The Learning Edge Gets a New (Online) Home

Past Clonlara School Learning Edge Issues

By Chandra Montgomery Nicol, Executive Director

If you are like me, the start of a new school year might seem less like a beginning and more like a continuation of a learning journey. After all, does learning ever really stop? For me, the years seem to continue along like a river, flowing into each other. They don’t feel like neat little packages, tied up and completed each June.

I’ve had a long history at Clonlara as its first student, then as a summer employee during high school and college, and now as its executive director. Along the way, The Learning Edge newsletter has been a constant part of our offerings to our off-campus (formerly known as our “home-based”) students and families. We have stacks of the old issues on our shelves—each with wisdom and advice for the ages—and now the newsletter is becoming a blog!

I feel that the information Clonlara has to share is valuable in any format, and despite a touch of nostalgia for the printed copies, The Learning Edge blog will enable us to reach a wider audience that includes both our campus and off-campus families, as well as anyone else who shares our passion for self-directed, interest-based learning.

Clonlara has long recognized the inherent difficulties of making homeschool and distance learners feel like part of a community, and of building personal relationships between our staff and our enrolled families in Ann Arbor and around the world. That is the goal of The Learning Edge blog: to provide a platform where families can learn about us and from our experience; parents and students can submit their own experiences, advice, and questions; and we can all learn from each other.

The word “Edge” here has always struck me as meaning “cutting edge,” and indeed, Clonlara has been a trailblazer in education for a long time. Like many “free schools,” Clonlara was seen by some as a flaky, hippie experiment when it first opened; and when we started serving homeschoolers, we were viewed as possibly breaking the law. Yet now, both our approach and homeschooling have the backing of scientific evidence and legal security.

We hope that this blog will reach everyone in Clonlara’s vast global learning community and provide them with the support and inspiration to continue their learning journeys. As we begin the 2016-17 school year and introduce this new home for The Learning Edge, we are so glad to have you with us on ours!

Do you have a story about The Learning Edge or an experience to share from your learning journey? Please add your comments below.

2 Responses

  1. When I began a stint as the Learning Edge editor some years ago, I asked Pat Montgomery why Chet from Print Tech, our printer at the time, had a standing order to produce the newsletter on brown paper just a shade lighter than a grocery bag. It was Pat’s preference, giving the newsletter a sort of “down home” signature. To me the grocery bag color symbolized the nutritious encouragement one could find there: Pat’s wisdom in the front page article, stories shared by families, successes celebrated and resources tested and recommended by the folks who used them.

    Paper bags gave way to plastic bags and these are now replaced by reusable fabric bags. So, too, the Learning Edge has graduated –from brown paper to a digital format, full of possibilities.

    Congratulations on the new blog! With students, parents and staff contributing, it can become a strong, encouraging network.

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