Sharing and Supporting Anarchist Ideas and Experiences

Category: Workshop

Given Space, Kids Build Kommunity

To join this event, please go here (Zoom) at the scheduled time!

Can kids build and contribute to their community? The answer is yes, but only if they’re actually in their community. This half to one hour webinar will walk (snark) through the strategies we’ve had success with for getting kids independently out into their communities, and what’s happened as a result. The hurdles we encountered included both preparing kids to move around and engage on their own, as well as preparing the community to accept their presence. Our—the kids and their facilitators—strategy was to prepare young kids to get around their communities on their own using the local public transit system and walkways. Successful methods included ‘kite along’, ‘walk ahead’, ‘sit ahead’, and ‘bus/train ahead’. These methods resulted in the kids moving around independently in the community, building social networks that knit the adults in their lives together. They also resulted in the kids marching in two strikes, one with local hotel workers and another with the Oakland Teachers Union. After a few slides detailing the strategies and results, the rest of the workshop will be an open forum for participants to discuss the challenges and advantages of making space for kids in communities.

About the Presenter:

Hamilton Carter lives in San Francisco, and is the unschooling dad of 3 kids aged 11, 9, and 7 years old. Some, however, might say he’s just lazy. Early on in (before) his parenting journey (actually), Hamilton knew there were two things he couldn’t handle: strollers and driving kids everywhere. To that end—and inspired by the baby wearing moms of Boulder, CO—he bought his first wrap before the first kid was born. He was hooked instantly. He could throw a bottle in one pocket, a few diapers in another, hook a changing cloth through his back belt loop, plop the baby into the wrap and be on his way. “You’ll see how wrong you are once that kid starts to walk,” They said. “You’ll want a stroller then,” They said. But, when the kid could walk, Hamilton deployed the next step in his lazy plan. He popped the kid out of the wrap, down onto the ground to walk with him. Sure he had to plop them back in when they got tired, sure he had to warn them about traffic over and over, but you know what? He never touched a stroller and the kid was … Free! Public transit was the next lazy step. There were … things … there as well. Just ’cause a kid can walk doesn’t mean they’re tall enough to mount a bus on their own, or quick enough (at first anyway) to hop off before the bus door catches them, but they learn.

And now? Hamilton’s lazy plans have come to fruition. The kids get themselves to camps, classes, or just downtown to meet him for lunch on their own. The kids travel with him to LA for work where, for example, they use public transit to get themselves to Union Station, meeting him after work to see an author talk. In short, Hamilton is living his lazy dream. And other things happened too. Things Hamilton never really planned for. He knows more people in his neighborhood and his city than he ever dreamed: people introduce themselves to him because they’ve already met the kids. He’s also got a better city because the kids have volunteered their time to advocate for restored bus routes at transit board meetings; they’ve marched in strikes for hotel workers and teachers; they volunteer to greet people at library events.

Hamilton sums all this up in a single phrase: “Laziness Pays.”

You can find Hamilton on Twitter (@thord_ee_r) or check out his blog here.

What Is Consent? An adventure across the complicated landscape of yes, no, maybe

You can join the event at the scheduled time by going here (Zoom)!

In this workshop we hope to plumb the depths of what it means to agree, or not, to participating in the experiences of your life. The notion of consent is related to agreement, permission, trust, autonomy, self-determination and self-direction on the one hand, with coercion, compulsion, control, pressure, violation, abuse, authority, and hierarchy presenting some of the challenges to consent.

Is consent to some externally presented alternative adequate for the life-learning of any individual? Is consent primarily a factor in negotiating life with other people?

Do you want to attend this workshop? If you say yes, does that mean you want to do everything it involves? When do you get to decide whether or not you are comfortable with a certain activity? Should it be a group decision? Can you change your mind? Did you have these options in your own educational experience? What does it mean to ‘consent’ to something in your life?

We will endeavor to structure the workshop with awareness that there are many actions on the path from external control to a climate of mutual trust, including:

  • Asking questions without knowing the answer;
  • Embracing vulnerability;
  • Trusting yourself;
  • Modelling trust;
  • Listening actively;
  • Creating horizontal relationships;
  • Embracing chaos and uncertainty;
  • Failing forward;
  • Being curious;
  • Being authentic;
  • Being passionate;
  • Being compassionate;
  • Being patient

For the conversations in this workshop, we gather inspiration from many sources, including Je’anna Clements,, Surviving Teachers, Sociocracy, the Wanderbus, the Alliance for Self-Directed Education, and Evolving Education’s ‘The Learning Expedition’.

About the Presenter:

From Sidney Morris:

I spent the first six years of my life on a farm in Pennsylvania. I’m now spending my seventies on Chappaquiddick Island, off Martha’s Vineyard Island, in Massachusetts, USA. with my spouse Margaret (72), daughter Lily (39) and son Elliot (35). In between, I ate sheep in Russia, rescued a chimpanzee in the Congo, taught sailing in Zambia, learned Spanish in Mexico, made a movie in Ecuador, meditated in India, and started an independent school and a public charter school, a community center, and a maritime adventure program on Martha’s  Vineyard. I have lived on Chappaquiddick for 45 years, raising a family and working as carpenter, photographer, coffee house manager, tractor driver, film editor, community center coordinator, sailboat captain and teacher. As former Education Director and Ambassador-at-large of the FARM Institute, I was devoted to helping kids figure out how to grow good food – happily, efficiently and sustainably.

It took my first 30 years to remember how to be a self-directed learner, the next thirty years to discover how to reawaken and empower that identity in young people, and currently I’m doing whatever I can to support young people in their pursuit and process of self/directed learning (while they save our world!) Mostly I love animals, sailing, languages and building stuff! I was delivering library books in a regional library system for two years to explore local libraries and their unequalled potential for supporting self-directed learning. I’m currently piloting the Wanderbus with kids who plan their own adventures as an alternative to being in compulsory school settings, (a cousin of ‘Flying Squads’). We recently organized a gathering to imagine, plan and organize cooperative multi-age programs for kids who choose to do their learning together in the Island communities outside of/instead of school. Stay tuned…