A Message from Erin

As a certified teacher, I’ve had exposure to various methods and philosophical approaches to education. I’ve always had an interest in child development and understanding how people can achieve health, happiness, and fulfillment, however they define that. When I was exposed to Self-Directed Education (SDE), it just made so much sense. We are born to learn and if we have a supportive environment, humans have the capacity to understand, connect, and innovate in ways that are truly inspiring.

When I got my first job as a teacher, I didn’t anticipate how hard it would be to create an environment where I could support kids in following their own curiosity in a public school. It took me a while to understand how the structure and systemic practices of public education make it a challenge to bring about the kind of changes I wished to see. Creating the ideal SDE learning environment, outside of public education, seemed like an easier route to inspire change. Eventually I was ready to devote my resources to creating a learning environment that had respect for children at its core. I found others who shared this vision and we’re so excited to learn and grow with you.

John Holt once said “Genius is as common as dirt” and I couldn’t agree more. In creating The Barn School, I found myself wondering about various students I taught. What do we need to do to bring out the genius in each of us? How do we learn intrinsically and avoid the trap of approval and perfectionism? What do we need to develop our compass to direct our own learning? How can we develop perseverance to work through the disappointments and frustrations that sometimes come when we take on big projects and big ideas? As the Barn School began to take shape, I realized, we all need the same things really; a generous dose of love, trust, and freedom.

Most parents passively send their children to school to be educated, however, this style of education is anything but passive. Unschooling and peaceful parenting my own children helped me to understand the importance of trust and acceptance as key ingredients in a successful learning environment. Yet as far as I think I have come, I’m still on my own path to figuring it out.  The more I de-school, the more I see how deeply entrenched certain ideas are in our lives. As The Barn School has evolved, we are becoming less of a “school” in the traditional sense and more of a learning community. We’re looking for other families who wish to embark on this path and learn along with us.  We are happy to offer adult learning in the form of parent groups and parent classes. In fact, some of our facilitators offer their services privately as parent-peer educators. We mean it when we say that we are a multi-age learning environment!

In fact, if you are a parent looking for support in “unschooling” your child, or even have a vague interest in what that term could mean, I invite you to visit and have a conversation with me. We welcome anyone who honors us with their curiosity, and I would love to hear where you are in your parenting journey. Who knows, maybe after we talk you’ll decide this is a journey on which we can accompany each other.
I look forward to meeting you and your family.