Tonight I have one request, and that is to go to this link and help Blake Boles reach his goal of $8500 necessary to publish his book, “Better Than College: How to Build a Successful Life Without a Four-Year Degree”.
Sounds good, right? I’ve made my contribution. Please make yours.
In case you don’t know who Blake is, you can check out his website at blakeboles.com. There is also a great interview with Blake here, in which he talks, among other things, about how he got involved in the unschooling movement:
In Spring 2003, when I was an astrophysics major at UC Berkeley, a friend handed me a John Taylor Gatto book and ignited my passion for unschooling and free schooling. I ended up changing my major to study those fields exclusively, but for years after graduating I wasn’t quite sure how to apply this passion outside the academic realm of reading and research. I knew that I liked working with teens from my time as an instructor at a wilderness summer camp, but the question of where to find these magical “self-directed teens” eluded me. A short-term internship at a Sudbury-model school (where youngsters dominated the scene) had left me unsatisfied. So, I wrote Grace Llewellyn an e-mail, remembering vaguely from my first reading of her Teenage Liberation Handbook that she ran a teen-only summer camp, and I asked her if I could become a staff member. She wrote back with an enthusiastic “yes”.
Not Back to School Camp totally altered and informed my perception of homeschooling and unschooling. Previously, I think I held many of the common doubts about homeschooled teens: Are they really just social recluses? Do they have personalities? Can they actually read and write well? NBTSC blew those all away by showing me that unschooled homeschooled teens are really more like savvy high school graduates taking an extended gap year. (Literally, their social, emotional, and intellectual literacy levels were often on par with most high school graduates.) These teens were taking on challenges and projects at age 15, 16, or 17 that blew me away. And socially they were “normal,” “well-adjusted” kids with shares of healthy weirdness and idiosyncrasy. The first summer that I worked at NBTSC I spent one session there, and I returned the next year to work all three sessions. Since then, I haven’t looked back in my desire to work with unschooling (or more generally, “self-directed”) teens.
In addition, Blake runs Unschool Adventures, which takes unschooled teens on trips all over the world (can unschool parents go too, please?!), as well as being the founder of Zero Tuition College. Blake is a busy guy, and one of the best voices out there in favor of unschooling and self-directed learning that doesn’t stop when you reach college age – or ever.
I haven’t met Blake yet, but hope to in the near future. He lives in Asheville, NC and I have connections in Asheville, so….
In the meantime, please make a donation. As of today, there are 26 days left in the fundraising campaign, so feel free to pass the information along to as many people as you can!