Learning is Natural School is Optional

I believe that learning should be flexible. Someone’s learning experience should conform to the individual, rather then the collective. If school works for you, that’s great! If homeschooling works for you, that’s also great! Your learning pathway should be your own.

When I was 12 years old I left school. I remember in 5th grade they got rid of recess. Trapped indoors with no fresh air, I spent 6 hours a day gazing out the windows. I felt trapped.

Instead of doing homework, I procrastinated it in favor of doing video projects. For this reason, I was punished and scolded on a daily basis for not turning in my assignments on time. What was I actually learning during this compulsory education?
How to be miserable?

I wanted freedom.

Maybe that’s why I thrived when I broke out. With the support of my family, I started homeschooling. All of those bottled up desires for freedom came bursting out when I started to freely explore my interests.

Alongside homeschooling, I attended North Star. North Star is an alternative to school that facilitates self-directed learning.

Here’s the review that I left for North Star.

North Star changed my life. It propelled me down a pathway of self-directed education. I was able to pursue my interests in an unbounded way. During my time here, I was exposed to many positive ideas and possibilities.

North Star represents a culturally significant shift in how we view education, from centralized and standardized, to decentralized and flexible. I’m excited to see a future where we adopt this approach for quality learning experiences for people across the world.

Some people believe that teenagers must be forced to learn because they don’t want to. Here’s what North Star has to say about that.

Human beings are learning creatures. We don’t have to persuade babies to be curious and to seek competence and understanding. The same can be true of teenagers. Rather than trying to motivate teenagers, we support their basic human drive to learn and grow. Where obstacles—internal or external—have gotten in the way of this intrinsic drive, we focus on helping teenagers overcome or remove these obstacles.

At North Star, I explored my interests by taking optional classes.

Contrary to popular belief, we don’t need school to learn. In the real world, learning happens everywhere. Throughout life, we won’t always have a dedicated learning space (like school). Sometimes learning will happen on a new job, or when pursuing a new interest. For this reason, why not learn how to live life?

Recommended books:

Learning is Natural, School is Optional by Ken Danford

Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom by Kerry Mcdonald

The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education