I am writing a book the working title of which is “Beauty and the Phi Ratio: Integration Curriculum for Home Schoolers.”
I count myself so lucky to have the opportunity to work on this book, which represents a synthesis of my career as a classroom teacher and learning designer. I feel it is vitally important for me to transition into developing this alternative approach for K-12 and lifelong learners, because we need genuine alternatives now more than ever. The overall intention is to help learners have a successful experience of making meaningful connections with conceptual content, to come to self-identify as confident, balanced and independent thinkers. That is my mission.
Being a learner designer and former kindergarten teacher, I started with activities for learners, and have several developed. But I realized that the thinking here is so outside-the-box that people were not seeing the connections I am seeing. So I have undertaken to write a book to fill in some of the dots. In a way the book will never be finished, since there is an infinite number of dots and connections to be made, and that is what learning is. I hope and believe it’s enough if this book gives enough information, asks enough questions, and gives enough direction for us to continue the learning journey together.
The book has several goals.
1. To lay out a rationale for “integrated curriculum,” which means an interdisciplinary approach to learning.
2. To describe the hands-on, experiential, curriculum-correlated thinking skill activities I have developed for home schoolers. The target audience is junior high but these appeal to and can be done by learners of all ages.
3. To provide a model for evolving a learning community around the use of this resource; the model uses the martial arts studio “dojo” concept involving peer evaluation of public performances.
4. To use the notion of “beauty” as a vehicle for reflection, critical thinking and dialogue on media, power relations and self-image, in the context of a historical debate of universal relevance.
5. To explore the geometry of the phi ratio/Fibonacci series to develop awareness of logic, data visualization and to compare world views across time and cultures.
6. To provide access and contact information for prospective participants of the online course, which already exists.
7. To make connections with integrated fields of studies and approaches to life such as meditation, permaculture, and sacred commerce.
An added challenge is to aim as much of this content as possible at the 14-year old reader, to address the “why?” and “how?” and not only the “what?” This is a book and a program I would have loved when I was 14. I believe and hope it will also be a stimulating and useful resource for parents, teachers and everyone involved with and interested in education.
That is a lot to accomplish in a little book! But the further I go with this project, the more I see how coherent it is, which I believe shows the time for these ideas has come. I dare say this book will be one of the most original books on education to come along for a long while. At the same time great ideas are not much use if they can’t be applied in the real world. So along with this book I am presenting an online course constructed in the open-source Moodle environment to enable registration, access to downloadable materials, and forums for discussion and interaction. To this end I am bringing my 10 years of experience as a learning/instructional designer of digital resources and online courses in the public sector to bear.
However first and foremost I am a teacher, and in the months ahead I will continue to work personally with learners as they go through this material. I invite anyone reading this with an interest in any of this to contact me, and send learners my way! I plan to publish the book as an eBook, and make it available this fall for sale for about five dollars.
Thanks for reading and please get in touch.