About the Project

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).


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.

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.


Interweb Reschooling Article in YES! Magazine online

I’m pleased to report that my post “Five Ways to Reschool on the Interweb” was published in YES! Magazine online. Reschool Yourself will also be featured in the fall print issue. YES! is a magazine that I love for publicizing the positive, inspiring news in the world, and I’m happy to be a part of it.

YES! is a award-winning, ad-free, nonprofit publication that supports people’s active engagement in building a just and sustainable world. It draws around 100,000 visitors to its website each month.

RSY Headlines the Aha Moment Newsletter

I’m honored to report that the Mutual of Omaha Aha Moment campaign chose Reschool Yourself to headline its August/September newsletter. Thanks to Len Markidan, Communications Manager for Skadaddle Media, for documenting the story. He was able to summarize the project briefly while still getting to the heart of it, a task that I myself find challenging.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

“The biggest challenge we face is that kids aren’t allowed to develop fully and become who they want,” Melia explains. “School is about ‘have to’ and not ‘want to,’ and that’s a very dangerous thing to teach kids; they lose touch with the joy of life and what makes them tick as a person. Kids who are meant to be the next Picasso can’t develop because they’re stuck learning chemistry. The most important thing is to nurture that natural curiosity.”

But when Melia looked around her, she didn’t just see the problems with the system. She also realized just how much we could all learn from the kids.

“Watching the kids run on the playground,” Melia says, she found herself jealous. “I just wanted to have that joy that I hadn’t felt in so long, and that carefree attitude. And I looked around at the adults, and a lot of us didn’t seem to have that anymore. I felt like it didn’t have to be that way.”

See the 2-minute video of my Aha Moment here.

RSY Featured in YES! Magazine & Where You Lede

Editorial Intern Lynsi Burton wrote about Reschool Yourself for a forthcoming issue of YES! Magazine and found that she personally resonated with the project. Read her blog post here.

Here are a couple of excerpts from Lynsi’s post:

Reading Melia’s thoughts and observations, I discovered that I see a lot of myself in her, which is probably why I love her site and her project so much. She writes about how she developed a destructive perfectionism somewhere between youth and adulthood, in a schooling environment in which one is rewarded for following the rules and doing what is expected. But, after school, when there are no teachers and grades, who sets the rules? Melia discovered that the habits she developed in school were actually inhibiting her ability to enjoy and find personal peace in adulthood.