Some Group Handbook, Draft, Original Variant, Version 0.1, April 15, 2010
Some Group Handbook
Draft, Original Variant, Version 0.1, April 15, 2010
About this Handbook
This handbook is intended as an outline of principles and practices that Some Group has adopted. As time goes on, and details get ironed out, this handbook will evolve. It is expected that, once the group has reached a state of maturity, this Some Group Handbook will have become developed enough to serve as a blueprint for replication of this group’s organization, activities, and eﬀorts in other communities across the nation and around the world.
This Handbook is Fluid
This Some Group Handbook is ﬂuid. All useful information is at most temporarily useful. While every attempt has been made to ensure that information in this handbook is current and accurate, it is expected that this handbook will change and evolve as time goes on. Change, adaptation, and inclusion of new information to this handbook is emphatically encouraged.
Some Group does not yet have a ﬁnal name. Originally (and currently) referred to simply as “Unschool,” Some Group is looking for a name that accurately reﬂects the nature of the group. As has been discovered “unschooling” is a term currently in use to describe a subschool of homeschooling, which promotes ideas quite diﬀerent from those of Some Group. The name “Unschool” has also been criticized for its distinctly negative construction—being the negation of “school”—without oﬀering any hint, in positive form, as to what Some Group might be. A number of alternative names have been proposed, including the possibility of having no name at all. Most of the names proposed, including having no name for the group, have been rejected for a number of practical and/or principled reasons.
Presently, it is understood that the name of Some Group is ﬂuid and indeterminate. It is believed that a name should be chosen, but that an appropriate name will likely reveal itself as the group develops. At some point in the future, it is expected that a name for the group will be chosen. When that happens, this section of the Some Group Handbook should be updated. This description of how Some Group does not have a name should be removed, and replaced with a statement of the group’s name, along with an explanation of any meaning behind the name chosen.
Some Group grew out of a sense of discontent with existing social structures and conventional systems of education. However, Some Group has not yet adopted any guiding principles. At present, Some Group is a space or forum where people can share, discuss, create, and explore with others a number of subjects. It is expected that, as Some Group progresses, a common set of principles will naturally emerge, and be adopted by the group. When that happens, this section of the Some Group Handbook should be updated. This description of how Some Group has not adopted principles should be removed, and replaced with a description and explanation of the group’s common principles.
Some Group holds a number of diﬀerent “types” of meetings. Presently, there are two types: regular meetings and organizational meetings. Regular meetings are where Some Group performs its primary activity of exploring various topics of interest. Organizational meetings are dedicated to discussing and selecting logistical details, such as topics for upcoming regular meetings, etc.
Organizational meetings are Some Group meetings with the purpose of choosing details for future regular meetings, and other logistical and/or administrative matters. Any member of Some Group is free to attend and participate in any organizational meeting he/she wishes, and to whatever extent he/she wishes.
When choosing details for an upcoming regular meeting, the following four details will be identiﬁed:
- One or more people who will lead the meeting.
- The topic or activity for the meeting.
- The format that will be used for the meeting.
- The date, time, and location of the meeting.
The activity planned for a regular meeting can be anything, and need not be topic-oriented. Meeting activities may include presentations, group discussions, creative projects, or group activities of any sort. The format of a regular meeting is also ﬂexible. It could consist of a short presentation, followed by each participant having ﬁve minutes to express their own view, opinion, or perspective. It could be a lecture format, or a lecture followed by discussion. It could take any format the leaders of the meeting believe appropriate for the topic or activity. Whatever meeting details are proposed, all these details (leader(s), topic, format, date, time, and location) should be proposed to the entire group, at the next regular meeting, for approval.
All decisions made at organizational meetings, including selection of meeting details, will be made by a hybrid consensus/voting mechanism. A consensus process will be used whenever possible, encouraging input and participation from all present. If the consensus process ever stalls to the extent that it threatens the very purpose of Some Group, a majority vote will be used to decide the matter. If the consensus process degenerates to voting on a frequent or regular basis, this would indicate an underlying organizational problem which would need to be addressed.
For the sake of convenience, Some Group currently plans to hold organizational meetings immediately prior to, and in the same place as, Some Group’s regular meetings.
It is important that all members of Some Group be included in organization of the group. Because people have exhibited a tendency to leave during the course of regular meetings, each regular meeting will start with a brief organizational message consisting, at a minimum, of following:
- A summary of what was discussed at the previous organizational meeting, if an organizational meeting was held since the last regular meeting.
- All proposed details (leader(s), topic, format, date, time, and location) for the next regular meeting.
- Proposed details (date, time, and location) for the next organizational meeting.
- A request that the whole group accept, reject, or modify the proposed meeting details.
- An explicit invitation for anyone in the group to come to, and participate in, every organizational meeting.
The remainder of any regular meeting can take many forms, lead by one or more people, on a speciﬁc topic or activity, and in a speciﬁc format. Each regular meeting’s details (leader(s), topic, format, date, time, and location) will be as agreed upon by the group during a previous regular meeting.
Some Group will have a number of means of communicating with its members. Potential means of distributing information include having a blog, an e-mail list, a web forum, a newsletter, etc. In order to maintain Some Group’s inclusiveness and neutrality, any Some Group publications, such as newsletters, blogs, etc., should be open to publish contributions from any and all Some Group members.
Each Some Group meeting (regular, organizational, or otherwise) should be announced, in advance, to all members of the group. Each such announcement should include all meeting details: leader(s), topic, format, date, time, and location. The location of the meeting place should be described in speciﬁc enough terms that the meeting can be found by someone who has never attended a previous Some Group meeting.
A digest of each Some Group meeting (regular, organizational, or otherwise) should be published to the group. Each digest should be comprehensive enough to give people who did not attend a good overview of the subject and results of each meeting, but should not be speciﬁc enough to constitute meeting minutes. Due to the potential of minutes to violate privacy rights and breed controversy, detailed meeting minutes should not be published. The digests for each meeting, whether posted to Some Group’s blog, e-mail list, or anywhere else, should be posted as separate posts, one for each meeting. Keeping the digests for each meeting separate makes them easier to identify, organize, comment on, etc.
When posting messages to Some Group’s blog, e-mail list, forum, etc., the following guidelines are recommended, but not required:
- POSTING IN ALL CAPS IS CONSIDERED YELLING.
- The title or subject of a post or comment should reﬂect its content.
- Top-posting (“toilet paper quoting”) is considered poor netiquette.
- Posting well-organized thoughts, in grammatical sentences, makes posts easy to read, understand, and respond to.
Draft, Original Variant, Version 0.1, April 15, 2010