Who are we?
• We operate under the home school umbrella.
• We trust and empower our children to be an active participant in the community, which involves speaking up for their interests, conflict resolution during play with adult guidance (if needed) using NVC, constant self-inquiry, understanding nurturing friendships, and other traits.
• We are a Co-learning community. We enjoy cooperative learning opportunities, rather than independent one-to-one learning, and generally could not find an established school that aligned with our values and conducive to family life-balance.
• We generally find value in cooperation, mindfulness, and kindness over competition, capitalism, and consumerism.
• We are introspective and focus on the growth mindset.
• Imagine a hybrid of play-date and learning-date. Our time together is spent in exploration and learning about things that excite us in a fun way, followed by unstructured time. We use tools available to us from ALC and Liberated Learners models as we find those to be flexible and in-line with children having agency over their desired path in partnership with adults in their life. Our hybrid education model currently serves the local homeschooling community.
Who are we not?
• We are not a for-profit business.
• We are not rigorous with traditional academia.
• We are not a micro-school or a community modeled after an educational alternative pedagogy of Democratic Schools (like Sudbury), Montessori, Reggio Emilio, Waldorf, or like. Detachment from a specific educational pedagogy, allows us to be flexible and adaptable to the changing needs of our children.
Can anyone join?
We are a small community constricted by physical location and desired intimacy. Our ideal group size is 8-12 children. We are looking to:
Provide access to self-directed education to a diverse group of H-Town folks,
Support tween and teens in their middle and high school equivalent years, and
Create a solid culture and values fit with member families.
What are your programs?
Mornings (offerings): follow pre-planned 1-hr. experiences of learning, deepening, exploring, or discovering a variety of topics that are globally relevant and that which facilitators consider part of a necessary skill set to function well in our modern society. Please see our emerging schedule on Spring 2021 page. These experiences (offerings) are co-created with facilitators and/ or explorer interests.
Afternoons (self-directed): formulated after Self-Directed Education (SDE) using Agile Learning Center (ALC) tools and processes.
Members will work with ALC tools (Kanban board) to identify their interests.
During the 2-hour work module, the facilitators will help the members develop their interests, where self-motivation, time management, and process of inquiry will be the agency of each young learner supported by adult facilitators.
We anticipate this to be a new experience for some of the kids. Should we find confusion and lack of Self Directed Path skill or mindset, we would work towards spending part of the time coaching how to translate their interest topic on the self-directed path from one step to the next.
Some information on SDE: https://www.self-directed.org/
Some information on ALC: https://agilelearningcenters.org/
Do I have to join all 3 days: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday?
Families are welcome to join any one or more of the days, depending on what you are looking for and the space available.
Who facilitates the programs?
Tuesdays: Terri and Sabrina will lead offerings.
Wednesday: Christine and Sabrina will lead offerings.
Thursday: Sabrina and guest facilitators will lead the offerings
We are always looking for parent volunteers to offer a particular topic that they have proficiency in and would like to engage with, so please let us know as the semester unfolds if you are interested in this opportunity. Parents have the option, but not the obligation to facilitate. Occasionally, we also employ subject matter experts that can connect with passion and inspire our members.
What is the facilitation style? Does this resemble traditional classroom teaching?
We defer to Agile Learning Center (ALC) definitions of facilitating as noted in Vol. II.
“The choice not to call ourselves teachers is a deliberate one; while we may sometimes provide direct instruction, facilitation is something you do with a group, not to it. The root of the word facilitator is “facilis,” the Latin word for “easy”; a facilitator is a person who provides unobtrusive assistance, guidance, or supervision that makes it easier for students to self-direct their learning.
Facilitation is the daily practice of being reflective, adaptable, empathetic, and honest. It’s helping children articulate the concepts and feelings they are already grappling with: an explanation of the water cycle because it’s raining, or offering the word “overwhelmed” to a kid who’s having a rough day and struggling against the urge to hit someone. Facilitation is playing with tools of the culture and the question “why?” Facilitation is playing tag in the hallway. Facilitation is developing the ability to tell the difference between and shriek of joy and a shriek of distress from several rooms away; it’s holding space for children to work through tricky tasks or emotional conversations with your support while resisting the urge to jump in and just do it for them. Facilitation is messy. Facilitation is structured externalized reflection and abrupt unstructured revelation.
One of the fundamental beliefs of ALC is by virtue of being human in the presence of other humans, you are always teaching and always learning. The unique role of a facilitator is in holding a physically, emotionally, and intellectually safe space for teaching and learning to emerge from the students’ own curiosity and intentions.”
What if my child is not interested in group offerings?
Since offerings are planned in advance, explorers are encouraged to bring ideas/ tools for their self-engagement in lieu of offerings, for example learning a foreign language or typing skills, etc.
How do you handle relationship conflicts?
We hope minor conflicts will be resolved by students or adults using mutual respect and compassionate communication. It is our intent to use our ‘observations to reflect on actions and situations that are emotionally loaded – make the implicit explicit to foster the behaviors we want to see in our community without using adult authority to undermine or suppress the children’s autonomy.’ (ALC Facilitation Guide, Vol. II). Our vocabulary of observation, feelings, needs, and requests are defined by Non-Violent Communication (NVC) model founded by Marshall Rosenberg. (We can also create NVC workshops for the community as well to better understand this model.)
How do you handle disruption during offerings or destruction of property?
We are a choice and responsibility based learning community for 7+. As such, disruption during learning modules or destruction of places or things is not generally experienced. We request intentional and conscientious behavior in our respectful learning environment and community culture.
Does joining HGEC cost me anything?
Our first concern is having a beneficial culture fit between families in our community. Beyond that, we have a need for a consistent facilitator to ensure the programs run smoothly and aligned with our culture. So that we may appropriately compensate our facilitators we request a monthly contribution for participating in the programs. Please see Spring 2021 page for fees listed and contact us if needed so we may talk through the financial implications to your family.
Material costs are not included in Spring 2021 fees. Material costs are the responsibility of each family as it pertains to their child bringing in materials for their own SDE engagement.
I still have questions. I don’t fully get it.
Please contact us.