Dear Boundless Families:
I am fascinated by group dynamics, and about how your kids are
responding to valley-based education. Everything here is like an
educational experiment. First timers are floored by the way we weave
nature into classical learning, and about how much we give a damn about
people feeling good here.
I drove by one young English class lass yesterday, doing some kind of
meditation pose on a bolder. The heavens are releasing their fury on
her. But she maintains her zen-like detachment. I am dumbfounded. I roll
down my window and scream in amazement, “You’re a neat kid!”. This fills
her, along with a lot of things going on around here.
This English crew roam around like scholars on a philosopher’s walk.
Some slowly plod bare-footed, books and laptops in hand, and debate
about ideas in a setting of hay-fields and creeks and prancing deer.
To-To had them do a piece about what their utopias would look like. Some
ideas were rather predictable – like banning plastics and forever
abandoning fossil fuels. But some bordered on the outrageous, like
billionaires having to give 100% of their fortune to the poor once they
reach the 9-figure threshold; or murder chips should be installed in
everyone’s brains, ready to eradicate the existence of all of us should
any commit a crime.
My utopia would be rather less ambitious – like teachers and students
simply wearing shoes; or having Skyler (student) never leave Boundless,
for she is Nature’s antidote to mean-girl dynamics. Indeed Skyler, while
being totally unaware – and therefore devastatingly effective – has set
the tone for a really supportive world in English.
Their class is lovely. It took them one day in total to come into their
own. Tony invited me to teach a class on Tuesday in how to write a first
person narrative. I will be using the following story as a basis
The OE gang, I never see them. Today, they were doing a day-run of the
Snake Rapids on the Madawaska. They are priming for their mission – a
6-day journey into Quebec river wilderness. And they hope to return in
one piece – with hopefully enough blood left coursing in their veins
after the skeeters are done devouring their teen flesh. That group also
found its equilibrium on day 2 – and it feels like day 4 of a 13 day
long party. They leave Tuesday and head to the Dumoine river.
I am keenly interested in the hybriders. This whole english-OE combo is
a pilot project, and is run similar to our boarding school model. One
kid told me today that the group never feels rushed. When they go insane
from all the reading and writing, they take off for an afternoon to play
in the whitewater. This energizes them to come back and talk about
ideas. It’s working so far.
The dynamics of the group – it didn’t even take until day 2 to find
their mojo. They are 17 guys and three gals. I am curious how this is
I approach two of the three girls and ask straight away, “Hows is the
girl-tribe coming along?”
In unison, they reply, “Goooood”, as if singing the first note of teen
song, well honed to sidestep a boring adult question.
So I probe deeper,
“No, really, life could be hell if you guys don’t like each other. You
got each other?.
They reply with an emphatic yes. And then I ask a conspiratorial question,
“So, are the three of you the boss (of the group)?”
Like a group of felines who look down with collective mockery on the
boorish, restless and clumsy behaviour of dogs (read boys), they wink at
me, directly implying that they do in fact rule the roost.
There must be a few parents reading this that are wondering in
astonishment. “It can’t be going that easy with my kid”.
My response is, you’ll see, soon. In fact, without a trace of
embellishment, this session has found its sweet spot very early. It’s
amazing up here.
I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekends.