Comments about OC
Comments from youth:
"Having my ambitions valued and my opinions invited made me behave more maturely because I was finally being recognized as an important human being, not ‘just a kid’...the freedom and control one has over their education at OC, I have not seen elsewhere."
— OC Teen, now taking college courses
"It feels like home."
— OC Youth
"At OC, instead of being told what to do, I’m asked for my opinion."
— OC Teen
"It’s understanding that counts at OC. In most schools, it’s [all about] getting the answer right and passing the next test. Here, facilitators respect your ideas and thoughts; kids respect each other."
- OC Teen
"OC and what’s cool about it:
- the at-home atmosphere
- all the awesome stuff - I mean where else could you find everything from a power drill to Mr. Bones and everything in between?!
- the [tutorial] group - there’s no such thing as a bully at OC!
- OC’s different from school in a lot of ways. [Our facilitator] doesn’t “teach” like most “teachers.” She helps us teach ourselves.
- it’s fun!"
- OC Youth
"The best thing about [OC] was the attitude it gave me about school; that it was a choice— my choice."
- OC Alumnus
"OC is very different from traditional schools in many ways…OC focuses not just [primarily] on mathematical/logical and linguistics intelligences, but on all of the nine multiple intelligences. [The staff] encourage us to understand, not to memorize…we have input into what goes on…we can be ourselves without conforming to what anyone else wants/expects of us…OC is a very encouraging and positive environment. We are not separated by “grade levels.” OC encourages flexible thinking and cooperation. Everyone here is open to new ideas and full of suggestions of their own."
- OC Teen
"I like [at OC] how you never feel like its wrong if you do something your own way. They showed me a different way to learn and many ways to look at things."
- OC Teen
"Over the years I have met so many fascinating adults through OC, all of whom make their livings doing what they love. All of them had to take chances in choosing to do what made them happy over what would make them more money or offer more security. Meeting those kinds of people has inspired me to think in terms of “what do I want” and “what do I love” rather than “what do others want me to do."
- OC Teen
Comments from parents:
"Once again, thank you for keeping our children protected and safe and for respecting who they are. You are important people in their lives, and we witness phrases and behaviors that they have seen modeled at OC that they now own….OC has enabled us to cultivate a quality of life that we never imagined possible."
— OC Parents
" We feel as if we should be writing another tuition check to OC because [our daughter] has gotten so much out of tutorial. She loves everything about it, and especially the youth-led facilitations. She was so disappointed to miss one the week she was sick. She has been working on hers for months, ever since you told them about it, and her focus on preparation throughout the past week was amazing to us (and we’re used to her)…..When I got home she was walking on air and said, “I loved it! I want to do another one!” Thanks for making all this possible and for all your kind words…Thanks again for facilitating this great experience!"
– OC Parents
"Many other neuroscientists are saying the same things [as Renate Caine]… the neuroscience of brain research is now known by probably most people interested in this subject matter … Facilitating not teaching, experiential, hands-on, in-context learning is the way to go — (and that of course is what most education leaders are saying whether they are in traditional institutions, unschooling circles or homeschooling communities) -What is unique about Open Connections is not that they also have these beliefs, but that they PRACTICE them. And, they have had over 20 years of practicing. What a valuable resource Peter and Susan [have been] to the educational world!"
— OC Parent
"The heart of our parent involvement and the fundamental difference between Open Connections and any other child development environment we are aware of is that OC invites parents to join with children and staff in a shared quest for learning and growth — any day, any time, any activity. At OC, it’s about parents and children co-creating the environment AND being a part of that environment to the extent their other responsibilities allow."
- OC Parent
"When I first spoke to Peter on the phone nine or ten years ago...we hadn't really thought about homeschooling at that time...just exploring possibilities. I was interested and impressed with the things that I heard...We slowly began homeschooling. At first we felt that we couldn't afford OC and then decided to try it for one year. When we first enrolled [our children], it was really so that I could get a break. Yes, I thought interest-led learning was great; I was happy that the kids could work with real tools; and I liked the non-competitive atmosphere. But I really just wanted a few hours to myself! This year, though, I am beginning to understand what OC offers our whole family...that it's really not about homeschooling or even unschooling, but about living our lives! Being at OC, we are all continuously challenged, in our thinking and in our behavior, in a non-threatening and respectful way... Unlike schools and in many business situations, I kind of "get it" that we’re all on the same side at OC...We are venturing out in new directions, developing new talents, making new offerings to the world. Having the support of the OC community has allowed me to question things and grow in ways that I couldn't have done alone."
— OC Parent
"OC has helped us become more process-focused and less results-focused...we find that in attempting to non-school our children, we are slowly deschooling ourselves and discovering real learning, as opposed to that thing we were patted on the head for being good at in an institution for 16 years."
- OC Parent
"In the past ten years [OC] has grown to include a broader spectrum of people… more diversity, more socialization…They keep expanding the offerings. We want to have the flexibility of homeschooling, but more things available for our kids. [OC is] riding a wave of tremendous interest. Every year more and more families are joining. It's going to be like a mini university. I like that."
- OC Parent
Comment from educators:
"Support for Open Connections is a highly-leveraged investment in the future of education regionally and nationally."
— Fredricka K. Reisman, Ph.D., Former Director of the School of Education, Drexel University