I am a huge fan of TED Talks and recently enjoyed watching 13 year-old Logan LaPlante deliver a thought-provoking presentation on hackschooling. He and his brother have been homeschooled for the past few years, and the family has adopted the term to describe how education – like everything in life – can be hacked, or made better. His journey began four years ago when his parents pulled him from a traditional school and began crafting a different kind of educational experience focused more on making a life verses making a living. From Logan’s talk we learn that the transition was not so easy for his parents in large part because the consensual reality is that kids belong in schools!
How is Logan LaPlante doing out of school? Watch the video and see for yourself.
We are among the families incredibly frustrated with traditional education. For four years we have done everything possible to give our son a solid education, and despite our best efforts, we continue to believe that the present system is not serving him well. Education has been in a constant state of reform, with every decade ushering in some new fix. In the 90’s education was outcome based, then in the 2000’s George W. Bush pushed the No Child Left Behind Act. Now, the latest incarnation – The Common Core Standards Initiative may be the worst idea yet!
Yong Zhao, the Presidential Chair and Associate Dean for Global Education at the University of Oregon’s College of Education (yes, I want you to know this guy knows what he is talking about) wrote a brilliant piece on the initiative, saying in summary:
The efforts to develop a common curricula nationally and internationally are simply working to perfect an outdated paradigm. The outcomes are precisely the opposite of the talents we need for the new era. Do we want individuals who are good at taking tests, or individuals who are creative and entrepreneurial?
So back to Logan. If you watched the video you now know he appears to be doing just fine outside of traditional education. Utilizing experiential classes and camps, technology and online resources, and lifestyle interventions, he has hacked his education, creating a hybrid that honors his natural talents and gifts. Our hats are off to this young man and his entire family for having the courage to do what most will not. Will we follow in their footsteps, I guess you will need to keep reading this blog to see how things turn out.