Blake Boles on Adventure
Off-Trail Learning
by Blake Boles
5M ago
Guest host Zen Zenith returns to interview Blake about his obsession with adventure. What exactly makes an adventure? How is adventure connected to self-directed learning? Is adventure just for privileged people? Why can’t Blake just settle down and lead a normal life? How do Unschool Adventures trips create a sense of adventure for both teens and trip leaders? Does adventure become harder as one grows older? Does Blake even have a retirement plan?! And what comes next? Read Blake’s “Notes on Adventure” here: https://blakeboles.substack.com Find Zen on Twitter: @zenzenith ..read more
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Liam Nilsen on Reading
Off-Trail Learning
by Blake Boles
7M ago
Liam Nilsen (https://liam.media) is a designer and educator based in Åårhus, Denmark. He’s a former member of the LEGO Idea Studio, the founder of an Agile Learning Center, and a life-long unschooler who didn’t start reading until age 9 — at which point he fell in love with the written word. Liam and I discuss our lives as readers, including the books that have changed our lives, how we discover new things to read, books vs. articles vs. newspapers vs. social media, old favorites that now embarrass us, writing inside books, and keeping books vs. giving them away. We also discuss the virtues of ..read more
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Manue on The Homeschooling Situation in France
Off-Trail Learning
by Blake Boles
1y ago
Manue is a representative in the South of France of Les Enfants D’Abord (lesenfantsdabord.org), a home education advocacy association which is particularly committed to the rights of unschoolers. (The name translates to “Children First.”) We discuss the organization’s mission to promote children’s rights over parental domination, the history of homeschooling regulation in France, home inspections, the growing power of French social services, and the new French homeschooling law that takes effect in 2022 and its purported mission to fight separatism.  Manue also explains wha ..read more
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Nick Bergson-Shilcock on the Recurse Center
Off-Trail Learning
by Blake Boles
1y ago
Nick Bergson-Shilcock is the CEO and co-founder of the Recurse Center (recurse.com), a self-directed and community-driven educational retreat for computer programmers. Nick describes his background as a lifelong unschooler (he’s the son of Peter Bergson, a recent podcast guest), as well as his early interest in gaming and programming and his transition into college, career, and Y Combinator (the startup incubator). We discuss how RC differs from “coding bootcamps,” who applies, who gets in, how the whole thing is funded, RC’s unique social rules (no well-actually’s, no feigning surprise, no ba ..read more
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Anna Smith and Mara Donahoe on Home & Hybrid Education
Off-Trail Learning
by Blake Boles
1y ago
Anna Smith and Mara Donahoe are the co-founders (with Natasha Morisawa) of the National Association of Home & Hybrid Education (homeandhybrideducation.org), a new advocacy organization that hopes to bring together all members of the alternative education movement in the United States. We discuss why Home & Hybrid Education (HHE) was created, whether the U.S. needs another homeschool organization, how HHE differs from other large organizations (AERO, ASDE, HSLDA), and why public hybrid options deserve a seat at the table. I ask them what a massively successful HHE would look like in 10 ..read more
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Lilli And Elena on Biking Through Europe at Age 19
Off-Trail Learning
by Blake Boles
1y ago
While biking through the south of France, I met Lilli and Elena, two 19-year-old German women who are also on a cycling adventure. (We shared the same Couchsurfing host.) We discuss their bike trip, their path through formal education in Germany, why they’re taking a gap year, how they spend less than $10/day, how they stay safe, and what the trip has taught them so far ..read more
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Joel Malkoff on Joining The Circus
Off-Trail Learning
by Blake Boles
1y ago
Joel Malkoff (joelkmalkoffcircusartist.com) is a contemporary circus artist and 27-year-old grown unschooler from Indiana. We discuss Joel’s recent experience at the National Circus School of Montreal (“the Harvard of circus”), the job market for circus artists, and his new 3-person circus collective, La Quadrature (instagram.com/laquadrature). We also talk about Joel’s upbringing as an unschooler, his mother's influence, his childhood passions (skateboarding, parkour, guitar), his experiences at Not Back to School Camp, the difficulty of getting organized as a self-directed learner, the chall ..read more
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Alfie Kohn On Progressive Education
Off-Trail Learning
by Blake Boles
1y ago
Alfie Kohn (alfiekohn.org) is the author of fourteen books and a well-known advocate of progressive education. Mr. Kohn discusses the purpose behind his 30+ years of advocacy, his critique of “grit” and “growth mindset”, and his take on the classic progressive school models (Montessori/Waldorf/Reggio) as well as homeschooling, unschooling, and highly self-directed schools & centers. He expresses concern over the extreme varieties of self-directed education and argues for the vital role of teachers (and other actively-involved adults) in education. We end by identifying common ground betwee ..read more
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Catherine Fraise On Workspace
Off-Trail Learning
by Blake Boles
1y ago
Catherine Fraise is the founder of Workspace Education (workspaceeducation.org) and 100 Roads (100roads.org). We discuss Catherine’s background as a Montessori educator, the pivotal trip to Japan she took as a 12-year-old, the Workspace co-learning and co-working center she created in Connecticut, and her newest venture, WorkspaceSky Teens: an online community for teenage self-directed learners. We touch on the trade-off between virtual and in-person communities, the logistical and financial challenges faced by would-be founders of alternative schools, and how the pandemic was a blessing in di ..read more
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Peter Bergson on Open Education
Off-Trail Learning
by Blake Boles
1y ago
Peter Bergson is the co-founder of two self-directed learning centers in the Philadelphia area: Open Connections (openconnections.org) and Natural Creativity Center (naturalcreativity.org). We discuss Peter’s journey from creativity consultant to early childhood educator, his collaboration with John Holt, fighting for better homeschooling laws in the 80s, growing a tiny self-directed learning center in a bigger and better-funded one, the importance of “sense of belonging” for young people, and his attempt to bring his ideas to inner-city Philadelphia. Peter stars in the 2020 documentary “Unsch ..read more
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