In the last few weeks I’ve been weaving together a bounty of stories from selfdesigning learners and parents to share with elected officials beyond our community. This project has been a continuation of work begun two years ago, when we determined that it would be beneficial to our organization to begin sharing our stories. This has been challenging and rewarding work, encapsulating details about SelfDesign in a compelling ‘elevator pitch’ for ultra-busy politicians and others.

This winter we decided to call the families of SelfDesign for stories about your experiences. And boy, do SelfDesign families have stories to tell. This past fall almost 70 families provided glimpses into what selfdesigning looks like (from their unique perspectives) and how SelfDesign has influenced the learning lives of their children and themselves.

Subsequently I shaped many of these stories into coherent, post-card-sized narratives for sharing, and out they’ve gone to MLAs and government personnel across the province. So far the response from recipients has been very positive. But what I’d like to share here is how these stories, collectively, have changed and broadened my understanding of SelfDesign.

In a nutshell, these stories help to define as many ways of nurturing self-engaged learning (my working definition of ‘selfdesigning’) as any parent might possibly conceive – reflecting the unique dispositions and sensibilities of children.

Some sleep in, some stay up late, some bring home cart-loads of library books for reading, others are writing and creating their own books. Some are relishing a freedom from expectations, others are heaping new skills on existing ones at breathtaking rates. In some cases learners are experiencing breakthroughs that were not predicted in other learning environments.

The stories shared by SelfDesign families have moved me greatly, to delight as well as to tears. I find myself humbled by the simple notion that in extending support to positively and respectfully ‘confirm’ children in their learning lives, SelfDesign has set in motion a powerful force that also confirms our humanity and potential.

I am honoured to have had the opportunity to hear these stories and to repeat them to those who might listen, and to stand for this orientation toward supporting learning, along with my fellow educators and you, the families and supporters of SelfDesign.

“In SelfDesign, our abilities as parents and educators to love, respect and nurture our children in a way that honours
human design and integrity allows for the infinite wisdom of each individual to unfold.”

– Brent Cameron, SelfDesign founder, 2010

Written by Michael Maser, SelfDesign Learning Foundation and author of Learn Your Way! SelfDesigning the Life You Really Want