|Kevin O'Brien as J.R.R. Tolkien on the "Hobbit Hole" set for the television special Frodo's Journey.|
My name is Kevin O'Brien and I used to hate going to school.
After I graduated from Washington High School in Washington, Missouri, way back in 1978, it took me many years even to think about going to college. I couldn't stand the thought of people telling me what to read!
But in 1991, I enrolled in Webster University in St. Louis, and within 18 months I had a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Literature and Language. I was able to get a four-year degree in a year-and-a-half because I received 63 hours of credit for taking and passing a number of CLEP Tests, because I produced a portfolio of my life experience, and also because I took as many classes as possible every semester. I have always, you see, had a knack for working outside the system - or for doing things in an unconventional way.
And the students I have tutored have been like that as well. My typical student is very intelligent, artistic, has an extremely low tolerance for "busy work" and wants to do things his or her own way. And I not only accommodate that, but encourage that.
I see education not merely as a means to an end - earning "credit" so that you can graduate and get into college or get a good job - but as an end in itself, provided that the education conveys something real and valuable, and provided that the educator's goal is to increase the student's capacity to appreciate the True, the Beautiful and the Good. Education ought to open the Mind, the Heart and the Soul toward the awe and grandeur that are beyond us. Education ought to make us happier - in a deep and comprehensive way.
That may sound a bit too philosophical, but what it means in practice is that I encourage my students to follow what draws them. This can be done in a number of ways, such as by designing courses that play upon this desire (self-designed courses that challenge the student), and especially by getting to know my students, and by challenging them either individually or in a class setting.
Beyond my educational work, I have had quite varied career that has included ...
- Hosting my own television series.
- Writing, producing and performing in dinner theater plays that are staged all over the country.
- Writing two books, The Church of the Kevin (listed as one of the Best Books of 2010) and A Bad Actor's Guide to the Meaning of Life (to be published by ACS Books and distributed by TAN Books).
- Writing a regular column for the international magazine the St. Austin Review.
- Appearing in several movies and videos.
... and of course
- Tutoring online and in person since 1998.
Intellectually, I have been especially moved by the writers Carl Jung, George Bernard Shaw, G. K. Chesterton, Flannery O'Connor, Stanley Jaki, J.R.R. Tolkien, Eric Voegelin, and more.
In addition, I have tutored every imaginable subject, including not only literature, drama, philosophy and writing but also physics, algebra and geometry. I am also able to self-design courses that receive full credit from a number of institutions that offer high school credit for homeschool and independent learning, such as the University of Missouri and the University of Nebraska.
I am currently teaching online courses in Speech, Rhetoric and Drama for Homeschool Connections, and am available for both in person and online tutoring.
Contact me for more info.