Remember the days when your child would pick up a book even before he could read? Alternative education was never something on our minds. He was loving learning every second of the day. Sometimes he would smile at the beautiful artwork of flowers and farm animals full of color. Other times he would gnaw at the corners of the heavy and compacted card stock material.
But my favorite memory of a baby’s early exploration of reading is when, out of pure excitement and wonder, he would get overcome with uncontrollable giggles with pure joy as the non verbal magic he sees ascends from the page. His hands would fly in the air to celebrate the beauty of his brand new knowledge and now his book is transporting through the air, tumbling feet away from him. In this moment the thought of being separated from his book is unbearable. The giggles stop. This is the moment a parent gets to know what cheering for an Olympian going for his first gold medal feels like.
Fast forward 15 years. This same little boy has grown with such stature. His friends have become the most important part of his life. His laughs and celebrations are now surrounded with talk of sports competitions on TV or plans with his friends over the weekend. He doesn’t gaze at a book in excitement anymore.
Actually whenever a teacher tells him that he needs to read a chapter for homework his level of anger increases. In reality, this little boy, the one that used to love getting lost in his books has tried to push learning away. There are too many memories of times throughout his life where school was someplace he wanted to run from, and he did. He has issues of truancy. The talk of trying to find alternative education on Maui begins. Mom has given up trying to get him to school. He has no desire to sit in classrooms and listen to teachers talk. He doesn’t have plans for his future. All he knows is that school is not where he wants to be.
According to the Hawaii Department of Education report Hawaii averages 1 out of 5 students who don’t graduate from high school every year. Alternative education sites on Maui are sparse. Our high schools here on Maui have shared that approximately 15% of enrolled students are at risk for not moving to the next grade level or failing more than one class. An increased number of students have taken a home school route, also known as a 4140 and yet only about 10% of those students actually participate in a home school curriculum leading to graduation.
It doesn’t quite seem like “falling through the cracks” is a phrase accurate enough to represent our children who are struggling academically. Maybe the phrase “seen, but forgotten” better explains what’s happening to many students here on Maui.
There are many factors that cause an inborn love of learning to be buried. Trauma, childhood adversity, lack of basic needs, learning differences, educational systems etc. The list goes on. Here at Maui Hui Malama we provide an alternative education here on Maui. We are here to serve these students. We know that their love for learning is still there. Our Liko program was created to invoke that love again.
Liko allows students to bring their curriculum from their current school or accredited homeschool for small group or individual support in an alternative education environment right here on Maui. Liko is the Hawaiian word for the bud of a flower.
They can also register with Mckinley School for Adults here at Maui Hui Malama to work towards their high school equivalency if they are ages 16-24. Project based activities and connecting to culture are a part of their exploration with us. Liko program runs on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 8:30-12:30 and every other Friday for field trip experiences. Case management services are here to help identify the barriers that get in the way of their educational goals. Referrals and services are put in place to serve youth in a holistic manner.
If you know of any students who need an alternative space to thrive in their academics we want to meet them. Long term suspensions, requests from families or schools for their child to do their work off campus, or students who have removed themselves from their public school education who would like support in homeschool curriculum.
Food bags are given to students weekly. Our food pantry as well as clothing, toiletries and other basic needs are always available.
Call us at (808) 244-5911 for questions or to set up an appointment to enroll.