Recipient of numerous New York City Teacher of the Year awards and one New York State Teacher of the Year award, John Taylor Gatto came and gave two speeches at our state's annual home education conference over ten years ago. I knew the principles he taught were correct: Youth are capable of GREAT things if you give them leadership opportunities and learning experiences that both inspire and challenge. He beautifully illustrated these principles through sharing example after example from his former students, from young people throughout history and from stories he had clipped from the local newspaper.
Funny thing though, in spite of Gatto achieving astounding results with his 12-13 year old students from 'less than ideal' backgrounds, he was constantly 'fighting' with administrator's in the various schools where he taught. They didn't approve of him doing things differently, regardless of effectiveness. Parents were praising him and giving him awards while the public school system saw him as an enemy to their goals. (This fact alone ought to cause parents to pause and question just what those "goals" might be. Just a thought...) So after 30 years in the system he quit and was booked for several years straight speaking to educators all across the country.
Last year I was very happy to find a video blog Mr. Gatto posted on-line that clearly outlines the 14 principles he used in his classrooms. But how, you might wonder, did he come up with these principles? He simply began to be curious as to how the "super-wealthy" in the U.S. were educating their children. He began researching and interviewing the directors of the private elite boarding schools around the country. As he learned the commonalities among each of these schools he was amazed to discover the primary tools and methods were not expensive and in fact are quite often FREE.
SO, I shared them in my talk at the LDS Eastern Home Education Conference last year but unfortunately gave very little practical application.
When you and your spouse have been entirely educated on a "conveyor belt" system it can sometimes take a nearly herculean effort to really take ACTION "out-side the box" you grew up in. I was already THINKING "out-side the box", but really only DOING just a few things that way. (Our Community Service was a huge step in the right direction, by the way...)
Enter Glenn Kimber, LDS Home Educator's Conference 2013
Amazingly, six moms from my local church congregation attended this conference. What a blessing it was to have so many of us there to share the things we had learned with each other from the various classes. (They always offer a large quantity and variety of classes so it's not possible to hear everyone, especially if you are there with a nursing baby!) Several of these friends kept telling me how wonderful Dr. Kimber's classes were so I purchased the CD recordings at the end of the conference. My daughter, Angela, also strongly urged me to purchase the talk she heard him give to the youth. She told me she has very rarely felt the Spirit so strong as she did while listening to Glenn Kimber speak. And believe me, she's heard a LOT of great speakers!
Well, guess what I finally learned?? Dr. Kimber not only understands and fully applies the Gatto 14 principles, but has an on-line distance education program for families like ours who don't live anywhere near a Kimber Academy. He knows John Gatto personally and has given presentations at the same education conferences around the nation with him on many occasions.
And the cost for my large family? For a very reasonable fee of $150 per month, my entire family can be instructed in true principles of leadership and moral education covering the subjects of Math, Science, History, Language Arts and Religion (including support for families who are not LDS). Class meets Tuesday through Thursday, four hours per day and school work is done during class this time. Studies have been conducted that show Kimber Academy students will spend a minimum of three hours per day (on average) studying using their own initiative. And by DESIGN the students and family still have time for community service, field trips, developing other talents, etc. Based on my years of experience I guarantee that both of these things are KEY! We've tried it both ways, and wow, what a difference in both happiness and results!
It's as if a giant educational 'paper-weight' has somehow been lifted off my shoulders. :-) To know I will have the support of this beautiful program available to my family is a wonderful thing indeed!
For more information I highly recommend this empowering six hour cd set: Tools and Techniques of Effective Teaching. (They also have a Parent Manual with 7-sessions of training DVD'S if you call.) You can visit their national website: http://glennjkimberacademy.com/ (I found them to be very helpful when I called the national phone number on that site.) You can also find more info by searching this site based in AZ: http://kimberacademymesa.com/
Help is here thanks to improved technology and hard-working, service-minded individuals! Smile and be happy!