66 episodes

Interviews with innovative educators and self-directed young people. Hosted by Blake Boles (blakeboles.com). Formerly the Real Education Podcast.

Off-Trail Learning Blake Boles

    • Education

Interviews with innovative educators and self-directed young people. Hosted by Blake Boles (blakeboles.com). Formerly the Real Education Podcast.

    Matthew Gioia on Sudbury Ideals vs. Reality

    Matthew Gioia on Sudbury Ideals vs. Reality

    After teaching 6th grade reading at a tough school in Mississippi, Matthew Gioia discovered the Sudbury Valley School literature and quickly became enamored. Like many people (myself included) Sudbury represents an idyllic philosophy that leaves behind the baggage of conventional education. But how do the ideals match up with actual Sudbury schools? Matthew joins me to discuss the day-to-day realities of school governance, the justice system, motivation, staff-student relations, adult non-intervention, and preparing for life beyond school at the Hudson Valley Sudbury School (sudburyschool.com) where he has worked for seven years.

    [Apologies for the background noise on Matthew's end, it was due to a hyperactive laptop fan!]

    • 1 hr 12 min
    Kerry McDonald on Entrepreneurial Education

    Kerry McDonald on Entrepreneurial Education

    Kerry McDonald (fee.org/kerry) is the author of the 2019 book, Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom, as well as a regular contributor to Forbes, the Cato Institute, and the Foundation for Economic Education. We discuss Kerry’s faith in the private sector to nurture innovative education models, what sets her book apart from others, her path through Harvard Graduate School of Education, her role in founding the Alliance for Self-Directed Education, and her mysterious new ed-tech business. (Update: not so mysterious any more! Visit https://unschool.school) Kerry has four children, all of whom are unschooled, and three of whom regularly attend a hackerspace/makerspace in Boston.

    • 40 min
    Gina Riley on Self-Determination Theory

    Gina Riley on Self-Determination Theory

    Gina Riley, Ph.D., is an educational psychologist and Clinical Professor of Adolescent Special Education at Hunter College in New York City. She's also the leading researcher on the connection between unschooling and Self-Determination Theory. Gina discusses the three factors that generate intrinsic motivation (competence, autonomy, and relatedness), why kids like extracurriculars more than school, the many parenting styles associated with unschooling, how to support a kid’s autonomy (even when you don’t like what they do with it), and how learning disabilities coexist with unschooling.

    Find all of Gina’s work at http://hunter-cuny.academia.edu/ginariley.

    • 56 min
    Ken Danford on Liberated Learners

    Ken Danford on Liberated Learners

    Ken Danford is the Executive Director of North Star (northstarteens.org), author of the new book "Learning is Natural, School is Optional", and the first guest to ever appear on this podcast. In this episode we discuss the Liberated Learners network through which Ken helps other people start centers similar to his, his advice for starting a new center (hint: talk to everyone in town, and don’t rely on homeschoolers to fill the program), and how L.L. fits into the broader alternative education movement. We conclude by discussing where Ken is headed next and what he would do with a few million dollars.

    Learn more about Ken and his book at kennethdanford.com, and find his survey of North Star alumni at self-directed.org/tp/north-star-alumni/

    • 55 min
    Lori Walker on Village Home

    Lori Walker on Village Home

    What if there was a community college built just for homeschoolers? This may not exist yet, but Lori Walker has created the next best thing: Village Home Education Resource Center (villagehome.org). For 17 years Village Home has served young people (from pre-k through high school) in and around Portland, Oregon. Learners choose between a huge diversity of classes (costing roughly $110 each), hang out with each other between class (as can their parents and siblings), and best of all, there’s no homework and teachers only give you feedback when you specifically request it. Lori talks about how Village Home works, why she started it, and where it (and she) are headed next.

    Show your love for this podcast by making a monthly donation: patreon.com/blakeboles

    • 51 min
    Bill Deresiewicz on The Power and Peril of Self-Education

    Bill Deresiewicz on The Power and Peril of Self-Education

    What does it mean to “self-educate?” Are autodidacts made or born? Can one develop an intellect without formal higher education? In this special episode, Blake discusses these big questions (and many more) with Bill Deresiewicz (the author of Excellent Sheep) and guest facilitator Dev Carey. This event was recorded live in Portland, Oregon, on September 1, 2019, at the Wayfinding Academy.

    Learn more about Bill at billderesiewicz.com, Dev at highdesertcenter.org, and Wayfinding Academy at wayfindingacademy.org.

    (Note: My claim about the percentage of K-12 students in private schools in the US was wrong: it’s roughly 10%.)

    • 1 hr 18 min

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