Libraries, Not Schools

Joel HammonUncategorized

Four teens gathered in front of a wire fence, one has a big smile with his hands out.

When people first hear about self-directed learning it sounds like a crazy idea–everything is optional; young people have the freedom to follow their interests and decide how to spend their time; no grades, credits, or diplomas, just learning for learning’s sake. It sounds crazy, but it’s not. Self-directed learning is actually quite ordinary, and we have many opportunities and institutions … 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

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

Boy, You’re Gonna Carry that Weight

Alexis SellersUncategorized

Masked teen sitting on the wall behind Bucks center, enjoying a sunny warm day in march.

We just went through a wild year. And that is putting it lightly. A pandemic, everything that goes with the pandemic, civil unrest, a riling election, climate disasters, you name it. Weren’t there also aliens at some point? And here we are now, in 2021, still going through it. We’ve all been going through it in our own individual ways … Read More

The Conveyor Belt to Success

Katy BurkeUncategorized

factory with boxes coming off of conveyor belts

Around this time of year twenty-three years ago, I was a senior in high school fretting about applying to college. The whole process was intimidating, but what plagued me the most was that I didn’t know what I wanted to study. I didn’t know that because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, and I didn’t … 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

Not Your Typical Article on Childhood Play

Katy BurkeUncategorized

Katys barbie pool from when she was a girl, 1988

We value play for the experiential learning…learning about the external world and how to interact with others. This is true and noteworthy, but I wonder about the value of play as a form of self expression and self-discovery.

Getting Through “The Dip”

Joel HammonUncategorized

Two boys sitting on a couch at PLC, one leaning forward with two thumbs up, the other lounging back

In a perfect world, young people would choose self-directed education, figure out what they want to do with their lives, use their time well, make progress…and all the rest. But real life is more messy than that.

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