8
Oct
2017

Does This Count…

… is a question I hear frequently – the last time being  1 pm Friday afternoon, from a DRC teen at the end of our mentoring session, when she decided to try to set up a pen tablet (which has never been functional) on one of the DRC laptops. My vehement response, per usual, was, “of […]

24
Sep
2017

Is Your Child Having a Rough Start to the Year? 5 Reasons Your Family Might Consider a Semester Away from School

Unless you’re a homeschooling family, your child or teen has been in school for many years. Consider this a sabbatical. Everyone can use a sabbatical. Wouldn’t you love one? If Sunday nights are anxiety-provoking and homework is a constant battle, a change might be the best thing for the entire family. They can return to […]

11
Sep
2017

The Mentoring Effect

When PLC members move on from PLC, into college, work, and life generally, they nearly always express how much their mentoring relationship has helped and supported them as they forged their path through opportunities and offerings. Mentoring is without a doubt the part of the “PLC magic” that we most value. It’s more important than […]

27
Aug
2017

Inspired, Sobered

One of the pleasures of this past week has been organizing my notes from my first Liberated Learners conference. June 22 I caught a red-eye to the east coast and then spent the weekend reveling in hundreds of micro and macro “aha” moments. Having returned home I’m more excited than ever about all the goodness I know […]

31
Jul
2017

Who We Serve and How

Students choose LightHouse for a variety of reasons. But there’s always a reason. LightHouse is not the default choice—we are not free, public school. We are an alternate choice because something about the traditional option available to our students is not working for them. These reasons vary considerably. Some of our students were simply bored […]

17
Jul
2017

Move over, Rigor

Years ago, a good friend of mine said something that just stuck with me.  “I could care less about rigor”—surprising words from an honors-level high school teacher. “What I care about is vigor.” I realized that she had assumed a completely new intention for challenging students in their learning. Rather than trying to get them […]

3
Jul
2017

What Does it Mean to Be Educated?

Blake Boles has been writing and speaking about self-directed learning for over a decade, most recently for the Alliance for Self-Directed Education.  In his article What Does it Mean to Be Educated?,  he offers a somewhat historical perspective of where we are in the long-term arc of public education in the United States.  As Blake points […]

20
Feb
2017

What Happens to Self-Directed Learners?

Even in the world of alternative education, North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens is a hard program to fully grasp. Now in our 21st year, those of you who have met me or spoken with me about the model probably most remember my mantra, “It’s not a school!” It’s easy to remember what we “don’t […]

2
Jun
2016

Building Community

No one person is an island. We all rely on others for emotional sustenance as well as most of our basic physical needs. The best (easiest) way, I believe, to meet those requirements is through collaboration while participating in community. Our consumeristic culture, unfortunately, is driven by competition which is completely antithetical to cooperation and […]

13
Apr
2016

Opting Out in a Bigger Way

Schools throughout NJ are gearing up to give another round of the PARCC. Families are rightly opting out of these tests. Tests measure a very narrow range of skills and abilities – they can’t possibly measure what we value most in young people: creativity, inspiration, kindness, curiosity, collaboration. In fact, the focus on standards and […]