What Students Believe

Years ago I was running a summer debate camp and a father of one of the students came to pick up his son. We got to chatting and he asked me what I did for a living. I told him that what I was doing at the camp was what I do for a living. … Read more

Difficult Conversations

Can we all take a moment to just appreciate how great co-ops are? I’ve interacted with so many over the years and the people who run them are so dedicated and benefit their communities so much. They provide low cost flexible options for homeschoolers, they are often the beating heart of social connection for homeschooled … Read more

What Is Critical Thinking?

As far as I can tell, it is widely agreed that critical thinking is an educational good, a key academic outcome, and even a core academic skill. What is less widely agreed upon is what critical thinking is. This isn’t so much because there is a fierce debate raging in academia about the definition of … Read more

What Do Students Want?

My debate teacher in high school was one of three or four teachers who had a big impact on me that has extended well beyond the classroom. I learned so much and grew so much in that class, it really feels like it changed the trajectory of my life. Not just because I’ve ended up … Read more

Outcomes Based Education

An interesting bit of research published by the Learning Policy Institute indicates that, while teachers continue to progress in their skill level throughout the entirety of their career, there is a particularly large jump in teacher ability in the first four years of teaching. As I think back on my own teaching career, I see … Read more

Humanitarian Trips

In her viral essay in 2014, Pippa Biddle tells a story from her time on a humanitarian trip to Tanzania as a teenager. In the story, she and other girls from her private school are building a library for an orphanage. They would spend six hours each day laying bricks for the library. Apparently they … Read more


It’s curriculum time! Just about now teachers all over, including in the homeschooling community, are creating, updating, tweaking, and generally getting their curriculum ready for next year. In that vein, I have a suggestion that I hope will be helpful to those working on their curriculum. In college I learned a theory of interpersonal communication … Read more

Where Can We Make Serious Progress?

There is this very interesting dichotomy one can find in the research on education. That dichotomy becomes clear if one looks at the items that have the biggest positive impact on student outcomes and then looks at the items that have the biggest negative impacts on student outcomes. The dichotomy is that the issues that … Read more

Pluralism As An Academic Good

**I begin with the caveat that the following concepts are not equally important or applicable to every subject taught. But they are relevant in some ways for all, and particularly relevant in the humanities.** I pretty frequently have something like the following scenario play out in my classroom. Perhaps in this particular case we are … Read more

The Imaginary Audience

A particular activity I did in school has always stuck with me. I was a teenager and we were learning about the effects of alcohol consumption. The teacher had a set of goggles that simulated the impairment to vision, balance, processing, etc. that one might expect for different blood alcohol levels. As you might expect, … Read more