Monthly Archives: November 2013

re Homeschool Resource Centers/Coops

on imagining the possibilities here in the city:
More detailed and comprehensive version:
I believe that, with very rare exception, our public schools, and most private schools too, are wasting educators’ and students’ time.  As I see it, they are interfering with, instead of helping, our development as individuals – and the healing of our communities, society at large, and ‘Mother Earth’!

There are far too many critical issues – personal, societal, ecological, etc. – that need awareness, understanding, and solutions!  We – humankind – cannot afford to waste meaningful time with the mostly meaningless chores and the ridiculous curriculum that permeate mainstream schools.  We need to be in places where we are growing holistically as learners and as people, and where the same is true for our students!!!

The adults in mainstream schools are NOT going to fix them, so we who care need to open up our own learning programs.  At some point, when enough students have left the mainstream schools, I think the adults in charge will panic at their loss of revenue and will finally decide to make meaningful changes.  If that in fact happens, great!  But if it doesn’t then we just keep on opening up more good programs, and increasing the numbers of students who leave the indoctrination centers and join our centers of true learning and development!
Here are some ways to do homeschool resource centers, or coops.  (Btw, one name that I have been thinking about is Full Potential Centers.)
1-  Here is Kamali, the African-centered homeschool in New Orleans (I think I mentioned this):
(In this homeschool coop several families pitch in and do most of the teaching, and the adults set most of the curriculum. Kamali is mostly for younger kids):
2-  North Star in Hadley, Mass., which has been around for 15 or 18 years, works a bit differently.  Was started by two junior high school teachers who hated what they were doing and what the kids were being put through, and so they decided to start their own program.  Here the students have more freedom, can study what they are interested in; some parents teach occasionally but so do the founders, other community members, college interns, the students themselves; and many kids do internships and apprenticeships.  (North Star is for teens):
3-  Here is a brand new program in Boston where teens meet with an advisor/mentor only once every two or three weeks.  In between they work on projects of their own choosing.  It’s in its first year, and I have no idea how well it’s working, but you can at least get an idea of the concept.  This program doesn’t have a building, and so their meetings are held in places like McDonalds or Starbucks.
*About charters.  I don’t know much about charters, except that different states and areas have different regulations or expectations.  If you can find a place where you can open a charter and run the school with the values that you believe in, then great.  Obviously it’s much better to not have to charge parents anything and to be able to pay staff, have money for supplies, trips, etc.
But my bias is that if the government is involved, they’re usually going to find a way to mess with your program.
*Homeschool Resource Centers – or Coops – can generally be run quite economically.  You might be able to get some funding, but also there are lots of retired educators who would like to make a difference as volunteers; there are good people in the community who will volunteer 3-10 hours a week; students can apprentice in the community, helping out mechanics, photographers, dieticians, etc., and getting real life experience.  (You don’t need licensed teachers; you need people who know their craft or their subject and who will enjoy teaching it to young people who are interested in their particular expertise – and there are lots of these kinds of people around.  In fact, this kind of situation is a Win-Win, because often your potential teachers or mentors are just aching to put some more meaning in their lives, and they may very well become happier and healthier by getting involved with such a positive learning program.)
Sometimes you’ll already have a building. If not, you can often have space donated by churches or community groups, or you can meet in peoples’ living rooms or public spaces.  Even libraries, if you keep your voices down.  Students can take college courses as a non-matriculant in city or state universities at pretty good rates.
A number of students realize that for the kind of ‘work’ they enjoy and are good at they don’t need to go to college, but for those who do want to go they – as unschoolers or homeschoolers – have no trouble being admitted, and in fact often have an advantage over traditionally schooled applicants.  I can tell you more about this if you want.
Additional info or resources:
There has never been a better time to be a Student:
Sir Ken Robinson on creativity and schools:
(check out other Sir Ken videos too – they’re funny and profound)
Some good Facebook groups for non-traditional education:
The Learning Revolution
The innovative Educator
Homeschooling, Unschooling, Uncollege, Opt Out, DIY, Online Learning
Transforming Education
(Some of these are closed groups, but if you ask to be invited you usually can be.  I’m in all of them, and maybe I can help if you have trouble.)

Further dialog on single/double/triple loop

Adapted from “Field Guide to Consulting and Or
ganizational Development” – to obtain the entire
book, select “Publications” at
Copyright; Authenticity Consulting, LLC 217
Different Kinds of Learning (Loops of Learning)
Key breakthroughs in helping people understand the dy
namics of learning are the concepts of single-
loop, double-loop and triple-loop learning. These con
cepts help you to realize and appreciate the
kinds of learning that you and your client can gl
ean during a project. The concepts are largely from
the works of Argyris and Schon (1974).
Single-Loop Learning (Following the Rules)
The conventional example used to explain this concep
t is the thermostat. It operates in one mode.
When it detects that the room is too cold, it turns on
the furnace. When it detects that the room is too
hot, it turns off the furnace. In other words, the
system includes one automatic and limited type of
reaction – little or no learning occurs and little or no insight is needed. Experts assert that most
organizations operate according to single-loop lear
ning – members establish rigid strategies, policies
and procedures and then spend their time detecti
ng and correcting deviations from the “rules.”
You might exhibit this kind of learning when you notice that your client has not produced a certain
deliverable on time during a project, so you get angr
y at your client and demand that your client
produce the deliverable – without ever really
exploring why your client did not produce the
deliverable in the first place.
Double-Loop Learning (Changing the Rules)
In double-loop learning, members of the organization are able to reflect on whether the “rules”
themselves should be changed, not only on whether
deviations have occurred and how to correct
them. This kind of learning involves more “thinking outside the box,” creativity and critical
thinking. This learning often helps participants
understand why a particular solution works better
than others to solve a problem or achieve a goal. Experts assert that double-loop learning is critical
to the success of an organization, especially during times of rapid change.
To continue the above example of your clie
nt not producing a deliverable, double-loop learning
occurs when you engage your client in discu
ssion about their reasons for the absence of the
deliverable, and whether your expectations were r
ealistic or not. Results of the discussion might be,
for example, that project timelines are changed
or that communications between consultant and
client are improved.
Triple-Loop Learning (Learning About Learning)
Triple-loop learning involves “learning how to learn” by reflecting on how we learn in the first place.
In this situation, participants would reflect on
how they think about the “rules,” not only on whether
the rules should be changed. This form of lear
ning helps us to understand a great deal more about
ourselves and others regarding beliefs and percep
tions. Triple-loop learning might be explained as
double-loop learning about double-loop learning.
To continue the above example, triple-loop learni
ng occurs when, after having engaged in discussion
with your client, both of you discuss the dyna
mics of your conversation, including how it was
conducted, what learning was produced from the c
onversation and how that learning was produced.