The mission of CHE is to begin and sustain a non-profit, cooperative community that provides high-quality, authentic learning environments for all who desire it, but especially for middle- and low-income learners. Formal schooling opportunities in the U.S. are segregated by income levels; we believe this needs to change, and CHE is a first step. CHE promotes the health of individuals, families, and communities in multiple facets - physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
We believe that learners - that is, people - need to be seen as individuals, to be celebrated, be challenged, be supported. They need to internalize the learning process so that it is theirs. Learners need opportunities to be exposed to new ideas and experiences, and to practice what they already know - both individually as well as in communities of many sizes and compositions.
CHE is a new network of “homeschooling” families - that is, the child and their family, rather than an outside entity, is in charge of that child's learning. It does not mean that children are at home all day, that parents do not have commitments such as work or their own schooling, or that families are educating their children alone. We will do it together. Although CHE is not a “school,” our goal is to open for the 2014-2015 school year.
CHE will provide a flexible environment in which each child can learn in the ways and at the pace that is right for them. We will focus on learning through experience, and will gently guide the child's learning based on their interests and/or needs. We will also focus on developing and building literacy skills - in individualized ways, at the appropriate pace for each child.
Children will learn from each other and from their own experiences, but also via interactions with adults who keep them safe and gently support their learning activities. These “Learning Guides” will largely be family members, assisted by volunteers, elders, and high school and college interns. The CHE staff person will also work with the children and support the Learning Guides.
In order for CHE to function, cooperative members will contribute time as volunteer staff. An adult family member will serve as a Learning Guide for at least 5 shifts of 3-4 hours per month, per child. Some families will not be able to do this, and we will help develop other options to provide the adult guidance the children need. The simplest option is for families to hire one (or two, if necessary) “babysitters” (for lack of a better term) to cover their shifts; as Learning Guides, these people would be part of the CHE community. Another option is for an extended family member or friend to serve as the Learning Guide during the family’s shifts.
CHE is brand new, and will continue to develop as CHE member families contribute their ideas, energy, skills, questions, hopes, knowledge, and time. It will be a worthwhile journey.
What do we believe?
● We believe in the innate human drive to learn and grow.
● We believe that each person is unique and valuable.
● We believe that humans, when in touch with their true desires, will do good things.
● We believe that relationships are at the core of learning and growing.
● We believe that diversity is essential to learning and growing.
● We believe that every learner can become independent while also becoming interdependent.
● We believe that humans are not only connected to each other, but are intimately connected to our natural world, and that in our society, both of these connections need to be nurtured.
● We believe that people genuinely care about other people and want to help improve both their own community and the communities of others; they may simply need to be shown how they can contribute and/or be asked to help.
● We believe that failure is essential to learning and growing, as is persisting until you are successful.
● We believe that "intelligence" is not fixed.
● We believe that the injustices in our society (racism, sexism, classism, etc.) have damaged many people, and also that there is learning and growth in uncovering and combating these injustices.
● We believe that our consumer culture has also caused damage, and that repurposing and being conscious about purchases is an important value to hold in our community.
● We believe that communities function best when people communicate honestly, directly, and kindly with one another.
● We believe that people have the ability to solve problems, not institutions and bureaucracies.
● We believe that "school" in the United States, which still follows an industrial model, is an outdated construct and an institution that no longer serves our society well.
● We believe that our enterprise is one of Public Health, encompassing many aspects of our society (not just education)