Blog · The Open School

Worldschooling at the Carlsbad Tide Pools

by Tay Arrow, Open School TV Staff
February 14, 2020

The fish was still flopping in the sand, right at the top edge of the tide line. It was about the size of my forearm, silver and glittering in the Southern Californian afternoon sun. “We have to save it!” shouted one of the girls. There was a chorus of agreement, and we ran down to […]

Sardines in an Age-Mixed Environment

by Eric Barajas, Open School staff
February 9, 2020

Throughout the past few months, I have spent at least two days of the week at the Open School of Temecula Valley. Since I have now experienced the equivalency of a semester there, I have begun to reflect on my observations and would like to share one of them. For a large period of the […]

Does Self-Directed Mean Self-Centered?

by Aaron Browder, Open School OC staff
January 27, 2020

At The Open School, students are allowed to do whatever they want with their time, go wherever they want on the campus, and interact with whomever they choose. With a few small exceptions, students aren’t required to do anything, go anywhere, or talk to anyone. They can do what’s fulfilling to themselves, and we expect […]

Why Require Attendance?

by Aaron Browder, Open School OC staff
January 10, 2020

This article is a response to the article “Compulsory Self-Directed Learning?” by unschooler Wendy Priesnitz, in which she criticizes Sudbury model schools, among others, for having compulsory attendance. Says Priesnitz: “What do you call it when students are allowed to self-direct their learning but their attendance at school is compulsory? I call it cognitive dissonance.” […]

How the UN Convention Gets Children’s Rights Wrong The UNCRC is progressive on every issue except education

by Aaron Browder, Open School OC staff
November 19, 2019

In 1989, the United Nations drafted a document called the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Their goal was to persuade every nation in the world to establish laws that would protect the rights of their young citizens. So far, this document has been ratified by 196 countries, including every member of the United […]

The Inherent Nature of Traditional Schooling What are students really learning in traditional schools?

by Eric Barajas, Open School staff

After a prolific 26 years of teaching public school in New York, the late John Taylor Gatto described many of his observations and experiences in his book, “Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling”. In this book, Gatto describes the inherent nature of traditional schooling, which he claims teaches the following seven lessons: […]

How do free children become exposed to new things?

by Aaron Browder

A common concern parents have about self-directed democratic schools — which have no assignments, classes, or “teachers” — is how kids will be exposed to new things without forced lessons. What they mean is that starting a new pursuit is hard work, but often becomes fun and interesting once you get into it. Children (like […]

Incidental Learning Kids learn easily when their activities are connected to real life

by Tay Arrow, Open School staff
September 22, 2019

When I was going to a self-directed democratic school, I often enjoyed — as I think most of our kids do — the opportunity to go down a rabbit hole with many kinds of niche interests. I got really into things like playing chess, the history of planetary discovery, ancient cuneiform languages, 19th century French […]

Perfect Information To find their own way in life, children must be told the whole story

by Tay Arrow, Open School staff
September 12, 2019

When I was a child, my family spent our summers in a pair of cabins in a forest on Mount Desert Island in Maine. Most of the time, I played in the woods, inventing tiny societies in the thick moss, or picking blueberries, or climbing on rocks. My mother would go for walks on the […]

Windows of opportunity Do children need to learn certain skills while they're young?

by Aaron Browder, Open School staff
August 29, 2019

Even before he met his wife, Laszlo Polgar was strategizing about how he would bring up his children. In the 1960s, having studied the life stories of 400 great intellectuals from Socrates to Einstein, the Hungarian psychologist argued that with the right approach to child rearing, parents could turn any child into a genius. Klara, […]