Reschool Yourself

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Graduating Seniors Return to Their Kindergarten Classrooms

Reminiscing about the past isn’t just a way to pass the time; it’s an important way to understand its connection to your present.

When I decided to undertake Reschool Yourself, I was struck by how people found it odd that I’d return to my beginnings in a structured way. I thought it was odd that they wouldn’t, and that there wasn’t a rite of passage involving a pilgrimage back to the place you started from — especially to school, where you spent so many of your young waking hours.

I was pleased to see that one high school, featured in a NY Times article, has been holding such a rite of passage for about 10 years.

At Trinity, one of Manhattan’s oldest independent schools, a roomful of graduating seniors and their childhood teachers unearthed these pieces of the past at the annual survivors breakfast, a rite of passage for seniors who received all 13 years of their formal education at Trinity. Over coffee and bagels and chocolate Jell-O pudding doused with crushed Oreos and gummy worms (a class of 2010 culinary tradition), the students reconnected with teachers and dished about who, at age 5 , ate Play-Doh, sang well and cried whenever his mom left the room. …

… The breakfast was the brainchild of Tom Roberts, a fourth-grade teacher. About 10 years ago, he noticed that the graduating class seemed sentimental. They made frequent treks to visit their teachers and talked about how much they missed their early years. He thought it would be nice for students who spent all their school years at Trinity to return to where they started — on the day they graduated. Trinity’s kindergarten classrooms are directly above the Great Hall, where the graduating seniors put on their robes and line up for their class photo.

What a beautiful way to send graduates on to the next phase of their lives: by reconnecting them with the people and places that helped shape them into who they are today.

Reschool Yourself in 365 Awesome

I haven’t posted much to the blog lately, so it makes me happy when people still find it and take something positive from it.

Here’s a description of this, well, awesome, blog.

One fine fall day, after getting a little hyped up on caffeine, eating bagels, finding pennies in the street and discussing really cool things, Kristin Flickinger and Michele M. Larsen came up with the brilliant (and totally awesome) idea to start 365 Awesome!  Then we asked our dear friend, Celia Wheeler to join in the fun and now here we are: cataloging awesome people, places, organizations and more – daily.

We believe the world is filled with awesomeness.  We also believe it’s easy to overlook all the really cool things, people and places around us.  With daily reminders from 365 Awesome! we hope to change that.

Thanks, Michele and Kristin, for featuring me and reminding readers how many cool and wonderful things are going on in the world, if you open your eyes to them.

Reschool Yourself Featured in Everyday Learning

Everyday Learning, an online magazine for parents who have chosen to educate their kids with the philosophy “Live, play, learn, love,” posted an interview with me about Reschool Yourself. Rachel Mosteller, Editor in Chief and homeschooling mother of two, asked me about how I learned guitar with a group of third graders and how other people can reschool themselves in different ways.

Check out the rest of the Everyday Learning site, which features virtual tours of the houses of homeschooling families and ideas for teaching and learning outside the box. As Rachel writes, “Childhood should be FUN! Learning should also be fun…and a natural extension of your daily life.”

Where I’ve Been Lately

Dearest friends, I am long overdue for an update. Here’s the scoop.

Why I’ve been delinquent:

While I have the best intentions for keeping up the blog and writing short, regular posts, I have not quite mastered this art. My biggest challenge is writing for a living, because I end up writing for other publications instead of my own.

What I’ve been doing instead:

During most of my waking hours, I’ve been birthing a baby called IDEA: The Institute for Democratic Education in America. It is a very large baby, and as Communications Director I am one of its proud parents. Our goal is to bridge the gap between our country’s values of participation and empowerment and the top-down way we educate our children. That is, we want all young people to have an education that nurtures their creativity, curiosity, and collaboration. In addition to shaping the organization’s message and website (designed by Darren), I’m leading an awesome blogging team of educators, students, parents, etc. from around the country, and I’m blessed that they’re great writers with a lot to share. Please check out the organization and follow us on Twitter and Facebook (I’m the one updating those sites).

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Support RSY when you shop Amazon!

If you’re shopping Amazon this holiday season, please go through the icon above, or this link (which you can copy and send to friends): http://tinyurl.com/ylqqlef.

At no cost to you, Amazon will donate a percentage of your purchases to Reschool Yourself. Right now, the donation rate is 4 percent, but it will increase along with the amounts purchased. Last year, this raised about $100 for the project, easy.

Being an indie bookstore supporter and former employee, I have to recommend buying local if you can, but if you’re shopping Amazon anyway, please support RSY in the process. And pass it on! Thank you.

Journaling for Life

I haven’t written too much on the Reschool Yourself blog yet about the key role journaling has played in my life, so I wanted to share this post. I was pleased to have it published on Create Write Now, a website by the journal therapist Mari McCarthy, who is healing her Multiple Sclerosis with the help of journaling. I’ve included an excerpt and linked to the complete post below.

Since I was around five years old, my journal has been my closest confidant. I was still getting used to holding a pencil at the time when someone gave me a little hardback journal with a metal lock and key. Even though my secrets weren’t any juicier than “I went to Disneyland. It was fun,” the important thing was that I had a place to keep them.

As I grew older, my journals changed along with me. In middle school and high school, I used thick 8 ½ by 11 college-ruled Mead notebooks. As a preteen, I filled them with boy gossip and inevitably ended entries with “I heart so-and-so forever.” Often, I listed two or three names of boys that I loved deeply. In high school, I documented my teenage emotional highs and lows, my severe school stress, and the rare fights with my best friend. My journal let me vent and cry, even when I had no one else to talk to.

Read the rest of this post.

Interview with Roger Fishman, Part Two

This is part two of my interview with Roger Fishman, author of What I Know. Roger traveled around the U.S. interviewing 10-year-olds and 100-year-olds from around the country about universal aspects of life. As I mentioned before, I’m publishing my Q&A with Roger here because the themes and values of the book match those of Reschool Yourself.

Roger is the founder of the ZiZo Group, a creative multimedia company. He is married to actress Courtney Thorne-Smith, with whom he has a 21-month-year-old son, Jack, and lives in Los Angeles, CA.

What was it like to interview for the book? Who are a few of the centenarians you interviewed?

My colleague, Joe Rohrlich, and I literally zigzagged across America, Northern California, to Southern Florida, to Atlanta, Georgia, to New York, to Crow Nation and everywhere in between. It was 38,000 miles and a lot of red-eyes, and a lot of coffee. It was literally on the go nonstop.

I remember I took a red-eye into Charlotte, and Joe picked me up and we went over to see Bill Werber. He was the last living (major league baseball) player at the time—he just recently passed. He played with Lou Gehrig on the ’27 Yankees. It made me feel connected to a whole part of history. He was telling me about being on the train and playing cards with Lou Gehrig and Bill Dickey and Babe Ruth. I’m thinking, “The guy I’m talking to had firsthand real-life experience with (them.)”

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Interview: Roger Fishman, Author of What I Know

Even if they’re not always recognized for it, children and senior citizens are some of the wisest people you’ll meet. Children still have a fresh perspective on life, and seniors have seen it all and tend to give sound advice.

Author Roger Fishman decided to collect the wisdom from both sides of the age spectrum, interviewing 10-year-olds and 100-year-olds from around the country, for a book called What I Know. He wrote down their thoughts on the universal aspects of life, such as change, integrity, and longevity. The small gift book was released online and in stores just last month.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Roger, who is authentic, inspiring, and passionate about life. The book, he says, is about “The importance of human relationships, the importance of human connection, and leading an authentic life with yourself and with others.”

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RSY Featured in Another Step Forward

This week Reschool Yourself is featured in Another Step Forward, a blog about the power of dream-chasing. Rick Cecil interviewed me about how I got the idea for Reschool Yourself and went about pursuing it. Rick is the co-founder of the start-up Ruzuku, which provides software to power your personal and professional growth.

Part 1: How I realized that achievement wasn’t going to make me happy, and what I did about it.

Part 2: What reschooling in my old classrooms was like, and what’s next.

Savorchat Interview: Eavesdrop on my 9/29/09 chat with Rick about the genesis of the project, how I ended up in Mississippi, and what I’m doing to change education on a macro level through IDEA (the Institute for Democratic Education in America). (Log in through your Twitter or Facebook account to see the chat)

Reschooling Tool #22: Stop Should-ing

Why, hello, stranger. Today I realized that it has been five weeks since I wrote a blog post. Five. Even though my intensive reschooling period ended in June, I have intended to keep blogging at least once per week. As usual, I have a lot of things I would like to write about on the topic of reschooling. But I haven’t been writing on the blog at all, and in my mind, this means I’m failing.

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