This was originally posted by me at Cammy’s ‘Radical Schooler’ wordpress blog.
I was in public school from 1st to 3rd grade. I sat down each day, stayed quiet, and did my best to absorb all the information. I got some time to hang out with my friends, and talk, and then I’d go right back to being quiet, and absorbing. Occasionally, I’d get the chance to use that information I had gathered, and spit it back out on some paper, and hand it in to my teacher to judge.
I was at the top of my class, no one disliked me in school, and I got playtime. That’s enough to be happy, right?
Well, 9 times out of 10 I’d get home with a headache. I was well ahead of the rest of my class, and yet I was being told more and more about a subject I had already mastered in my head, so anything else was just redundant, and my learning ability was heavily suppressed because of it.
My parents had soon started to realize this, and one day, near the middle of the school year, my mom shows up during class, and next thing I know, I’m a homeschooler.
I did homeschooling up to about 9th grade. (I think.) I had tried a couple of curriculums throughout my homeschooling, but none of them really worked for me, so my parents stuck with the model of ‘just do what you want’. They were aware of how much I was learning just by browsing YouTube.
The question was never “is he learning anything?”
The question was “is he aware of what he is learning?”
Think about it. The internet is FILLED with information. So was I able to parse the information, and understand what it is I’ve learned, and whether I want to learn more about it. Often for me, the answer was just ‘Yes’.
Now, in 2014, my mom had found a ‘What If’ conference by Nancy Tilton, the founder of ALC Mosaic.
She showed it to me, and we instantly became intrigued, looked into the Agile Learning Centers, and had found ALC NYC.
It was perfect. It was how I was already learning, just now with a larger culture, more interactions with others, and more support in my learning.
The ALC’s have what are called the ‘Agile Roots’:
- Learning is natural. It’s happening all the time.
- People learn best when they make their own decisions. Children are people.
- People learn more from their culture and environment than from the material they are taught. The medium is the message.
- Accomplishment is achieved through cycles of intention, creation, reflection, and sharing.
Soon comes the next school year, and I’m excited for it. It’s been fabulous. I’ve learned so much, about myself, and in general in one school year(and a month because of ALF Summer).
That’s my schooling story.