I had just viewed a film Conditions to Flourish. A film about grown kids who skipped school– their experiences and with their families and what they were currently up to…
In the film, I noticed the following points:
1. The kids had close relationships with their parents.
2. The young adults did meaningful work.
3. They were eclectic in their interests.
4. They seemed like nice, happy people.
Unschooled or homeschooled students I have worked with or know are doing some of the following: attending college–(Hampshire, San Francisco Sate University, UC Davis, University California Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley, San Francisco College of the Arts, Cabrillo College, Boston Conservatory, Cal State Northridge –to name a few), studying super advanced mathematics in Budapest, starting and running small businesses, refereeing soccer, firefighting, working with disabled children, creating computer games, designing costumes in the London theater scene, teaching dance, dancing themselves, choreographing shows, running the technical part of productions, leading their own classes and clubs (improvisation and debate), designing and selling jewelery, sewing professionally, teaching rock climbing, farming, ranching, working construction, traveling the world, working in various stores (video, ice cream, health food, coffee shops), analyzing politics, studying marine biology, designing and building underwater robots, designing websites, gaming professionally, playing in a band, mastering guitar, competing in various sports (swimming, soccer, baseball, gymnastics, diving, wrestling, tumbling and trampoline, martial arts), participating in the military, lawyering in teen peer court, caring for and riding horses, counseling families, acting in musical or regular theater, teaching music, creating amazing drawings and characters, writing stories (books?), midwifing, nannying young children (lucky kids!), teaching and coaching young children, parenting (raising the next generation of freethinkers), taking care of their grandparents, and working with computers in a way that I can’t even begin to describe.
These young adults mostly skipped school altogether (though some only partially homeschooled), and some are still high school aged.
Here are examples of are others who opted out of a failed system:
Eli Gerzon left school at 15, and is now a world traveler, writer and speaker.
Check out Deven Black who I can swear I blogged about, but can’t seem to dig out of my archives. He dropped out of high school twice and college once because school interfered with his learning. He is now a middle school librarian and media specialist… (I love love love those free thinkers IN the system!)
And another about Nick Perez, who spent years in special ed classes, drugged,depressed, and isolated, before he left school at 17. He’s a software developer in NYC now.
Today, I came across this story– on The Innovative Educator (which is a goldmine by the way) — about David Karp– the guy who started Tumblr. He dropped out of school, and pursued mentorships, apprenticeships, and independent studies, all aligning with his interests and passions. At 11, he began learning HTML, and at 14 was designing web sites.
Click on the links. They are fascinating stories.
More than anything though, these kids grow up finding work and lives they love and are passionate about; they are happy. They do not follow paths prescribed for them, or measure success by fancy university degrees, well paying jobs, or the accumulation of power.
At Pacific Sands Academy, we believe that living an interest-led life is a measure of success. We strive to provide opportunities for young people to do just this.