Here are the most recent posts to The Learning Cooperatives blog. Check out the TLC blog page to see all of them.

  • Teaching Character vs. Compliance
    by Katy Burke on April 24, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    Educating children can look and feel a lot like raising them.  It is certainly not the same as parenting—I say that as an educator and a parent. However, the purpose of parenting and educating are very much aligned. The word “educate” means “to lead out”—to […]

  • Outcomes for Alumni who Self-Directed their Learning
    by Alison Snieckus on April 10, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    When Joel Hammon and Paul Scutt first conceived the idea to create Princeton Learning Cooperative, a number of design elements were modeled on a successful self-directed learning program in central Massachusetts, North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens–see our guiding principles. North […]

  • The Importance of Play
    by Scott Gallagher on March 27, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    As a writing teacher, I love helping writers free themselves of certain not-so-great writing habits. It’s easy to trap yourself as a writer, going down well-worn paths, following forms and ideas already been done. Once you believe a poem or story should look a certain way, if you’re not […]

  • Freedom to Discover on MLK’s Holiday
    by Eileen Smyth on March 12, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    Self-direction gives teens the chance to show they can make wise and loving choices, that they have a good sense of what’s important and what’s needed in the moment. It also lets them feel their effects on others, and understand both the joy and responsibility that comes with being in […]

  • The Gardener and the Carpenter
    by Paul Scutt on March 3, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    This analogy refers to different styles of raising a child. A “gardener” tends to the fertility of the soil—the access to sunshine, water and minerals allowing for the best development of his charge, while the “carpenter” has a fixed idea of the desired […]

  • Making Your Way
    by Katy Burke on February 11, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    The Learning Cooperatives are founded on the concept of making a life for yourself…living your dreams, not someone else’s. But in a culture chockful of prescribed paths and prepackaged dreams, how can we do that? It is probably more of an art than a science, but after listening to the […]

  • Don’t Hokey Pokey Your Dreams
    by Joel Hammon on January 17, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    My favorite line from our Finding Your Path event in December (see video above) was from Carlos Serrano, owner of Empanada Guy food trucks and restaurant. I’m paraphrasing: You can’t play hokey pokey with your dreams. If you find something you want to do, you can’t be like, […]

  • What Mentors do that Matters
    by Alison Snieckus on January 4, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    In my work with teens, I know that the foundation of good mentoring is a deep and engaging mentoring relationship. But what exactly do we do as mentors to get and keep that relationship, to make it matter? I came across this blog post from Search Institute that offers some direct insight on how all […]

  • It’s Not Funny
    by Joel Hammon on December 9, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    If we had a “do-over” on the structure of schools, what would we create? What kinds of things would we focus on? The things on the left side of this image or the right? For most people, it’s a no-brainer—of course kids learn better under the conditions on the left, and these […]

  • Support and Stand By
    by Katy Burke on November 28, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    In a previous post, Rethinking the Gaps, I argued that in trying to close the skill gaps that we fear children hold, we actually juxtapose pressuring kids and overprotecting them. We simultaneously push kids to check all the customary boxes while denying them the natural experiences of taking risk. […]