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Catherine Gobron
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Catherine Gobron works with teenagers who don’t want to go school. She has directed the program for North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens for nine years, where she has the pleasure of supporting teens who prefer to pursue their educations outside of traditional schooling. Catherine dropped out of high school in 1990, then went on to finish her high school degree and earn two B.A.’s from the University of California, Santa Barbara, followed by Montessori certification from the American Montessori Society. She continued on to a Masters in Education from Lesley University, which she is still paying for. She is a proud parent of children who choose to homeschool. Catherine brings a bold perspective to the conversation about education because she knows that school is just one opportunity for learning, and that it’s not always the best one.

Entries by Catherine Gobron

It Doesn't Have to Be So Hard

(0) Comments | Posted May 22, 2015 | 4:57 PM

One of my former students came to visit me this week. He had a rough adolescence, but is now thankfully on the other side of it. We worked closely together during his tougher times, and we're still occasionally in touch.

He came by to say hi, and also to say...

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The Dynamics of Listening

(0) Comments | Posted April 29, 2015 | 11:30 AM


Way back in 2013 I came across this post from Rebecca Alber at Edutopia, "Say What? 5 Ways to Get Students to Listen."

And I've been thinking about it ever since. I've been thinking about it so much that...

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Learning Is Something You Choose

(0) Comments | Posted April 19, 2015 | 9:19 PM

Learning is something you choose. This isn't news. Just look at your own life and observe your own interests, hobbies, and passions. Does anyone make you do them? Could anyone force you to bend over your woodworking for hours on end, or your art piece, or to read your spy...

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Back to School - Or Not? Five Reasons to Consider Learning Without Schooling for Your Teen

(0) Comments | Posted August 11, 2014 | 4:45 PM

Here we are in August and teens across the country are getting ready to go back to school. Some of them are looking forward to it. And some are not.

If your teen is in the not category, here are five reasons why that just might be...

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Staying in School is Not as Crucial As You Might Think

(3) Comments | Posted April 25, 2014 | 5:26 PM

School is optional. That's just true. School is one option for learning, one option for preparation for a successful future, one place to spend your childhood and adolescence, one way to prepare for a successful future. School is one option. It's not the only option.

Some young people might enjoy...

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For Me, the Future of Teaching Is Already Here

(0) Comments | Posted February 25, 2014 | 8:55 AM

Sparks & Honey, a New York City-based firm of futurists, predicts that one of the top-ten new jobs in 2025 will be unschooling counselor. That's what I do now, and I can definitely see why many other professionals will soon be joining me.

My job offers all the...

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School is Optional

(0) Comments | Posted January 23, 2014 | 11:08 AM

"If you don't like going to school, then stop going, and start getting a life."

These words are not commonly spoken to teens who are unhappy in school, but they may be the most profound and helpful words an adult can say to a young person who is looking...

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Chickens and Roads: Why Compulsory Schooling Is Unnecessary

(23) Comments | Posted August 15, 2013 | 6:39 PM

I work at a teen educational program where students have full control over their own schedules and have no academic requirements. We get a lot of questions about how this could possibly work. A frequent one is, "How will kids learn to do things they don't like if they are...

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Thrive Right Now

(2) Comments | Posted March 12, 2013 | 11:32 AM

I work with teens who prefer to leave school and continue their educations outside of traditional models. One of my students reflects on his experience in school, "I hated it and one of the main reasons was I thought they were teaching me things that were useless to me. Having...

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Happiness as a Priority

(1) Comments | Posted February 19, 2013 | 3:15 PM

Brené Brown's TED talks on wholehearted living have over one million views. As Brown says, "We are the most in-debt, obese, addicted and medicated adult cohort in U.S. history." Clearly there's an audience ready to hear messages of hope and personal change.

It's wonderful that so many adults...

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An Invitation to Step Outside

(0) Comments | Posted February 11, 2013 | 2:10 PM

As it turns out, how people behave in one setting does not predict how they will behave in a very different setting. Quoting one of the guiding principles of North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens:

School success or failure is not necessarily a predictor of a child's potential...
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Is Antagonism Between Students and Teachers Inevitable?

(9) Comments | Posted February 5, 2013 | 11:00 AM

Negative exchanges occur between students and teachers in schools every day. We accept it as normal for some student-teacher relationships to be antagonistic. These exchanges might feel inescapable or even necessary, but they are also counterproductive, not to mention unpleasant. What are the effects of antagonistic relationships? What would it...

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Do We Value Student Compliance or Student Empowerment?

(4) Comments | Posted January 29, 2013 | 6:51 PM

It's lovely when students value the learning opportunities available to them. How should we respond when they don't?

[Note: All of the names in the following sequence have been changed, except mine, of course.]

My program offers one-on-one tutoring in a range of subjects for students who want it. One...

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