They meet the standard learning outcomes - curriculum - through different means than textbooks and math quizzes. Multi-age learning groups ebb and flow by subject and activity. They emphasize personal and community responsibility, environmental stewardship, critical thinking, compassion and leadership.Place-Based, Imaginative and Ecological learning and teaching will be experiential, in context, and through activities that engage the mind, body, and heart.
I'm not interested in letter grades. I want my kids to learn how to learn. I want them to be passionate and capable lifelong learners. If you can learn how to learn while studying topics that interest and engage you, then you can apply those skills to any subject as needed throughout your life.
I went through my public school life essentially liking school (my mom always made sure to live on the "right" side of town so I got into "good" schools, but that is another schooling issue altogether), but only doing it to get that "A" grade (and the pats on the head from proud teachers) that would magically get me into a good college, which would then guarantee me a "successful" life. Hah - all real adults know that life is so much more complicated and deep than a good showing on a school transcript.
When I graduated high school, I was almost completely lost. There had always been Persons of Authority and Knowledge who decided what I was to learn, on what schedule, in what ways I was allowed to engage with the material, how I was to perform the assessment of the material I had "learned", and what the rewards and punishments were for not meeting the "standards". What?!?! I now have to decide that for myself?!?!? But, but, but HOW do I do THAT?! You never taught me how to think for myself!! I NEED Your external validation! JUST TELL ME WHAT I NEED TO DO!
Not with my kids, you don't. Now I know better. One of the most satisfying moments of the recent months: my girls' piano teacher, while normally teaching from a (rigorous) curriculum, told me that she has had to break with her expensive, purchased curriculum and essentially write original "curriculum" for my oldest two because they have such definite and wide-ranging interests in the piano pieces they wish to play (and don't want to play) that the books they had been using were no longer usable. And... that she finds the experience (with my always-homeschooled kids) a refreshing challenge.
That is the model I want for my kids: a mentor who truly knows her craft, coupled with an expectation of hard work and excellence (I shudder at that word, but this lady really means it - if you don't believe me, take a piano lesson from her!), passionate about what she does, willing to work outside some box, where the assumption is that a student will basically forever be honing and improving her ability because that is exactly what the mentor is doing. None of that requires "grades".
Last edited by Crabbcakes; 11-14-2012 at 04:34 AM.