I am wondering if there might be interest in the formation of Socratic discussion groups for children who are home schooled. (A background note: This instructional method is modeled after Socrates' style of teaching. He called himself an educational "midwife" whose job was to find and ask productive questions that would challenge his students to discover and to articulate what they did and did not know. This "midwife" approach relates nicely to the Latin word, "educere," which means "to bring forth, to draw out." Anyway, in a Socratic discussion group, students work together under a tutor's guidance to understand challenging texts. These texts could come in a number of forms - poetry, essays, fiction and nonfiction books, works of art, movies, etc. The goals in a Socratic discussion are for group members to work together, creating understandings that would be difficult for any one member to achieve on her/his own, to challenge each other's thinking, and in the end, to develop each member's critical reading/thinking/discussion skills.)
If you are the parent of a child or children aged 9-17, please let me know if you are potentially interested in pursuing this idea with me. My e-mail address is KaiaTollefson@msn.com. If there is enough interest, I'd love to tutor three different groups (for upper elementary, middle school, and high school students) that would meet for 60-90 minutes per week. The cost per child could be flexible, depending on the group size (ranging from $10-15 per week, per student). Parents would be welcome to join any/all group meetings at no extra cost. Our meeting place would need to be arranged.
About me: I have been an educator for 22 years. I believe in progressive, constructivist methods. I've taught elementary, middle school, and college students; I've also been an elementary school principal and a curriculum/staff development coordinator. I hold a Bachelor's degree in education with a major in language arts from Valley City State University in North Dakota, a Masters degree in Public School Administration from the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and a PhD in Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies from the University of New Mexico. One of my concerns about education in our society is that our schools are not focused on helping children to develop the critical habits of mind that are necessary for the preservation of a free and democratic society. I am particularly interested in working with children who like to question, who are interested in developing their own critical habits of mind, and who are (or have the capacity to be
) open minded. Again, please e-mail me at KaiaTollefson@msn.com if you're interested in developing this idea with me.