Tag Archives: alternative education

Riding, writing, and pursuing our own nature

Hi Friends. We know, it’s been a long blog hiatus. Luckily, that’s because we’ve been making great progress on the book. With a first draft (mostly) completed, Brandon and I had a week of intense editing in Maine in late March. Now we’re thrilled to be receiving and integrating short bike-touring narrative contributions from ~10 of our favorite “bicycle warriors”!

The next step will be to edit the book, illustrate it, and lay it out for publishing. [We are eager to bring on some more volunteer editors willing to spend a few hours providing their feedback on our pre-published draft…. let us know if you’re interested!] It’s a fun, challenging, overwhelming, exciting and exhausting, and just generally incredible learning process and a true test of our discipline. We can’t wait to see the final product, and we hope you’re excited too! In a future post, we’ll share some of our lessons we learned from the early conceptualization of our idea all the way to the end product.

My friend Lucy recently shared this article with me. It was written a few years ago by John Taylor Gatto, a leading voice in the alternative education/unschooling sphere. Reading it gave me a kick of adrenaline and inspiration which I’m channeling into the book. Here’s a snippet:

Only you can educate you—and you can’t do it by memorizing. You have to find out who you are by experience and by risk-­taking, then pursue your own nature intensely. […] To know yourself, you have to keep track of your random choices, figure out your patterns, and use this knowledge to dominate your own mind. It’s the only way that free will can grow.

To pursuing our own nature intensely!

Claire (+ Brandon)

We took a day off to go on an epic hike in the White Mountains.

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Why self-directed learning is the future of education

Hey, watch this:

Sal Khan, the founder of the Khan Academy, is a brilliant dude and one of the most super education innovators of our day. A few sprinkles of wisdom that I love about this short video:

  • The future of education is one or two giant classrooms where information is available and learning is self-directed
  • In this classroom, everyone will work at their own pace, so when students want to take a break to pursue an idea (like building a robot for 6 months, or embarking on a bike adventure wink wink) it will be a-okay
  • “Teachers more than ever are fountains of knowledge, experience, mentorship, and humanity as opposed to fountains of a scripted lecture.” zing.
  • The best learning happens when the student demands knowledge, rather than having it preemptively delivered to them (how many times have you or your kids said, “I’m never going to need to know this!”?)

We can apply this idea to our every day lives pretty easily. Think about the last time you wanted to try cooking up a new dish for dinner. How did you figure out what to make? I’d venture to guess that you decided to look up a recipe online (maybe on epicurious.com), or perused one of your existing recipe books (genius!). And what did you do when you stumbled upon a cooking term you weren’t familiar with? You probably looked it up (brilliant!). If someone had narrated recipes to you sometime when you weren’t interested in actually cooking anything, you might have tuned out the lecture and ventured into the inner-depths of lala land. But when you had a practical and immediate demand for the information, you learned it quickly and relatively easily.

When we understand what our goal is – what it is that we want to create – figuring out the steps to get there is fun, relevant, and intuitive. If the steps aren’t intuitive, we can reach out to teachers and mentors for guidance. I think this simple idea is the key to unearthing our next education revolution.

Check out the Khan AcademyTED.com, OpenCourseware, P2PU, and Zero Tuition College for more free learning tools… these guys are spilling out knowledge and resources for whenever we decide we want to soak ’em up!

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