The Attitutor Private Teacher Adventure Learning Program

My Attitutor private teacher program uses community-based urban adventure experiences generated out of an emergent curriculum derived from individual and small group goals to engage children in a collaborative learning process.

The program is an alternative form of home schooling.

Home education is about living a fulfilling life that is informed by meaningful goals, not just earning a paycheck to make ends meet.

The program name, Attitutor, is the blending of attitude and tutor, and that means that I cultivate enthusiasm for learning and facilitate the pursuit of goals that matter to living a life of passion and engagement.

from iStockphoto

Start Anywhere, Learn Everything Emergent Curriculum

The goal is to live a life of passionate engagement with the world we face.

I agree with John Dewey who said, essentially, that the best preparation for taking the fullest possible advantage of the opportunities in your future is to practice taking the fullest advantage of the opportunities you have now.

That's the kind of practice I share children on a daily basis.

Notice three things about that goal 1) it's about a high level of motivation, 2) it's about being involved in the world, and 3) it's stated in the present tense.

Enabling your child to attain that goal means that I have to tap into his/her inherent motivation as it relates to the world we have available to us in the present.

This means that I cannot predict or plan what we will do, but as the name suggests, whatever we do will lead to everything that is necessary for a rich and fulfilling life, including academic skills.

Attitutor Private Teacher in Practice

What's it look like day-to-day, you ask.

While it is not directly predictable, I can say that as we gather each day we will be either considering our goals or considering how we should formulate some.

Based on our dialogue about individual and group goals we will make decisions about how to proceed throughout the rest of our day.

The key to making the emergent curriculum concept work is structuring the interactions within the group so that a sense of teamwork and camraderie drive our behavior.

One of the structures I have developed consists of three basic learning rules that do not change.

All our goals are simply elaborations of these three rules.

The three fundamental learning rules are:

  1. Solve Problems
  2. Pursue Goals
  3. Play Fully, Have Fun

What you also have to know about these fundamental rules is that problems are negative states of mind, goals are experiments in optimizing states of mind, and fun is an exercise in optimizing all the states of mind in the group.

These rules are hierarchical, so if an individual enters into a negative state of mind, then they are responsible for solving that problem as their highest priority.

If that happens in the course of a group activity, then they if they share that fact with the group then the group will share in the responsibility for optimizing their state of mind.

Consider what it might look like as Susan, Johnny, Joey, and their friends are playing on a playground.

Susan decides she wants to play a game of tag, so she recruits the others to play with her by calling out, “Not it!” and there is an answering chorus of “Not it!”.

The smallest child in the group, Johnny, was not attending to the leader at that moment and so was caught off guard.

He shouts his, “Not it!” only after all the other kids had finished and so they all say, “Johnny's it!” as they run into the playground equipment.

Johnny gives it his all, but he was a little embarrassed by his extremely late shout out and all the other kids are big and fast.

He soon gets exasperated with his futile efforts and his mask of grim determination is shattered by the uncontrollable quivering of his lower lip as he fights back his urge to cry.

Joey notices what's happening on Johnny's face and realizes that something needs to be done.

Joey is too far away to set Johnny up to tag him, so he yells for a time-out.

He proposes that all the oldest kids have too much of an advantage so they should have a handicap.

That way it'll be a fair game.

Johnny is able to calm down during the negotiations and they soon agree on a rule for the older kids that limits their escape options.

Johnny seizes the opportunity to catch everyone else off guard and shouts “Time-in!” as soon as the agreement is made and tags a girl then runs away as everyone else shouts, “Jennifer's it!”

Everyone plays with enthusiasm and joy for another half an hour until something else comes up.

In this scenario the goals operate without needing to be explicit.

Susan acted on her goal of getting everyone to play tag.

Johnny deals with his embarrassment (a negative state of mind) by jumping into the role he was assigned in the game, but because he was at a disadvantage he was only temporarily successful in managing his negative state of mind.

When Joey realizes that Johnny is in a negative state of mind he sizes up the situation and takes action to make the situation more conducive to Johnny's skill level and thereby preserving the group's ability to keep the game a playful and fun activity.

These basic rules are just that, basic.

As a private teacher I believe these rules are fundamental to how humans operate in the world all the time, but the definitions of problems, goals, and fun add an important gauge of what should count as success.

Given these definitions if one person elevates his state of mind at the expense of depressing another's then success is not achieved.

Success is predicated on everyone having the default experience of neutral to positive states of mind and being supported by the group if a negative state of mind is accepted as optimal for the circumstances (such as grieving a loss or feeling anger at an injustice).

Making these rules explicit as part of my private teaching practice provides the foundation for correcting personal habits and confronting any cultural patterns that may no longer be appropriate for nurturing the members of our community.

As a private teacher my job is to facilitate the process of enacting these basic rules and enabling the children to expand their goals to include ever bigger circles of community that they can include in their fun.

Enroll your child in the Attitutor Private Teaching Program

Please contact me if you are interested in discussing my Attitutor private teacher program further.

If you are serious about retaining an Attitutor Private Teacher for your own children, but need to talk with you spouse or want to recruit other families to share the costs here is a flyer you can print and share. After you have discussed your situation with Don, then be sure to ask about getting a link to the enrollment agreement.

If you are a school that would like to implement an Attitutor program to supplement your existing offerings please include a link to your school's web site in your inquiry to me.

If you would like to do-it-yourself here is a link to my free home school curriculum.