The polymath house. What is it and why do you need to be there?
I met Axinia near the Church of St. Charles (Karlskirche).
Malini and Ilya parked their scooters near the playground and went exploring the area. Inseparable cousins had a lot of things to do between a history lesson and a dance session. They had an hour.
It was a month and a half before the brilliant passing of annual exams in the school of external studies — all the “A”s — and the official opening of Polymath House.
“My journey began four years ago when I decided to fulfill my youth’s dream — to open an alternative school and started looking for the best school models of our time in search of inspiration” — says Axinia, getting my congratulations on the start of the project.
While researching new ways, I wondered if solutions for the 21st century might be found in the wisdom of the different civilizations: which educational approaches contributed to their prosperity?
“Alternative educational projects are springing up like mushrooms, however not all of them are eatable”
Axinia carefully, as a jeweler, and strictly, as the most demanding selection committee, studies films, articles, books, games, tests every day before they get into the hands of inquisitive homeschoolers.
Not-Vienna-like pace, intensity, and filter of the selection of the best quality educational material which Austrian mothers register on Facebook around the clock, not having time to click “save to bookmarks.”
Meanwhile, Axinia generously shares global educational trends with Viennese parents, simultaneously conducting a dialogue in three languages.
“As in a treasure chest, I collected the most effective and fascinating educational philosophies and pedagogical tools of different peoples and ages. On that basis, I have developed a stimulating holistic learning approach. ”.
Axinia’s know—how is as following: World History serves as an axis around which the entire experience of mankind in all its manifestations (science, art, technological progress, politics) is built upon.
“We started homeschooling when the children were 6 and 9 years old, and it was, of course, very brave for that age. But the hope was inspired by the prerequisites.
Firstly, my burning interest in history, — and it is catching, — laughs Axinia.
Secondly, nephew already navigated very well through the world map by this time — he had learned all the countries and their capitals by himself, and this is important for studying history. I adjusted the degree of complexity of the material to his level, but my six-year-old daughter also learned everything pretty well and remembered many details about different cultures.
Axinia knows firsthand which things yesterday’s children have to face in life. Axinia studied linguistics, pedagogy, intercultural communication and practical psychology in Russia, passionately in love with the process of acquiring knowledge. Having tried herself as a teacher — in Italy, then in Austria, Axinia just as much fell in love with the educational process from the reverse angle.
“All these skills were very useful to me, in a rather unexpected way, though, since my main field of work became Human Resources and Headhunting, which gave me great insight into the job market and understanding its requirements.
Having lived in Europe for more than 20 years, I constantly observe a colossal difference between those who gained Soviet education (including those in socialist countries, not only in the USSR) and those who studied in West Europe.
This especially can be seen at work. This can be attributed to the difference of mentality, but it is education that is a huge part of what the mentality is made up of.
The basis of Soviet education was the dialectical materialism, and the basis of the Western system was classical logic. The difference is huge between them, like between yin and yang.
In a nutshell: Soviet education was systematic and developed abstract thinking. In the West, knowledge is given kaleidoscopically, the emphasis is on the development of substantive thinking. Both these methods have their pros and cons. But I decided for myself that I want to teach systemic thinking (especially since it is now catching, but only a few know how to do it), and for this, the process of presenting information must follow certain rules.
She is engaged in Indian classical dance, has been practicing meditation for more than twenty years, participates in the civil movement of the alternative economy Gemeinwohl Ökonomie “The economy of the common good”.
Awareness of the beauty and complexity of the world is an incredible pleasure and one of the ways to enjoy life. It is like an Indian classical dance — it is built on sign language, and every movement is filled with meaning. If the viewer does not know this, he simply admires the beauty and complexity of the composition, but if he knows the secret language — a fantastic story unfolds before him!
How did all this begin?
When my daughter began to grow up, I realized that such a freedom—loving and creative child would not survive in the modern education system, she will wither and fade. I felt an overwhelming urge to do something about it! This is when I recalled my idea of starting a school since I had a couple of years in the reserve.
So I began developing a suitable pedagogical concept. My first step was to study the international experiences of innovative teachers. Then I realized that I needed to dig deeper, and started exploring the sophisticated and complex history of pedagogy. The more I studied the more I realized there was so much to learn. It became clear that in order to comprehend the history of pedagogy I needed to know the context of its development, and the course of world history. From there I delved into the history of the arts, followed by the history of the economy.
When the big picture finally started taking shape, I clearly saw the image of my ideal school, as well as realized how many world pedagogical treasures remain unknown, although they could be used both by educators—innovators, and parents.
So I decided to write a book about these treasures of the past and present, to show the richest experience of human civilization in education, amazing and often little—known examples of communities and individuals from which everyone can take something in tune with his wishes.
The book will be in English in the modern ‘popular science’ style, for a wide range of readers.
But already now you can go to the website of world pedagogy (its past, present, and future) worldpedagogy.com/
Read it through, there are many little—known historical facts and generalizations.
The Educational Center THE POLYMATH HOUSE has begun its enrolment. Since September, children will go through their school curriculum and a lot of really interesting things with individual support in the status of homeschoolers.
Who are the — children-polymaths?
They are particularly gifted children who, due to their cognitive features, do not quite fit into the classical school system — they are bored there, and their interests are carried away by topics that are not peculiar to age.
“As a rule, these children are not supported by either the teacher or classmates, and they often become targets for mobbing. Since I used to be one of them, I wanted to create a home for such children: an atmosphere where they can learn based on needs and at their own pace, be in a group of like—minded people. ”
Any child from six to twelve years old can apply for participation with their parents. The highlight of the idea is that it is also a center for adults as well. Polymaths, being people with diverse interests and skills, often do not find support in the working world or family. Not everyone understands such natures.
In our THE POLYMATH HOUSE children and adults can attend various presentations, seminars, workshops, work in one team, reveal talents and inspire each other.
The admission is open for the 2019/2020 school year for grades 1—6.
The main languages of study are German, English.
THE POLYMATH HOUSE
invites students, polymaths with the desire to share knowledge and skills, or learn from others. Sponsors are welcome as well.
All the details, of course, are here: polymathhouse.com
And finally — the names of several businessmen (or their wives) who are already actively investing in the education of the future. And, of course, among them there are polymaths.
Suzy Amis (director James Cameron’s wife)
Lauren Powell Jobs (Steve Jobs’ widow)
P.S. BELIEVE OR NOT
Malini and Ilya no longer want to rest, they say: “And what are we going to do until September, it is boring not to study!” Axinia responds to such a request with her signature smile:
History of Discoveries,
History of Color,