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Tuesday
Jan172012

Z is for Zoomin'

Huge Thanks to Morgan Kent from Spirit of the Heart Martial Arts and Wellness on Market St. in Northampton for being here on Tuesday to lead a demo Kung Fu class!  New students can take a free class at Spirit of the Heart on Mondays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays.  Contact Spirit of the Heart directly for more information: spiritoftheheart.org

Welcome back to our many college-age staff members!  As of next week our calendar is truly bursting at the seams, with 42 classes to choose from.  Including our seven core staff members, our ranks have reswelled to a total of 42 staff people.  Not sure what's up with the recurring 42 this week...  According to Douglas Adams, 42 is the answer, though we still need to figure out what the question is :)

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Self-Directed Learning is getting more press all the time.  This week I enjoyed a post regarding "Generation Z," a new term for me.  The opinion is that homeschooling is going mainstream and that these youth will continue to self-direct their adult lives and continuing adult educations leading to great improvements in our collective future.  I like this vision and would take it one step further.  Even non-homeschooling youth are becoming increasingly familiar with self-directed learning and will also bring these beneficial skills into their futures, and Ours.  As we know, not everything is taught in school and not everything taught there is learned.  In this computer age increasing numbers of young people are accessing all manner of information and teaching themselves whatever they want to know.  Although the particulars of what they want to know right now is not always of benefit to the greater society, they are developing the skills of self education, whether or not they are in school all day, and I agree that these skills will be extremely useful in the future.  You can read Penelope Trunk's full article HERE

More Links on this Topic:

The site Marc and Angel Hack Life has compiled a handy, long list of online resources.  Check out 12 Dozen Places to Educate Yourself Online for Free and you'll find links to nifty places like MIT's OpenCourse program, courses at Yale and many other universities, sites on starting your own business, non-degree MBA, science videos, and lectures, history, geology, ebooks, and much more.

UnCollege is a site devoted to the idea of self directing your college education.  Even if you think you would rather attend a university, the following reading list has some spectacular recommendations for learners of nearly any age.  Quoting the site, "This list is in no way meant to replace college.  These books are just a place to start hacking your education."

http://www.uncollege.org/reading-list

Just today I came across interactive textbooks for ipad being offered through itunes for $15!  As you may know, most text books retail for much more than that, and they don't move or talk.  So far they have Biology, Algebra 1, Geometry, Physics, Chemistry and Environmental Science.  I plan to demo one and I'll share my opinion.  I'm really excited about technological innovations like these.

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North Star classes are not valued by the number of attendees.  If any class is serving one student well, then it is a success.  Often a group benefits from being small; each student can be heard, teens really get to know each other, and the content can be driven collectively, among many other benefits.  That said, we are nevertheless delighted by how many members have chosen to attend the new class, Self-Deconstruction, Friday at 11:30.  (This is discounting Theater, of course, which is by far the most popular option in our schedule and needs a ranking system unto its own.) New staff member Jenna Weingarten is offering a fascinating analysis of the self which is so far quite well received by our members.  In addition to discussion, this week students made t-shirts with their own slogans, which included statements both powerful and obscure like, "I like my Pride," "I don't hate haters, I hate doubters," and "This statement is false."

We're also excited about Chess Club, up and running in its second week.

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