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BONUS VIDEO with Blake Boles:
This video is for parents who have a child who really doesn’t fit into the school “box”. Here I talk with my friend Blake Boles, a great guy who is my goto person when I have questions about alternative schooling options.
Here’s the link to Blake’s Kickstarter: https://www.
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Hey, what’s up? Everybody? This is Stefan stuff Pro., new here today with Blake Boles. If you’ve been following me for any. Of time, you know them executive function coach of Colorado and help struggling students navigate this thing called school and my buddy Blake here who I’ve known I’d lie and I don’t even know how we met probably through world domination Summit or something. So we met through sort of a group of people who do unconventional work. A lot of them are bloggers are bloggers are podcasters are authors or things like that, but they don’t take traditional life cats so somehow we got to know each other over the years here and there and Blake just came out with a book and then we’ll talk about that minute, but I have like on today because a just mention what’s going on with the book that he’s working on right now and be because it’s so aligned with the stuff that I do that I want to ask. We discussed this before we started tonight. I want to ask him some genuine questions based on the concept of the book that you my audience are going to I think I appreciate quite a bit like what’s up? I sent it to Beaver. Tell them a little bit about your site and sub lakelet lived a very unconventional life. I love it, but tell me a little bit about your website how you got into this room and maybe your books in your offerings and stuff real quick. What are you writing my podcast and I’m scared to the travel company have been running for about a decade now for teenagers who don’t go to school and I’ve called that unschool Adventures, but previously written about teenagers like this. How’s it go to college? If they don’t have a high school diploma about what they can do if they choose not to go to college at all still look her up and be successful and another book about self-directed learning in this what that looks like because it’s phrase that we were around easily, but when it comes down to it, I’m pretty freaky thing. Awesome. So and your new book is called. Why are you still sending your kids to school? That’s it’s deliberately provocative and it’s it’s meant for parents whose kids are clearly not a good fit for school, but the parents think well, this is just what you have to do what you have to keep sending your kids to normal conventional school. So that’s why the title is why are you still sending your kids to school? Because I say there are lots of other really great things you’d be doing with your kid, but you’re not conventional school and they run a whole gamut from like just kind of more typical say that yet cuz that’s what I want to ask you about today. So don’t get into that right yet. So before you get into that, I want to set it up a little bit because got the people that follow me or following me because their kid is 2E or they just have executive function struggles. They start with planning time management organization blah blah blah. But there is a whole spectrum of kids that I work with and what you said before I find very very very true. And I even got another email today from a parent that that has a 10 year old that wants to do a consult with me and they literally want to do a consult with me about a 10 year old who doesn’t fit in the box and should they switch schools and so on and so forth and I have some stock answers that I used for that question, but one of them is that it’s always a crapshoot and you can send your kids to the school. That seems like it should be the perfect fit but I seen it so many times where they’ll go to a private school or Montessori school or a charter school or something that’s in a trust on paper and on the internet. It looks so aligned with what the kids needs but then they go they’re there and it’s just not what it seemed like aunt or they could stay in the same school or they could go to school that’s rated wayworth. Get a teacher. That absolutely adores that make them feel seen and heard in her stead and it’s the best experience ever. But either way I have had so many experiences Lake where I have families that we have been indoctrinated in the story that you go to school and you go to college then you get a job and you retire then you die blah blah blah what’s supposed to happen is you’re supposed to go through school and get the education you need. But as we know what these kids are start with executive function who don’t fit in the box, and I know that you’re those are more my terms of you probably say no divorce or other terms with these kids that don’t fit in the box. There are kids who they are suffering and they need some other alternative. So, Feel free to fill in the blanks of what I just said and then let’s start diving into what are alternatives. Yeah Yeah Yeahs inner diverse kids are definitely part of the audience there are also a lot of kids out there who might not meet that classification but are just bored out of their minds or the nana be that the bureaucracy of the school system just driving them towards like anxiety and depression symptoms for school and there are kids who just need a lot more time with its need the freedom to dive into one thing really intensely instead of being forced to do is just love bracelet so there’s always a good fit for school and you know the number of ones who are genuinely good fit for school I imagine they are out there but I really don’t think that they’re in the majority Awesome. So then what are the Alternatives and then I think my final follow-up question. I’m going to tell you now. My final follow-up question is going to be you’ve got a parent watching right now and they are just terrified there. Like we could never do that Blake. That’s like that is too scary like it. So I have parents that come from sort of the very flexible Minds that they’ve seen a lot of alternate is there used to that sort of thing. Then we have the whole other side is Bactrim where it’s like no you follow this path our kid needs to go to college. They need to be able to do this. I want them to be successful. I’m terrified that if we don’t go down this app, that’s not going to work. So let’s go to what are other paths? And then what do you tell parents? You were like? No, this is to Do intense sure. So the other has concluded the more like traditional Progressive schools like Montessori or Waldorf Austin as those schools at age up in the middle school and high school years. They start to Look Alot Like just any other private school I can attest to that. So I tend to focus more on the radical alternative schools. The one that really focus on self-directed learning and so these might be Sudbury schools or a Child Learning Centers or liberated learner centers are most people have not heard of but these cool Innovative. Very small learning communities are scattered all across North America and their numbers are grown. I’m I also talked about homeschooling and unschooling which is the world that I’ve spent the most time in which is just taking advantage of barylak sounds when was to focus exclusively on self-directed learning with your kitten Nursery in there. Those are the two main options that we talked about. There are some cool Charter School options are Virtual School. But by and large does temps you end up looking pretty conventional and for the parent whose super let’s breakdown self-directed learning in in just a brief description of that. Self-directed learning means you follow the child and that is a double-edged sword because a lot of parents are happy to do that when their kid is automatically interested in something that’s like societally approved don’t like the kid gets super into physics of course is super into I don’t know creating art something that’s easy to support a self-directed Learner in that case, but when your kid super into Minecraft and that’s what they want to do for 8 hours a day, it gets more difficult. But the ideas that you are you are actively nurturing intrinsic motivation drive and by doing that they are going to overcome obstacles. It’s the reason that games are such powerful forces in so many kids life game is very broadly speaking a game is something where a kid will voluntarily take on challenging tasks for the reward of just getting more challenging tasks. After they went and saw that is really what you want to be doing as a parent is encouraging young person to take on more and more challenging tasks, especially as they get older and they move towards and that’s the point of being a self-directed learner. It’s like, yeah that you can follow their passions not because what there’s no folks in on specifically in this moment is necessarily what they’re going to do, you know, the kid who goes to the Minecraft base is most likely not going to become a professional gamer or programmer, but they are learning what it’s like to be totally immersed in something totally focused which I believe is what most of us want in the end from the process of Education in able to Be an Effective at that attention that focus and can you follow the kids. That’s what being attracted to me. You made a really quick, that you kind of Blue by really fast for you said something about if they were doing things that are valued by society and so many things in that kid that so many of the strengths and interests and passions and Curiosities that kids have are not measured by traditional schools. So often times we measure Math Science Social Studies language arts Etc and we have we have constructed systems that where we are measuring things with certain metrics usually test in essays there are others but those are the most common and we just had we think that’s the way to do over there is so many other valuable things to learn and get interested in that are not measured. Can you speak to that? I think you did when you mention the Minecraft thing. I think that’s one of the biggest objections that parents would have the conversation about learning by changing the metrics and I think the really important metrics to talk about our engagement. And and that is what I say all the time. Like if the kid is totally engaged in something that that is when the magic is happening. That’s when the gross has happened. But if it’s something that’s not Society approved then it’s very difficult to be supportive as a parents and that’s where the work is for the parents to be able to see through. You know, what seems to be maybe a Mindless or a worthless activity with the c i a true that there is a high level of Engagement happening and I think that kid is in that flow State, you know as defined by the guy with the crazy last name me high chick sent me high. This is when kids lose track of when they become completely immersed in an activity so that it seems like nothing else exists and that I can be kind of scary thing to see as a parent because then you don’t exist anymore, but that state is worth Nursery. Yeah, so and that’s you know, if I had a magic wands and I had to pick one thing that we would change the way that we evaluate schools and teachers and teaching on OB that rather than looking at at all the data that we typically look at we would look at how is so there’s a there’s a lot to be learned from gaming and stuff like that. But the question will be how is engagement. So if you’re going to look for your A+ schools online, they would be the ones where kids are most engaged if we measured schools by Hound gauge the kids were we will be doing things very differently. I agree. Yeah, so I think you were getting too if it seems a bit rent. I don’t think this is a very I think it’s fairly linear where we’re going but I think you were getting too. Okay. So then what happens after high school? So we have sort of these Alternatives at younger ages unschooling homeschooling alternative schools and we get past the high school or into I guess if they were at being unschooled, you wouldn’t really call it high school right by school years, but we get through the high school years and we’re on to this next chapter is the traditional is go to college or go to vacations vocational school or whatever. One thing I really like about Blake is the gap year stuff. We haven’t I don’t even think to mention that yet, but I’m a huge fan of Gap years. But so it’s it’s after high school years. What are the options in the options are pretty much the same as the options for a kid. High school and what I’ve seen is that by and large kids who are unschooled where they go to these radical alternative schools where nothing is really ask them all day. They do you end up going to college the majority of them and they take advantage of the incredible powerful inaccessible system in the underrated unfairly maligned the very useful tool but it has a certain stigma around especially if your parents went to you know, highly selective colleges having but a lot of these kids end up taking part-time Community College classes starting around age 16 17 18, and they got these transferable credits that show that they can handle college-level work and then they either apply as a freshman using their transcripts. Their mom made for them in addition to some community college credits and maybe take the SAT or the ACT transferable credits to transfer transfer. And so a lot of them. Do you go to 4-year University? And essentially if they want to go then they get in there and just like regular high schoolers and their first choice schools. There’s no great epidemic of unschooled or radically alternatively school kids in a wanting to go to college and not being able to go to college and then some of them do you move straight into career in Cumberland take their time and they take a gap year then maybe they take a second job here and then they decide to go to college when their age 19 or 20 and they’re really ready for it instead of just following the herd. Awesome. Awesome. So let’s do a completely Shameless plug for the book and I just want you to really I mean you you do an awesome job. So what I just seriously like what the benefit of the book for a parent? I think the benefit of the book is that there’s lots of books that talk about homeschooling specifically alternative school and I just lay out all the auctions and talk about them unfairly eat. I’m also a given to a few places that radical alternative education Books Austin don’t touch like a lot of the research around parenting a lot of the discussion and the recent research around the value of higher education because all these systems are interconnected to say like, yeah, you should stop sending your kid to regular school. Rosin a lot of other considerations about like, well, what does it mean to be a parent nowadays? What does it mean for my kids economic future if I’m somehow jeopardizing their higher education prospects, so I’m trying in a lot of other topics a lot of other research a lot of citations in the book and it just goes beep and I think it’s a really great book. And a lot of my colleagues in the self-directed learning world have nice things to say about the early version of the manuscript that they bread and so I had I think it’s going to be good. I think it’s going to be a lot of parents to worry less about taking the nun National half when they see that that’s clearly what is going to serve their kid was suffering in school right now. I like the way you just worded that last sentence what’s going to serve them best. And so my last question, it’s a wolf link to I think it’s it’s on it’s a Kickstarter at the moment right? Kick starter in a Kickstarter will run until noon on February 20th. So we’ll link to the kickstarter if anybody’s interested in that check that link out and then the last question I would have is for the parent that’s watching that really is that parent that year after year. They’re like my kid is not built for school or school is not built for my kid my kid feels bad. Year after year, we keep trying different things are different teachers are different schools are different approaches. We feel like we’re failing our kid is parents like we’re doing something wrong or kid feels bad about himself everybody. Something is seriously not working. What is one action that they can take after this call today Harrison next couple days for that that parent that’s like my kid is not just school is not seem to be working. Is it probably an alternative to Conventional School in your area that you don’t know about yet. And so the action is to go find that I’ve got links up on my website play kohls.com. Why the letter Y to help you find resources in groups or schools that are in your area and just set up a visiting day go and visit this group or the school or the center for 1 hour take your 10 alarm to see how it feels kind of stuff out the Bible and that alone even if you don’t decide to do anything alternative, Just knowing that there are options out there can really put your mind at ease. Dude, you’re awesome. Thank you so much for doing the work that you do. I don’t know if we’ve ever discussed how you got into this. That’s not appropriate for right at this minute. But Blake, thank you so much for your time and your heart and your energy in and helping kids. Thank you very much that I take everybody.