Lisa VanDamme's Articles

Life After VanDamme Academy

January 13, 2009

The following is an interview with Evan Storms, a VanDamme Academy graduate currently in the process of applying to college. Perhaps my favorite part of the interview was his answer to my request for the interview itself: “Considering what I gained from your school, I would write a doctoral thesis. . . Continue »

Math Magic

September 26, 2008

Most math curricula are an absolute pedagogical mess. I have long known that math programs treat children like human calculators, programming them with processes they use to input numbers and churn out results. But this became poignantly clear to me when I tried to teach my daughter long division this. . . Continue »

The VanDamme Academy Field Trip

May 29, 2007

In my recent newsletter “The Failure of Field Trips,” I explained what is wrong with traditional school outings. The typical field trip is irrelevant to the students’ education, either because they have been unprepared to appreciate it by their schooling (e.g., City Hall or the opera) or because it is. . . Continue »

The Failure of Field Trips

May 3, 2007

Many educators stress the importance of field trips: opportunities to get students out of their desks and away from their books, and to give them direct, vivid, sensory experience with the world around them. Reflecting on my own education, these excursions off campus are indeed some of my most memorable. . . Continue »

Rex Barks

February 4, 2007

I began my career as a private teacher for a few families committed to providing their children with a real education. These parents had abandoned a fruitless search for a school in which their children would read the classics of literature, learn the story of history, grasp the fundamental principles. . . Continue »

Life In Junior High – Part 2

January 27, 2007

Last week, I contrasted the cliché junior high classroom—of raucous teenagers throwing spitballs, passing love notes, and giggling at lewd jokes—with a VanDamme Academy junior high classroom—of young adults in raptures over Cyrano de Bergerac. How we produce students with such maturity and enthusiasm for learning is something I hope. . . Continue »