• bear posted an update 5 years, 8 months ago




    Last year, Cloudhouse consisted of Will and me.

    This year Will goes to Buxton; a very progressive, top-tier boarding school. I call Buxton very progressive, as I call Agile Learning Centers as bogglingly radical.

    Last year Will and I mostly did our own things independantly. We organized trips to AgileNYC, we ate together, we did morning and end of the day meetings, we built out the Cloudhouse basement with whiteboard, set up a makerspace, listened to episodes of This American Life, ripsticked in an abandoned warehouse, played in the stream, worked on comedy, wrote emails, discussed semantics, and many, many, many, many more things that I don’t remember now at 4:05 in the morning on this, the first day of 2015.

    It may sound like we did a bunch together, and I suppose we did, but Will spent the vast majority of his time exploring his passions of coding, programming, hardwaring, CAD designing, graphic designing, video game designing, Reddit community moderating, 3d printing, making things from instructables, creating completely new things and then making instructables of them, building the first open source cell-phone that people build in a graduate level class at MIT’s Media Lab, making stop-motion animations, etc.

    And, somehow, he still did Math on Khan Academy, Spanish on Duolingo, Music with a local wizard, human sexuality with a muse-RN/family friend, jewelry making class with his mom, snowboarding with his sibling’s sweet, sweet school, leatherworking with a local leatherworker, and more other stuff.

    Earlier today/yesterday (the sun has yet to rise) Will and I, along with @Drew and Will’s cousin Caleb all drove an hour to float in a sensory deprivation tank. None of us had ever done it before.

    When I worked at AERO, Jerry Mintz would tell me incredible stories about Shaker Mountain School. A number of stories shared a theme of a student that only attended Shaker Mountain for the year. The student would have a couple extremely powerful experiences, and would then move on to go back to a more traditional school, but, of course, by their choice.

    Now, I have to get to bed, because I promised Will I would get to cleaning our matching Smith Corona Galaxie VII typewriters first thing in the morning.

    I Post this blog-post unfinnished, because I have made a resolution to myself to blog.


  • Thanks Lacy. Share away~

  • bear replied to the topic Tools & Practices in the forum Group logo of ALFALF 5 years, 10 months ago



    This could work as a different pattern to get the kids to create new tools and patterns for us to use in the school, it feels like a way to invite more participation from those who have a hard time with the meeting format!



    Lily asked.


    and Jesse said…

    I used to write silly poems,
    like Shel Silverstein
    and we’d read if we wanted to
    and I would read my poems
    as they made everyone laugh.

    i remember watching Jesse do their homework, writing these hilarious, sarcastic, literal, sometimes aptly absurdest responses to the questions.

    and I remember watching Jesse erasing their creative genius to write in the ‘right’ answers that they knew the teacher wanted.

    this upset me a lot more than Jesse.


    generally I don’t really trust man made things the way I trust trees.
    when I look at trees I see myself climbing them.
    “oh, that would be a fun way of climbing it.”
    if you say tree, I’ll think climbing.
    if you say ferris wheel, I’ll think ferris wheel.

    i just sat at the base of the long reaching branch of the old wolf oak. thinking about beauty, and truth, and nothing. i didn’t really listen to Jesse and Lily’s conversation. i listened to another conversation, a conversation that their voices happened to catch a couple shadows of.

    occasionally, beneath Lily’s questions, and Jesse’s answers, i could hear those big quiet questions and those big quiet answers. Those denizens of a seekers search for meaning.

    those questions and answers that lead to, well, everything and/or nothing, and/but always an affirmation of faith in the Mystery.

    you know that big quiet conversation?

    the one you only know through feeling. the one where connections, experiences, relationships, lifetimes – flow into another. and every other.


    as if,


    as if,


    as if,


    the questions and the answers,








    and, after a time,


    Jesse said…

    up in the tree, I didn’t even know it was raining.

  • bear posted a new activity comment 5 years, 11 months ago


  • We just finished playing one of the weirdest games of Ultimate Frisbee ever.

    Hugging, Laughing, and (some of us) collapsing in the crisp mid-autumn afternoon. I lied down across Art’s stomach and let my arms and bare feet rest on the cool grass of the field. We had fun. As I got up to get going on to the next thing, Art said, “hey Eric, you’ve got those earmuffs out, and that blanket that’s been out for a few days now.” Just like that I was off to take care things I had strewn about the community over the course of a very busy weekend.

    As I went toward the ear-muffs, chainsaw, extension chord, and other things I borrowed from different folks in the community, I remembered a host of other odds and ends I needed to take care of. I felt fortunate to get reminded of them at just the moment that I had the time and energy to take care of them, and once I got into ‘take care of things mode,’ the energy started taking care of other things too.

    I thought about how many times I try to get kids to do challenging things that I know they actually want to do, or things I believe they may benefit from. I thought about the times my requests, reminders, and nudges fall flatter than a pancake underneath a steamroller driven by an elephant with impacted bowels.

    Then I thought about how many times I gently say “hey, what about _____,” or “let’s do _____”, and they go “oh, yeah!” and get right to it.

    Something clicked there for me. Art caught me in transition between activities, and when I didn’t have a clear plan for what to do next. If Art reminded me at the beginning of the frisbee game, or while I was on task earlier in the day, if Art emailed me, or if Art mentioned something in passing, I would have forgotten. But, Art and I played frisbee together, and then he recognized my transition, and offered up the opportunity to move onto an intention that I would have otherwise forgotten.

    If you catch me in transition, you can effect my path.

    The virtues of patience, persistence, and humility, like so most beautiful living things, do not get a lot of nurturance from western culture. As a consumptive media flashes and dances in liminal spaces to establish a sense of a relationship with my kids. I also want some influence.

    I want some influence to nurture their patience, persistence, and humility. You may call them digital natives, and I wouldn’t argue with that, but I have friends who come from multiple places, and I don’t feel ready to let got of their nativity to the Earth. I want to Lorax. And I want to Lorax effectively.

    Recognizing transitions, and knowing how to engage with them seems like a pretty important skill. The consumer media definitely knows this, as it uses and even creates transitional space to influence and manipulate people. Think about the billboards and advertisements you see on the subway, freeway, and sidewalks as you transit(ion) between one thing and another; the commercial breaks, so ubiquitous on radio, television, and youtube; or even the little plugs at the end and beginning of interviews, speeches, and events; and how often does some subtle and humorous commercial phrase pop up in everyday conversation when a gap appears?

    Big Media knows about transitions, and he uses them to influence people to make sugary, processed, big screen-y choices that (in my humble, objective, and entirely unbiased opinion) have a horrifyingly toxic effect on the health and well being of human and non-human life all over the planet.

    Plus, they fight with such fire! Teams of gifted Artists, Designers, Marketers, Performers, Chemists (for food?!), Social Scientists, Engineers, and Salespeople dress up hyper-stimulating junk with more hyperstimulating language, imagery, packaging, and ooy-gooy rhymy-slimy meme-iness. Sometimes it feels really, really, really, really, really hard to support people in making choices that don’t taste, look, sound, and feel so intensely and instantly sweet and stimulating.

    Choices like cleaning up after ourselves, taking time to work on a drawing, climb a tree, staring at clouds, or slogging through the often lumbering/awkward early stages of almost any new skill worth acquiring. I have confidence high enough to border on overconfidence, have a good deal of energy, and a reasonable facility with communication, and/but in this department, I still often feel completely inadequate. And I only really care about this department!

    Consumer culture and I both have familiarity with my kids’ tastes, interests, developmental capacities, turn ons, and turn offs. Hell, consumer culture has actually defined many of them. I can sing, and I can dance, but I can’t compete with thousands of left and right brain professionals who use their powers of persuasion and their materials and process prowess to sell ‘Monster’ to my kids. At least, I can’t compete by singing and dancing at them.

    I can, however, sing and dance with them, share space with them, get to know them individually, seek them out in the depths of their dreams, and stay watchful for glimpses of their fires, their gifts, and their passions. Then, when I can catch them in a transition and say “hey, what about _____,” or “let’s do _____,” and they, knowing I love them, sometimes, can hear me.

    And if I am humble, and patient, and persistent, and I can catch, and they can hear, the maybe, just maybe, they might watch a few more clouds, eat a few more veggies, and save a few more truffula trees.

    Catch me in transition.
    You can shift me there.
    And if we just finished frisbee,
    I’ll hear, and know you care.

  • bear replied to the topic Language @ ALC Mosaic in the forum ALC Mosaic 6 years ago

    This week’s reflections: 

    Alona: The adjectives section is hard! She did not complete it yet.

    Elisha: maintained goal + is saying “hasta luego” and “adios” to mom at home.

    Liberty: Continued to maintain goal.

    Nancy: Has maintained reading daily with Liberty and practice with Lib & Elisha each day. Has been reading 5th grade texts at night -…[Read more]

  • Nancy, You, Charlotte and Luc coming up a day early is cool, and/but, will you not also be coming up with Dean and maybe Felicia?



    Tomis, that list looks like it’s the max we’ll likely be able to accommodate that weekend, with the present setup. Folks campung could open more potential. I have not yet spoken to QIVC about this, as I’m waiting…[Read more]

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