If you’ve been looking at education through the single, narrow lens of the current public paradigm, you should definitely check AERO out. It’s a fantastic starting point toward learning about everything in the alternative education realm. As the AERO website states, these alternatives can include (but are not limited to), “Montessori, Waldorf (Steiner), Public Choice and At-Risk, Democratic, Homeschool, Open, Charter, Free, Sudbury, Holistic, Virtual, Magnet, Early Childhood, Reggio Emilia, Indigo, Krishnamurti, Quaker, Libertarian, Independent, Progressive, Community, Cooperative, and Unschooling.”
Wow! Can you believe there are so many different educational philosophies? We tend to see things as black and white—public vs. private schools, and maybe some homeschooling thrown in—without even considering so many different variations. Imagine what the world might be like if these approaches were simply considered when designing a new system of public schooling in America. What a learning revolution! Perhaps such a thing could help America’s creativity crisis.
AERO has everything you need to begin your journey into alternative education methods. There are dozens of free videos and articles, as well as a wonderful store filled with excellent reading sources, that will definitely help you learn more about the different styles, philosophies, and options when it comes to education. Classics like How Children Learn by John Holt as well as new favorites, like Above All, Be Kind by Zoe Weil are highlighted. Dozens of links to help people start networking and learning from additional sources and sites are provided under a side column, with headers like “Homeschooling” and “Indigenous Education.”
A blog, free e-newsletter, and other publications are available from the site as well. Perhaps one of the most enlightening resources is the archive of educational articles by noted authors in the alternative education sector. Many of these serve almost as a FAQ, providing shortened information regarding different approaches to education for people who are merely interested, as well as for those who want to explore in depth. Conferences, workshops, and even a how-to guide on setting up a school program are all hosted by the site as well. AERO is the best starting point I know to recommend to anyone wishing to learn more about different options in education.