Affectionately compared to a goblin shark, and sometimes – rarely – the more pleasant “baby duck” by kids who’ve taken his HomeLearners Network (HLN) Activities, our newest Guide, Glenn, is a self-proclaimed nerd-of-all-trades and spider enthusiast.
Since running around with a butterfly net as a kid, Glenn has had a lifelong passion for science and nature. He’s volunteered as a naturalist at a nature sanctuary in Victoria, was head of the science department at New Ramses College in Egypt, and has performed dramatic kid’s science shows full of explosions, rockets and chemical reactions for 32 years!
Glenn’s ‘voyage’ as an educator took an unusual turn when he put his chemistry skills to use as the head cook of two tall ships, the Pacific Swift and Pacific Grace. On those voyages, he traveled to 22 countries and shared his cooking skills with eager trainees.
He’s also studied four languages besides English and is interested in literature. “I’m a lot of different flavours of nerd,” he laughs.
“The things I’m terrible at? Music and dance. I have a high level of respect for the arts, and I love watching people who can actually dance, but that part just doesn’t come naturally to me,” says Glenn, as he reminisces about his former grade one students being able to learn dancing much faster than he ever could.
In fact, during his approximately 24 years as an elementary school teacher, Glenn often taught science to his colleagues’ students in exchange for them teaching music to his students. “We would do a trade-off because who wants to traumatize generations of children with my music skills?”
The hands-on mantra of HomeLearners Network is what drew Glenn to his position as an HLN Guide. “When I realized that the idea behind HLN is that the kids are really doing stuff – doing science experiments, building things and learning about animals through their very own pets – it struck me that this is the kind of teaching I want to do. We’re not just doing demonstrations and showing videos.”
He also appreciates the variety of topics available for HLN learners. “We’re not limiting things like math to arithmetic, geometry and algebra. A lot of kids come out of school with a negative opinion of math, but they don’t realize that math can be fun and exciting!”
Glenn keeps his HLN activities full of hands-on fun and tons of humour. “I like to be guided by the kids’ questions and ideas. There’s a lot of times where my activity goes in a completely different direction because I want to be led by where the kids are at and what they’re interested in.”
Sometimes, they’re interested in making Glenn wear funny wigs and eat disgusting flavoured Beanboozled Jelly Beans. In his most popular Realtime Activity, Math Mysteries, kids collaborate to solve math challenges. The more mysteries solved, the more opportunities to make Glenn eat rotten eggs, stink bugs, or dirty dishwasher-flavoured beans (to name a few). Ew!
The activity is so popular that kids have participated more than once. He’s already working on a sequel so they can solve new mysteries, learn new things and delight in different ways to torment him.
Glenn is inspired by the learner’s honesty, enthusiasm and unfiltered reactions. “Kids are so genuine. They’re incredibly adaptable and intelligent, especially in the home learner community.”
Do your kids want to take an Activity with Glenn? Check out Glenn’s profile on HomeLearners Network and learn about the science of humour from a pro in How NOT to be Serious, or try out one of his other unique and engaging activities.
HomeLearners Network offers a variety of At Home Activities (AHAs) activities that kids can do solo, as a family or with friends, and always with the support of a passionate educator like Glenn!
Check it out today at homelearnersnetwork.ca.