Monday, November 23, 2015

I Got Schooled

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2015 at 8:00 AM

Sometimes my youngest doesn't want to go to school. He'll express it by saying it in this funny way: “I can't do today!” It isn't so much that he doesn't like school because of a particular project or because of a certain teacher. It's more along the lines that he looks at the long haul of his academic future and thinks, “I can't do 12 more years!”

Anxiety is a crippling fact in our household and when it takes hold, watch out, world.

When my son bemoans the fact that he has years of structured and state-mandated learning ahead of him, I nod. At our kitchen counter, I push his cocoa and the plate with a warmed croissant toward him. It's a school day and it's breakfast time, and he's going to school But I get it.

click to enlarge Liberating learning from the chains of money can encourage many more people to embrace education.  - COURTESY EDU DONOSO
  • Courtesy Edu Donoso
  • Liberating learning from the chains of money can encourage many more people to embrace education.

We were all kids once, too, with shared experiences of assorted locker combinations, agenda books, and book report deadlines. Looking at the years of learning ahead sometimes struck us all as a long, arduous country road, right? But how do you explain to your kid that someday there will come a time when you – now all grown up, living an adult life with its multiple minutia that keeps your life and the lives of those you are caring for up and running – will clamor for an environment of learning?

You can tell him, but you have to show him too. I set out to do just that when I attended a class at the Trade School of Indianapolis ( http://tradeschool.coop/indianapolis/).

Trade School is a learning environment where teachers barter with students, exchanging knowledge and skills for ... well, perhaps knowledge and skills or a bar of dark chocolate or an invitation to simply take a look at your bucket list. No money is exchanged to attend a class of your choice.

This movement was first founded in New York City by a group of artists in 2009. It has spread globally, landing in Indianapolis in 2012. This past September, this self-organized learning space officially opened up off of E. Brookside Road inside of the Circle City Industrial Complex in Windsor Park.

The chapter is 100 percent supported by pay-what-you-can memberships and there are no paid staff running the show. It's an inclusive, member-based learning co-op with a goal to grow a solidarity economy in the Indianapolis community. It's all about organizing and providing accessible education where you don't have to invest a substantial sum of money (actually no money unless you join the co-op) or weeks of your minutia-filled life. It's your one-shot wonder to learning.

click to enlarge Carrie's class at the Trade School of Indianapolis taught her a bit more about French culture and how to experience a taste of it in Indy.  - COURTESY WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
  • Carrie's class at the Trade School of Indianapolis taught her a bit more about French culture and how to experience a taste of it in Indy.

My friend Monica led me to my first class at the Trade School. We have discovered that we are both Francophiles, becoming giddy when we see a photo of a galettes or a charming home available to rent in the Provence region. Monica found this class on planning a trip to France and we registered online. She brought Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible to class and I some large chocolate bars, two items listed on the instructor's wish list. And then on a Wednesday evening from 6 to 7:30 p.m., we learned that France is about the size of the state of Texas; that French waiters will be somewhat shocked and disgusted if you don't order a coffee following your meal; and that the greeting “Bonjour” should be the first word out of your mouth when you are asking for either directions or help, less you run the risk of receiving the look of contempt from your new French friend.

I learned of a relatively new, local French restaurant that serves galettes (Cropichon et Bidibule on Mass Ave. at www.cropichonetbidibule.com) along with a nearby venue for French language classes for adults (Alliance Francaise at www.afindianapolis.org). Voila!

Other classes at the Trade School have included how to look at art and not feel dumb, creative writing, sewing and knitting, art therapy, mail art, photography and even how to listen to jazz. Along with delving into the arts and creative endeavors, you might also choose to learn about the First Amendment, what you could do in your “gap year” if you are (much) younger than I, or how to make easy, green smoothies.

It is a wealth of knowledge and information and skills all for the taking and offered in exchange for something as nominal as a local beer or homemade cookie, flower seeds or sheet music.

I would like to somehow explain to my son that the anxiety over learning never goes away, but it changes. The anxiety about that long, arduous country road becomes not about the prospective of years of learning but rather of not learning.

We live in a city where a group of citizens have created a physical and communal space so that you and I can learn something entirely new in the creative vein or other fields that is economically accessible. It shows our community and its children that the long country road of learning is worth traveling.

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Speaking of...

  • We are so Lucky

    Do artistic and musical skills remain intact in persons with Alzheimer's disease and dementia? Carrie ponders findings indicating they do.
    • Aug 24, 2015
  • Canstruction Zone

    Local firms compete in design and construction at the 2015 Indiana State Fair to creatively raise awareness and funds for Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana.
    • Aug 13, 2015
  • Hurts So Good

    Indy's cultural attractions help soothe the soul and fuel an active mind and restless body, while injuries mend.
    • Aug 10, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Well-Endowed Artists

    Jennifer draws Seinfeld-esque parallels to artists' financial challenges with education, but offers easy ways to help.
    • Mar 2, 2016
  • Positive Impressions

    Ben chats with IMA’s artist-in-residence about introducing the process of woodblock printmaking to the masses.
    • Jan 10, 2016

About The Author

Carrie Kirk

Carrie Kirk

Bio:
Growing up, I never could get a word in edgewise. I had three older sisters. Go figure. Thankfully, my vocalization morphed into the written word. Currently in my family of three (me and my two sons), I am able to be the master of my universe and go where no mom has gone before. However, I sense too often that... more

More by Carrie Kirk

  • Speaker of the House

    David Sedaris spoke to a packed house at Clowes Memorial Hall, and Carrie listened to him -- the exception to her "I read" rule.
    • Nov 3, 2015
  • Stubborn Gladness

    Carrie learns about Day of the Dead or Día de los Muertos and how it celebrates the memory of lost loved ones.
    • Oct 19, 2015
  • Dancing the Learning Curve

    Dance Kaleidoscope dancers push their bodies to the limit, honing their art to perfection during practice for the upcoming iconoGlass show.
    • Oct 5, 2015
  • More »

Latest in Sky Blue Blog

  • The Nice Things

    Ben has enjoyed his opportunity to give notice to some of Indy’s 'nice things' with Sky Blue Window readers. He hopes you’ll find and share them too.
    • Mar 9, 2016
  • A Gray Sky-onara

    Dan looks back at some of his most memorable blogs at Sky Blue Window.
    • Mar 8, 2016
  • Well-Endowed Artists

    Jennifer draws Seinfeld-esque parallels to artists' financial challenges with education, but offers easy ways to help.
    • Mar 2, 2016
  • More »
© 2017 CICF
Twitter
Facebook
Privacy Policy
Contact Us:
P: 317.634.2423   F: 317.684.0943
info@skybluewindow.org
Central Indiana Community Foundation
615 N. Alabama St. #119
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204-1431
Sky Blue Window is presented by:

Website powered by Foundation