Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Architecture of Education, Part 2

The first part on the Architecture of Education is here.

The conference I attended, 3 days in the woods in British Columbia, changed who I am. I was there as a result of one man, who bootstrapped what I think is the most forward thing happening in education right now. This is why I traveled all that way to meet him, and join his organization to help them bootstrap their global program, taking students outside of BC for the first time.

One dad, who so was so moved by his daughters learning process, and request to learn at home from her parents, he decided to create a unique program, to accommodate her. He held a meeting to share his vision with others who might want to participate in their journey. No one came. Many would have stopped there, but he held another meeting. One dad showed up, and between these two fathers, willing to be something different for their children, the educational movement which is SelfDesign, was born.

I plied Brent's partner for information, as I am always interested in the story behind the story. What was it that made him so passionate, that he was willing to follow his vision through 25 years of ups and downs, creating what I think is going to be one of the most important events in education thus far, a self empowered group of students, in control of their own educational process, in global communication with one another? Of course she could not give me a simple answer, because evolution is not a simple process.

In my own study of Greek mythology, I have always been fascinated that the Greeks took their children to Chiron, the Centaur, who taught these children of the gods in such a way, they would surpass their parents in greatness. This was an expected outcome, when the gods left their treasured children, in his charge. What she told me, mirrored this principle, that Brent wanted something greater for his daughter, than he himself had.

At the conference, I made a new friend, a former professor in the College of Education at Seattle University, and a Harvard PHD. When I asked him why he traveled north to the woods, to be there, he said that he thinks this is one of the most important things happening in education, which is going to impact humanity's ability to evolve.

Evolve. Yes, that is my dream. If there are enough adults, holding the space for these magical children on the earth at this time, modeling that failure should be celebrated, thinking outside of the box is most welcome, learning what your own internal guidance system sounds like and having the courage to follow it is personal transformation at its best, I believe we have the potential to experience the largest evolutionary leap in humanity our wonderful planet has ever seen.

In thirty years, I hope to be driving with my grandchildren, and see what looks like Mr. Plumbean's street, in my number one favorite book of all time (which is saying a lot as books are one of my most favorite things, and my husband is a children's book author, but he will forgive me, I'm sure) the Big Orange Splot**. If you have not read it, please, please do.

I want to live in a world, where I can see the architecture of the dreams of today's children, made manifest, all around me. And thank you Brent, for bootstrapping a business, that I so believe in, giving me the professional opportunity to help create my vision of a world where children are supported in being the fullest version of themselves. In helping you bootstrap this global program, I have realized that SelfDesigning is me and I am it, it is a way of being where I can be nurtured and supported, in fulfilling all of my dreams, and hold the space for my husband, and children, to do the same.

After Mr. Plumbean, is inspired to create the house of his dreams, replete with frangipani and a crocodile, his neighbors cry in exasperation, "Tell him that we all liked it here before he changed his house. Tell him that his house has to be the same as ours so we can have a neat street."

"My house is me and I am it. My house is where I like to be and it looks like all my
dreams," was Mr. Plumbean's reply. Read the book and find out how one man,
modeling this, changed the architecture of his neighborhood, one person, one house,
one dream at a time.

*One of MJ Neal's projects, is featured in this month's issue of Dwell. He focuses on modern design, and
believes that great architecture, can be affordable.
**The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Manus Pinkwater, published by Hastings House by arrangement with
Scholastic Book Services

Ariel Miller, M.Div. leads the Bootstrap Education Subgroup. She is currently bootstrapping a home learning program with SelfDesign Global, an organization that has won several awards, and has a 25 year track record, developing new ways of supporting parents, and children in becoming joyful, enthusiastic, lifelong learners.

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