SelfDesign Learning Community's
Summer 2015 Newsletter
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In this edition:

Enrolment is now open for 2015/16
The SelfDesign Learning Community continues to grow! Thank you for sharing your selfdesigning experiences with others and continuing to support the growth of our community.

Visit to learn more and to enrol.

Lego Learning Galore for Dominic
Often there is much more going on with kids' play than just having fun. And sometimes the play can evolve into an enduring learning journey, such as in the story of thirteen year old SelfDesigner, Dominic. His joyful exploration of Lego grew into learning basic engineering concepts that have allowed him to build and create outside of Lego's limits and from his own imagination.

See more of Dominic's Lego creations and read the full story here.

A SelfDesign Journey: From Tiny to Taking on the World!

Written and submitted by SelfDesign parent, Leanne Bazinet 

Donny began small . . . so very, very small when he was born at 25 weeks, weighing only 885 grams.  Unsurpassed in fighting spirit, a little soul that I KNEW would change this world and mine (his tiny hands would pull out every tube they put in him).  I never had any doubt he would thrive - all ya need is a little help from angels! 

Now he is 15 years of age, taller than me, and some of his most recent life-changing experiences have come about this year with SelfDesign High... Read the full story here!


Noah Wins 1st prize in WorkSafe BC ‘It’s Your Job’ Video Contest 

SelfDesign High learner Noah from Sooke, BC has won first prize in Grades 8-10 category for his film Billy and the Beast.  Noah’s video will go on to compete nationally at the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety. Be sure to watch the video below... This two minute short captures an important message about bullying in the workplace. This is what Noah had to say about his experience creating this video:

"I am 16, living in Sooke, BC. I am an avid mountain biker and filmmaker. I love adventures, travelling and anything to do with the outdoors. My Grandpa heard about the contest and thought that I should enter. He helped me with the script and planning the project. I'm used to filming mountain bike videos and action sports so this kind of project was new to me and a little bit out of my comfort zone. I had a great time working on the project and I'm so happy that we won the grade 8-10 category in Worksafe BC's Student Video Contest! SelfDesign won $2500 and I won $1000 that I'm splitting with my friends who starred in the video."

Billy and the Beast
Noah's WorkSafe BC video: Billy and the Beast

As a distributed learning school, SelfDesign uses technology as a means to build and support community engagement - online and in person. SelfDesign families and educators (sometimes with the assistance of experts in their local communities) collaborate to create meaningful and fun face-to-face learning experiences. These initiatives arise from the interests and conversations of educators, parents, and learners and are sometimes led or co-ordinated by the individuals who inspire them. They give life to a spirit of community that is central to the SelfDesign experience. New ideas are always emerging and welcome. The articles below showcase some of the ways SelfDesign families and educators connect and celebrate learning.

For upcoming opportunities please see News and Events and subscribe to our Facebook events to receive updates.

If you’re enrolled with SelfDesign and want to discuss initiating an event or workshop, speak with your SelfDesign educator or write to

GameCon - Vancouver Island
Initiated by an online group called SMUSH (SelfDesign Minecrafter User and Server Helpers) is a meet up called GameCon where families gather in person for a day of play. Activities are shaped by the people who attend and have most recently included card games, a SelfDesign learner-created role playing adventure, crafts, knitting, science experiments, conversation and more. This has become a popular event that happens several times year at a local community centre in Crofton, BC.

Family Gathering  - Manning Park

Initiated by SelfDesign educator Michael Maser, up to 100 SelfDesign families with learners of all ages gather several times a year at Manning Park to connect and learn in community. Young people and their parents get to catch up with old friends and acquaintances and meet new people while engaging in activities that include games, crafting, hiking, conversing, swimming, cooking and more.

Open Learning Days - Nelson
During the months of April and May, homeschooling and SelfDesign families came together for Open Learning Days at the Kalein Learning Centre in Nelson, BC. In the spirit of “open space” learning, kids, parents and youth self-organized activities and games. Offerings included whitling, drama games, yoyo tricks and lego museum, just to name a few. The group made the most of the great weather and beautiful forested grounds wrapping up the last day with a group run on the trails.

Encounters Youth Summit - Vancouver

This May, SelfDesign youth gathered for the third annual ENCOUNTERS summit in Vancouver, BC. ENCOUNTERS offers learners a chance to meet new friends while sampling SelfDesign workshops and activities. The summit helps to empower youth and to support them as they design their own high school education.

“I see such a difference in the youth that attend your programs. They seem very grounded and gentler than many I have seen and worked with over the years . . . The environment . . . at SelfDesign seems to be an inclusive sanctuary. I am glad most of my grandchildren will attend in the future.”


Credited Workshop Courses - across BC
Workshops are designed to give learners the opportunity to engage with course topics in a group setting - either online or in their local community. Any group of SelfDesign learners can initiate a face-to-face or online learning workshop. Workshops are also a great opportunity to connect with local community experts. Workshops this year included: acting, pottery, math, astronomy, visual art, dancing, french and new this year is Makers 10, an innovation and prototyping course with a focus on robotics.

Also new this year were four adventure workshops open to any SelfDesign youth including those that are participating in the full time SelfDesign WildEarth program. Adventure workshops provide SelfDesign youth from anywhere in BC to come together to develop their skills in communication, teamwork, and problem solving.  Learning activities include wilderness first aid, avalanche awareness, trip planning and budgeting.

SelfDesigners Connecting With Peers at Surpass - Vancouver, Sunshine Coast
In addition to a fall and winter camp, SelfDesign learners from grades 8 to 12 have the option to participate in a summer camp called ‘Surpass’ at Camp Byng on the Sunshine Coast. Camps provide youth the opportunity to meet new friends and connect with their peers from across the province. Youth report that relationships made and fostered at camps support their selfdesigning experience. 


Surpass camp draws on insights from personal development and coaching to take teens on an outdoor adventure that will challenge them to “surpass” their own limitations of what they know, and believe they can do. Surpass supports teens to make connections, create respectful community and to develop leadership and empowerment skills.

Some youth choose to engage in Surpass camp alongside an independent study and earn high school credits for work leading up to and during camp. This year’s Surpass Camp is happening July 12-19th.  

“It was AMAZING, an incredible experience. I learned an unbelievable amount and made many new friends.”

SelfDesign Graduation Celebration 
The transition from youth to adulthood is one of many rites of passage a learner may choose to celebrate. High school aged youth in SelfDesign are invited to consider when they want to acknowledge and celebrate their graduating year - regardless of their official graduation plan. 

This event begins with conversations with graduates to find out how they would like to honour this time and be celebrated. Previous years have included a weekend itinerary beginning with a traditional first nations sweat lodge, followed by a campfire, a formal ceremony including special guests, friends and family sharing their reflections about the graduate, dinner and dancing. In 2013, graduating youth chose to celebrate by fundraising for a voluntourism trip they took to Guatemala to help with building projects.

Collab: Educators and Administrative Contractors Annual Gathering
Our annual SelfDesign Collab gathering provides SelfDesign contractors and board members the opportunity to connect in person to reflect, share and prepare for the coming learning year. Over the period of a few days, more than 200 passionate educators and general contractors enjoy meeting new and familiar faces. Woven throughout the Collab are 'Open Space' sessions, for which topics are generated by the group. 

SelfDesign Beyond Grade 12: Design Your Own Degree 
SelfDesign Graduate Institute (SDGI) is centered on the understanding that we have the capacity to author our own lives from a place of resourcefulness, creativity, and possibility. SDGI offers three low residency, online Masters of Arts Programs with scholarships available to SelfDesign Learning Community members. Click the image below to watch a video about the learning possibilities with SDGI!

Coming Up:

June 20/21: SelfDesign High Graduation Celebration, Nelson BC

July 9-11: SelfDesign Collaboratory, Squamish BC

July 12 -19: Surpass Camp, Sunshine Coast

I would like to learn more about SelfDesign Learning Community (SDLC)  offerings for grades K-12 in British Columbia

SDLC offers personalized learning programs in British Columbia, Canada. Funded by the BC Ministry of Education, SelfDesign enables learners to complete K-12 by exploring their passions and taking the lead in their own learning and life. With personalized guidance from BC-certified educators, learning unfolds at home and within local and online communities. Learn more at


I am interested in SelfDesign, but I don’t live in British Columbia

SelfDesign Global offers self-directed learning programs for grades K-12 learners OUTSIDE of British Columbia, as well as virtual parent and/or educator learning circles. Learn more at

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