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Changing The Blog’s Format

Starting this week I will no longer be writing blog posts for each day.  It was getting to be too much work writing them and they’re much less valuable when I get behind.


So, I will now be writing a weekly rundown of the week instead of daily recaps.  I will also be better at pushing those posts out through our social media platforms to make them more accessible.


Ideally this will open up a bit more time to write other non-rundown type posts pushing resources and articles etc.

Friday, November 14

Today I came in to find that Soleil and Cian had come in early and set up!  It was very nice to walk in and hear music playing and see everything ready for the day.


After check-in many of us got on Duolingo and started working on language stuff.  The internet was a bit slow, so it was a little bit frustrating for some.  The wifi router is in the apartment next door, but there’s a signal booster in the kitchen nook so a few of us gathered on the bar stools there and made a new kind of workspace.


At Art Jam today we worked on personal projects, discussed conceptual art, and rejected the idea of setting up guidelines for this jam like we’ve discussed doing for other jams.  We watched and discussed the recent video Too Many Cooks that aired on Adult Swim and briefly discussed its artistic merit.


We had  a final meeting about the big group dinner this Sunday, the 16th.  I really think it’s going to be fun!


Some folks also made a big fort.


A good quiet day.

Wednesday, November 12

This morning we had a meeting about how we want to welcome new people to Endor, a sort of “welcoming committee.”  We added being welcoming to the Community Mastery Board (CMB) as a community value.  Now that we’re all a bit more comfortable with the process we can start using the CMB not just to address problems but also explicitly set values and then identify methods for developing those values.  More on this next week.


We held a kind of brainstorming session about setting up a radio show called Ewok HourI to ideally be broadcast on AshevilleFM community radio.  We came up with an hour long show that we’d fill with various segments including: interviews with participants; interview’s with local organizers/entrepreneurs etc.; book/movie reviews; local events; original music; call-ins; and more!  We filled out an inquiry form and expect to hear back from them next week.


Sue came in to teach her Leadership Class which next week will be morphing into a one-hour Facilitation Class on Mondays.

Monday, November 10

Rochelle facilitated our Community Mastery Meeting this morning.  Once again it’s really great to see more engagement with the process.


Soleil held Math Jam at 10:15.  Later in the day we talked about setting up more thorough guidelines for work jams like this, because often times it’s easier to operate within a framework.


I finally got to a few one-on-one meetings today, which were both very productive!  I think these one-on-one check-ins with facilitators are great and will lead to everyone getting more out of Endor.


Quinn held Video Game Club at 11:00 while I held a reading of Blake Boles’ The Art of Self-Directed Learning.  We took turns going through and reading various chapters.  Here’s the link to get the free audiobook read by the author.

Video Game Club
We take turns reading chapters from The Art of Self-Directed Learning


Today I called and scheduled a visit to aSHEville Museum next Wednesday, the 19th.


At 12:00 we had Ethics at Dobra.  I personally hadn’t been in some time, so I really enjoyed it!  I’m glad we do it each week.

Ethics at Dobra


After Ethics we met again to finalize some plans for the big group dinner on Sunday.


Friday, November 7

Our Arduino instructor, Avi, came in early and got to participate in our morning check-ins.  Right after that we got down to business and set up a laptops and started download the Arduino software.  This ended up taking some time and didn’t end up working at all on some machines, so we paired up.

Avi started out by explaining a bit about programming and having us all start with the very simple project of making a single LED on the Arduino board blink using what in programming is referred to as a loop.  Everyone got to play around with this for a while, and then it got much more complicated when we started using multiple loops and different values etc. it was incredibly exciting.  A lot of what we covered was C++ Coding, what the Arduino runs on.

We finished with a new sense of wonderment, I’d say!  We also bought an Arduino kit so that we can continue learning about it and ideally make a sign-in and sign-out system with it.


We held a meeting to plan our big group dinner next Sunday, the 16th.  It felt good to see a group project like this progressing!  The meeting was well attended and productive.


A prospective new student visited today, which at the end of the day led to a discussion about creating an Ewok-led welcoming committee, with someone suggesting a musical orientation!  I love the enthusiasm.  This committee will meet on Wednesday morning.

It’s really great to see everyone engaging more and more with the processes.


Today we also added Real Lives: Eleven Teenagers Who Don’t Go To School Tell Their Own Stories collected by Grace Llewellyn to our library.  This is a collection of essays written by adult Unschoolers, thought it would be an affirmative book to keep on our shelves.

Wednesday, November 5

After check-in this morning I held a short introductory workshop on coding as somewhat of prerequisite for the Arduino workshop this Friday.  I was little prepared for this workshop, and it really seemed like most people had enough of a base knowledge already, so I really didn’t have much to offer.


Some folks played Set, which I’m really glad has taken a place of often-played-game.  Set is a really great game that trains peoples abilities of pattern recognition.  Here‘s a pretty simple how-to video about Set.


At Ewok Hour today Soleil hosted and ran a game of Mafia with Lake as “god,” or administrator, I suppose.  The Mafia won!


After lunch Sue came in and ran Leadership Class, they tell me they’re working on making a game.  Seems like a really great collaborative project.  Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the things people learn while working in groups on collaborative projects like this.  Can’t wait to see what they come up with!


Connor, Sam, and I read over the rules of our good friend Ethan’s latest game, Conspiracy, and Emailed him our notes so that he could prepare for an upcoming indie board game convention.  Ethan is a brilliant teacher, mason, carpenter, writer, mathematician, Vermonter, etc. who I first met through NBTSC many years ago.  Ethan has designed several games, including Tryptic, Toxic Gnome, and Intrigue, (which we have at Endor), among others, and has Skyped-in to Endor before to talk Math.   His various writings, including game rules/instructions, are somewhat scattered around the internet, but he’s trying to consolidate it all on his website zemita.net.  This latest game, Conspiracy, has players create decks of real business cards to act as agents in a global conspiracy to take over the world, with different occupations using different powers, and various factors like phone numbers measuring strength.


Brenna, who came in and ran Clay Day last week, came to pickup the things we had made so that she could bring them to her studio and fire them.  Sam and I helped bring the pieces to her car, and on the way back we stopped at a few local businesses to collect business cards for our Conspiracy decks.


Turned out to be a pretty game themed day!  Which reminds me of the book Finite and Infinite Games by James P. Carse, which I’ve been meaning to get a house copy of and to perhaps do a bit of a project on Game Theory.  More on that later.


Today was our second day using binders.  I’m personally finding it very helpful to spend a few minutes journaling at the end of every Endor day.  In a few weeks we’ll revisit this and see how everyone else finds them working.

The Art Of Self-Directed Learning

Yesterday arrived in the mail our new copy of good friend Blake Boles‘ new book The Art of Self-Directed Learning.  I look forward to seeing what he has to say in this book as he is a very motivated S.D. learner himself and one that comes at it from both an institutional and outside-of-the-box angle, something that I think many stubborn young Unschoolers can learn from – especially those perhaps adverse to guidebooks or anyone telling them what to do (like myself many moons ago).  Back in 2003 Blake was studying astrophysics at UC Berkley when he discovered Unschooling through the works of John Taylor Gatto and Grace Llewellyn and decided to switch over to a self-designed major in alternative education.  I remember once thinking that this was oxymoronic as “no one could possibly learn about self-directed learning in a school.”  This is a point of view that I have long since abandoned.  Now of course I think the processes of reflection and feedback that come much easier in an institutional setting are incredibly valuable and not mutually exclusive to being self-directed.  Coming from a schooled background and making the leap into Unschooling I think can lead to a perhaps even more powerful and methodical approach than those born into Unscooling as I was.


Blake and I have planned a skype-interview for early next month when all us Ewoks of Endor have had a chance to read the book and come up with a few questions for him.  Thanks, Blake!


The Art of Self-Directed Learning will be in our library Wednesday, November 5th.


The Art of Self-Directed Learning

Monday, November 3

Here we are, month number two!

The first month went incredibly quickly, I’d say.


I baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies this morning to pass out during morning check-in.  We started using binders today, so when everyone had made their intention they wrote it down in their binder to help remember it throughout the day and to have a place to reflect at the end of the day in writing.  Everyone stashed their Kanban board in their binder and we discussed for a minute the purpose of having them.


Next up was our weekly Changeup Meeting, today facilitated by Quinn.  We realized that there was still a little bit of confusion around lunch, so lunchtime was added to the schedule board and we decided to try self-regulating for a week for those who want extra time for lunch.


Soleil hosted Math Jam this morning with a focus on Set.  At 11:00 I hosted another How to Read the Newspaper workshop.  Reading print newspapers I’ve always thought has an appeal as it’s much harder to target stories in print v. online, and people reading only articles targeted to them will quickly find themselves in a bubble.

After lunch Ethics at Dobra.  I was not there but I hear folks discussed nature v. nurture, intellectual property law, and helping people against their will.  Stimulating stuff.


Our friend Kimi dropped by for a visit and to discuss her upcoming workshop Unschooling and the Media which will be at 10:15, Monday Nov. 10th.


We worked more on designing student IDs today, lots of people had good input about the design.  Someone suggested adding barcodes and building an Arduino-barcode-scanner-sign-in-and-out machine!  Luckily Avi is coming in to teach us more about the Arduino on Friday so he can give us some tips then.

Ivy drafts student ID designs



Quinn held installment #1 of Videogame Club today.  I believe games and usernames we discussed.


At checkout today we all took four minutes to write about our respective days in our respective binders.  Once everyone had finished everyone talked a bit about what they had written down and whether or not and to what degree they had completed their intentions for the day.  I personally found it very helpful to summarize in writing what I had done.  It’s nice to see your accomplishments laid out in front of you.


Everyone writes a short reflective journal entry

Friday, October 31

Halloween!  I can’t believe it, but Rochelle and I were the only people who showed up in costume.


After check-in this morning we had quiet work time in The Lounge, today’s focus was Language.  Most used Duolingo with the microphone function turned off, and others read quietly.  After about forty minutes the interned shut down so we had to stop.


At 11:00 we had Art Jam.   We explored the medium of sticky notes as art.  Warming up we went around and took turns suggesting quick sketches that were then grouped together on the window.  After that we tried writing stories on sticky notes, it got very interesting.  Each person started by writing a note.  Once the note was finished it was passed to the person on the left who then read that note and wrote a new note that continues the story and stuck it to the bottom.  And repeat.  We got some very interesting stories!  And it was great to see the creativity that came up of the exercise.  When folks left for lunch many brought the stories with them and posted them around town.

Art Jammers art jamming.
Themed sketches in groupings.


After lunch Sam put together a game of Pictionary.  It’s really great to see group dynamics being built by things like this, and to see people bringing in activities and taking responsibility for running them.  It was a good Friday event.



At the end of the day I held a brief workshop on how to read the newspaper.  We have a subscription to The New York Times that I feel is underutilized at this point, so I’ll hold a part two sometime next week.  I remember reading the paper with a cop of coffee every morning being an integral part of my unschool experience growing up, so that’s the kind of thing that I want to share on a personal level.  I also professionally think it’s a good idea to encourage people to make themselves an informed public.


Well there it is, one month down.  I really think we’re on the right track and that we’ve made great progress.  At these early stages our big group project is perfecting the system in which we operate, and that process will go on forever, but going forward (and already now) we’ll start seeing more of the fruits of the process.  It’s an exciting time!