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Unte Reader June 1998 I thoroughly enjoyed How I go my DIV Degree ... at the University of Planet Earth, by William Upski Wimsatt. It amused me because he actually did what so many of my students have threaten. I work with high risk Emotional/Behavioral Disturbed (E/BD) students grades 9-12 who are on their last-chance to survive in a traditional high school.

So often we hear that living life is a lesson in learning. However, like Wimsatt, at a young age few students have the ability to be resourceful enough to pursue other avenues of alternative education to meet their needs. Maturity, lack of discipline and experiences enable them to determine their educational needs. All they know is that they do not want to be in high school because they have other things they would rather be spending their time on. I can remember in the early days of starting this cohort we were to make an educational plan. I didnt want this. I wanted to be told what when and where. The book that made an impact on him was Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to quit School and Get a Real Life and Education by Grace Llewellyn. I cant wait to obtain a copy and read it and then make it available to my students. Llewellyns believes that, Learning happens naturally and school mostly just gets in the way. that is something I hear very often. I think educator should listen more carefully to the attitude of students feeling that education is a pay-your-dues to get a diploma.

Wimsatts University of Planet Earth is designing your and major. Developing a curriculum to learn through experiences to obtain information (such as seeking mentors, library and Internet, etc.). He also said his course of studies keep changing as new opportunities arise. How many students pay for and attend classes that are meaningless but required to earn a diploma? However, Wimsatts promotion of self education is about problem solving. The Mn Dept. of Children, Families and Learning should be delighted with it in because their Grad Rules Learning Packets are developed to encourage problem solving skills.

With the increase in students participating in home schooling and recognizing the alternatives in earning graduation credits, Wimsatts self-schooling movement doesnt seem that unrealistic. After all, there are examples of school drop outs that become very financially successfull. Or perhaps someone could think about continuing education and could choose self schooling to rekindle their fires of learning and growth. Thats wht education should be. I one will practice and pass on Wimsatts 12 Strategies. At least it will plant-a-seed to anyone who is pursuing an education.

-- Anonymous, November 12, 1998

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