During this time of global school upheaval, I’m bringing back to the podcast self-directed learning advocate Blake Boles. Blake is the founder and director of Unschool Adventures, the host of the Off-Trail Learning podcast, and the author of several books on unschooling, including The Art of Self-Directed Learning, Better Than College, College Without High School, and his latest book Why Are You Still Sending Your Kids to School?

Now, most of us are not currently sending our kids to school in the traditional sense, and not by choice either, but I’m guessing that this experience is reshaping and disrupting many parents’ ideas and assumptions about education and what it should or shouldn’t look like for their child–especially if that child is differently wired–and reconsidering whether they will send their child back to school once schools reopen. This is precisely why I wanted to invite Blake back to the podcast–not only is his latest book incidentally very “of the moment,” Blake’s thoughtful and rigorous approach makes him one of my favorite go-to advocates for all things homeschool and alternative-learning related. Even parents who can’t wait for schools to reopen will get a lot out of this conversation, as we’ve all been thrown into this grand experiment in remote-learning together. I hope you find this conversation as thought-provoking and informative as I did. 

 

About Blake: Blake Boles is the founder and director of Unschool Adventures and the author of Why Are You Still Sending Your Kids to School?, The Art of Self-Directed Learning, Better Than College, and College Without High School. He hosts the Off-Trail Learning podcast and has delivered over 75 presentations for education conferences, alternative schools, and parent groups. Blake and his work have appeared on The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, BBC Travel, Psychology Today, Fox Business, TEDx, The Huffington Post, USA Today, NPR affiliate radio, and the blogs of Wired and The Wall Street Journal.

In 2003 Blake was studying astrophysics at UC Berkeley when he stumbled upon the works of John Taylor Gatto, Grace Llewellyn, and other alternative education pioneers. Deeply inspired by the philosophy of unschooling, Blake custom-designed his final two years of college to focus exclusively on education theory. After graduating he joined the Not Back to School Camp community and began writing and speaking widely on the subject of self-directed learning.

In his previous lives, Blake worked as a high-volume cook, delivery truck driver, summer camp director, Aurora Borealis research assistant, math tutor, outdoor science teacher, camp medic, ski resort market researcher, web designer, and windsurfing instructor. His biggest passion is sharing his enthusiasm and experience with young adults who are blazing their own trails through life. He was born in 1982.

 

THINGS YOU’LL LEARN FROM THIS EPISODE:

  • What is unschooling
  • Blake’s thoughts on what’s happening right now around the world with schools closed and kids at home
  • Blake’s response to the recent article in Harvard Magazine, “The Risks of Homeschooling”
  • What was the impetus for Blake’s new book 
  • Blake’s three-pronged measure for risk vs benefit when it comes to choosing homeschool or traditional school for your child
  • Blake’s message to parents who might want to try unschooling or who are rethinking their own assumptions about learning and education

 

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