Blog Archives

Self-Directed Learning: Documentation and Life Stories with Guest, Wes Beach

gtchat Wes Beach 05292015 graphic

 

Our guest this week was Wes Beach, the author of “Self-Directed Learning: Documentation and Life Stories”; the latest title from GHF Press. Wes Beach is an author, a speaker, an educator with 54 years of experience, an advocate of alternative education and homeschooling. After years discouraged as a teacher in public schools, Wes founded Beach High School and continues to serve as its director today.

BHS exists to support young people who find that a traditional high school does not provide them with what they want or need. There are almost 1,500 graduates of BHS who, without benefit of a traditional high school education, have gone on to reach the goals they have chosen, including reaching the highest levels of formal education and entering the professions.from Wes Beach, Author Page on Amazon

Wes defined self-directed learning as “choosing goals and pursuing them in ways independent of externally imposed schedules and curricula. It uses methodologies similar to homeschool methods. Not all homeschoolers use self-directed learning, but many do.”

Self-Directed Learning details how to document the independent education process. According to Wes, this involves “Lots of details: course descriptions, reading lists, evaluative/explanatory narratives; anything that is scriptive and convincing.” Record keeping is imperative.  Wes added, “It helps to keep track of activities of all kinds on an ongoing basis. It’s amazing how easy it is to forget things. Learning outside traditional education requires more detailed transcripts – but can be more powerful, convincing, effective. Portfolios and references can be useful, too.”

Many self-directed learners avail themselves of opportunities afforded by community colleges. In addition to easing the financial burden of four year institutions, they also provide a way to take classes for credit that can later be transferred to four year colleges. As Corin Goodwin of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum pointed out, “Community colleges – and local universities – can be great for young asynchronous kids who are academically advanced but young.”

How do four year colleges & universities feel about self-directed learning and does non-traditional schooling put applicants at a disadvantage? Wes answered the question this way, “No. In fact, many universities actively recruit homeschoolers, particularly self-directed learners. Self starters are prized by colleges. One of my current SDL students applied to 30 (!!!) colleges and was accepted by 21. She’ll go to MIT.”

Self-directed learning has strong appeal for gifted students. Wes stated that “gifted learners appreciate the opportunity to pursue self-paced, high-level, in-depth learning; including esoteric subjects and unique approaches.” A full transcript may be found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-with-sponsor

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented and sponsored by GiftedandTalented.com is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our new Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media    Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

 

Links:

Children in Charge: Self-Directed Learning Programs

Better Than College: How to Build a Successful Life Without a Four-Year Degree (Amazon)

Cool Colleges: For Hyper-Intelligent, Self-Directed, Late Blooming & Just Plain Different (Amazon)

Doing School: How We Are Creating a Gen of Stressed-Out, Materialistic Miseducated Students (Amazon)

Genius Denied: How to Stop Wasting Our Brightest Young Minds

How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where & Why It Happens (Amazon)

Making the Choice: When Typical School Doesn’t Fit Your Atypical Child via GHF Press (Amazon)

The Art of Self-Directed Learning: 23 Tips for Giving Yourself an Unconventional Education (Amazon)

The Evolving Self: A Psychology for the Third Millennium (pdf) Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Age of Opportunity: Lessons from the New Science of Adolescence (Amazon)

Cybraryman’s Self-Directed Learning Page

Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania (Amazon)

Rethinking Education: Self-Directed Learning Fits the Digital Age

Why I Choose to Unschool My Gifted Children

Forging Paths: Beyond Traditional Schooling

Deschooling: Shift Your Mind

Education Needs a Digital-Age Upgrade

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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“Gifted Unschooling” with Guest, Amy Harrington

gtchat April 17 Amy Harrington

 

Amy Harrington, Esq. is a SENG board member and SENG Model Parent Group facilitator, homeschooling advocate, and an eclectic unschooler of two profoundly gifted children. She is an attorney, writer, and blogger (Gifted Unschooling) who is passionate about the future of self-directed education. She is the Founder and Managing Director of Atypical Minds, which provides coaching and guidance to gifted families in their quest for alternative education and school accommodations.

Most people are familiar with homeschooling, but the idea of ‘unschooling’ remains a mystery to most. As Amy explained, “Unschooling is a philosophy that entrusts children to find their own passions. It is child-led, passion-led, and interest-led learning. Unschooling generally rejects a traditional schooling mindset and the tools that go along with it – curriculum. The child is in the driver’s seat of their own education. Children are autonomous learners SUPPORTED by parents.”

The discussion then turned to ‘deschooling”. According to Amy, “deschooling is letting go of a traditional schooling mindset and learning to trust the process of getting to unschooling philosophy. It let’s everyone relax, detox and figure out what they are interested in learning. We shed our old mindset and embrace freedom.”

What is the role of a mentor in unschooling? Mona Chicks explained, “Mentors play a huge role, as they help the child learn about the real stuff in their chosen field.  They provide outside input, too.” Amy told us that “Not everyone has mentors while unschooling but my kid has enjoyed working with many professors and entrepreneurs.”

When it was suggested that a compromise or blended learning scenario could be used to ensure comparable results such as regular education and outside-of-school enrichment, most unschoolers disagreed. They believed that for profoundly gifted students and prodigies, school was actually detrimental. Many referred to a ‘healing’ process that their children went through after withdrawing from a traditional school environment.

A transcript of this chat may be found on our Storify Page.

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our new Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

A Daily Guide to Radically Unschooling Outliers

6 Ways Unschooling Can Inform Practice for Innovative Educators

Free to Learn: Why Unleashing Instinct to Play Will Make Children Happier, More Self-Reliant (Amazon)

How Do Unschoolers Cope with College & 21 Questions on Learning without School & Living Joyfully

We Don’t Need No Education

Unshackled & Unschooled: Free-Range Learning Movement Grows

How to Opt Out of School: Guide for Teens for Self-Directed Education

Freedom of Unschooling: Raising Liberated Black Children Without Restrictions of School

Raising a Profoundly Gifted Child

How do Unschoolers Turn Out?

Unschooling: What is It & How One Family Does It

Home Grown: Adventures in Parenting Off the Beaten Path, Unschooling, & Reconnecting (Amazon)

“Unschooled” Kids Do Just Fine in College

Unschooling Allowing Students A New Approach At Education (Video 2:55)

Deschooling: Shift Your Mind

Why I Choose to Unschool My Gifted Children

Hacking Your Education: Ditch the Lectures, Save Tens of Thousands, and Learn More Than Your Peers Ever Will (Amazon)

John Holt Growing Without Schooling FAQs

Unleashing Genius: Self-Directed Learning

EXPERT: 85% Of College Students Are Wasting Their Time And Money

Rethinking Education: Self-Directed Learning Fits the Digital Age

Blake Boles Website

TED Talk with Ken Robinson: How Schools Kill Creativity

TED Talk with Sugata Mitra: The Child-Driven Education

Maximalist Manifesto: Creating a Prepared Environment

“Reclaiming the Freedom to Learn” with Nikhil Goyal

Nikhil Goyal Twitter Head Shot

 

Nikhil Goyal, Keynote at this year’s TAGT Conference in Fort Worth in December, was our guest this week to chat about Reclaiming the Freedom to Learn. At age 19, Nikhil’s list of honors and accomplishments are long and impressive. (See links below.)

There is much talk these days about school reform by those in the education field. It was interesting to hear the perspective of a student on the issue. Nikhil doubts that schools as they now exist can be reformed, but is “much more interested in transforming and revolutionizing education, rather than just making tweaks and reforms.”

How to begin? In Nikhil’s words, “I think it starts with educating the public that there are wonderful humane alternatives to traditional schools. We have to stand up and not be afraid to say that conventional schooling is harmful and oppressive to many children.” And what is at issue when discussing today’s educational system? According to Nikhil, “The features of schools are man-made: grades, tests, grade levels, periods, and bells. They are not grounded in science. The notion that “you go to school to learn” is distorted. The fact that our society is filled with so few lifelong learners is an indictment of our education system.” A transcript of this chat may be found here.

Nikhil’s new book The End of Creativity: How Schools Fail Children (tentative title) will be published by Doubleday/Random House in 2015.

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

 

Links:

“Why Kids Hate School? : Nikhil Goyal at TEDxYouth@BFS” (YouTube)

How Students Lead the Learning Experience at Democratic Schools

One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student’s Assessment of School (Amazon) by Nikhil Goyal

Nikhil Goyal on Forbes 30 Under 30 2013

Nikhil Goyal’s Website

Nikhil Goyal on MSNBC on the Student Loan Debt Crisis

“Can This 17-Year-Old Save America’s Education System?” (2012)

“He Passed on College to Change the World”

4 Radical Ideas for Reinventing College, Drawn from Stanford Research

Democratic Schools

UK: The School with No Rules that Teaches the Unteachable

Is Unschooling Right for Your Gifted Child?

A lively discussion was engaged in during this week’s chat. I’m hopeful that new light was shed on unschooling and the  philosophy behind it. Participants included people from 16 states and 7 countries proving that this was a topic with global appeal. Although we chatted about unschooling in general, we also discussed why unschooling and homeschooling are so attractive to parents of gifted children. Mika Gustavson of Gifted Matters described unschooling as “Child-led learning; life-relevant learning; relevant-to-the-child learning.” A full transcript of the chat may be found here.

Two announcements were made during gtchat this past week. First, the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented will be powering our chat for the upcoming year. Many thanks to the folks at Texas Gifted, the Board of Directors and to J.J. Colburn, Executive Director for all they do and for their contribution to continuing the conversation within the global gifted community. Second, on June 7th at 7PM ET, #gtchat is pleased to welcome our first teen guest, Ms. Calista Frederick-Jaskiewicz, CEO of @OrigamiSalami1. We will spotlight Calista in an upcoming blog post!

Once again, #gtchat became a trending topic on Twitter. Our thanks to all the great contributors who attend chat each week and provide such a strong presence on Twitter. We couldn’t do it without you!

Links:

The Natural Child Project: What is Unschooling?

Four Reasons to Quit School and Become a Teenage Homeschooler

Thrive Right Now

The ‘Unschooling’ Movement: Good Parenting or UNparenting?

‘Unschooling’ Gaining Popularity, Allows Children Alternative Learning Tools

Extreme Homeschooling: No Tests, No Books, No Classes, No Curriculums

A New Chapter in Education: Unschooling

Unschooling 101

Unschooled: How One Kid Is Grateful He Stayed Home

“Shackles” of Structure Cast Off in Child-directed “Unschooling”

Unschooling or Homeschooling?

Socialization: A Great Reason Not to Go to School

The Beginner’s Guide to Unschooling

Meet a Mother That’s ‘Unschooling’ Her Kids (video)

The Benefits of Unschooling: Report I from a Large Survey

Gifted and Talented Ireland

Cybraryman’s Passion-based Learning Page

I Hate School

Cybraryman’s Genius Hour Page

Socratic Method

Cybraryman’s Socratic Seminar

Cybraryman’s Self-Directed Learning Page

Gifted Homeschooler Forum’s Unschooling Blog Hop

A Positive Vision of a Transformed Education

Cybraryman’s Questioning Techniques Page

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