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Meet Clare

Clare Bonn

My best memories with my children are of us snuggled up together reading books. We would be on the bed or on the couch, blankets over us. Little bodies breathing evenly in my lap. Little hands touching mine or flipping pages. We would read for hours, baking banana bread, stopping only to eat and sit again.

During these early reading days, I had no idea I was going to homeschool my children. What I did know was that I didn’t want to send them to school, and I couldn’t find an alternate option that could satisfy me! Those days continued and the only thing that changed was that the children sitting on my lap were not only mine, but the tribe we formed along the way. Stories came with us as we journeyed out into the world. Books on CD played on the car radio, King Arthur, Greek Myths, Fables, Dickens….it was endless.

“Another one!” The kids would cry. I never thought of myself as teaching my children but learning right beside them. I loved books as a kid and found myself endlessly daydreaming. Not a good quality when you are in traditional school and the teacher is calling your name!

I loved the choose-your-own-ending books when I was young. I loved that idea of being able to write a story over and over with so many different possibilities. The adventure didn’t have to end—not ever! The Narnia Chronicles transported me to another world where good faced evil and prevailed. I can’t tell you how many times I would go into our closets at home wishing it would open to Narnia as the children’s wardrobe did.

My kids are older now, two in their teenage years. I still have shelves filled with books from their childhood. We have moved several times over the years, and I have cleaned out many of shelves. Every time I gather them to look through the books to see what they are ready to get rid of we are transported back. We have found ourselves cuddled up, bigger bodies and limbs, reading through stories that make us smile, laugh and yes, have even made me cry. We are not ready to let go of any of our treasured books and maybe we never will be. I still come home weekly with a new book, from the library or a used bookstore or a library box… I can’t help myself! I feel like I am holding a treasure in my hand. I feel the excitement before I even open the book. The possibilities are endless! Where will I go today?


Clare Bonn graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a BA in Sociology. She has worked for 22 years with school age children in childcare, recreational classes and classroom learning. She taught at Waterhouse Guild for 3 years utilizing Blackbird & Company materials. She believes every child’s voice should be heard, unique gifts valued, and learning differences embraced. Clare has three differently-abled children who all learned to tap into their giftedness through writing using Blackbird & Company curriculum. You can find Clare most of the time in her garden or reading a good book.
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Meet Sara


One of my earliest memories of fourth grade is sitting in class listening with rapt attention to my teacher reading a mystery story about a castle. Somehow the title is long forgotten. Oh, how I wished she would read out loud all the time and skip math lessons. The other strong elementary school memory is my hours in the awesome school library. I became a library assistant, filing cards and learning the Dewey Decimal System. The best part was handling all the books and challenging myself to read authors like Madeleine L’Engle and John Steinbeck. Books took me away from my troubles at home and on the playground. Books were like a vacation for my brain!

Fast-forward a few decades to my kitchen table where a mass of local teens hangs out quite frequently. I’m on about my third conversation with different kids about the importance of reading and I just can’t believe another young adult (two years from voting) is telling me that “they just don’t like to read,” or “I just don’t care to read.” I’m thinking to myself, this is a crisis in the making.

I home schooled my two children who are well into their teen years and I’m really glad we spent LOTS of time reading and discussing history and current events from the beginning. I see now how it was vital to developing their critical thinking skills. So many of their peers don’t have this ability, worse yet, they think the decision to be a reader on par with deciding that they don’t like spinach! This is scary to me for obvious reasons.

Would you believe me if I told you that everything I know to be true about education in America has come from my observations of illiteracy creeping into the population?

I decided to home school my children long before I had them. It was a miracle that I found Kim at a tag sale where we began discussing education. Out of this conversation came many glorious years educating our children together and developing a philosophy of education. We schemed and planned by night the curriculum and art projects we would do with the kids all the while making sure we tackled stacks of great books. That decision has paid rich rewards.

Now that my children are busy in their teen years, my daughter a freshman in college, my son a junior in public high school, I am listening intently to that world in which they revolve. I see how sensitive these years are and how much teens are still affected by their parent’s long ago and present actions. My heart is with them as they try to make sense of this world. I want to gather them together as much as I can to encourage them and love them.

So, that’s who I am and what I’m about these days.


Sara Evans embraces an individualized philosophy of education believing that each child’s raw potential is a worthy investment. For this reason she homeschooled her two children for 10 years as co-director of a cooperative micro-school dedicated to cultivating individuality in students. Through the years, Sara has facilitated workshops in the arts for children of all ages. She considers working with children a privilege and loves to see their talents blossom.  Sara is a Blackbird & Company partner and author, contributing ELA expertise in the area of curriculum development and editing. She is passionate about cooking, gardening, and is an accomplished artisan who spends much of her time creating works in various media including, rug hooking, ceramics, and mosaics. A graduate of the Color Style Institute in Menlo Park, she received her Bachelor of Science in Child Development from Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo. 
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Meet Kim



What if I told you that the day my grandmother gave me a dinky white portable typewriter I made each of my family members mailboxes for The Friday Night Flash out of a Captain Crunch cereal box? What if I told you that I can still feel the tin keys, hear the comforting “plunk, plunk, plunk” as I whiled away childhood? What if I told you that the day the typewriter came into my life was the day that I became a writer?

What if I told you that when my grandmother died I stumbled upon a box that contained a sizeable archive of those newspapers that continue to twitter, “imagination matters” … what if I told you this is why I decided to set off on an incredible journey into the world of education?  

Would you believe me if I told you that I became a teacher at a tag sale, transformed 100-square feet of our flat roof bungalow to a one-room school house, invited 7 families to join my Guild, and delivered my third child a week before the first day of class?

 True story.  

Fast forward…  

The Guild Method has been taking shape for over fifteen years. Though we’re not housed in the flat roof bungalow anymore, my guildschool is still a cluster of cozy spaces where children engage in their important work. Often I pause to soak in the glorious hum. Founding academics on creativity is at times chaotic, often loud, but it affords our students ample opportunity to bring shape to their ideas. And this is worth every bit of the swirling motion, every single elevated decibel!  

I suppose you’d say I’m a visionary, the founding director of an academic amalgamation.  

I’m a wife— 33 years and counting. I’m the mother of four amazing adult children.

Long ago I received my bachelor’s in biological psychology and fine art, graduate training in clinical art therapy, and later in life chased down an MFA in writing.  My book, Habits of Being: Artifacts From the Classroom Guild recounts the many observations and ideas that sprang from schooling my children and others.

I’m a founding partner of Blackbird & Company and love bringing shape to the curriculum we offer.

I’m often puzzled when asked, “How do you keep all those plates in the air?”

My response? “It’s either that or stand barefoot in shards of porcelain.”

Guess I see life teeming with possibility. I’m with the Red Queen on this one, “Why sometimes I’ve believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

So that’s me.

I suppose it all boils down to that dinky white portable typewriter.         


Kim Bredberg has been an advocate for reform in education for nearly four decades. She is a founding partner of Blackbird & Company Educational Press, an ELA curriculum expert and author. Her book Habits of Being: Artifacts from the Classroom Guild is currently in its second printing. Her writing and visual art students have won numerous awards, have been recognized on the regional and national level by the Scholastic Alliance for Arts & Writing, and have been published in international writing journals. Kim has been recognized nationally for her role as an arts and writing mentor. The California resident, mother of four, long ago received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara in biological psychology and fine art, graduate training in clinical art therapy from Loyola Marymount University, and received her Master of Fine Arts in  writing from Antioch University.