Monday, February 19, 2007

Fairhaven School in Upper Marlboro, MD

"Voices from the New American Schoolhouse explores life outside the usual educational box. Narrated exclusively by students, the film chronicles life and learning at the Fairhaven School in Upper Marlboro, MD which practices an undiluted form of freedom and democracy that turns mainstream education theory on its head. Filmmaker Danny Mydlack enjoyed unrestricted access over a two-year period to produce this candid and unblinking encounter with kid-powered learning. " (from the YouTube panel description)

Not for every kid. But this is education at its best. I'm cheating by digging about in my old posts for ideas. But it was a good post last year, and I think it still has a lot to say.

So excuse me for repeating myself:

Readers may find it interesting that my own education was a patchwork of six elementary schools before high school, including two years in a one-room school with grades one through six. I attended third and fourth grades there with three others in my grade. The largest grade had seven pupils.

There was no such thing as "open education" in those days, but the kaleidescope of learning envitonments had much the same effect. I became very good at adapting, which has served me well in my adult life. Through it all, however, it was my family -- parents, mainly, but the extended family as well -- who were the real engines for learning. Not because they were all that erudite, but because they ALL valued and supported the notion of learning, which is a very different thing from going to school. Write this down: Schools cannot be in loco parentis. That role cannot be delegated. At some point we all choose, whether or not we are aware at the time, who our role models will be. It is a blessed parent who is allowed to play that important role. None should willingly argue for anything else.


dmydlack said...

I find your post that starts" own education was a patchwork..." apt and very well written. I hope you get more press; you're probably a good interview.

Hoots said...

Thank you for that. After two-plus years at the keyboard I don'e expect much in the way of "press" any more. Blogging is more for entertaining for me than ladder climbing, but I do get excited about trafic spikes. Currently my post on "What is Barak Obama's Religion?" is getting a lot of hits, thanks to a good spot on Google searches. Other than that I'm mostly writing for my grandchildren in case they someday want to know what their Grandpa thought about stuff.