#48 - Blake Boles | Why Are You Still Sending Your Kids To School?
🗓️ Recorded December 11th, 2023. 📍Mexico City, Mexico
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About this Episode
Blake Boles is an unschooling advocate and author of the book 'Why Are You Still Sending Your Kids To School' he also runs transformative teen programs called Unschool Adventures.
In this episode, we also explore the transformative power of alternative education. We examine the conventional education system's limitations and champion personalized learning paths inspired by notable educational theorists. As Blake, we have diverged from traditional career paths, and together, we share our experiences and the growth that stems from independence and stepping outside one's comfort zone.
Our discussion ventures into parenting, challenging the current trend of being overprotective. We advocate for a balanced approach to parenting and education, emphasizing the importance of listening to and supporting our children's unique paths.
This conversation promises to be an enlightening exploration of self-directed learning, the joys of adventure, and the art of nurturing young minds for a diverse and vibrant educational future.
🗓️ Recorded December 11th, 2023. 📍Mexico City, Mexico
▬ Connect with Blake Boles ▬
- Website: https://www.blakeboles.com/
- Website: https://www.unschooladventures.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blaketotheboles/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/unschooladventures/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unschool.adventures
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blake.boles
Books by Blake Boles
- Why Are You Still Sending Your Kids to School?
- The Art of Self-Directed Learning
- Better Than College: How to Build a Successful Life Without a Four-Year Degree
- College Without High School: A Teenager’s Guide to Skipping High School and Going to College
Other books mentioned in this episode:
- Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World--and Why Things Are Better Than You Think - By Hans Rosling
- The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children - By Alison Gopnik
Watch the full interview on YouTube
00:00 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
Welcome to Self-Directed. We are your hosts, cecilia and Jesper Conrad, and now it's time to welcome this week's guest. All right, today we are together with Blake Bowles, who our good friend Pat Ferenker recommended for talk, and it has been some time where I wanted to get in contact with you, blake, so I'm very happy that finally we succeeded. Earlier we have been in Europe and you have been down in South America, and now we are in Mexico and you're in Europe. So where are you right now?
00:35 - Blake Boles (Guest)
I'm in Freiburg in the southwest of Germany and it's great to be here. I'm glad we finally connected.
00:42 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
It's very nice to meet you finally and we hope that the unstable Wi-Fi of Mexico City will support this recording, because I really look forward to talking to you, even though my voice will not. But you'll have to do the talking because I can't do much of it today.
01:00 - Blake Boles (Guest)
I can help.
01:01 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
Thank you. So, blake, I don't know where to start actually, because you present yourself on your website as an adventurer with a bike, so maybe we could start there.
01:18 - Blake Boles (Guest)
Sure, in about two weeks, I'll be on a cycle trip through Argentinian and Chilean Patagonia, the Andes, and be doing that for about five weeks with two friends, and when I come back to Europe in the spring, I hope to do more bike travel through Germany and Netherlands and Denmark, even carrying everything that I have with me, and this is a mode of adventure that I've been really into since 2020. My first bike trip was supposed to go across the United States, starting in New York City, going down to the south and then across the southern US, but it was canceled by COVID, and so I'm making up for lost time. And, yeah, and this is a recent thing, historically I've been more into backpacking, trips and trail running, and, of course, travel is a form of adventure that I've been seriously addicted to for my entire adult life. So, yeah, I think that's where the word adventure comes from, even though I think a lot of people might hear that word and think something else.
02:27 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
Yeah, like you're going out hunting something or exploring. But it is exploring and we have traveled early on, mostly in car, where it's a different mode than traveling with backpack, totally different. You have a lot of stuff with you, we travel in a van and Cecilia has for some years trying to talk me into doing a bike trip through Euro. We have taken the Camino, so we have done it with walking, but I have yes to say yes to the bike trip, but I'm pushing hard.
03:03 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
Really pushing hard. I think it would be such a great adventure. The logistics of it as we are a large group and accommodation and when you are large groups and things are just less flexible and become urgent faster. So yeah, but I think the kids have a good age for it Now that the youngest will be 12 in January. So they are strong and they can. They've been traveling for five and a half years nonstop so they are used to handling all sorts of situations. They can be cold and they can be talking, they can be hungry, they can be wet and they don't wind too much If there is no Wi-Fi, like the hard life in Mexico City right now.
03:52 - Blake Boles (Guest)
I'm a huge fan of bike travel in Europe and when I discovered how easy it was here, how accommodating it was, it was an easy convert, and I'm also experienced with taking large groups of young people on travel programs and know that it's not easy to find spontaneous accommodation, or if somebody has an upset stomach or someone's feeling exhausted or sick, then there's just so many variables in place. So, group of seven that definitely feels challenging but not impossible, and the website Warm Showers is my number one favorite place to go to find free accommodation, and often free meals too, for bicycle travelers, and there's a lot of families that are hosting on that website. It's like couch surfing, but just for cyclists, and so I think that you would probably have some luck in Europe with actually finding hosting for your entire family.
04:47 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
04:48 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
We will try that out.
04:49 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
It has to be put into the calendar at some point. Yeah, Tell me about the groups that you I mean. That's probably why I pad for.
04:58 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
Absolutely. That is why I paded for you do the unschooling teams and the traveling?
05:04 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
Can you talk about that?
05:07 - Blake Boles (Guest)
Yeah, this started 15 years ago after I had traveled to South America myself for three months and really wanted to go back to Argentina, and I had some experience working at summer camps, including a summer camp for teenage unschoolers named Not Back to School Camp, and I long story short, I tried to get a job in the gap year field and I did not get the job that I wanted, and so I ended up deciding to start the travel company unschool adventures and take groups of teenage homeschoolers and unschoolers and alternative school students on, yeah, four to six week long international trips, and so the first trip I did was back to Argentina in 2008, with a group of eight teenagers and myself and my friend Abby as my co-leader, and we went for six weeks.
The first two weeks were in Patagonia doing homestays and Spanish classes. The next two weeks were mostly designed it was travel planned and designed by the participants, given a budget and some parameters and the last two weeks were in Buenos Aires and we lived in some group apartments and we learned tango and explore the city each day, and that was that was my six, yeah my six week introduction to being a travel organizer and it was just the greatest experience ever.
So I said I'm going to keep doing this and you have you do. Yeah, I do, I have. It's been going since 2008. Yeah, I run one or two trips a year that was.
06:36 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
you must have given these young people such a life, a changing experience and so deep memories. Have you had the pleasure of seeing any of the ones from the 2008 group nowadays to see where they're at?
06:53 - Blake Boles (Guest)
You know I see a little bit on social media, but mostly, no, I don't do follow up interviews or have long, deep conversations, and I actually think that this is okay. And I remember one of the most transformative travel experiences that I had as a teenager is when I was 14 and I got to go to Chile and live there for a month and stay with the homestay family, and after that month I did not stay in contact with my homestay family, with my host brother. I didn't stay in touch with any of the other American students that we came down as a group but then we were all split up into to solo homestays but we had time together as a group. I didn't stay in touch with any of them. I couldn't tell you the names of the two trip leaders, but the trip itself and the higher level of freedom and responsibility, that and all the cultural differences and the language barriers that I navigated, that is what stuck and that's what matters yeah, absolutely.
07:51 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
What are your own background in terms of ending up focusing on homeschool and unschooling? Are you a public schoolboy or have you been homeschooled or unschooled yourself?
08:04 - Blake Boles (Guest)
I like that Public schoolboy. Yes, I'm a public schoolboy from California.
08:08 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
08:10 - Blake Boles (Guest)
And so I didn't have any exposure to alternative education and I held many stereotypes about it. And when I was in, I went to college to study astronomy and physics and I thought I wanted to be a research scientist. And after about two years I had some really interesting classes. But I saw the graduate students in this field and did not really envy the lives that I saw. They were kind of like programmers, just in their dark caves in front of computers for 12 hours a day, and while they could talk about their research I realized there's probably only 15 people in the world who can understand whatever research they were doing. And I already knew that I liked working with summer camps, I liked doing things outdoors, and so I thought maybe I could combine my science background with education and become a high school science teacher. And so I started reading some books about the American school system and I quickly discovered John Taylor Gatto and Grace Lee Wellin and John Holt and the books about the Sudbury Valley schools.
Oh, you weren't rabbit hole.
Oh, I went deep into the rabbit hole and I'm very glad that I did, because I think it saved me a number of years of perhaps frustrated effort and definitely some money, and I decided to never even enter the conventional school system, whether public or private, from the beginning, and said I'm going to see what I can do in this alternative education world.
So I ended up designing my own bachelor's degree in alternative education theory. I had a lot of self directed opportunities when I did that. I just needed to have two professors approve my plan and then I had to write a senior thesis paper, and otherwise I could do pretty much what I wanted to and still graduate with a degree. So that's what I did. I ended up in the outdoor education world for a few years after that, working with public school groups, which was nice. I like exposing kids to nature and teaching them science through hands on means. But it was still pretty schoolish and a bit of a factory, with new groups coming every week, and so I was looking for opportunities to do longer term work with a small group, and that is when running travel programs seem like the right fit.
10:31 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
I just need to scroll a little back, because you created your own college degree or university degree. You more or less university bachelor's degree. I think that you have to elaborate a little on that, because I think people are sitting and saying what. And you're actually no, no, but can you actually create it yourself?
10:56 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
Still, you could do it.
10:57 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
Yeah, but I've just never heard a lot of Americans saying OK, because it's very like. Ok, then we do this kind of thing.
11:06 - Blake Boles (Guest)
So it's not something that you can do at every university in the US, but I discovered that a surprising number of universities will let you do this, but it wasn't like a clear option that was presented to me when I was a student there. I had to kind of fight for it and dig and find this one person who lived in this one office, who had the kind of the keys to the kingdom, so to speak. And so, yeah, there was a program called the Interdisciplinary Studies Program and that's for people who wanted to combine two different liberal arts focuses. And I went to talk with them and they said, yeah, what you want to do, it's not really going to work here. If you want to modify your plans. I said I don't want to modify my plans, I want to do exactly what I'm going to do. And so one of them finally said all right, we'll go find this thing called the individual major.
Here's this lady's name. She's in this building. She was in the astronomy building, ironically. So I didn't have to go very far. And again, as long as I could get two professors to approve the idea to sponsor it, then I was good to go.
12:10 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
Well, it's great. It's great. Universities used to be more like that when my parents were studying. They didn't make up their own education, but there were lectures where the professors would share their passion and then you would go home and read whatever you felt like reading. And this is more true for my mom who studied French than for my dad who studied law, because you know, if it's all, you kind of have to read the rules, but they could design it. It was more of a free thing, and then you handed in your thesis and you did your exams and it was more random, whereas now the universities at least where we come from, they have become factories, everyone doing the same, everyone following the curriculum, everyone being so. It's so scary how efficient they are. They go for the goal.
No, but really there's no wiggle room, even in the mind of the students, which is, I mean, I like, if you want to learn some Discipline, is a good thing to sit down and study every day, maybe reading another book, maybe skipping an exam, maybe taking a break, just do something else. There's not much of that left and there's not much space for it. I only really know about the Scandinavian system, and it changed for the worse between my parents' education the one that I had where we had quite some wiggle room still and now where it's just not in track. Man, it's a high-speed train.
13:58 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
13:59 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
Yeah, I'm happy you did that and I hope that you have some hidden professors in corners somewhere in the US universities still for people to find a way to do what they really want to do.
14:13 - Blake Boles (Guest)
Yeah, that was definitely half of my college experience, and the other half was living in a very alternative form of student housing, these student cooperative houses, in which they're very inexpensive they're about half the cost of the standard dorms that are owned by the university and these are owned by a non-profit. Instead, the students all had to work for five hours each week for the house. There was no one paid to do cleaning, no one paid to do cooking, no one paid to manage the house. We all did it ourselves and we had these wonderfully, terribly long democratic meetings every week to keep order and to figure out what we're doing and to spend ridiculous amounts of money on parties, and so as soon as I got into this house, which is called Casas in Baubway, I became one of the Thursday night dinner cooks and I was preparing food all of a sudden, using very large equipment for the roughly 90 students that would show up on Thursday nights, and I was preparing meat and vegetarian and vegan options. I'd never met a vegan in my life before, and this student co-op attracted all sorts of very interesting, weird, smart, eccentric people, and that definitely was another huge part, and very positive part, of my university experience. If I try to imagine going back to that same university but not having this unique living experience. It would have not been as rich an experience, definitely.
So, yeah, I definitely lucked out in many ways in the university department and I think that definitely influenced my optimism towards what's possible in university and in the first book that I wrote was called College Without High School, about how to get into university if you don't go to regular high school.
And then there was some stuff that I snuck in there at the end of that book about how you can do university differently and how you can really take advantage of it and not just be a passive consumer of the experience but squeeze everything out of it that you can. Because that is the experience that I had and I think if you're going to go to university, that's the way to do it Go when you are thoroughly ready and motivated and you want to get everything you can out of the amazing institution instead of just going because everyone else is going and this is what I have to do and show up and do the minimal effort required to get your degree. That's a very school mindset and I just don't think that that's how higher education should be done, or life.
16:52 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
16:52 - Blake Boles (Guest)
16:53 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
Or anything, anything. This applies for everything. Basically, don't do it if you don't want to.
16:57 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
But I love the sense and passive consumer of the experience well put, and it reminded me that, well, our podcast is called Self-Directed and it is because we believe in choosing the direction of your own life. And I'm still curious about what made you a non-passive consumer. Where do you think it first happened that you started to take decisions on your own life? Because I honestly, for me it was pure luck. I was down the okay, I go this way and after this I need to go to some gymnasium and then maybe college and university. But then I got bit by a bug that was interesting in making film and then I forgot everything about the straight line. But if I haven't had that week where I met some wonderful people that introduced me to making movies and the stuff, then I would probably just have walked a straight line, or maybe not.
18:04 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
I don't think so. No, it's good story. You were bit by that.
18:10 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
I was bit by the not listening.
18:15 - Blake Boles (Guest)
The whole nature and nurture question is such a difficult one to parse out and we can never know for sure, but if I need to come up with an explanation, then my dad was a self-employed. He was an entrepreneur for most of my life and so that was. There's definitely something there that rubbed off. Also, I went to this very unique and powerful summer camp, a wilderness summer camp in the mountains of California, starting when I was age 11. I went there for four summers.
The founder and director of that camp, jim Wilkins, had a very unique philosophy about self-empowerment and goal setting, and the kind of stuff that he would ask 11, 12, 13-year-olds to do to try at this camp was pretty grand and pretty extreme. Just to give you a little example in a two-week session of the summer camp, halfway through there would be a campfire night Standard, go and roast some marshmallows and everyone performs some sort of skit, and then maybe at the end it would be 10 pm. It's totally dark out. You can see the Milky Way very well and we had walked about a quarter of a mile, so a third of a kilometer, to get to this site from the lodge and then, if you're a first-time camper, once the fire has been put out, you learn that everyone at the camp who's a first-timer is now going to walk back to the lodge alone in the dark through the woods. A bit terrifying, yes, and I'm a big fan of education by consent, and this is a situation of questionable consent. But at the same time it feels very similar to what I've read about some families or some groups doing in Scandinavian countries, with taking kids into a wilderness location, leaving them there and saying do you have everything you need to come back on your own? And they say yes, and they do.
Even Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Empire, has a sort of story from being, I think, four or five years old and his mom driving him a few miles out in the English countryside and leaving him there and saying do you know how to get back to the house? And he says yes, and she says good, and she drives away. And so there's something about this. Take people someplace wild, a place that's a bit out of their comfort zone, but you have faith that they are going to be able to get back on their own. And there are guardrails too. So at the summer camp, the staff, the dozen summer camp counselors we would hide along without these first time campers? No, and we would hide in the dark along the path, and especially at crucial points where somebody might, you know, fall or really take a wrong direction and get lost, because we'd actually didn't want that to happen.
21:32 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
Yeah, so what?
21:35 - Blake Boles (Guest)
No, that would be a bigger problem. So I remember having that experience at age 11. And I remember the next morning at the camp, after everyone had done the night walk, you could just see like the difference in everyone's like posture and smiles and it's like, wow, like we felt empowered. It's like I can walk through the woods in the dark and it definitely was not totally by yourself. You know, kids would walk maybe 20 meters and then wait there and, you know, wait for other kids to come and they'd form a little clump and they would go together. But again, that's, that's a normal coping strategy in life.
22:16 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
It is a way of handling the situation. It's fair enough if you know someone's coming and you won't come. I mean, if this is a challenge of can you handle it, then waiting for a friend to arrive is a way of handling it.
It's not cheating, in my opinion it reminds me of. I grew up in Copenhagen, denmark, and my grandmother is Swedish, so she owned a little house in the woods in Sweden, like a vacation home, it's. She came from a very rich family, it's standard sort of that. You have this little weekend thing and we would go there for the weekends for a fair amount of weekends when I was a child lot. Every second weekend we were four children and we would just let out in those woods. The only rule was we had a whistle. We had to bring the whistle hanging around our necks like a little necklace and we were forbidden to use it unless it was desperate. So if we got, no one was hiding to take care of us. There were two parents and four kids. We could get lost, we could get very lost. It was way out at the end of the road in a big Swedish forest, nothing nearby. I don't think we ever used it.
But this freedom is what Peter Gray is talking about now is just completely lost for children. No exploring, no getting lost, no panic, no, it's just such a safe and boring environment for children to grow up in, this balance between safety and freedom. I think we should talk a little bit about that. It's an interesting topic. I'm a mother, have four children. One is 11, one is a teenage girl. I'm in Mexico City. I'm not letting her out in the dark right here right now. But do you want to elaborate a little bit on that, brian?
24:18 - Blake Boles (Guest)
Yeah, yeah, I would. By the way, I took a group of 13 teenagers to Mexico City early last year, and so I'm familiar with your risk calculus there. I think what you just said helped me to have other language for what was going on at that summer camp and a few other things that went on in my life. When I was a young person which was at that camp I was treated more like an adult. I was treated older than I actually was and given the responsibility offered, the responsibility that came with that older age, whereas when I was back at school, I was treated like I was younger than I actually was. I was treated as a less mature and less responsible person, and so, to generalize, I think that I had a number of very positive and important experiences outside of the school system that gave me these opportunities to actually act like an older and more responsible, more mature person, and that's what I try to pass on when I work with teens too, yeah, on the topic of safety and risk.
So the last book that I published in 2020 was called why Are you Still Sending your Kids to School, and that was a wonderful opportunity in the few years that preceded that for me to dive into. This was my most thoroughly researched book, and I got to dive into the literature on parenting and parenting culture, especially in the United States. But yeah, it's pretty similar in Western Europe, even if it's maybe the United States tends to be a kind of a cultural leader in many things, and then the rest of the world will then do something similar a few years later. This is not something that I have come up with. This is what a number of my German friends here have told me also, and the word, the label for what's going on in the United States starting in the 90s is intensive parenting. That's the label that sociologists and psychologists are using, and there's a number of wonderful authors on this subject, and the nature and nurture discussion is part of it too.
But to just quickly summarize, there's a wonderful term that I came across called parental determinism, and that is the idea that a parent is completely responsible for what happens to a young person and how they turn out in later life. And this means we're not talking about elements of chance that might happen in a young person's life, we're not talking about really the effects of peers, but this idea that everything you do as a parent is so incredibly meaningful and important that you have the power to either completely screw over your kid's life or to make it the best life ever. Therefore, all the responsibility is on your shoulders. Parental determinism.
And I almost get angry Come on the best analogy that your kid not even having a mind of its own.
27:27 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
It's just like everything. Yes, that's. What happened with you is due to me. I am God.
27:32 - Blake Boles (Guest)
Yeah, it's like in Jewish mysticism the golem, the creature formed of clay. Like you are a piece of clay shaped by your parents. So there's a psychologist from Berkeley who wrote a book called the Gardener and the Carpenter Alison Gopnik is her name and it's a wonderful. Like you don't even have to read the book, you can just take that phrase and the analogy that she says is that we have started to think about raising children as if we are carpenters. A carpenter can produce a very exact, specific piece of work, exact angles, precise carving of the wood. And she said, to think and act like a carpenter is a good idea if you are the CEO of a business, if you are trying to build something that needs to be incredibly reliable.
But the way that children actually operate, it's a lot more like being a gardener. You plant some seeds, you water, you put on some fertilizer and what comes up? You thought it would be some big red, juicy tomatoes and instead there's some kind of misshapen purple and green tomatoes, or the plant has hybridized with some other plant that you just fundamentally don't have a high degree of control as a gardener. You give the fundamentals and you do what you can, but so much of it is out of your control, unlike lathing a piece of wood in which you have fine control, and so I love that analogy. And she has all sorts of explanations for why, like in terms of historical reasons and demographic reasons, why this has come about. But the situation as she paints it, it's 100% correct that this illusion of total control and with that comes the illusion that we can provide total safety you want to go, I'll show that you can.
29:24 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
I don't have a lot of.
29:26 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
Okay, no, no, no.
29:29 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
I was thinking yeah, and it's super cool to think Wanted to go in nine different directions. Yeah, that's my best Decide.
29:42 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
I think the analogy is beautiful and I want to go with it somehow About the gardening, the supporting. I wanted to say about the tomato that sometimes it's actually a pineapple. It's not even a misshapen tomato, it's not a tomato at all. Yeah, something totally different.
One seed, but it was another seed or I don't know what happened. Someone else planted a stronger seed next to it and something else happened. It's very beautiful. I really this is my personal experience as the older sister of a lot of kids and in a family with maybe not so many parental resources, and also as a mother of a lot of kids. This is what happens. This is people and the role is to be a support system and a safety net.
So just because I sort of want to go back to that, I think it's it would be very hard nice to challenge.
So imagine we have some listeners who are not on schoolers, who are not backpacking, who are not in Mexico City, who are just living the regular life and they are curious and they drive their kids to school and make sure they take their vitamins and do all the right things. That obviously you love your kids, you want to do all the right things and it's very easy if you go out there, look at the culture to see the right thing is to take very good care of them and make sure everything you know can take all the boxes and they wash their hands and they do their homework and they get safely to school and they obey to come home at 9.30 and all these things. I think it's important to challenge this point of view, and we talk sometimes about do something dangerous. We have to do something dangerous, we have to dare to do something dangerous and we have to allow our kids to do something that makes us feel uncomfortable, and yeah, so I think that theme is very important.
31:53 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
Talk about I think it just a quick one. I think there is with your whole story from the summer camp. I was reminded that by the time as a boy scout and also it's a kind of a right of passage you take a step to dare do something. And I think that for some reason this Intensive parent thing if that was the phrasing has removed the small rights of passage. I'm not talking about the. Now you're an adult.
I remember when I was first my parents trusted me enough to drive home from school alone on my bike. In Denmark you would be allowing around 10 or 9 at that point and it would be totally legal in America probably. But but I remember being very proud and it's like you take this step up on on the, the rights of passage, and and you learn to master stuff and you get proud of yourself. Where I see a lot of that has been removed with this kind of parenting. And and Then what scares me most is then when kids gets a certain age. Then it's like we drop them and now they're ready to everything without having taken all the, all the small steps During their life. That is the crazy part about this way of parenting, I think.
33:16 - Blake Boles (Guest)
Yeah, and you witnessed that with first year university students in the US. It's like, oh, you're 18, now You're independent, good luck. You have not been prepared whatsoever to have this level of freedom and responsibility, and you see that reflected in extremely high alcoholism rates. You see that in the dropout rates. So Just to kind of go back one step and then to go ahead and address the, the skeptics and the and the safety concerns, you know it used to be.
When we often compare what parenting culture is like today to what it was like in the past, we're often talking about parenting culture more in the 70s or maybe even earlier before that, and even in the 70s people were having bigger families and and so there's a clear, just sort of like. When people have Smaller families and fewer kids, children become more precious and, and this is the story of all the developed nations today and so you know there's there's a good reason why you would want to Feel more protective and offer more safety to if you only have one or two kids. That's. That's very clear to me. I don't have any kids at this moment, just for the record. Now, to challenge the idea that safety is everything, I've been rereading some books about Friedrich Nietzsche in the last year and and yeah, friedrich Nietzsche would be a very viral sensation if he lived today, because he was just very good at coming up with these quippy One-liners and two of them that I selected for my writing in this last year. One of them is happiness, is the feeling that power increases, which I used to to read an article about these unschooled adventures, trips that I run, and how, by giving these teens large amounts of autonomy on these trips and encouraging, kind of really pushing them out of the nest and and saying go, get into some trouble, don't get arrested, don't get traumatized and don't kill yourself, please. Then they go on these little adventures with each other and they do things that they didn't think were possible, and that is the feeling that their power, their personal power to navigate the world, this is not power over other people, this is power to to be self-directed. That leads to a genuine form of happiness. Another Nietzsche quote that I found that I really love is Living safely is dangerous and deadly. Yeah, that's actually not a direct quote from him, but that's a book about him. It's so. It's the power of the world. It's so. It's the same ideas and and I find that very applicable to to my own life.
I, when I feel like I am in a highly predictable, stable Situation, I no longer feel like my, my brain is being challenged. Often my body is not being challenged, and and when I look down the line and I feel like, wow, I'm so safe and pleasant and everything's so comfortable, then I feel like I I this is actually quite dangerous, like I. I don't feel like I'm turning into anything. I don't feel like I'm, I'm developing like what's the point? What is the point? And so that is the deadly and the dangerous part.
And that is what I witness when I see young people whose lives are so carefully managed and manicured and sheltered and they are given while they are given many responsibilities in the form of school work or chores, they are not allowed to elect responsibilities for themselves and to take on meaningful challenges and like that, that choice component, that consent aspect. In the outdoor education field we call it challenge by choice. It's much different to be forced to go rock climb versus to choose to go rock climb, and so I'm sure you've experienced this with your own kids too. You know, just trying to strong arm someone into some adventure is a much different thing from them having some meaningful buy-in. And so that is, that's the threat that someone will be so protected and such a oh, I'm forgetting the right phrase, the right analogy here for a plant it's not a bonsai plant, the plant that grows inside the little glass container.
37:34 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
Oh, what's the word?
37:36 - Blake Boles (Guest)
Yeah, we'll find it, we'll remember it, that, that that becomes a form of deadliness. Yes, also, and that could be reflected in terms of Teenage self-harm and suicide rates, which is skyrocketing in western countries, I mean definitely in the us and some other anglosphere countries. Um, I'll stop there.
38:01 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
I was thinking I don't know if you've seen it because you don't have children, but I just saw a finding Nemo again with one of her kids and one of my favorite lines from it's actually a very nice movie and this little bluefish. She meets the, the dad of the lost Nemo, and he says, the dad, I don't want anything to happen to him. And she says, why, what? I mean, if nothing ever happened to him, that would be such a boring life.
How sad anything. How sad would that be? So this is the parental dilemma. Obviously, we don't want them to be traumatized or killed or or arrested or intoxicated or anything Really dangerous, but we do want something to happen to them. And when our kids were smaller, um, so we say that we are on schoolers, we believe in their personal freedom and they can do more. That's whatever they want.
And we say that we have the right as parents to rule as I don't know kings, queens, emperors and the police, if it's about health and safety. And uh, but this is health and safety to the extreme. There is dangerous. I can tell my child it's dangerous to use the stove, please watch out for this, that and the other. And I can tell my child this is dangerous at the level where you could die. So now I decide, and we have a very clear line between those two and I think it's been a very nice guideline For us. We live in chaos because we're so many people, so we don't have, we don't have control. For that reason alone, we can't manage. We do not want to manage a safe, you know, structured, I know what everyone's doing and I know why and where they are and everything that sounds exhausting.
I don't want that. I don't want to live that life. That's another main point of my mothering in my it's for other mothers is you don't want to live that life. You don't want to be the manager Of your family as like executive, chief of command kind of person. You want to live your life. You want to feel your emotions, you want to be maybe tired in the morning, excited about random things, um, and and live with the love and joy of spending your life with people that you like to spend it with, which, hopefully, would be your children. You're not the boss, you're the person.
But as that person I still feel that, especially when they were small, when they were two or three years old, it's my responsibility they don't fall down the stairs and break their neck. And we made a very clear line to our children, taught them early. When I say dangerous, dangerous, I say it twice, it's because you're listening. If I say dangerous, it's just because there's a risk, and I think that distinction in the mind of the parents is a very good distinction. What could happen? Okay, maybe they might get a bruised knee. We can live with that.
Yeah, I'll throw maybe they got run over by a truck. We can't live with that, and this is a distinction I think many parents fail to make, and that's one of the reasons. Everything is safety.
41:33 - Blake Boles (Guest)
I think it's very helpful to read the literature on kind of human progress. One of my favorite very popular books is called Factfulness by Hans Rosling.
41:46 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
Oh, man, I love it. I'm a fan of Hans?
41:50 - Blake Boles (Guest)
Yes, we are all fans, and that's just such a helpful book to put things into perspective and to get out of the negativity bias trap, the 24-hour news cycle trap, and probably the Instagram trap too, of just being constantly exposed to the judgments and potential judgments of your peers as other parents. Yeah, social media is such a double-edged sword it can offer connection and inspiration, but it can also lead you to have these beliefs about safety above all other values. It's a very effective communicator of culture writ large and so, yeah, that's.
42:39 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
I think I put this in the show notes of the podcast needs to put the video with Hans Rosling where he's just demolishing a Danish news anchor, and I presume you have seen it. But I just love his, I'm right. I'm right and you're wrong. It's as simple as that. It's not a question of feelings.
42:59 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
Is this a Danish? Do you think it's subtitled? I?
43:02 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
know there's a subtitled version. He is so good and I was introduced to him through social media. I want to go back to your book. So why are you still sending your children to school, if that's the correct title? So why are you questioning this? And how are you questioning it in your book?
43:26 - Blake Boles (Guest)
The idea with the title and, by the way, the book came out in May 2020, when no kids were going to school, so my editor thought that was extremely funny. The idea was to Often the burden of proof lays on the parents who are choosing alternative education. It's like oh, how can you deny your kids this fundamental opportunity? Defend yourself.
43:51 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
Why do you risk that We've had?
43:53 - Blake Boles (Guest)
that many yes.
43:55 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
You're leaving your kids to complete strangers in a broken system that system About the risk you want.
44:03 - Blake Boles (Guest)
You're putting your kids in an institution that most closely resembles jail.
And you're telling me I'm taking a risk, yes, so the idea with the title is to flip the burden of proof and say why are you still sending your kids to school? And it's written from a United States-centric perspective, where I believe there really is this really robust selection of alternative paths for people with school-aged children who see that their kids are not meshing well with the system, and so I talk about all the different options that are out there, and there's expensive, private, progressive schools. There's homeschooling, which is legal in all 50 states and costs exactly nothing, although it does come with the opportunity cost, especially when you have young kids and one parent needs to stay home to oversee them. And so if you have all these options and your kid, I try to say listen, some kids, they do. Just find a public school, and maybe the same kid that doesn't do fine in public school for some years will do fine in a conventional public or private school.
Later on, I've met kids who were born to families that are so serious about unschooling and they unschool their kids from a very young age and then perhaps around age 12. One of the kids says I really want to try public school, and the parents are like, okay, yeah, yeah. Well, there's the intensive parenting belief system again, right, even unschooling. Even the most hip, savvy alternative families, they can fall prey to the intensive parenting Like. I know exactly how to control the outcomes of my children's life. They're going to be the most empowered, liberated, open-minded young, creative, empowered, authentic young people possible and maybe that will work with unschooling as a vehicle. Maybe that will work if you're super into Montessori or Waldorf or insert your democratic, free school ideology here. But I just think that you have to consider all options on the table and there are so many options which are not conventional public or private school, and so if it's not working for your kids, then really do a little bit of self-education and see how many amazing opportunities there are out there, how many communities there are, how it's not. A lot of people think it's just impossibly expensive to homeschool, as if every kid is going to have a governess and a fleet of private tutors like we're in the 1700s. No, and also a lot of the private schools that offer these very alternative experiences are often run by people who are very serious about accessibility too, and they have sliding scale tuitions. The really expensive private schools are the conventional elite private schools. In the United States. They're the ones that cost $30,000 a year or more. So I try to offer all those, put all those options out there on the table.
I revisit the question of like can you go to university? Can you get a job? I touch on the. What about video games? What if they're just watching Netflix all the time with their free time? Does that mean I'm a failure immediately? And then the parenting culture. And, yeah, I just really feel proud about that book and I feel like it encapsulates everything that I wrote in the previous books. And, yeah, I still want more people to read it.
47:35 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
I'm intrigued. I sort of think that I don't really need to read it. I might read it anyway, but you know I'm you might not need to read it, but I'm hoping other people read it.
47:47 - Blake Boles (Guest)
47:48 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
I flip through it. Is it a little, for it's probably for the kindle. Can I buy?
47:54 - Blake Boles (Guest)
any books. It's available everywhere. Perfect.
47:56 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
Because with the backpack. We are not carrying paperbacks, I understand.
48:01 - Blake Boles (Guest)
I understand there's even an audiobook that I narrated myself. So you hear this voice for seven hours.
48:08 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
Oh, wow we are better than this voice, yeah.
So I was thinking, oh, I think I had. So I think that your point that some kids are just okay with school, some kids can go through public school and be, have a good life, and I'm radically against schools, I think they're all evil, but I know that this is the world that we live in. I'm radically against a lot of things in the world that we live in and I'm not going to pick a fight with everything, and I'm one thing that I'm very much at the Glay for is personal freedom, and so I'm not inserting myself as the emperor of the entire planet telling people what to do If they schools are there, it's thing and some people like you sing it. I think the most crucial point is actually how the parents act around the schooling of the children. Some kids are okay with school. Some kids go to school for some years, some don't. But I think really the problem is the. I'm searching for the word. Is it called compulsory?
49:32 - Blake Boles (Guest)
Yeah, the compulsory required nature of it.
49:36 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
The way the parents think that this is what you have to do. You have to do it. It's like breathing and you have to do it well. You have to come home and the other kids have to like you and the teachers have to give you good grades. You have to do your homework. You have to wear the uniform whether it's official uniform or it's the jeans and t-shirt uniform. You have to speak the lingo and you have to even have to want it.
I think that's really a problem, whereas if you go to school and your parents are like okay, take it or leave it, do with it what you want, have some fun, you might learn something. If you pay attention, you might. You know you can sneak a book and read your own book on the table if you want to do that. If the climate in the home, where the parents they do I mean they're not everything, but they are something in the children's lives and it's very cool about it Then you still have the personal freedom. You still allow for the child to explore what school life can be and cannot be, and to explore who am I in this context. It is an experience of leaving the home, doing something on your own coming back with something and maybe discussing it, maybe not. I think this is the crucial point really, rather than the school or not.
51:09 - Blake Boles (Guest)
At the risk of turning this into a discussion about much broader topics. Everything that you just said maps onto the world of work and employment, but there are some crucial differences, I think, because school or the K through 12, the childhood years is, in many people's mind, just preparation for entering the workforce, for becoming a productive, contributing member of society. There's something there, there's something that is correct about that. There's a string that can be pulled, that is truthful, I believe, in which being a human being is a team sport. We're on team human and we're trying to make a world that works for everyone.
There are many good examples of worlds or nations or political systems that really don't work well for people. We want to live in the ones that work well and we have to continually create these and rebuild them and rethink them. But in the world of work, we understand that for some people, a normal job is kind of the best fit for them, and then for other people, people like present company, self-employment, entrepreneurship, essentially, as long as you are finding some way to contribute to the human project, to this society, that is a pro-social way. You're not an arms trafficker, you're not committing fraud, but you're finding some way that you're providing something, some product or service or helpfulness that other people are consensually agreeing to. That makes their lives better. Therefore everyone's lives are better. Then great.
Then if you can support yourself as an adult, you're like, okay, that's fine. This person is self-employed fine. This person works a 60-hour a week job fine. Maybe the 60-hour a week job person looks kind of miserable, I don't know. I've met self-employed people who are miserable too, but self-employed people work 60 hours as well.
That's right, and often self-employed people work long hours for much lower than minimum wage and there's no protections for them too. So, anyways, in the K through 12 realm we have trouble thinking with the same open-mindedness. And what open-mindedness in that realm might look like is like. In the US there's the SAT, and the ACT is very popular, very established exams for determining essentially intellectual aptitude to get into a university, and here in Germany there's a kind of similar test called the Abitur, which is for people finishing their gymnasium studies. And here in Germany almost no one is allowed or empowered to take the Abitur without going through all the years of school. I mean, homeschooling is actually fully illegal in Germany, and it has been for a long, long time. But one way that we could look at a more results-oriented way of achievement would be like hey, ok, we do need to have some sort of way to assess who can go into these extremely competitive universities and who should go into less competitive universities. If it has to be a test like this, then prepare for it any way that you want, do it on your own, and this is what it's more like in the US too. You don't have to do SAT prep through school. You can take courses, online courses or in-person courses, or just there's a bunch of great self-study materials out there and this is what a lot of unschoolers do who decide around age 17 they want to enter the university system and maybe even go to extremely competitive university. They're like I'm going to get some SAT study books and maybe hire a tutor and we're going to like, just cram, we're going to refresh everything, I'm going to prove that I can do advanced mathematics, I'm going to prove that I can have science and history knowledge and they like fill in the gaps. And this is the scary part for a lot of parents, which is this results-oriented thinking, this kind of entrepreneurial approach to education in which you say no. A parent says, well, if I do this unschooling thing, or I give them all this autonomy and maybe they're super into horses, whatever, that's great, but then they're spending so much time with horses that they're not learning science. And now I have a kid who doesn't have the science background. What if they decide they want to go to university at age 18 and they don't have the science background or they haven't done the foreign language? They're screwed. I have screwed my kid over and what I feel like I've always come back to when I give talks about the subject or in my writings, is what I've called the folk psychology of unschooling.
And the folk psychology is when people are motivated to do something and they have their own personal, highly relevant reasons for doing it. Then they will jump through all sorts of over all these burning, through the burning bridges and through the hoops. And the kid who was totally allergic to math all the way through age 16 and all of a sudden watches these crazy YouTube videos about the Rube Goldberg machines and it's like I think I want to become an engineer, I want to be a mechanical engineer so I can do stuff like that. Then you're like engineers need to know calculus. It's like okay, boom, boom, boom, the dots have been connected. I will go study math because this will enable me to become that kind of person, and it's like that is the folk psychology.
I don't even know why we need to invent a whole new label for this. This is how we operate as adults too. We need to have meaningful reasons. We need to be treated like mature people who will make our own decisions for our own reasons. So this all comes back to the idea of like let's try to treat young people a bit more Like they have a bit more maturity and responsibility than they actually have yet. Treat them a bit more like adults. No, they're not adults yet. Yes, they need some special protections. No, we don't want them to die or get traumatized et cetera. But if we keep infantilizing them, they will never get to this point where they are able to connect their own dots and then be truly self-motivated and self-directed to overcome big barriers.
57:42 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
I really, truly mean. This is the foot that we stand on as well. I'm just exploring an idea. I think one of the problems is that it's you might as well screw your child's life over by putting them to school than by not putting them to school. This is the dilemma that most parents don't see. They follow the path. They put the kids to school when they're six. They do the vaccinations, they buy the backpack, they do all the things that everyone does, because this is how it's done. You brush the teeth morning, evening. It's just a routine. This is what life is. But if you choose to do something else, you choose it and it's your responsibility. You suddenly realize it's your responsibility. The thing is, it's your responsibility the other option as well. It's just that you don't really realize that. No one's talking about it, no one's asking you that question. Why are you putting your kid in school? So can we?
Could it be that this lack of awareness of the responsibility stems from some element of being immature in us? We were in that system. We grew up with not maturing, not having the responsibility for our own lives, not making important decisions, just doing what we're told. I was in school for 23 years, nonstop From I was six until I graduated university. It's a lot of time where most of the things that I was told to do was on a list. You do this. This is what you do. This is how you do it. This is how we evaluate it. This is the perimeter to tell you whether you did well or not. I did that for 23 years. It's a lot of time and being me, and maybe I did it in a crazy way, but I'm just thinking that maybe there is something immature in the parents not realizing it's your responsibility one way or the other.
59:49 - Blake Boles (Guest)
Well, I like the way that you say that.
59:50 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
And how do we work with that?
59:52 - Blake Boles (Guest)
Yeah, you have responsibility, no matter whether you go with the conventional path or you go with the unconventional path. But I feel like chalking this up more to just human groupishness. And we, For all of human history, you just do what the people around you do. It's really that simple and this happened 200 years ago. This happened 1,000 years ago. I mean, I really I don't think that if you go back to forager or hunter-gatherer societies, you're going to have a great example of people that are really thinking outside the box and have all these different options for life.
It's like no, you're pretty much doing what the people in your group or your tribe are doing. There's very few options, very few life paths. I feel like that is the default experience and the default psychology for most of us. And so let's be nice to each other, because it's actually really hard to navigate having all these choices.
And it's like going into the supermarket and being overwhelmed by having 23 jellies to choose from, and be really nice if there was just one jelly or two jellies, and that's what most people want and it's a strong cultural meme. It's like send your kid to public school, or maybe send your kid to the one approved private school. That's there and that's it Chocolate or vanilla. No one wants to go into the store and be like no, choose from 100 different flavors to create your own magical ice cream. It's like maybe a few people want that, but most people are like can you just give me the good stuff please? So this is how I understand the phenomenon and why I don't feel too frustrated with people who have never thought about doing something different with their kids and their schooling and education. It just requires a lot of effort and bandwidth and emotional labor, and I'm kind of amazed that we have such a robust ecosystem of alternative education in at least where I'm from, and so it's slow progress. I think it's moving in the right direction broadly speaking.
01:02:06 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
One thing I really find fun is that you're totally right. There is this group groupiness you called it where we do what the neighbor does. Luckily, she's my mental neighbor, so I'm doing a lot of wonderful, wonderful, weird stuff. But there's this thing about the cultural. This is what we do and at the same time a lot of our entertainment is actually telling other stories. If you look at a lot of Disney movies, they are about going on the big adventure, breaking free. Or I love, for example, the I can't remember the English title, maybe it's called Brother Beer or Brother Bear. Yeah, brother Bear. But that is not be a Brother Beer, that's another. That's not a Disney movie. Not a Disney movie, no, brother Bear. But that is about going on this wonderful, wonderful adventure and finding yourself and working through grief and everything. And at the same time we have all these people just walking down the normal path, the path of what the neighbor does.
01:03:21 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
But I just find it fun that we Nice maybe something I think let's be nice to each other is very important. You said that before and I'm sorry if I was being rude and calling people names by saying that maybe we are immature because we were in the system. I was not trying to put down everyone else's choice, even if it's a subconscious choice, even if it's a choice you didn't really think about it. I've done a lot of things in my life I didn't really think about it, I just did it and I needed to be challenged. I'm not trying to be rude, I'm not being disrespectful. I am sure that everyone really are doing their best and they want to do the best for their children and they're doing it wholeheartedly. And we need to be challenged, we need to be provoked a little bit in order to think about these routine things that we did without thinking or with thinking, but not enough thinking. And I'm just saying that I think it's important that we realize it's our responsibility one way or the other. And I also once read and I'm sorry I can't remember where it's been many years, but I read an interesting I think it was an anthropological study saying there is a good chance that in the human nature and I don't know the right English term, but in Danish it's something like general psychology, the psychology that everyone has.
We come out with 15% adventurers and 85% people who are more stable, conservative, want to do what the neighbors do.
And this is what we need as the human tribe, as the population. We need some risk-takers, some people doing crazy stuff, some people trying something new, doing something no one's ever done or only a few people ever did, doing experiments, being social or science or artistic, or just going to crazy places, and many of these places are crazy and many of these people die or have miserable lives or have lives that only a few people want to have, and we need both in order to evolve as a society. And you're right when you say we have a strong group of people doing something else and we have this stable group of people doing the regular school system, and maybe this is how it needs to be also for the school system to change. This is how human nature is and we shouldn't diss it or be against it or frustrated about this. It's the. We have one role to play. The other people have another role to play. We're all going to be happy.
01:06:05 - Blake Boles (Guest)
Yeah, and we're all dancing with each other, we are all interacting with each other as we go along. And, yeah, when I read critiques, it's so interesting being in the homeschooling world in the United States, because there are people from all over the political spectrum that find membership in this community, and that goes with the unschooling world too. It's like really there's people from all over that have their own reasons for wanting to have more autonomy. In the US, people talk about parental rights and that's kind of code language for people on the more conservative side of the political spectrum and they say that homeschooling is a fundamental right because we need to protect our parental rights and what they mean by that is our rights to treat our children and educate our children in any way we want, because they are our property.
01:07:03 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
And, yeah, that's not quite the direction.
01:07:07 - Blake Boles (Guest)
Yeah, exactly, it's not quite. It was nice up to there. Yeah, that's not the group I want to be aligned with. And yeah, within this realm you hear critiques of the public school system. And yeah, some people who are critiquing the public school system are saying the public school system is so progressive and gives young people way too much freedom, and there needs to be way less freedom, way more discipline. We need to bring God back into public schools, and so they're really advocating for a return to something that feels more like the 1950s or the 1900s or earlier, even though there weren't really a lot of public schools before the 1900s. And so it's interesting to swim in these waters where people are coming from all these different motivations and backgrounds and ideologies.
So what I take from that is there is progress being made in the sense that even what we now call the conventional public school system is quite a bit more like child-centered and progressive than the same version was 50 years ago, Even if it is more monopolizing of young people's time in the form of total number of contact hours, recess time, the Peter Gray arguments about play, amount of homework that's required, intrusive oversight through technology.
All of that can be true, and also the zeitgeist, the whole feeling of the public education and private education system can be more progressive and be moving in the direction of being more self-directed. I think that's pretty true and it's just that maybe for people like us it feels like it's a snail's pace and we want it to be a kangaroo and that's the dance that we're doing. Is we perhaps, because of our personalities or genetics, because of our upbringings or privilege, we can take these risks and take these chances with these forms of highly radical alternative education? So we can be the ones that are the technology adoption curve. We are the early adopters of the new technology which paves the way for the broad middle of the bell curve to then jump on, and maybe that's already been happening and that started happening really in the 60s and 70s with the more serious radical reformers that we're writing then, or going back to the 20s and 30s with Montessori. I mean, we're all part of this lineage that probably started with Rousseau.
01:09:57 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
And we're back with the revolution I just talked about yesterday. We have to study those philosophers with the kids. It's a key, it's a key.
01:10:07 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
I yeah, one thing when you talked about the critique of the school system, and I remember when I first, when we decided that, well, our story is, our oldest son didn't want to go to public school, and we ended up listening to the school was not the agenda.
No, no school at all was not on the agenda for him. So we ended saying yes to this because it was a really good choice for him. But in the start I needed to build a scaffolding under my. My feeling of this was okay, and I built it on critique in the start, and I think a lot of people who start down the homeschooling, on schooling, pan to kind of say to themselves this is okay, this is right. They start with critiquing the existing system.
I love, I did it myself and I understand you needed to build up your, your, your strengths in your belief. But it's so much better to just talk about what is wonderful with choosing this kind of education, and this I want to use as a bridge to you telling about the off-trade learning you call it, and also, as it is time to kind of round up the, the, the, the wonderful talk we have had with you. So if you can start to talk about why, what you believe I read the comic on your website and I will link to it and so if you can talk about off-trade learning and from there also explain a little about how can people get in contact with you, what are the books you have written, so we rephrase that again, and your website.
01:11:49 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
That's a lot of questions in one question.
01:11:51 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
I got it.
01:11:52 - Blake Boles (Guest)
I got it yeah.
01:11:54 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
Another Ted talk.
01:11:56 - Blake Boles (Guest)
Yeah, just to, to reflect on on going moving from critique into focusing on what's good and positive. You know, that's why I I like the term self-directed learning more than unschooling. Unschooling is very anti, very counter culture, and it can alienate people. Homeschooling is a pretty bad word too, so self-directed learning.
01:12:18 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
But we have that dilemma because radical unschoolers because that's the wording that people will understand what we're doing we don't like. I like the word physical, I don't like the word unschooling.
01:12:32 - Blake Boles (Guest)
No, I love it. Maybe radical self-directed learners. Maybe try that one instead. Yeah, you know what?
01:12:36 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
95%, then I need to do two hours of explanation.
01:12:39 - Blake Boles (Guest)
Whereas if radical unschoolers.
01:12:41 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
They sort of get the idea.
01:12:42 - Blake Boles (Guest)
I know, I know.
We are largely not in control of this language, and so, even though the term self-directed learning has been used in sort of a more generic or corporate way for a long time, I still feel like that's the one that I like to use when I'm focusing on what we're really trying to achieve. Yeah, and off-trail learning is the podcast that I ran from 2015 until 2022. And it's on kind of permanent hiatus now until I find my inspiration for whatever podcast type thing I might like to do next, but all the archives are still online and so people can search for off-trail learning on any podcast platform, and there's about 100 episodes there and they're good. Like you, I also like to do long exploratory conversations at least an hour, hopefully longer and so that was a really fun project. And so anything that's a Blake Bowles project the books, the podcast, my newsletter that I'm writing that's all on my website, which is just my name, blakebowlescom. So one stop shop for everything, blake. Yeah.
01:13:54 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
It has been wonderful talking to you. We have been so lucky that the mobile Wi-Fi here in Mexico has kept us.
01:14:00 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
We don't want to risk it any longer. We don't want to risk it any longer.
01:14:05 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
Thanks a lot for your time and I hope to talk to you again sometime.
01:14:10 - Blake Boles (Guest)
It was a real pleasure. Thanks, Jasper, Thanks Cecilia.
01:14:13 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
Ciao, it was nice.
01:14:21 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
Thank you for listening. We hope you enjoyed today's episode and if you liked it, then please share it with all your friends and family. We would also love it if you gave our podcast a review. Thanks, and if you want to support our podcast and work, then you can find us on patreoncom slash the Conrad family. We will continue to travel full time and if you want to tag along, then please follow us on Facebook and Instagram at the Conrad family, and you can also read more than 100 blog posts on our website, theconradfamily. Until next time, make a wonderful day, thank you.
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Self Directed Podcast
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