30 July 2011

Shameless Self Promotion

Several of you have asked me lately about what I've been keeping myself busy with all summer. I've spent a decent amount of time this summer mourning the loss of the arts in my life and alluding to the fact that I'm busy working on other important things, but have not actually expanded on what that means. For those of you who are interested: Here's the break down.

I am still teaching. I will be teaching live classes next year at a new school which I am very excited about. (New school to me, not to the world.) I will be teaching Shakespeare and Literature and Film for fun, but will also be taking the seminar program as well. The seminar is a class I started teaching with a friend of mine (Greg Duffin) last year. It is a combined English/History class with emphasis on developing culture and personal responsibility for education. It's a wonderful class that is an absolute honor to teach. Our emphasis this year is on Modern US History and the theme "Who Are You?". All of our literature this year will focus on developing your individuality and then making a difference to the community. (Books like The Scarlet Pimpernel, Anthem and Warriors Don't Cry, plays like The Glass Menagerie and Pygmalion.)

Online Classes:
Greg and I also own a company called Vigilance Media. We produce the online equivalent of our live class for homeschool families. Our model is something of a mix between an exercise video, Sesame Street and Facebook: Our classes are meant to be accessible to the entire family (there are separate classes for elementary, junior high and high school - but all cover the same basic material just at different levels so that families can learn together). The upper classes (that we actually teach), are based on short lessons and communication between students - we don't want anything push button or lazy - we want students engaged with the world around them. Last year we produced a class focusing on the Ancient World (Egypt-Greece) and applying ancient values to a modern world. This year we're doing Early American History (through the Civil War) and the Hero's Journey. It involves lots of short instructional videos, discussion boards, and interaction between student and teacher. You can find out more about those classes here.

One of the last projects I've been working on this summer is a website to house information about all the things I've been working on. Vigilance Media, then, is also a website with suggestions (primarily for teenagers, but for everyone as well), on articles, movies, books and other things that people should see if they want to build a culture of refinement around themselves. This website is still a work in progress but will be updated approximately once a week with new suggestions.

So there you go. That's what's been cooking up in the bat-cave all summer. It's been a lot of work. I'm excited to see real live people again when school starts. But I am also very much excited about these projects. Hope to see you around the website - we'd love suggestions on things to showcase that have influenced you.


ramsam said...

You are such a little burst of busy energy! It is awesome.
Can I be secretly happy that you are using Anthem????
Or not secretly happy, maybe???

Joni said...

Oh, by all means. Be more than not secretly happy. I'm so glad you recommended that book to me. I'm so excited to use it in class!