Jun 26 2016

Highly Recommended: Alternative Education Conference in Portland, Oregon

After five years, the Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO) is finally bringing their annual conference back to the US West Cost at Portland, Oregon, August 3-7, 2016. Sign up right away if interested. There is not much time left. As one who attended the conference the last time it came to Portland, I can attest that it was a wonderfully moving experience. The keynote speakers will be: Yong Zhao, Presidential Chair and Director of the Institute for Global and Online Education in the College of Education, University of… Read more

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May 03 2016

Free Online Children’s Health Summit This Week

Category: Alternative Education,HealthAdmin @ 11:34 am

The “Children’s Health Summit” webinar is going on this week, once again hosted by Carla Atherton, a functional nutrition coach specializing in children and families. It started yesterday and continues through Saturday, May 7, 2016. Each day’s presentations can be watched for free for 24 hours. You may also purchase the entire set of interviews during or after the conference. The price will go up when the conference is over. Today features: Judy Converse (“Nourishing Children with Special Needs”) Dr. Jill Carnahan (“Autoimmunity,… Read more

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May 06 2015

What if Students Designed Their Own Education?

Category: Alternative EducationAdmin @ 3:50 pm

Over the years since I graduated from a public high school (long before the Common Core), students have become burdened with an ever-increasing workload in “academic” courses. There are fewer hours left to pursue one’s own interests, if those interests do not happen to fit what the classes require. In mathematics, which I tutor at the high school level and below, the textbooks move the students along faster and teach more about math than they used to – except that the students I work with cannot hope to keep up without help. First, they… Read more


Apr 05 2015

Saved from Standardized Testing? How?

Category: Alternative Education,LearningAdmin @ 10:30 pm

While testing has its place, the standardized testing imposed upon public schools has many problems. The tests were designed to give an overall picture of how groups of students compared to other groups in other times and places. They were not designed to assess an individual’s mastery of taught subject matter (especially since there is no national curriculum, which, by the way, I am not advocating). They are meant to produce a bell curve score distribution. If too many students do too well, they make the test harder. Does this make some of… Read more

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Mar 04 2015

Schooling and Interest

When students study what interests them, their work develops a natural, invigorating flow. They engage creatively with their topic, ask their own questions and pursue answers to their own satisfaction. They remember what matters. When someone else chooses their work, students may not find much of personal relevance. The learning becomes a chore, the students’ feelings become an obstacle to the learning, and energy is drained. I am reminded of the title of a book: The Student Resistance Handbook. While I am not advocating any action… Read more

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Mar 01 2015

Conference on Alternative and Child-Centered Education

Category: Alternative EducationAdmin @ 6:28 pm

The Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO) is the best resource I know for learning about alternatives in education. Their conference in Portland, Oregon, which I attended a few years ago, was fantastic. I heartily recommend this year’s conference, which will be near New York City from May 20 to 24, 2015. Presentations will include a variety of learner-centered approaches, including democratic education, progressive education, homeschooling, Montessori, Waldorf, charter schools, magnet schools, and more. Keynote speakers… Read more

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Nov 02 2014

Agile Learning

Category: Alternative EducationAdmin @ 1:05 pm

“Agile software development” has been in the tech world since before the term was settled upon in 2001. As a former (and now very part-time) software developer, I have some understanding of the issues. For people involved in education that is truly centered on children (as I am), applying “agile” to “learning” makes sense. In 2001, seventeen people involved in software development, “sympathetic to the need for an alternative to documentation driven, heavyweight software development processes convened.” The problems they sought to overcome… Read more


Oct 07 2014

Homeschooling Movie: Class Dismissed

Category: Alternative Education,HomeschoolAdmin @ 9:19 am

Next week, Class Dismissed is starting its private-screening tour. The complete schedule and tickets are on the movie’s website, here. For October 2014: Oct. 15 – Los Angeles, CA. Oct. 20 – San Francisco, CA. Oct. 22 – Oakland, CA. Oct. 26 – Portland, OR. Oct. 28 – Monroe, WA. Oct. 29 – Seattle, WA. Here is the latest trailer for the film, as posted on… Read more


Oct 03 2014

SF Bay Area Educational Options Expo 10/4 Saturday!

Category: Alternative Education,LearningAdmin @ 6:25 am

Find out what educational alternative options exist around the San Francisco Bay Area on Saturday, October 4, 2014. Did you know that a democratic school where children make their own educational decisions, modeled after the Sudbury Valley School in Massachusetts, is in Concord, California? And that it started 17 years ago? It’s the Diablo Valley School. I visited for a full day and found the children and teachers there to be among the most self-confident, kind and thoughtful people I have ever met. Apparently the public transit works well… Read more


Sep 07 2014

Is Your Child in Love with Learning?

Category: Alternative Education,LearningAdmin @ 8:50 am

1. Does your child say he or she hates school? If so, something is probably wrong with the school. Children are natural learners, and when they’re young, you can hardly stop them from learning. If your child says they hate school, listen to them. That is the first of "The Ten Signs You Need to Find a Different Kind of Education for Your Child," an article by Jerry Mintz, founder of the Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO). He’s not just talking about finding a better teacher or even a better school within the… Read more

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