Archive for April, 2012

Meet Kate Fridkis, Who Skipped K-12 and Is Neither Weird nor

Kate Fridkis, who didn't go to elementary or secondary school, is now 26 years old, is happily married, lives in New York City, has a master’s degree in religion from Columbia University, is a part-time chazzan (cantor) at a synagogue (a job she’s held since age 15), and is a full-time writer. I'm delighted that she agreed to this interview.

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Alumni Panel

On Friday, March 23rd, Fairhaven School hosted a panel featuring three alumni- Pallas Bane (class of 2008), Thor Jensen (class of 2005), and Erin Gregory ( who chose not to graduate and left in 2005.) The 2011-2012 school year is beginning to feel like “The Year of the Alumni,” as we have enrolled a record number of returning students and we have begun to focus more directly on alumni as our most valuable marketing asset. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Who do these students become? Finally, our illustrious alumni have chartered an Alumni Association, so look for more alumni presence going forward!

We videotaped the March 23rd presentation and will soon be posting it online.

For now, here is a brief interview with Thor Jensen reflecting on his time at Fairhaven School.

Parents, students and visitors were universally pleased and reassured by the panelists, as they embody so many of the qualities a Fairhaven School educations engenders. Like many of our graduates, Thor, Pallas, and Erin have become articulate, ethical, successful, and interesting people!

Stay tuned for the alumni panel in its entirety.

Mark McCaig

Fairhaven School

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Making the Leap III: Admissions FAQ

For our last Making the Leap post, here are the answers to some commonly-asked admissions questions.  We hope you’ve found these posts helpful, and we look forward to meeting you if you choose to explore the school for 2012-2013.

When do I apply?

Enrollment is now closed for the 2011-2012 school year.  If you are considering Rising Tide School for 2012-2013, you are encouraged to begin the admissions process well before the end of the 2011-2012 school year.  Our unique admissions process involves a full visiting week, so you are encouraged to plan ahead for the smoothest transition to a new environment.  New enrollments are accepted on a space-available basis beginning on April 16th.

Does it cost money to attend Rising Tide School?

Yes!  Rising Tide School is an independent school, funded largely by tuition.  We deeply value our position as an independent school, as our independence frees us from requirements and practices that run counter to our values.  By operating independently, we have are able to practice equality, democracy, and self-direction in a way that wouldn’t be possible within today’s public education paradigm.  We, the Rising Tide School students, staff, trustees and corporate members (many of whom are parents), retain control of the program and operation of our school.  We view education as the most important investment you could possibly make in your child’s present and future, and our tuition is intended to be affordable, to ensure that the school is available to families of all backgrounds.

Is financial aid available?

Yes.  Financial aid is available, and early application is highly encouraged.  For details, please visit our website.

Can I visit the school?

Yes, there are several ways to visit the school.

  • Make an appointment for an admissions visit, during which you can observe the school in session.  Please call or email to schedule.  Admissions visits are generally available M,Tu,W,F between 9am-2pm and Th from 12pm-2pm.
  • Attend an Open House.  Our next Open House will take place on Sunday, April 29, at 1:30pm.
  • Drop in at Office Hours.  Office Hours are an informal time to meet with the Admissions Clerk and to discuss the school and the student and family’s interests.  Office Hours are scheduled for April 12, 19, and 26th, from 3:45-5:00pm.  Just drop by!

Is your school only for self-motivated/gifted/talented kids?

No, the school can work well for all kinds of kids who want to experience freedom and responsibility.  Rising Tide School is a unique transformational learning environment in which many kids who have lost hope around education are able to thrive and recover their innate drive to learn.  Equally, it is a challenging and empowering environment for kids who already experience themselves as motivated and successful.  If you are wondering whether Rising Tide School might fit for your or your child, we encourage you to contact us and begin a conversation.  You can reach the Admissions Clerk, Abbe, at abbe (at) risingtideschool (dot) org, or at school at 360.753.0820.

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The Challenges of Unschooling: Report III from the Survey

What is the biggest challenge or hurdle that families must surmount in order to "unschool" their children (that is, in order to allow their children to control their own education)? According to a recent large-scale survey, the biggest challenges lie not in unschooling per se, but in societal attitudes toward it. It is hard to stand up to social norms.

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Making the Leap II: Is Rising Tide School right for you?

Welcome!  If you’re just joining us, this is the second in a short series of posts about the admissions process at Rising Tide School.

Today, we’ll consider what makes a student and their family likely to experience success and satisfaction at Rising Tide School.  I’ll offer some general thoughts on what makes Rising Tide School a fit for students and parents, and if these thoughts spark questions about your student’s specific hopes and needs, please feel free to contact me.

The short answer is that Rising Tide School is for anybody who wants to be here.  To be more precise, Rising Tide School is for any independent person, ages 5-18, who wishes to have responsibility for their own education and who wants to attend the school.  It’s for kids who want to know themselves, and to have the freedom and support they need to figure out life on their own terms.  And equally, it’s for parents who are ready to support their student in making their own choices and directing their own education.  The school requires a partnership between parent and student, based on the parent’s trust in their student’s ability to learn and succeed.  Without this core trust, it is very difficult for students to do well at the school.  So when we assess a student’s readiness to enter the school, we are looking for four things:

  • Is the student independent?
  • Are they ready to take responsiblilty for themselves and for their education?
  • Do they wish to attend the school?
  • Do they have the support and trust of their parents?

At the very core of Rising Tide School, there’s a belief about humans:  We believe that every young person has the ability, desire, and drive to learn.  The school is based on complete trust in the ability of each and every young person to successfully drive their own learning process.   It’s a trust that is borne from practical experience:  When we observe children in a free environment, it’s obvious that they are insatiably curious.  They are wired to learn.  They want nothing more than to learn to succeed in the world, and to master the skills they need to create that success.  Free children always move toward meaningful challenges.  That’s why anyone who can be independent can do well here–if they wish to, and if they are supported by their parents.  Everyone can learn.

Rising Tide School is a transformational space.  Students who enter the school with faith in their own ability to learn and succeed will continue to grow, learn, and become fully themselves, in wonderful ways that can’t be predicted.  But even if a student has been convinced by their prior life experience that they can’t learn, or are bad at learning, they may have a completely different experience of themselves at Rising Tide School.  Time and freedom are great healers, and self-connection can be repaired.  In other words, people are welcome here wherever they are in their learning journey.  The only requirements are the desire, willingness, and ability to take responsibility for oneself.

Have questions about your student and their unique needs?  I’d love to talk to you and help you explore how the school might fit for your family.  You can reach me at school at 360.753.0820, or at abbe (@) risingtideschool (dot) org.

posted by Abbe

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