The First And Last Time I Was Fired
I had it! I was so sick and tired of marching to every whim of my principals in all the various private schools I had worked at since 1996 as an elementary and middle school science and math teacher. I had SOME teaching liberties unheard of in public school, yes, but it just wasn’t enough for my students and I.
Why do schools hire teachers in the first place if they don’t trust them enough to do their job their way, (which became for me) following the curiosity of the learners? So frustrating!
And then, it happened.
After a long day of teaching at the Elijah School, early January 2010, Mr. Starr, the principal, asked me to speak with him in the teacher’s meeting room next door to my classroom. The two of us sat down in metal folding chairs, uncomfortable things, at a long cream-colored plastic table.
He looked at me solemnly across the table and folded his hands.
My heart began to pound. I knew something big was up.
“Miss Brooks, the staff and I have decided that you’re not a good fit here.”
I thought in my head, “You’ve got that right, but I don’t know where else to go.”
He slid a stapled packet of papers across the table to me.
Mr. Starr said, “This is your severance package. You qualify for unemployment while you find another situation.”
I don’t honestly recall what else was said, it's all such a blur. There wasn’t much else to be said. We both got up from the table and walked silently as soldiers out of the room. I went straight away to my classroom and started packing up as much of my teaching stuff as I could haul in one car load.
Becoming An Open Classroom Apprentice
As I drove the hour and a half back home to Heathcote Community where I had become a new full-time residential member, my mind turned and turned. For about the first 15 minutes of the drive, I was freaking out. I cried. I felt such rejection from the school.
Then it dawned on me. This was my big chance to do what was really in my heart. I could finally break free from the traditional school model. I could now fully participate in the Open Classroom with its founder and lead facilitator, Dana!
There was a homeschool program called Open Classroom at Heathcote run by a woman named Dana who wanted an assistant. It was called Open Classroom modeled after the European schools developed in the 60’s and brought to America. It’s also known as “schools without walls.”
Open Classroom is where kids are provided with a learning center type environment filled with interesting and engaging learning resources.
Everyday, all day, children are at choice with the learning activities they want to participate in, or not participate in. Open Classroom is a democratic education model where kids not only have a voice in their education, but, lead it. It's akin to unschooling, Free and Sudbury schools.
In Open Classroom, just like unschooling, there are no grades, tests, or divided subject teaching. Instead of teachers, adults are facilitators. They facilitate the program and provide a resource rich learning environment for the children.
Teaching Vs. Facilitating in A Democratic Homeschool Program
Adults are there helping the children and give guidance to them when asked for rather than lecture at them. I was absolutely in love with Open Classroom and super excited that I could now offer services first as an apprentice and finally as an assistant facilitator with Dana.
Dana was delighted that I could work with her full-time. From January to May of 2010, I was trained and became Dana’s assistant in the democratic Open Classroom ways.
The following school year, fall 2010, I became the lead facilitator for the Open Classroom. Dana moved on to other projects and interests. I rebranded Open Classroom and thus began Heathcote Art & Science Center, or HASC. Since 1997, I've had an enduring deep love and passion for all things natural and earth sciences.
I truly believe it's vital to offer nature-based resources, both online (children innately want to master adult top tools, computers) and offline with access to endless beautiful outdoor resources to reconnect children to the Earth for free play and exploration. We're already paying the price for being disconnected from the Earth.
Dreams Became A Reality with Heathcote Art & Science Center (HASC)
During September 2010 – May 2011, I lead a total of 18 homeschoolers at HASC. I set up my classroom with science and math themed learning centers all around our modest sized learning center. The kids enjoyed free exploration of all the incredible math and science resources I had collected over my years as an out-of-the-curriculum-box teacher. Resources included games, books, experiments, microscopes, and extensive nature collections. My collections included rocks and minerals, seashells, nuts, pine cones of various sizes, and even an abandoned birds nest made of clay and straw.
The best "classroom" of all was the "living classroom", the great outdoors at Heathcote. The kids and I enjoyed hours of outdoor free play and exploration nestled with the 112 acres of wooded valley land filled with hiking trails, organic gardens, a pond, and a bubbling stream which ran lazily through the community grounds. It was truly a dream nature-based program.
Unfortunately, HASC came to an end too soon on account of A residential community member putting a low cap on the number of students I could have, which was 10. I couldn't blame them. It was their home too. But, at that time, I couldn’t wrap my head around building a sustainable program with so few students at typical affordable pricing. I didn't know any other way but to close HASC, much to mine, the children, and their parents' heartbreak.
One of my HASC parents, and full time Heathcote residential members, Juji, who strongly encouraged and inspired me to start HASC, suggested I turn to live online teaching. She told me about CurrClick.com, a live online homeschool courses platform. CurrClick.com invited me to join their small pool of 25 teachers.
When I Began Creating Homeschool Ocean Unit Studies
I began teaching live online math enrichment and science classes to mixed ages in the upper elementary, middle and high school. During my 5 years with CurrClick, I created my two all-time best loved courses, MathArt and Marine Biology, followed by Mammals and a plethora of other earth and natural science courses.
My Marine Biology live online class was always filled. Kids just love and adore learning about ocean life. There’s something so fascinating about learning about the sea and everything in it, especially the sea’s amazing animals!
I offered live online classes through CurrClick.com until 2016, when they ended their live online teaching platform. They officially closed in 2019.
As an independent contractor, I had tasted true independence and freedom. I couldn't turn back and return to the yolk of working for someone else. I had to create my own online business.
I had to scramble fast to find a way to finally, truly become an independent online homeschool specialist. I've even dropped the term, "teacher", for "facilitator". I don't "teach", I facilitate children who want to be coached by me in learning about nature-based liberated math and sciences.
What is Nature-based "Liberated" Math and Science?
What do I mean by nature-based "liberated" math and sciences? We learn math without the usual incremental computational bore found in most textbooks and many online programs. We learn science in-depth according to the plant and animal group orders, not the usual scratched surface information taught in textbooks.
By studying science this way, kids get a birds' eye view of all the varieties of plants and animals there are. Then that they can get a better idea of what they want to drill down deeper into, focus on and learn about on their own while being inspired to create chosen self-directed projects, and even potential careers now and into adulthood.
What Is MathArt?
We first learn about math in my MathArt courses found in nature through nature's most common patterns, the golden ratio (1.618), and the Fibonacci numbers (0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13...etc) found everywhere. We learn the beauty of math within the backbone of history through art, architecture, nature, sciences, and beyond.
Math is inspirational and found everywhere around us. Math is used to help us do what we want to do, not because we have to pass a test or even get into college. We learn the math we need to accomplish what we're passionate about from building forts, painting, creating a garden, to designing and building out a rocket.
Math Is Found In The Sharks Online Unit Study
I've included math in the Sharks Online Unit Study too. We study numbers related to Shark teeth! Math is found everywhere in sharks from their average lengths, weights, to how many species there are currently discovered worldwide. Shark math is endless!
Back to my story of how I founded NatureGlo's eScience.
I did some deep-dive research about how to run an online course platform. It came down to learning how to build out my own WordPress website along with finding a learning management system WordPress plugin called LifterLMS. For me, it was staying up many, many late nights watching WP Crafter, aka Adam Preiser’s YouTube video tutorials helping me build out my new website. Thank you, Adam!
Finally, in July 2017, I opened the doors to NatureGlo’s eScience. It’s not been an easy road these past five years since opening independently, but I’m happy and proud to say that my doors are open and faithfully serving, you, the homeschool community with self-paced online unit study math enrichment (MathArt) and natural science courses.
All of my courses are now lead by self-paced videos and lessons guided by me. My students engage with me and each other through comment boxes per lesson. I’m proud to say that the comments operate as a kind of forum per lesson. I love reading my students comments every weekday.
Currently, I’m offering two of my most popular online course types, along with smaller courses and yearlong bundles with NEW LIFETIME ACCESS for MathArt and Marine Biology, ideally for kids ages 10 and up. Younger siblings can do well in these courses too with some needing more one-on-one attention with parents or older siblings.
What did I learn through all of this? How much I love and resonate with the homeschool community to stick it out online since 2010. My plan is for my virtual doors to stay open until my final breath.
I love serving you homeschool families! I love reading the comments from my excited students everyday taking my courses on NatureGlo’s eScience. I love responding to my students and seeing pictures of the cool projects they choose to do for my courses.
As good as it felt to finally leave teaching in private mainstream schools and on 3rd party online homeschool platforms, I learned an even more valuable lesson from that experience:
That the vision in my heart to serve the homeschool community in a way that liberates me, my students, and their parents, has made all the twists and turns in life since my teaching career began in 1996, ALL worth it!
My online courses are living proof of this. They’ve gone through several revisions over the years to become what they are today. My students love these courses, and I’m so grateful to hear their positive feedback.
DRUM ROLL, PLEASE!
This is why I recently revised and upgraded the Sharks Online Unit study. I’ve added in some super cool free bonuses that I know you and your kids are going to love. It includes my principle of “Every Virtual Science Resource Including the Kitchen Sink (and Bathtub).”
What will you and your kids get with the Sharks Online Unit study? You’ll get hours worth of learning content with the potential for loads more hours of rabbit trail learning your kids can happily go down exploring. I’ve saved you hours, days, and potentially weeks and beyond of prep time. It’s all laid out, super revised with some new content and with the doors of enrollment NOW OPEN!
You and your shark loving kiddos don’t wanna miss out on this…
You can get the Sharks Online Unit Study that helps homeschool kids cover multiple subjects all the while learning about the beloved ocean animals, sharks for a HOLY INCREDIBLE 95% OFF.
So why am I doing this?
Well, the homeschool community is like my online family, so, you get first dibs on the re-opening of my online Marine Biology suite of courses, starting with the Sharks Online Unit Study.
So get it now at this low of a price while you can and before prices go up soon:
95% Off +  Free Bonuses!
If the 95% discount isn’t enticing enough for you, then check out these  free BONUS gifts I’m throwing in:
BONUS #1: Access to NatureGlo's Marine Biology unit study templates so that your family can keep on learning about every single ocean topic of their heart's desires into infinity, if you like. He he! (VALUE: $75)
BONUS #2: Immediate access to the Sharks Quizlet virtual games so that your kids can reinforce their learning in a super fun way! (VALUE: $250)
BONUS #3: Instant access to Bashford Dean's Frilled Shark eBook Download so that your kids are introduced to some very scholarly information that will mesmerize them about these bizarre looking sharks. (VALUE: $50)
BONUS #4: Access to 14 beautiful vintage shark posters so that your child can print them out and decorate their room or notebooks looking at these amazing animals every day. (VALUE: $50)
BONUS #5: Instant access to the Shark Lady Read Aloud with NatureGlo so that your child hears about a real life marine science inspiring them to potentially become marine scientists NOW in their childhood. Why wait until adulthood? (VALUE $100)
Yep. I’m giving you all those goodies for FREE when you enroll in my 95% off Sharks Online Unit Study Sale.
Now, in my next post, I’m going to share with you more on how you can use this program…
I’m also going to tell you about the time I was failing at math class in 2nd grade and used ocean studies to spruce it up and bring it to life for 8 year old me.
I’ll share this in my next post soon!
Gloria aka NatureGlo