• (Warning: this post is full of foul language. I´m sorry, but I can´t help it.)

    I´m devasted. Furious. Deeply sad. And I feel like a complete failure and an idiot.

    All the fears and doubts I´ve ever had abo […]

    • There’s a chemistry saying “do as you oughta pour your acid in your water.” In addition to Chem class, I once heard someone use it as a metaphor in talking about sociology. The general point was about placing a bad person in a good society vs putting a good person in a bad society. Something about the momentum of the society’s morals affecting the person dropped into it. I don’t know how well the theory holds up in real life but I like to think it has truth to it. If your existing culture is very healthy AND vigilant then it does not tolerate bad apples very well. The new edition will be converted or expelled. Similarly, if the community culture is toxic then it will either corrupt others. I’m sure there’s much to say about HOW good or bad the community and individual is. Also how involved the citizens are in maintaining the health of their community. I say all this to say that it seems like the community is having a very bad reaction with the new students. I would think after you communicate very sternly and clearly about what the norms are and what’s acceptable that either you convert them or there’s a realization that they simply aren’t a good fit.

      • Hi Tony,
        It´s a late reply, but without a computer my communication has had to suffer some.
        I totally agree with you, and this is what we tried and what works! The new kids are adapting to the norms and it´s fascinating to observe! Thank you for always leaving comments on my posts, it´s so nice to know that someone reads them and reflects together with me 🙂

  • Thanks Anthony, it means a lot to me knowing that you´re there thinking of me. I´ve been without internet for quite some time, and when finally my wi-fi was restablished, my computer crashed. I´m doing my best to take it easy and not push things. Frankly, I don´t have the energy for it, and if that means that Explora will develop slowlier than I h…[Read more]

  • I knew it was going to be intense. Having a high-achieving personality is, per se, hard to handle. Combine that with several severe burn-outs in the past, and you migth understand that one of my main priorities […]

    • What a tough spot! It seems your big priorities should be creating a system/culture/organization/structure that is infused with your vision and training/grooming your facilitators. In a sense, you would be putting things in place so that your will for explora is executed in your absence. Automate it, which I guess is something like a handbook or operating procedures. Of course this is much harder than it seems. Writing out a bunch of if-thens is time consuming and probably misses the point in regards to being agile. I wonder if your intentions for things can be described enough to allow you to trust someone to delegate to but flexible enough to allow that person to enjoy autonomy. Hope you can find a balance between attracting ppl to the project and operating the project.

  • Hi Anthony,

    There´s so much I can relate to in your text. Basically, a lot of it reminds me of the process I went through when I started up the first school. I had to learn how to talk in plural, how to delgate, how to trust others in the process of co-leadership. And honestly, we became a really fabulous team!

    When I started the second…[Read more]

  • One of the things that had me worried before launching my ALC, was how my son Teo, who´s got Asperger´s Syndrome, would function in Explora.

    Teo likes playing with other kids, but it often gets too i […]

    • Becka, your son is beautiful. Thank you for sharing you experiences. I could relate to so much of it. My son struggles with social stuff, and integrating into Mosaic was a process that ultimately required me to be there to support him and the other facilitators. Now he doesn’t need my support as much, but I love it too much to leave! Learning to control his big feelings and meltdowns has been key, and we are seeing a more peacefully engaged boy emerge. Anyway, keep up the good ❤️ work!

  • Thanks Tomis, Nancy, Hani and Ryan! It was such an inspiring conversation!

  • So, a week later I can say that we´ve kind of resolved the inertia of certain kids in Explora.

    As a teacher I know how important it is to back off and give students space instead of demanding immediate […]

    • I was so happy to read your update. Thanks for writing it…since I was following your story.

      I am the parent of the second year student who wrote last week.

      – Lisa

  • It´s Monday and I had a serious talk with my facilitators. We decided to back off totally today – I mean, we even left the room during the intention setting… and OMG! The kids suddenly started chatting with each other, and three of them took off outside. The others stayed and said: we want to play hide and seek. My main facilitator answered:…[Read more]

  • So, the first week went great. It far succeed any expectations I had had. However, the second week left me with a whole different feeling.

    No new kids have been enrolled. My radio spots haven´t started to run […]

    • It can be tough to deschool while in some parts of your life you still have to play school. It can also take a long time to get to the other side of deschooling. Emphasis on long. My heart goes out to you as you wait for them to get to the other, more productive side of the process.
      I would suggest maybe meeting them where they are. They can’t & won’t for sometime, I think, be ready to generate their own pursuits and offerings. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with coming up with some things you think are sure to be interesting to them.

    • My heart went out to you when I read your post. I admire your courage. My daughter started ALC in NYC a year ago, at the age of 13. The adjustment process has been wonderful and also very hard (for me). I have read that de-schooling can take a year … or two. This seems like a good estimate based on my own experience. Of course I am very emotionally involved, so it’s not easy. But it really takes alot more than a few weeks for kids to feel safe. So much damage has been done in schools. In the beginning (maybe after 6 months) I noticed a very tiny but important change. My daughter stopped being afraid to ask questions and admit she didn’t know something (like the meaning of a word). Any small change is a miracle. The age mixing is so helpful for building the comfort and feeling of safety.

      I agree with the other comment above: Not to feel bad about making all of the offerings. Volunteers bringing in offerings has been so helpful. My daughter relates to and feels safe with physical activity…acro-balance was the first place that helped her relax.

      I remember in the beginning she told me they watched a movie ‘Into the Woods’. I was a little concerned and sceptical when I heard that this was an offering, but these kinds of activities that adults would not tend to suggest in a ‘school’ setting, really do help to make young people feel safe and realize that this is not the normal kind of school at all. And my daughter was very enthusiastic to have these kinds of offerings…just going on a trip downtown, visiting grocery stores, looking at the furniture that people left on the street, going to the thrift store, going out to lunch, strangely these have been some of the many day to day activities that they have done in NYC. It does seem to work. Keep it up. And keep up the faith.

    • It´s Monday and I had a serious talk with my facilitators. We decided to back off totally today – I mean, we even left the room during the intention setting… and OMG! The kids suddenly started chatting with each other, and three of them took off outside. The others stayed and said: we want to play hide and seek. My main facilitator answered: great! Go ahead then! And OFF THEY WENT!!!

      It was an amazing afternoon! The kids played like crazy, and all we did was watch them and talk about self-directed learning. It´s like as if they were completely different kids! And when we reconnected before 7, they actually TALKED! They said it had been an awesome day and that it had been very different. They couldn´t tell why, but they all said they liked it. YAY!!!! I´m not totally lost after all 🙂

      Thank you all for your kind words and supportive attitudes!

    • I didn’t notice this reply until after I read your next post. Thanks for posting this. It is so inspiring. But of course, life is real and there will be more challenges…who knows what. So of course, you should continue to post them. 🙂

  • I´ve been nervous about starting up Explora. Quite nervous.

    What if the kids don´t respond to the agile tools? What if they simply don´t know how to take initiatives? And what if my facilitators don´t get it? […]

  • When you create something new, I think it´s vital to be very clear about why you want to do it. That´s basically where you´ve got to start because oterwise you´ll get lost in the process or unconsciously cre […]

  • Even though I´m a very enthusiastic person, I´m also realistic. I knew there weren´t going to be tons of kids coming in on the first day. Chances are it´ll take a semester or two to fill up the space with all the […]

  • It´s been another of those crazy weeks, where on one hand not much seems to happen because I see few tangible results, but on the other I´ve been crazy busy.

    Got interviewed at the local radio station, and h […]

  • Very interesting. Want to remember this when I start with the teens down here.

  • Sometimes I´m just like: seriously?! Is this really happening?

    That´s the feeling I got when I got to know Bruno Iriarte. Bruno is travelling from Mexico to his home country Argentina in a Volkswagen minibus, v […]

  • Lately I have been very concerned with how to pull in the money I need to get the most basic stuff in order for Explora to be able to function on a basic level.

    Opening up the kindergarted enabled me to shape […]

  • This week I had scheduled meetings with the two school directors that I find most accessible here in Puerto Escondido. One runs a highly traditional preschool and primary school. The other is head of the christian […]

  • I´d LOVE to do a show together with you, Anthony!

  • So, I decided to postpone the start of my ALC one week and give myself some more time to fix all that needs to be ready. I mean, the most important is there: the structure, my team of facilitators, my […]

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