The Harmony Learning Community Blog

News, Updates, Program Recaps, and Homeschooling Information


Teenagers at Talking StickThere’s been a rare sighting of the elusive homeschooling teenager in their natural habitat!

So many homeschooled youth choose the road more traveled: high school. Many cite fear of not being able to get into college with a homeschooling diploma that Mom created on Photoshop. Some are looking for academics that their parents simply cannot provide, some are seeking out a broader spectrum of social possibilities and some are just plain curious about mainstream education and are tired of thinking of themselves as an outsider.

Then there are the few, the brave and my favorite bunch of teens in the world: Monday Teen Class at Talking Stick! Heather Gray and I have started out the year with classes that impart new and exciting content, yes, but also are transformative because of the nature of the group learning experience. The activities we offer and the conversations we facilitate are enlightened and experiential. The mood is characterized by friendliness and curiosity.

In the morning I facilitate an introductory anthropology class that lasts for nine weeks. We are covering the following important aspects of anthropology: cultural, archaeology, physical and linguistics. I’m devoting a whole class to the concept of race since anthropology is the field of study that helped develop the concept and in recent years has worked to debunk it. The anthropological perspective is very personal. It imparts an awareness about our own culture and our place in it as individuals as well as exposes participants to practices in others’ cultural contexts. Participants gain knowledge of our history as a species as well as the evolution of all living things. We learn about the puzzling together of various material remains of human cultures and the archaeologists that interpret meaning from those remains.

Heather is facilitating Games for Change, a 9 week workshop where we play different games every week, specifically games designed to make us question our assumptions and explore dimensions of justice, identity, oppression, and community. We will challenge what makes a game a game. Does a game have to have competition with winners and losers? Should a game be fun? Can a game be art? Can a game be an experience? Can games create change? What subtle messages and values are our favorite games already teaching us? We will play a variety of games from around the world, from card games, to role playing games, to poem games, to board games.

The teens in the program are bright and expressive. And funny. They display natural curiosity. DO YOU KNOW WHAT A BIG DEAL THAT IS? Teenagers with intact natural curiosity? Thanks to the parents for sharing their wonderful youth with us.