My Philosophy

I oppose many of the practices of modern schools both public and private on the grounds that they suppress the development of the individual, they restrict real learning, and they promote dependency and passivity rather than independence and self-direction.

Forcing young people into learning through the mechanisms of testing, grading, constant supervision and rigid scheduling is backwards. When coerced to learn material irrelevant to their lives students lose a sense of self; they forget what is important and of personal value to themselves and instead do what others deem important. A rigid curriculum is also backwards; curricula are "one size fits all" solutions that too often restrict the ability of students to learn at their own pace. Finally, the idea that young people are "blank slates" to be filled by an all-knowing teacher is backwards; all students are natural learners and should be treated as such. It is only when we assume that children can not be held responsible for their own educations that they become irresponsible.

My belief is that to become a successful adult today, a young person must grow up in freedom. This begins with education.

To educate in freedom is to put trust into the student. Students must be respected, and feel respected, as individuals capable of making important decisions for themselves. The myriad benefits of student-directed education begins with these two simple ideas: trust and respect. Once these are established, a student will begin to self-direct, to pursue personal interests, and to take charge of life.

Some students can self-direct naturally, with little adult assistance. Many other students have the potential to self-direct, but they first need the spark that lights the fire, especially if they have been raised in a coercive educational environment. This is where I come in as a homeschooling tutor and mentor.

My goal is to show my student that they can learn, with great effectiveness and great joy, on their own. Through intense one-on-one mentoring and academic tutoring I help my students realize that the only person responsible for learning is you and that the quality of your life is directly contigent upon the ability to educate yourself.

After tutoring your student will know how to effectively and happily approach learning (both self-initiated and assigned). Your student will have experience in vigorously pursuing personal interests and the feelings of accomplishment that accompany it. And your student will take education more seriously and begin learning naturally, without the pressure of threats, bribes, and rewards.

Literature that has contributed to my philosophy includes:

  • A Different Kind of Teacher - John Taylor Gatto
  • The Teenage Liberation Handbook - Grace Llewellyn
  • No More Nagging, Nit-Picking, or Nudging - Jim Wiltens
  • The Sudbury Valley School Experience - Daniel Greenberg
  • The Happy Child - Steven Harrison

Related websites and articles which I recommend include:

 

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Last updated: 5/13/2004