Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thoughts on the last day of 2011

It has been a HIUGE learning year full of self discovery which has prepared me and my children to learn tons of new skills next year.  It feels like we spent this year finding out a lot about our selves which has given us direction or in some cases opened our eyes to many new possibilities.   Things we are considering learning about in 2012:  web design, ballet, more Italian, traveling, public speaking, teaching others, advanced classical guitar, rock climbing, editing, sound engineering, glass blowing, playing the Blues on the piano and more self discovery.  As we settle into a schedule, I’ll post the specific classes we are taking and teaching and other learning adventures that we are pursuing.   Happy New Year and Happy Life Long Learning!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Today my daughter returns from being away for a whole month to write a novel.  While she was away, I’m sure she found out a lot of new things about herself and the world.  The novel is really a sidebar.  The trip was actually more about finding out what she could achieve all on her own.  It was about doing something hard and scary – taking a risk.

If we are lucky, we continue a journey of self-discovery our whole life.  If we want, we can continue to learn about the world until our last breathe.  That is how I want to live my life.  Always learning and discovering.

While Tessa was away, I learned about who I am without her.  I was faced with the realization that I won’t always have my children near me or be so intimately involved in their lives.  I was forced to focus on myself.  It was unsettling at first but soon evolved into a sense of freedom and excitement. It became clear that I will always feel passion for issues involving education and children.  I learned that I have a lot more energy for my own projects than I thought I did.  I’ve just been using a lot of it to be a Mom.  This last month has left me feeling smarter, more capable and curious about new things I want to try. 

It turns out that the trip I invested in for my daughter was just as much a learning journey for me.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Puppy Tricks and Being Thankful

Thanksgiving is here and it’s a natural time to reflect on our lives.  Since this is a blog about learning/education, I would like to reflect about what my family has recently learned and why I’m thankful about it.

I’m learning how to teach my dog new tricks.  It’s so fun!  I really get a kick out of dog training!  My dog, Abby, is smart and energetic so she’s pretty easy to teach new things.  She loves the attention and stimulation…oh yeah; the treats are pretty awesome too!  Her newest tricks are:  balancing a biscuit on her nose, laying in her bed when I say “Go to bed”, giving me a “high five” in order to get a tummy scratch, and her most useful trick…she will touch her nose on the end of a stick so now I can teach her a bunch of new things.  The first one I’m going to try to teach her is to “Take a bow”.

I’m also learning even more about education reform and how I might be able to help bring change to my own community.  Towards that effort, I am currently reading these books:  “The Element” by Ken Robinson and “Rework” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier.  I’m also thankful for the opportunity to hang out and learn at the Innovation Lab with Monika Hardy.

I’m considering taking a workshop or class on public speaking.  Speaking in front of people is a personal weakness I’d like to remedy in order to be better at my job and to be more effective when advocating for the things that are important to me.  I’m still working up the courage to sign up for a class.  I’ll keep you posted.

Tessa is still living in a hostel with 18 other teens for National Novel Writing Month.  She is learning how to play and shuffle cards like a pro, partner dance, live without her family, sleep in a noisy house, and motivate herself to write a novel.  I’m sure there are hundreds of other things she has learned on this trip.  I’m inspired by her courage.

Lee is learning to play “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd and “Aeroplane” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers on the bass guitar.

Jacob is meeting lots of new people, playing the guitar, and writing.  He is also troubleshooting for the Innovation Lab and mentoring other students.  Being out of college, working and negotiating his way through life and love has been a huge learning experience for him.  The lessons he learned in the last 6 months, he will draw from the rest of his life.

So today, I’m thankful for the freedom to learn whatever I’m interested in.  I’m also thankful that I can learn in the ways that are best for me as an individual and I’m especially thankful I can provide that freedom for my kids.  It’s gratifying to watch them discover new interests and develop new skills.  I believe they will continue to learn and challenge themselves the rest of their lives and that makes this Mom very happy.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The End of Make Month

So my Make Month is over.  I really slacked off at the end of the month and I realized it was partly because after making something little and simple everyday for about 15 days, I craved to make more complicated long term projects.  When I couldn’t finish something in one day it became discouraging because I felt like I was failing if I didn’t complete something everyday.  So I think I will continue this creative exercise but revamp it to be “work on making something everyday” instead of   “make something everyday”.   Make Month was fun though.  Here is a castle tower I made for a storytime I am doing later this month (The Grimm’s fairytale “Little Briar Rose”).  I also made the queen, which is the doll with the purple dress.  She still needs a crown and maybe a little more shaping.  The other dolls I made several years ago.  Not pictured is a doodle I made during a meeting and a sculpture made of sticks.  I hope my Make Month inspires you to be creative and to just go make stuff!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Education Revolution

The education revolution I’ve been hoping for is slowly but surely taking hold.  Everyday I read articles in the newspaper and on the internet about letting children and young people follow their interests.  I see people writing about how experiencing failure and knowing how to move forward after hitting road blocks is an essential skill that our youth are not attaining in school.   Finally people are talking about letting young people take ownership of their own education and about building networks and true learning communities for young people to use as educational resources.   As a Homeschooling Mom, I’ve been trying to provide these things for my kids for the last 10 years but have been worried about their peers who were being forced to sit in brick buildings being spoon fed information and then regurgitating it for a test a couple of weeks later.  I’ve worried how these kids were going to be prepared to face the complex problems they will face when someone lets them out of their brick building. But I truly believe very soon there will be many opportunities for those kids to learn in freedom.  In the very near future, children will be learning in more natural, humane ways.   Education is changing mostly because it’s become so dysfunctional that kids and parents are just abandoning the current system and looking for something that makes more sense. 

The revolution is here!!  Books like “Secrets of a Buccaneer Scholar” by James Bach, “TheEducation of Millionaires: It’s not what you think and it’s not too late” byMichael Ellsberg and "DIY U" by Anna Kamenetz  and places like Thompson Valley School District’s “Be You” house and companies like Blake Boles’s “Zero Tuition College” are heralding in a new day in education.  Soon, the name of my blog, “Learning on the Road Less Traveled” will have to be called “Learning like everybody else”.  I can’t wait for that day.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Make Month - 19, 20, 21, 22, 23

In the last five days I wrote a poem (to personal to share), made lanterns, Made two flower arrangements, and drew a Fall picture that was inspired by picking the last flowers in my garden this week.  So I'm short one project over the last 5 days but still I'm feeling very good about thinking about being creative everyday for 23 days!  I've only not produced something on two days so far.  On those days, I'm sure I cooked dinner that should count for something, right??  Here's what I made Oct 19-Oct 23

Tissue paper lanterns

The last flowers of the season.

A drawing I did on my black board.
My lanterns with the candles lit.  I love how they glow.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Make Month - Day 18

I feel funky and happy!!  Here's my creation of the day - made from paper towels and tie dye leftovers.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Generalist vs. Specialist

Is it better to be a well rounded generalist or a motivated, happy specialist?  Why do we insist on trying to make children generalist instead of embracing their love of learning about that one topic in which they want to be a specialist? The one topic that makes them light up and motivates them is the one thing we don’t encourage.

In my work at the library, I often see parents who want their kids to read books about topics their children don’t want to read about.  In the interest of privacy, I have created a fictional person to illustrate what I experience.  A woman brings in her second grader who is not a strong reader but he loves books about fishing.   He has read several books about fishing already and still wants more but his parent feels like he should read something else.   She wants him to read about history or dragons or time traveling kids, anything but the one thing that is motivating him to read.  She is worried that he won’t be “well rounded” enough; that focusing on one thing is bad so she strongly encourages him to read something besides fishing books.

I understand wanting to expose children to as many different things as possible and highly support it but that can be done without negating a child’s intense interest in a particular topic.  Read aloud to them, have books and magazines about many different things around the house, take your child lots of places, watch documentaries, meet interesting people in different fields of work but don’t suggest to a child that they should stop investing so much time in the thing they love.

Doesn’t it make more sense to let him read everything he can get his hands on that’s related to fishing.  It will improve his reading ability and his feelings about reading.  Perhaps through reading about fishing, he will also learn about other things like river ecology, biology and who knows what else.   If he grows up to be an ecologist, will it really matter if he read “Little House on the Prairie” or “Charlotte’s Web” when he was 9 years old?   When you go to the doctor, do you want someone who is fanatical about medicine or do you want a doctor who is pretty good at medicine but also knows how to cook, do geometry, spell obscure words and tap dance?   I will pick the specialist every time.  I think aiming to make kids be generalists is basically the same as educating for mediocrity.  It also makes learning not fun.   If kids loved what they were learning about, they might just learn more not less.  If a child is interested in what he is studying, he will remember it, may be led to learn about other things and will have the benefit of also being a happy person.  Isn’t that what we really want for our kids is happiness?  Happiness is doing what you love, being really good at it and being valued for that skill and knowledge. 

If a kid is crazy about something, then help him/her get his hands on as much info about that topic as possible.  You will be surprised how far a motivated, happy person can go!

Make Month - Day 15, 16, 17

Day 15 - I wrote the blog post titled "Generalist vs. Specialist"

Day 16 - I took these photo graphs of my daughter's balloon trip and created an album.

 Day 17 - I made this delicious banana blueberry bread which I will have to give to someone else or risk eating it all myself!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Make Month - Day 11, 12, 13 , 14

Day 11 - FAIL   I didn't make anything today so on Day 12 I made two Artist Trading Cards
 On Day 13, I made this sign from a post I saw on my friend Tina's Facebook page.  I really liked it so I wrote it out with water color pencils then added water to bring out the color.  It is  hanging on my refrigerator to remind me to live my life with purpose.
I was just about to turn in tonight when I realized I still needed to make something so I made this ponytail holder by knitting this beautiful wool yarn.  I think it looks pretty cool.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Make Month - Day 10

Today I made signs to protest corporate greed and government corruption.

A Day in the Life of a Teen Unschooler

Today Tessa worked on her Halloween costume until it was time for us to go to Loveland to meet Cristian at the Innovation Lab  (Be You House).  We arrived around 10:00am.  Cristian taught us about the rules of soccer, soccer terminology and then he took us outside to show us some soccer drills to practice.  We both learned a lot!  Then Tessa taught Cristian how to juggle.  We left some beanbags for him to practice with and then headed to Ft. Collins. 

In Ft Collins, we purchased a new soccer ball, had lunch and then went to the “Occupy Ft. Collins” demonstration at Maple and College.  We spent the afternoon with a group of people of all ages hoping to affect change.  It felt good to do something that might make a difference.  It felt good to participate, in a small way, in our democracy. 

At the rally, Tessa created her own sign and enjoyed hanging out with the people there.   Many people honked in support and only 2 or 3 people voiced their displeasure of our efforts, including one guy who gave us the finger.  The day was an overwhelmingly positive experience and I hope to participate more.

On our way home, we stopped at a fabric store where Tessa purchased material for a design project.  (She wants to decorate her backpack)   At home, I rested while Tessa went outside to pick tomatoes from her garden. Then she went up to her room to study Algebra.  Later she made a sauce from her tomatoes and served it over polenta for her dinner. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Make Month - Day 9

Finished a felted ball I have been working on.   Blue swirls on soft yellow wool.

Make Month - Day 8

Learning more about Surrealism for a class I'm going to teach so I made my own surrealist art with magazine clippings.

Make Month - Day 7

Pumpkin raisin muffins!!! Yummmm!

Make Month - Day 6

I made this right before bed.  It's a thank you card made from a watercolor painting.

American Government Class in the real world

Tomorrow, Tessa and I are learning about expressing our right to assemble and freedom of speech.  We will be joining "Occupy Ft. Collins" to protest corporate greed and the corruption of our government.  We will learn more from this experience than we ever could being confined in a classroom, reading from a textbook.

I don't know anyone else who will be there and I don't know what is going to happen. If feels exciting and scary  but I have to show my daughter that people care.  I want to give her hope that all adults don't think that what is happening is OK.  We all are responsible to make a difference no matter how small.

I will send an update on our experience soon.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Make Month - Day 5

My daughter likes to juggle so I made her some new bean bags.

Make Month - Day 4

OK, Tuesdays are very busy so I didn't get around to making anything until right before I went to bed.  I took an empty spice bottle and some acrylic paint and made this simple vase.

Make Month - Day 3

I find origami to be challenging, frustrating, fun, and satisfying but I rarely take the time to do it.  This seemed like a good time to try a new origami project.  Here is my origami cat book mark.  It took me two tries to get it right.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Make Month - Day 2

I made this little guy by needle felting wool.  It took about an hour to make him.

Education at your fingertips - Cool webites

This is a great time to Homeschool/Unschool.  More and more people are leaving public school and opting for other alternatives like on-line schools, charter schools, and homeschooling.  This increasing need for alternative ways to learn and the power of the internet has lead to a growing availability of educational websites offering free curriculum, educational videos and other instructional materials.   There are so many resources available, it’s overwhelming!  If you looking for somewhere to start, check out  a few of my favorites:  is a long list of homeschooling resources on all topics is maintained by the National Gallery.  This link is an amazing resource that connects art and curriculum by offering a database that can be searched by curriculum subjects, topics, or artists. is a history website that includes awesome timelines that illustrate how world events overlap and also includes a biography timeline depicting the lives of important people in history so students can see what great minds lived at the same time and then connect that information to what was happening in the world then. offers free software that teaches computer programming skills for kids. is a cooking website for kids.  The site includes many recipes and step by step videos on how to cook them.  has over 2400 educational videos and 180 practice exercises on topics from algebra to biology to history for kindergarteners to adults. lets students “connect with experts in the field, share ideas, and collaborate with people around the world” through global science projects. has free high school and college courses. has educational videos on every subject.  records your interests then presents you with websites that may be interesting to you.  This is a great way to expose your kids to lots of different subjects and ideas.  You can rate if you like and don’t like each site it gives you in order to fine tune your preferences.  I have discovered wonderful art, great music and interesting people through Stumble Upon.   This website is an interactive timeline of the history of the Metropolitan Opera.  It includes articles, archived images, and recordings of actual performances from long ago.  This is free game that you can download and play to learn about physics.  It has a very open ended format that encourages kids to be creative.   Kids can experiment with friction, motion, liquids, gravity and momentum.  is a fun way to let kids make their own music.  The child is presented with a grid of squares.  When you click on the square it plays a tone.  To turn off the tone just click it again.  You can make chords, rhythms and melodies that are easy to modify so it becomes a very playful learning experience.
If you are interested in how to homeschool for college, check out  “DIY U” by  Anna Kamenetz.   This book is bursting with educational resources and websites for independent learners of high school age and older.
Enjoy these cool websites and let me know which websites are your favorites.   Happy learning!!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Make Month - Day 1

Today was Day 1 of Make Month – my personal challenge to make at least one thing every day for a month.  Today I made a felted pumpkin, a bouquet of flowers, a birthday crown and a carrot cake from scratch. I forgot to take a picture of pumpkin before I wrapped it.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

What are we learning now?

A new school year has started and even though we don’t ever stop learning at our house, we do mark the end of one learning year and the beginning of another as September 1st.  It’s easier to answer that question, “What grade are you in?”.  I think it also gives my daughter a sense of progress.  This year is especially exciting for her because now she is “in Highschool”.   Every year seems to be filled with new exciting things and this year is no different. 

To start the year off, we took a trip to San Diego to attend the Good Vibrations Unschooling Conference.  It was wonderful to be surrounded by people who truly celebrate their children for who they are.  The main theme of the conference seemed to be “have fun!”.   There were workshops on tutu making, hula hooping, art, magic wand making, globe trotting, skipping college, how to be a medieval knight, learning how to meet people, poetry writing and even a surfing lesson.  There were also discussion groups for parents and teens to talk about unschooling topics.  It was a great way to start the year.

Now that we have returned home, we are trying to establish a weekly schedule so that I can adjust my availability to meet Tessa’s transportation needs.  Things that Tessa plans to do on a regular basis include meeting weekly with her Algebra tutor, Creative Writing group(weekly), guitar practice, reading, making art, visiting the Innovation Lab, learning to speak Italian and attending Access, a homeschool enrichment program.  At Access, Tessa will take classes on things she is interested in like guitar, ceramics, art, soccer, book making and literature. 

In November, she will travel to Durango.  She will stay for a month with a group of teens at the local hostel and try to write a whole novel.  During her stay, she will also take writing workshops and go on several field trips.

Tessa isn’t the only one pursuing new skills.  Besides working 24 hours a week at the library, I am also working on learning to speak Italian.  I’m learning new exercises to hopefully reduce or eliminate my neck pain.   I will continue reading about things that interest me like education, child development, and creativity.

In October, I am taking on a personal challenge of making at least one thing everyday.  I will display my progress on this blog just to keep me motivated and honest.  I got this idea from the TEDxBoulder conference Tessa and I attended last night.  I love being creative but tend to spend more time reading about it instead of just doing it.  

The TED conference was a great experience especially for Tessa and her friend.  I was disappointed to see so few teens in the audience. I want to expose Tessa to inspired people who think “outside of the box” as much as possible.  I think it will give her hope for her future and give her a sense of empowerment, that’s my hope anyway.

What kinds of experiences do you think teens should have available to them?
What things are you doing this Fall? 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Roll with it, Baby!

I’m still learning, STILL figuring out that growth doesn’t occur in a straight line.  All of life seems to be a lot of zigzagging and ups and downs.  And as soon as you think you have “made it”, there’s another “it” to conquer or you back slide and have to do it over a different way.   I’m a very goal oriented person in a goal oriented society and the expectation of aiming to arrive somewhere and then being “done” has caused so much needless stress in my life.  But through parenting and educating my children, I’m finally starting to get it.  I know that kids learn new skills then regress.  It happened with sleeping through the night.  It happened with potty training.  It happened with learning to sleep alone.  I thought we were done with tantrums and then they came back again.  But I didn’t expect it to happen with my young adult son.  At 19, I thought I was mostly done parenting him.  Nope.  It feels like he needs me more than ever in some ways.  At the same time he needs me to let go.  It’s a tricky balance to strike and one I wasn’t prepared for.   I was also not prepared for the gut wrenching worry.  Life is so full of surprises!
A truly valuable skill to have, especially if you are raising kids, is the ability to “roll with it”.  The ability to calm yourself when things don’t work out as planned is worth buckets of gold.  The ability to set goals and make plans is important but in the end, it’s the person who can come up with a Plan B, without freaking out, that is going to be successful and a lot less stressed.
This skill is best learned by kids who have parents to model it for them everyday.  Yes, once again parents, you have to be the change you want to see in your children.   This is especially hard when it’s your child’s behavior that is disrupting your best laid plans.  Take lots of deep breaths.  Take a big step back.  Think before you speak.  Wait a minute for that anxious feeling to settle down a bit.  Let go of your expectations and accept that something different is going to happen than what you planned.  My new mantra is “Roll with it baby!”  My family and my health are better for it.  (But only when I can remember to follow my own advice, that is.)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Get out of line! The fun is over here!

Homeschooling is scary sometimes for me.  It’s hard to educate your kids differently than everybody else.  There are so many people sending their kids off to one school or another without even questioning it.  It’s just what people do. When their kids turn 6, they buy them a little backpack and stick them on a school bus, just like everybody else.  Even though I know in my heart that my kids are going to learn more and be happier learning outside of the system, there’s always that little kernel of doubt…are they missing something?  Is everything going to turn out OK?  
James Bach, author of  "The Buccaneer Scholar", told me once that unschooling is hard because it’s not what everyone else is doing and no one has made any promises about what happens at the end.  He described unschooling as a rickety track with a coal cart on the top.  I have embellished Mr. Bach’s idea with my own imaginations.  James said that unschooling is like everyone in the education system is behind the ropes at Disneyland.  They are standing in lines, doing what they are told, preparing to get on the big shiny ride.  At the end of the ride they are promised a diploma, a great job and a successful life.  We unschoolers, on the other hand are not standing in line behind the ropes.  We are milling around and building a rickety, uncertified track of our own that has a crappy old coal car on it at the top.  Each board we hammer onto this track is something we felt would help our kid on their path of learning and growing.   The boards represent self-directed learning, investing in beloved hobbies, reading lots of books, interning with a mentor, playing video games, daydreaming and whatever else seemed important.  The problem is we can only build part of the track, because we have no control of the future.  We don’t know where the track goes.  No one has made any promises about the outcome.  We just know that in the process of building the track, we have also built a beautiful family and many wonderful memories.
So then we plunk our kids into the old coal cart on top of this hodgepodge track and give them a shove.   It’s scary!  We hope that at the end they will be launched off into the air and they will fly, but there are no promises.  Unfortunately, the kids on the shiny ride at Disneyland are getting to the end of their ride with a big bag of debt and no job to pay for it.  And when they get off the ride, they all look the same.  They have the same “skills” and the same piece of paper in their hands.
My son made the choice to go to college when he turned 18 and pursue a college diploma in film making.  It had been a passion of his all through his high school years learning at home.  We were happy that he had a passion and had decided to turn his passion into a career.  He just finished his first year of college with much success, and has decided to leave school and try working and living on his own.  He said he’s not sure he wants a degree in film making and needs some time to grow up and find a direction. He doesn’t want to go into debt to be trained for a job he may not want.  
It’s hard not to freak out when your kid quits school.   I don’t know about you, but I instantly started questioning the choices I had made in his education.  Were his earlier self-directed learning experiences causing him to be unable to stay in college?  Had I parented a kid who couldn’t handle structured environments?  Luckily, it only took a day or so for me to realize that he was fine.  In fact he was being very responsible!  He had already proven that he could be a traditional student because be had been successful in every way during his first year at college.  He knows himself enough to realize that he’s not ready to get a degree in film making.  He needs to try a few more things, learn a little more about the world and himself.  And what a good time to do it, while he is young and unburdened by responsibilities and debt.  For such a young man, that seems very wise to me.  I’m proud of him for being able to jump off the Disney ride.  It must have been scary to make that choice.  But for him, I think it was scarier to keep riding when he wasn’t sure that the ride would end where he wanted to go.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

An Unusual Education - Showing up to parent/educate your kids

What is a good education? 
What do you need to know to live a fulling life?
·        Knowing yourself (talents, weaknesses, personal philosophy and goals)
·        Knowing how to find out about something you are curious about (using technology, books, and people to get the information you want)
·        Knowing how to cope with stress
·        Knowing how to take care of your body and how to be safe
·        Understanding relationships and the chemistry of attraction*
·        Knowing how to ask for what you want. (Having excellent communication skills and the confidence to use them)
·        Having life skills like cooking, cleaning, budgeting, driving, reading a bus schedule, using a computer.
·        Knowing that the world is an amazing place filled with amazing people who do all kinds of things and that you can do any of those things if you really want to.

How do you achieve this education?  One way is to actually be with your kids and have time to have conversations with them; lots and lots of conversations.  Educating your kids requires that you be there reading to them, taking them places, introducing them to different people, talking to them about physical and emotional health but more importantly modeling it for them.  Modeling behaviors you want to see in your child is VERY effective.  Model for them a person who loves learning by reading and being excited when you learn something new.  Talk to your kids about what you are curious about and what you are investigating.  Expose your kids to the world though books, travel and the internet.   Show your kids all different kinds of things (art, music, theater, technology, sports, animals, gardens, buildings, machines, war, homelessness, world religions, world cultures).  Let them direct their own learning content by noticing what fascinates them.  Pay attention to what interests them and bring them more of it. But most importantly, let them play.  The time the spend playing is maybe the most important “educational” time they will have everyday so protect it and encourage it.

As they get older, locate mentors for your children in the fields they are interested in.  Internships and volunteers jobs become very important, because it allows children to actually work in the area they are interested in.  It’s much easier to make good decisions about a career if you have actually done some of the work.  If kids have this kind of education then they will be able to discover their own passions and they will be able to learn whatever they want.   If they want to go to college they will.

 All of this can happen very naturally at home with an engaged parent but what if a lot of this has to happen at school?  What if both parents work full time jobs and only have a few quality hours a week with their kids?    What would a school look like if its soul purpose was to nurture and grow young adults who had a broad exposure to the world and had focused their learning on their unique talents and passions.  What if these same directed young people also had life survival skills like stress management, communication skills, and knew how to live on their own.  It seems their potential would be nearly limitless and they would enter college or the work force truly ready and fully engaged.

I envision a school where young people are educated from a place of respect and good expectations.  I hope for a place where the main goal is to help kids discover themselves and the world.

This kind of school would require more focus on the individual but much of it could be done in a classroom.  First you teach young kids all about the world (books, field trips, hands on projects, PLAY, internet).  When they discover something that lights their fire, let them immerse themselves in that topic for as long as they want.  Your job is just to be a facilitator by finding them resources (books, documentaries, movies, field trips, project supplies) to investigate their passions.   Some children may choose to work/learn in small groups while others will prefer to work alone.

Then as they get a bit older you teach them about themselves (health, relationships, communication, Meyer-Briggs, survival skills), while continuing to let them explore their interests.    Finally,  as they start to mature, help them puzzle out where they fit into the world by helping them find internships, mentors, volunteering opportunities, or through personal projects.

I think this education would "produce" young adults who have direction, confidence and outstanding talent.  Our kids have so much potential.  It's our job to help them bring it to fruition through an education based on dignity and a celebration of the individual. 

I spoke at my son’s high school graduation last year and I think what I said at the end of the speech, sums up, very well, what I think a good education is.  Here is what I said:”…  I’m not going to tell him to go out into the world and become successful because I believe he already is.  He already knows how to be a good neighbor, an involved community member and a lifelong learner.  These things, in my opinion, are the hallmarks of a good education.”  

*Turns out even if you know about the biology of attraction, your brain still turns to mush when you are in love.  But perhaps having that knowledge will help you forgive yourself later. :)