There is so much happening so fast in the world around me these days that I can barely keep up with it all, and the same level of change that I see outside seems to be happening within me as well. I am doing my best to respond with the urgency that I feel from the outside-in, so I've decided for the first time ever that I need to have a place to document my process otherwise I know I'm going to miss too many of the signs since they are coming towards me at what feels like the speed of light.
Almost two years ago now, I started imagining and designing a model of education that I felt would be a meaningful and forward-thinking alternative to the types of schooling already offered. I created the vision and then left it alone. Fast (very fast) forward to now and it feels like my project was working itself in the background without me even realizing it.
Since Covid came marching in and everything has moved online, many parents are working from home and seeing first-hand the state of their children's education as subpar. They are scrambling and many are panicked as they look for alternatives. I have always tried to provide high-quality learning options that can be tailored to each of my families' individual needs, however now it is too hard to ignore the number of families that need this more than ever. It's challenging enough to offer these types of services when a family has endless means and this was one of the many things that stopped me in my tracks in Phase One of this project. How could I find a way to not only serve the highly privileged 1% but also serve those who have been marginalized and devalued by systemic racism through no fault of their own. This has been a painful reality that I have worked to minimize through my personal life in the past and one that I am now ready to act upon through my professional life as well.
Black lives have always mattered and they have always mattered to me but as I feel the pull towards growth in my business, I am making a commitment to use my gifts with children and the trust parents instill in me, to create a platform where my families will learn from each other and put a stop to the perpetuation of prejudice and systemic racism. My first thought is to require all families who work with me to sign a pledge to be a threat to inequity in their spheres of influence. How this will look with children, I am not totally sure yet but I am excited to do my training in September with The Equity Literacy Institute and figure out the next steps from there.
In the meantime, I have a lot to do until then. Here are the glimmers that have been lighting me way lately:
1. Families reaching out asking for guidance on how to homeschool their children. To me, this is the greatest motivator and I want so desperately to be able to create a platform, a network, a consortium, that can accommodate the various needs, support the families, empower teachers, and ultimately free the children to follow their own inner wisdom and creativity.
2. Nari's enthusiasm for talking through the process of curriculum development reminded me how much I know and how I can truly help parents develop a homeschool program that they will feel good about. It also inspired me to start putting my ideas down on paper and getting them organized so that I can share them more easily with parents and so that I can start possibly creating a systematic way of growing my business.
2. My own heightened awareness of how my individual commitment to Black Lives Matter can and will make a difference in my business but only if I do things differently in a more determined and methodical way.
3. The Aero conference this past weekend inspired me a lot. Hearing Amir Nathoo from Outschool speak about how he developed the business and how he supports alternatives to the current school model and then hearing Anthony Umina speak about his vision of education and the platform he created that will allow me to have a place to house the network I've been dreaming of.
4. Deb Gordon calling to say that she referred another family to me and to encourage me to speak with Bing so now I'm waiting for him to get back to me about scheduling a time to talk.
5. Finding that coaching organization got me going but I'm not sure yet if they will provide any benefit. Waiting to see...
6. Through AERO I learned about the Jusk Ask Us Project, which is surveying a million people to try and get an idea about education for the future and the purpose of school, which is the question I just posed on my deck for parents. I wonder if that information will be able to help the direction of my business. I would like to facilitate a conversation for their research.
7. From Just Ask Us, I learned about Harvard's brand new initiative, Education Now that is holding regular webinars with parents, educators, and students digging into the issues that face everyone in education right now and what it will be like in the fall.
8. I just learned about this documentary, which I can't wait to watch https://schoolingtheworld.org/viewfilm/ Seems to fit perfectly with my research around the purpose of school/education.