April’s Awesomeness!

Hey people who actually read this blog, this month is quite interesting! In this marvelous month of April, there’s not many changes from last month. But, Thursdays, the students will be choosing whether to go to The Temple on 2300 McKinney st., or to stay and hang out at the building, on a week to week basis. Keep up with what’s going on on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/therealschoolhoustontexas/ . As for what’s happening this month, here are some details (Not much different from last month really):

 Open House

Open house for visitors, Wednesday, April 9th, 11am to 1pm. Please call or email if you wish to attend: unschool@therealschoolhouston. org, 713-523-0066. Hope to see you there!

Game Night Fundraiser!!

This monthly event will be happening on Saturday April 19 from 6-10 pm. Everyone is encouraged to come and bring their favorite games, whether table top, card game s or video games. More specific information can be found out by calling our school phone. All ages, small donation($5-10) requested, and there is always some great food available as well as coffee, tea, water, and sometimes soda. You are also welcome to bring your own snacks and drinks! It is always a fun time filled with lots of laughter and different types of games! Donations help us maintain our building and do more fun activities!

All Ages Karaoke

Join us on the first Saturday of the month for some laid back Youtube Karaoke! You can perform any song you want and we have all the equipment needed! Snacks and beverages welcome! Small donations encouraged! This will be happening on April 5th from 6-10pm.

Writer’s Group

Evening writer’s group will be going on every other Thursday, on April 10 and 24 from 6 to 8:30pm. We hope you will join us and give a small donation. It is a fun, accepting, and relaxed group!! Invite your friends, too! This is an all ages meet-up!

Archery Classes

Join us at 19407 Park Row, Katy, for some all ages archery classes. In these classes, we will be taught how to properly hold and use a longbow. These classes cost $10 to join and we also suggest wearing clothing you can move in. We hope to see you in the classes on April 1, 15, and 29 from 2-3 (Although it takes about 45 minutes to get there from the building, so you should probably leave early or you’d miss the class)

Acting Classes

Ohohohoho! Acting classes! In these classes, we aim to be able to perform a play confidently in front of our friends and peers. The play has yet to be decided, but it will definitely be worth watching when it’s performed. So come and join us in the acting classes or watch the play when it’s performed, maybe even both! These classes will be happening weekly on Wednesdays from 11-1:30

Serving with Food Not Bombs Houston

This month, every other Wednesday, in the evenings, we will be helping the other volunteers serve food. We are joining a local group that serves home cooked meals to hungry people downtown 4 days a week. We want to practice cooking healthy meals and to support others in our community. We will be serving on April 9th and 23rd from 8-9. Please feel free to join us to either serve the food you make or help others serve theirs.

Please check our calendar or contact us by phone if you are looking for more events! Our building is also available to host events for a small fee. We can be contacted at 713-523-0066. All events that take place at our building will be at: 2805 Wichita St. Houston, TX 77004. We can also be reached by email at:unschool@therealschoolhouston.org

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Photos from some of our field trips last month

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March Mayhem?

Mayhem in March? We’ll see how it turns out….

This month, our organization has decided to merge with Solidarity Houston. With this merging we hope to create a space that shares resources and ideas to the mutual benefit of multiple groups with similar goals. In other words, we hope to bring more diversity to our cooperative. On another note, we will continue on a Tuesday through Thursday, 10-4, schedule, with Thursdays at The Temple at 2300 McKinney st. Houston TX., 77003.  We also plan to partake in more outings. As for what’s going on, here are some details:

Music Classes

These classes are filled with a variety of instruments and a variety of people. Our musical teacher plans to continue to teach us how to read music and play it. We plan to learn many songs over the course of the month.  These classes take place at 2300 McKinney st. Houston TX., 77003 on Thursdays from 12:30 to 1:30. So come on over to learn music or just to jam with us!

Cooking for Food Not Bombs Houston

This month we are joining a local group that serves home cooked meals to hungry people downtown 4 days a week. We want to practice cooking healthy meals and to support others in our community. We will be cooking every other Wednesday at 2:00 pm, the 12 and the 26, and food serving occurs downtown at 521 Lamar St. at 8:00pmIf you want to join us or donate dry goods or vegetables, please get in touch! More information on FNB here:  http://houstonfoodnotbombs.org/fnb-gallery/

Game Night Fundraiser!!

This monthly event will be happening on Saturday March 15 from 6-10 pm. Everyone is encouraged to come and bring their favorite games, whether table top, card games or video games. More specific information can be found out by calling our school phone. All ages, small donation($5-10) requested, and there is always some great food available as well as coffee, tea, water, and sometimes soda. You are also welcome to bring your own snacks and drinks! It is always a fun time filled with lots of laughter and different types of games! Donations help us maintain our building and do more fun activities!

All Ages Karaoke

Join us on the first Saturday of the month for some laid back Youtube Karaoke! You can perform any song you want and we have all the equipment needed! Snacks and beverages welcome! Small donations encouraged! This will be happening on March 1st from 6-10pm.

Writer’s Group

Evening writer’s group will continue at 6-8:00 PM every other Thursday! We hope you will join us and give a small donation on Thursday March 13th and 27th It is a fun, accepting, and relaxed group!! Invite your friends, too! This is an all ages meet-up!

Archery Classes

Join us at 19407 Park Row, Katy, for some all ages archery classes. In these classes, we will be taught how to properly hold and use a longbow. These classes cost $10 to join and we also suggest wearing clothing you can move in. We hope to see you in the classes.

Please check our calendar or contact us by phone if you are looking for more events! Our building is also available to host events for a small fee. We can be contacted at 713-523-0066. All events that take place at our building will be at: 2805 Wichita St. Houston, TX 77004. We can also be reached by email at:unschool@therealschoolhouston.orgIMG_20140304_143628106IMG_20140304_135840635IMG_20140304_130607233

Photos from our first archery class and free pancake day.

February Activities!

It’s a new month with a new schedule!

With the new month and the resignation of our greatly loved facilitator, Marie, the school is moving to a Tuesday through Thursday(10-4) schedule. On Thursdays we will be at the Temple at 2300 McKinney st. Houston TX., 77003 from 10 am to 4 pm. We have many creative events planned for this month and hope to see many new people. As for what we are doing this month, here’s some details:

 Music Classes

These classes are filled with a variety of instruments and a variety of people. Our musical teacher plans to teach how to read music, and currently we’re working on the song Khusidlekh. We plan to learn many more songs over the course of the month.  These classes take place at 2300 McKinney st. Houston TX., 77003 on Thursdays from 12:30 to 1:30. So come on over to learn music or just to jam with us!

Cooking for Food Not Bombs Houston

This month we are joining a local group that serves home cooked meals to hungry people downtown 4 days a week. We want to practice cooking healthy meals and to support others in our community. We will be cooking every other Wednesday at 2:00 pm, and food serving occurs downtown at 521 Lamar St. at 8:00pmIf you want to join us or donate dry goods or vegetables, please get in touch! More information on FNB here:  http://houstonfoodnotbombs.org/fnb-gallery/

Art Workshops

We let our inner artists come out in this new workshop focusing on trying out different kinds of art. We want to accomplish all of our artistic goals in this workshop on Wednesdays from 11:30 to 1:30. So join us in these workshops and make some wonderful art with us!

Game Night Fundraiser!!

This monthly event will be happening on Saturday February 22 from 6-10 pm. Everyone is encouraged to come and bring their favorite games, whether table top, card games or video games. More specific information can be found out by calling our school phone. All ages, small donation($5-10) requested, and there is always some great food available as well as coffee, tea, water, and sometimes soda. You are also welcome to bring your own snacks and drinks! It is always a fun time filled with lots of laughter and different types of games! Donations help us maintain our building and do more fun activities!

All Ages Karaoke

Join us on alternating Fridays for some laid back Youtube Karaoke! You can perform any song you want and we have all the equipment needed! Snacks and beverages welcome! Small donations encouraged! This will be happening on February 14th and 28th from 7-10pm.

Writer’s Group

Evening writer’s group will continue at 6-8:00 PM every other Thursday! We hope you will join us and give a small donation on Thursday Feb. 13 and 27. It is a fun, accepting, and relaxed group!! Invite your friends, too! This is an all ages meet-up!

Minecraft Meet-Up

On February 25, Tuesday, from 12-3:30pm  we will be having a Minecraft meet-up at the ACT building!  We hope you will join us and give a small donation. This event will be filled with Minecraft fans and we will all play Minecraft together and share our expertise. This is an all ages and all levels of skill meet-up and we hope to see you there!

Please check our calendar or contact us by phone if you are looking for more events! Our building is also available to host events for a small fee. We can be contacted at 713-523-0066. All events that take place at our building will be at: 2805 Wichita St. Houston, TX 77004. We can also be reached by email at: unschool@therealschoolhouston.org
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S30A0126S30A0075Pictures from  a visit to the skate park in Denver Harbor and Geocaching!  

Upcoming Events-January!

Hello and Happy 2014! 

We have several events on our calendar page and we plan to add more as the month goes on. We are currently trying to schedule regular Music and Drawing classes, but we need a little help from the community!! If you are interested in playing/teaching music or in teaching Drawing to a small group of young people, please get in touch! As for things we have scheduled, here are some details:

Writer’s Group:

Evening writer’s group will continue with a slightly adjusted time of 6-8:00 PM every other Thursday! We hope you will join us and give a small donation on Thursday Jan. 16th and 30th. It is a fun, accepting, and relaxed group!! Invite your friends, too! This is an all ages meet-up!

Game Night Fundraiser!!

This monthly event will be happening on Saturday January 25th from 6-10 PM. Everyone is encouraged to come and bring their favorite games, whether table top, card games or video games. More specific information can be found out by calling our school phone. All ages, small donation($5-10) requested, and there is always some great food available as well as coffee, tea, water, and sometimes soda. You are also welcome to bring your own snacks and drinks! It is always a fun time filled with lots of laughter and different types of games! Donations help us maintain our building and do more fun activities!

Book Club

We have been reading a lot the last few months!! We are currently working on The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros and plan to discuss the book on Weds. the 15th. After that we will start on a new book and continue discussions every week on Weds. at 12:00pm. We are open to reading suggestions and welcome people who want to join us! Please call ahead if you plan to come! 

Cooking for Food Not Bombs Houston

This month we are joining a local group that serves home cooked meals to hungry people downtown 4 days a week. We want to practice cooking healthy meals and to support others in our community. We will be cooking every other Wednesday at 2:00 pm, and food serving occurs downtown at 521 Lamar St. at 8:00pm. If you want to join us or donate dry goods or vegetables, please get in touch! More information on FNB here:  http://houstonfoodnotbombs.org/fnb-gallery/

All Ages Karaoke:

Join us on alternating Fridays for some laid back Youtube Karaoke! You can perform any song you want and we have all the equipment needed! Snacks and beverages welcome! Small donations encouraged!

This will happen on Friday Jan 17th and 31st, 7-10pm

Field trips:

We regularly take Park Trips on Thursday from 2-4pm to meet up with other homeschoolers in the Heights.

We also take trips from 12-3 on Fridays and people are welcome to join us wherever we go! Recently we have gone to the library, ice skating, free zoo days, museums, and roller skating! Contact us for more information if you want to meet us somewhere!

Please check our calendar or contact us by phone if you are looking for more events! Our building is also available to host events for a small fee. We can be contacted at 713-523-0066. All events that take place at our building will be at: 2805 Wichita St. Houston, TX 77004. We can also be reached by email at: unschool@therealschoolhouston.org

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NEW for March: Open Dialog on Education

Join members of The Real School Unschooling Co-op for our next Open Dialog on Education!
Saturday March 16th at 2:00 pm.
2805 Wichita, Houston, 77004

 

Hello People,

The Real School Unschooling Co-op (www.therealschoolhouston.org) is hosting another Open Dialog on Education on Saturday March 16th at 2:00 pm.

The topic is Learning v. Schooling, Exploring the Distinctions.
Our address is 2805 Wichita, Houston 77004, the Alliance for Cooperative Transformation building.

Open Dialogs are an opportunity for any and all to discuss, evaluate and debate educational ideas, models and paradigms. Dialogs are also a place to ask questions about The Real School Co-op and the unschooling philosophy in general. As always, all ages are welcome.
Open Dialogs are for everyone! You need not be a parent or have a child interested in unschooling to attend. Unschooling in fundamentally about learning in community, something that we all do throughout our lives. I hope to see many of you there. Feel free to email or call with questions. Real School phone 713-523-0066; my cell 713-201-6704; email unschool@therealschoolhouston.org.

In Love and Strength,

Krenie Stowe for The Real School
therealschoolhouston.org

Open Dialog

Join members of The Real School Unschooling Co-op for our next Open Dialog on Education
Sunday, 02/17/13, 2pm
2805 Wichita, Houston, 77004.

713-523-0066

Open Dialogs are an opportunity to learn about our co-op, to discuss philosophies of unschooling and to debate other educational paradigms. Going forward, we intend to have Dialogs monthly on the 3rd weekend of the month. We will alternate Saturday and Sunday, so December’s Dialog will be the 3rd Sunday. As we move forward, we will offer Dialogs focusing on such topics as:

‘adultism’
creating/sustaining a de-institutionalized space
race, gender, class and unschooling
freedom v. license
how can we have economically sustainable cooperative learning spaces?

I hope to see many of you on Saturday 11/17. Feel free to email with questions. All ages welcome.


In Strength,

Krenie Stowe for The Real School
www.therealschoolhouston.org

What is Unschooling?

What is Unschooling?
by Earl Stevens

It is very satisfying for parents to see their children in pursuit of knowledge. It is natural and healthy for the children, and in the first few years of life, the pursuit goes on during every waking hour. But after a few short years, most kids go to school. The schools also want to see children in pursuit of knowledge, but the schools want them to pursue mainly the school’s knowledge and devote twelve years of life to doing so.

In his acceptance speech for the New York City Teacher of the Year award (1990), John Gatto said, “Schools were designed by Horace Mann … and others to be instruments of the scientific management of a mass population.” In the interests of managing each generation of children, the public school curriculum has become a hopelessly flawed attempt to define education and to find a way of delivering that definition to vast numbers of children.

“What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, not knowledge in pursuit of the child.”  – George Bernard Shaw

The traditional curriculum is based on the assumption that children must be pursued by knowledge because they will never pursue it themselves. It was no doubt noticed that, when given a choice, most children prefer not to do school work. Since, in a school, knowledge is defined as schoolwork, it is easy for educators to conclude that children don’t like to acquire knowledge. Thus schooling came to be a method of controlling children and forcing them to do whatever educators decided was beneficial for them. Most children don’t like textbooks, workbooks, quizzes, rote memorization, subject schedules, and lengthy periods of physical inactivity. One can discover this – even with polite and cooperative children – by asking them if they would like to add more time to their daily schedule. I feel certain that most will decline the offer.

The work of a schoolteacher is not the same as that of a homeschooling parent. In most schools, a teacher is hired to deliver a ready-made, standardized, year-long curriculum to 25 or more age-segregated children who are confined in a building all day. The teacher must use a standard curriculum – not because it is the best approach for encouraging an individual child to learn the things that need to be known – but because it is a convenient way to handle and track large numbers of children. The school curriculum is understandable only in the context of bringing administrative order out of daily chaos, of giving direction to frustrated children and unpredictable teachers. It is a system that staggers ever onward but never upward, and every morning we read about the results in our newspapers. Children pursue life, and in doing so, pursue knowledge.

But despite the differences between the school environment and the home, many parents begin homeschooling under the impression that it can be pursued only by following some variation of the traditional public school curriculum in the home. Preoccupied with the idea of “equivalent education”, state and local education officials assume that we must share their educational goals and that we homeschool simply because we don’t want our children to be inside their buildings. Textbook and curriculum publishing companies go to great lengths to assure us that we must buy their products if we expect our children to be properly educated. As if this were not enough, there are national, state, and local support organizations that have practically adopted the use of the traditional curriculum and the school-in-the-home image of homeschooling as a de facto membership requirement. In the midst of all this, it can be difficult for a new homeschooling family to think that an alternative approach is possible.

One alternative approach is “unschooling”, also known as “natural learning”, “experience-based learning”, or “independent learning”. Several weeks ago, when our homeschooling support group announced a gathering to discuss unschooling, we thought a dozen or so people might attend, but more than 100 adults and children showed up. For three hours, parents and some of the children took turns talking about their homeschooling experiences and about unschooling. Many people said afterward that they left the meeting feeling reinforced and exhilarated – not because anybody told them what to do or gave them a magic formula – but because they grew more secure in making these decisions for themselves. Sharing ideas about this topic left them feeling empowered.

Before I talk about what I think unschooling is, I must talk about what it isn’t. Unschooling isn’t a recipe, and therefore it can’t be explained in recipe terms. It is impossible to give unschooling directions for people to follow so that it can be tried for a week or so to see if it works. Unschooling isn’t a method, it is a way of looking at children and at life. It is based on trust that parents and children will find the paths that work best for them – without depending on educational institutions, publishing companies, or experts to tell them what to do.

Unschooling does not mean that parents can never teach anything to their children, or that children should learn about life entirely on their own without the help and guidance of their parents. Unschooling does not mean that parents give up active participation in the education and development of their children and simply hope that something good will happen. Finally, since many unschooling families have definite plans for college, unschooling does not even mean that children will never take a course in any kind of a school.

Then what is unschooling? I can’t speak for every person who uses the term, but I can talk about my own experiences. Our son has never had an academic lesson, has never been told to read or to learn mathematics, science, or history. Nobody has told him about phonics. He has never taken a test or been asked to study or memorize anything. When people ask, “What do you do?” My answer is that we follow our interests – and our interests inevitably lead to science, literature, history, mathematics, music – all the things that have interested people before anybody thought of them as “subjects”.

A large component of unschooling is grounded in doing real things, not because we hope they will be good for us, but because they are intrinsically fascinating. There is an energy that comes from this that you can’t buy with a curriculum. Children do real things all day long, and in a trusting and supportive home environment, “doing real things” invariably brings about healthy mental development and valuable knowledge. It is natural for children to read, write, play with numbers, learn about society, find out about the past, think, wonder and do all those things that society so unsuccessfully attempts to force upon them in the context of schooling.

While few of us get out of bed in the morning in the mood for a “learning experience”, I hope that all of us get up feeling in the mood for life. Children always do so – unless they are ill or life has been made overly stressful or confusing for them. Sometimes the problem for the parent is that it can be difficult to determine if anything important is actually going on. It is a little like watching a garden grow. No matter how closely we examine the garden, it is difficult to verify that anything is happening at that particular moment. But as the season progresses, we can see that much has happened, quietly and naturally. Children pursue life, and in doing so, pursue knowledge. They need adults to trust in the inevitability of this very natural process, and to offer what assistance they can.

Parents come to our unschooling discussions with many questions about fulfilling state requirements. They ask: “How do unschoolers explain themselves to the state when they fill out the paperwork every year?”, “If you don’t use a curriculum, what do you say?” and “What about required record-keeping?” To my knowledge, unschoolers have had no problems with our state department of education over matters of this kind. This is a time when even many public school educators are moving away from the traditional curriculum, and are seeking alternatives to fragmented learning and drudgery.

When I fill out the paperwork required for homeschooling in our state, I briefly describe, in the space provided, what we are currently doing, and the general intent of what we plan to do for the coming year. I don’t include long lists of books or describe any of the step-by-step skills associated with a curriculum. For example, under English/Language Arts, I mentioned that our son’s favorite “subject” is the English language. I said a few words about our family library. I mentioned that our son reads a great deal and uses our computer for whatever writing he happens to do. I concluded that, “Since he already does so well on his own, we have decided not to introduce language skills as a subject to be studied. It seems to make more sense for us to leave him to his own continuing success.”

Unschooling is a unique opportunity for each family to do whatever makes sense for the growth and development of their children. If we have a reason for using a curriculum and traditional school materials, we are free to use them. They are not a universally necessary or required component of unschooling, either educationally or legally.

Allowing curriculums, textbooks, and tests to be the defining, driving force behind the education of a child is a hindrance in the home as much as in the school – not only because it interferes with learning, but because it interferes with trust. As I have mentioned, even educators are beginning to question the pre-planned, year-long curriculum as an out-dated, 19th century educational system. There is no reason that families should be less flexible and innovative than schools.

Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller’s mentor and friend, said:

I am beginning to suspect all elaborate and special systems of education. They seem to me to be built upon the supposition that every child is a kind of idiot who must be taught to think. Whereas if the child is left to himself, he will think more and better, if less “showily”. Let him come and go freely, let him touch real things and combine his impressions for himself… Teaching fills the mind with artificial associations that must be got rid of before the child can develop independent ideas out of actual experiences.

Unschooling provides a unique opportunity to step away from systems and methods, and to develop independent ideas out of actual experiences, where the child is truly in pursuit of knowledge, not the other way around.