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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hana reminded me that Milo will have to go to school soon

Milo will enter first grade in September 2011.

I find this news so frightening I hardly know where to start. It is time for me to start building an alternative. This is the plan. We will construct an on line First Grade curriculum. What we will build is actually a teacher's guide on what to do and how to do it. We will not be building a school at all. It will be an Alternative Learning Place (ALP), housed wherever we can find the space. We will build many ALPs but the first one will be for MIlo so I have started to plan a curriculum for him. We plan on having 12 boys in each ALP with a teacher. The ALP day will focus around projects and activities and will, of course, all be learning by doing. Here are the activities I am thinking about right now:

First Grade Activities (all of which focus on reading, writing, speaking, arithmetic, and working with others, in context)

Robot building
Airplane building
Bridge Building
Kite Flying
City Planning
Food Preparation
Map Drawing
Football, Basketball, Soccer, and Baseball
Newsletter Writing
Computer Use
Diagnosis of Illness and Treatment
Spanish language
Movie Making
Trip Planning

We will build other activities for kids with other interests than these, including ones for girls. They will be located in places where the private school tuition is prohibitively expensive and the public schools are considered unusable. New York, Chicago, Washington D.C. and South Florida are my first thoughts. If you have a 4 or 5 year old and are thinking about 2011, write to me. We will have to charge tuition I am afraid but should be able to charge a lot less than the fancy private schools.


B. Marchant said...

Great list of topics. One question: Why choose Spanish over an Asian language? I keep hearing about how the top schools are adding Chinese or Korean, yet there are more and more Spanish speakers in the U.S. than ever before.

Roger Schank said...

There will be lots of choices within each ALP; an ALP that wants to have Chinese taught will do just that; no reason why not

Pruebas said...

Hello Roger,

After reading your personal site and your blogs there is something that I would really love to know. What do you think and what does the phrase "universal education" means to you?

I share loads of things on your educative thinking but It is just not possible for me to move to a "customizaed space for elarning" (exactly the same as a private education system but with other ideas)because my main worry about education is that it has to be "reacheable" for those kids whose parents do not care about their education.

If you think that the school should disappear, What do you propose to do with this scope of students that need to learn but whose parents are not able to pay?

My question is sincera and whith no bad intentions... I do really want to know if you have come up with a better global solution, because I am not capable at all, and would love to hear it is possible ;)

Thanks, Noa

Roger Schank said...

first we build it; this costs money and governments don't care, so it has to be built privately; but with success, foundations will begin to fund these projects. In fact we have one full year of a health sciences curriculum already built with foundation money; eventually counties who need education badly will offer what we have built to students in their countries for free while charging foreigners perhaps; we shall see; the first step is to build it and prove the point

Unknown said...

I have a lot of respect for your views, so don't want to jump to conclusions about what you mean by "one for girls". Could you elaborate why a separate curriculum for girls and boys?