Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Homeschooling with SelfDesign

This year has been a most awesome year for us in homeschooling. This would be my 8th year homeschooling and I think I have finally got it right. (I homeschooled Erin and Kaetlyn for 4 years and this is mine and Andrew's 4th). I have tried many different approaches and found different kinds of support and it has never really fit very well. Or I have just done my own thing but then I have been left alone with my own doubts and sporadic impuses. And always, no matter where I was registered or not registered over the years, there was never really support for me. But I have had awesome support this year. The support I have received from my Learning Consultant has enabled me to better support Andrew. He has made important connections with other kids like him in the'village' and found great adult mentors, too. He is a transformed boy. It has been good for Rhiannon, too but it has been more dramatic for Andrew. I find the Observing for Learning (O4L) reporting process very meaningful and it really helps me find a balance of discipline while still allowing the natural flow of learning to go on. Sometimes I just get so caught up in daily life and I tend to focus on the future, it has been really useful to reflect on what has been going on. And it has been useful when I am afraid nothing is going on, too... I could not say enough good things about SelfDesign. They have just opened up for enrolment to the general public today. Following is their message. If you haven't already checked out SelfDesign, I highly recommend it.

About SelfDesign Learning Community

• The purpose and praxis of SelfDesign – We exist as a independent community (in the eyes of the ministry, a certified group 1 school) to support the emergent, holistic learning of children ages 5 – 14 years. We advocate the rights of learners to design their own learning plans, which becomes a child’s curriculum for the year. Our work is aligned with many noted holistic educators, academics and philosophers and the insights on multiple intelligences pioneered by Harvard professor Howard Gardner. Our praxis of supporting emergent learning and our Village of Conversations are unique in the province.

We do not, and will not, coerce a child to learn. We are convinced that a curriculum that emerges from interest and meaning is 'real' for each child.

The Ministry of Education has constructed its rules and regulations around educators teaching children to meet prescribed learning outcomes. We are focused on learning, on a child's natural enthusiasm to understand his or her world. Our position is that children learning naturally will, over time, achieve and exceed the criteria set by the Ministry about what it means to be an educated person. Our consistent and regular Observing for Learning allows us to prove that our learners achieve equivalent or better results than children in 'taught' environments. Our Learning Consultants work with the learner and family to support the learner's plan.

Many endorsements of SelfDesign may be found on our website Our program has historically served the independent learner, many of whom naturally tend to 'think outside the box'. Children who ask bigger questions and children who have a deep sense of purpose and interest.

If families are interested in learning more about our program or if you wish to enrol, please visit

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