Imagine That.

Katy BurkeUncategorized

Seven teens piled onto a couch

Close your eyes. Imagine a high school, a real high school, one, perhaps, you’ve driven by many times. Picture the building and the grounds. What would you change? Pull up the editing tools in your mind. Cut. Crop. Sketch. What’s different now? Is the parking lot freshly paved? Are there more trees, flowers, benches, a fountain? Have you removed an … Read More

Underrated

Katy BurkeUncategorized

Landscape photo of field of grass with trees and setting sun in the background

In the world of education, somewhere between “lecture” and “group project” is an overlooked, misunderstood, crudely-practiced, and often-omitted wonderful little learning method called “modeling.” It’s as simple as it sounds. A “model” of the work desired (a piece of writing, a performance, a technique, etc.) is presented and the learner observes, contemplates, and seeks to imitate in some meaningful way. … Read More

Stories Worth Repeating

Katy BurkeUncategorized

Martin Luther King Jr. during the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, during which he delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech, calling for an end to racism.

In my last post, I raised a question that has been asked of me many times over, “Why are we learning this?” It’s a question that I’ve had a hard time answering myself, leading me to ask why we study anything at all. After pondering this for many years, I was led to an answer well worth the journey. But … Read More

Why Learn Anything?

Katy BurkeUncategorized

The making of a galactic parallelogram, NASA/JPL-Caltech

I’ve been teaching English-ish classes for eighteen years…and that statement pretty much sums up the sort of English teacher I am: the type who gets a kick out of adding the suffix “ish” to a word that already ends in “ish,” not the type who corrects your grammar at dinner parties. That’s also probably why I had such a hard … Read More

Going Down the Rabbit Hole of Learning

Alexis SellersUncategorized

View from behind of a jack rabbit in a field, ears on alert

When I describe the Learning Cooperatives as a self-directed education center, it’s not uncommon for people to need more of an explanation. Truthfully though, it’s as simple as it sounds. We are a center that encourages self-direction in education. But what does that look like? I’ve been attending some of the Black Lives Matter protests, where we are asked to … Read More

A Skatepark is the Best Kind of Classroom

Scott GallagherUncategorized

A focused view of skateboarder's feet on the ramp

In our last blog post, Katy talked about the challenges of growing up and how we can help kids take risks. The example she gave was about how ordering something from the deli counter can be terribly intimidating, but at some point you have to step up and do it. But of course, the point is not that we want … Read More

Gym Class and Motivation

Scott GallagherUncategorized

homemade cardboard boat racing through river rapids

As an English teacher in public school for 17 years, I always felt frustrated by, and a little jealous of, the Phys Ed. teachers. Phys. Ed. class seemed to be a kind of outlier in school, and the teachers were able to operate in a value system totally different from the rest of school. I wished the value system of … Read More

Avoiding Nature Deficit Disorder

Paul ScuttUncategorized

A number of kids balanced in trees

“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” — John Muir Spring shows up in the warmth of the sun, the softening of the earth and the vigour of natural life all around us. The trees start to bud, the flowers burst out of the ground, the grass gets thicker, the birds … Read More

Relationships are the Heart of It

Joel HammonUncategorized

The painting teacher offers feedback to a student working on an oil painting.

Positive, healthy, and caring relationships are at the heart of raising and educating our children. Of course. Relationships can be complicated, but the truth of this idea is not. Humans are social animals and the quality of those social relationships has to play a large part in all aspects of our lives. I read an article in the New York … Read More

Good Stress, Bad Stress

Joel HammonUncategorized

A girl reacting with surprise and angst

Our members often describe PLC as a low-stress environment compared to their previous schools. Many of the common stressors in school are simply not present at PLC: competition for grades, mounds of homework, inflexible rules and regulations. We consciously try to reduce that kind of stress as much as possible. But one of the common concerns people have about self-directed … Read More