to get everyone on the same page. And yet, I think the … Read More

It’s Not a Mystery

Joel HammonUncategorized

teenager saying thank you to volunteers

Let me start with a simple fact: a lot of teenagers don’t like school. (Shocking, I know.) There are a lot of reasons for this, but one of the big ones is that many teens don’t feel like they have much say in their day-to-day lives — the work they do, who they interact with, their schedule. This lack of control … Read More

Letting Go and Listening

Scott GallagherUncategorized

The traditional school system structure is top down with teachers somewhere in the middle. Everyone knows their role, and can choose to submit or rebel as it suits them.  At The Learning Cooperatives we replace the top down model with a collaborative approach where the teens have much more agency. Not being told what to do can create some culture … Read More

Giving Grades the Deep Six

Eileen SmythUncategorized

At The Learning Cooperatives, we view liberation from grading as a cornerstone of our approach. This decision isn’t only based in ideology, but experience. I’ve taught for over twenty years in various types of institutions including some that used grades and some that didn’t. I’ve observed that grades often do a lot less good than we hope and often more … Read More

Pure and Simple

Katy BurkeUncategorized

You ever have one of those days when nothing seems to satisfy? Like you’re walking around wearing shades on a cloudy day? I was having a day like that about a week ago and was hungry for something pure and good, something free from the spoils of the modern world.  So I headed east.  Nothing, I thought, is more boundless … Read More

Teaching Character vs. Compliance

Katy BurkeUncategorized

ready for testing

Educating children can look and feel a lot like raising them.  It is certainly not the same as parenting—I say that as an educator and a parent. However, the purpose of parenting and educating are very much aligned. The word “educate” means “to lead out”—to lead out into the world, into adulthood, into a future. I think it’s important that … Read More

Making Your Way

Katy BurkeUncategorized

The Learning Cooperatives are founded on the concept of making a life for yourself…living your dreams, not someone else’s. But in a culture chockful of prescribed paths and prepackaged dreams, how can we do that? It is probably more of an art than a science, but after listening to the stories of people who are living out their dreams, I’ve … 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 alternative … Read More