Day 46 was the first day back from the weekend after our third week of meeting in-person, and the first of our two scheduled remote days for this cycle. We have fourteen remote days scheduled this year so that we can hold space for Learners while we cannot be together due to our three weeks together, one week apart cycles. As I’ve spoken about before, remote sucks. Self-Directed Education communities thrive best in-person, where Learners can be near each other as they engage with the world in ways that feel right to them. Having offerings on Discord and Zoom do not allow for that spontaneous mixing, and the distractions of home (e.g., video games, bed) make it too easy to drift away from the computer—and we cannot blame them for drifting away. But nonetheless, we try to build and provide community for the Learners who want it. So here we were, back on Zoom at 10:00 a.m.

We had fewer than half of the Learners show up in the morning, although several Learners let us know that they were not going to be able to drop in because of a variety of appointments. When Learners typically show up they write their intentions down on post it notes but as we are remote I just wrote them down in the notebook that I write down observations in each Abrome day. Facilitator Lauren offered to facilitate the morning meeting and she asked everyone to share a gratitude and something the were excited for that week, in addition to an intention. Some of the gratitudes included a Learner’s dog, a Learner’s cat, all of a Learner’s pets, a Learner’s mom, a local health food shop, and the Abrome community. It was a nice start to the day.

We encouraged the Learners to drop into a variety of the offerings we had lined up for the day: book sharing, yoga flow, truth or dare, and free write. We also had a scheduled call with one of the Learners who just joined this year and would like to graduate. Unfortunately, no one came to our scheduled offerings. That’s okay, because they are merely invitations for Learners to join us in an activity. We value Self-Directed Education and their ability to say yes or no. But it was disappointing not to be able to spend time with them. We had better luck with the Learner that we scheduled a meeting with. Although it was a challenging call for the Learner she stuck with it and saw the meeting through the end. It was a good step forward for her graduation goals.

Checking in with each other on our scheduled remote day

Checking in with each other on our scheduled remote day

At the end of the day we came back together for the afternoon roundup with six Learners. Because we did not get to spend time with many of the Learners that day we were excited to hear how their day went. The prompt for the afternoon meeting was how did they do with their intentions, and what happened during the day that they were grateful for. The gratitudes included parents, Hulu and Netflix, cats and dogs, family, YouTube and Abrome, seeing a specific Learner on Zoom after not being in their cell this cycle, Roblox and Kindle games, and their VR headset. I made the observation that between intentions and gratitudes that there was a lot of technology that played into the Learner’s day. In addition to those included in the gratitudes above were intentions to play Minecraft and code. It makes sense that when we can’t be together in person that technology as a way to relax, challenge oneself, connect with each other, and get lost in is something that should take center stage in their pandemic-imposed, physically distanced day.