Learning Without Schooling


Tomorrow school starts again.

To be honest, I’m not really excited for it.

The other day (yesterday I think, but time is funny on breaks), I was reading Ms. Cureton’s blog post about Book Dipping and how she gets ready for school by going to the library and picking a bunch of books bases around one topic question and then reading them each for 10-20 minutes each.

At the end of her post she asks: How do you get ready to head back to school after a break?

I’ve been thinking about it and I even talked to my friends about it too, and most of us really don’t do much at all. To be honest, I feel like I experienced and learned so much over the break without school, that it is hard to want to go back to text books, notes, quizzes, test, and worst of all, grades.

Looking back these were some of the things that stood out to me that I did, learned, and further discovered:

  • How to do sound tech for a theater production 
  •  I practiced my movie making skills and reflected on my growth since 5th grade.
  • I realized how we need to be creating not just good leaders, but good followers too because they are important as well.
  • I learned about how gravity is actually 1 of 4 of the “fundamental forces” and is actually the weakest of them. And I further discovered how important it is to ask a good question.
  • I learned to play football (kind of) while on the beach.
  • I experienced the power of “what if” questions in my mini experiment with Margaret and questions Walt Disney.
  • I learned about the debate over if Pluto should be considered a planet again or not.
  • I learned a bunch about weather, natural disasters, sports, ancient mathematicians, and space while interacting at a museum.
    • Did you know that lightning can reach temperatures hotter than the surface of the sun?
    • Did you know Albert Einstin was born on Pi day (March 14th) and he will be turning 136 this year on Pi-A-Palooza (3-14-15)?
    • Did you know Plato founded the Academy in Athens, and this was one of the highest forms of learning in the ancient world?
  • I felt the success of reaching over 200 blog posts due to continuous effort and dedication and the while practicing my writing skills.
  • I experienced what it is like to try and debate with adults in a real world situation like an airport.
  • I went to the MoMath museum and string theory, and tested my self with strategy puzzles and learned tricks with magic squares.
  • I memorized some more digits of pi, and started planning in advanced for my Pi-A-Palooza party this year in March.
  • I saw innovation at it’s finest with Big Hero 6 and the nerdy bunch of teens that created technology to help save lives.
  • I learned about subjective and objective thinking.
  • I’ve been working on my communication skills trying to set up a date to chat with Grant Lichtman.
  • I learned more safety regulations for gymnastics, such as what to do if a girl falls in a foam pit wrong and injures herself. (same link above)
  • I further practiced playing the flute and also got to go in the pit at Wicked and experienced what it is like to be a professional Broadway musician. I also got tips on how to go about trying to buy a piccolo, if I decide that is what I want to do.
    • fun fact: Musicians first have to be there for like 20 shows in a row when they are hired, then they can get subs, and subs have to come in and play just like the person they are subbing for without ever playing with the rest of the orchestra before (for a new sub, often people will sub multiple times for a certain show). The musicians won’t even know exactly who will be there for the show until that night; even the conductor may change.
  • And all the while, I was discovering myself with how I spend my free time and what’s important to me.

I didn’t get grades. I didn’t have a set schedule every day that had activities ending with bells and not leaving one building until 3pm. I had many teachers and mentors, and even a student now and then. (Teaching my family about 21st century education, teaching younger kids about math at the museum.) Yet without this school structure,  I communicated with people in the real world, I learned, I discovered, I experienced, and I had fun while doing things I wanted to do. (And I didn’t have to call it “math, science, history, and English”)

So as far as tomorrow goes, I’m excited for ID, and seeing people again (teachers included), but when it comes to actual school, I don’t know how excited I am. I mean I learned a lot on break, and I’m sure if I was in Georgia longer I could of had some more experiences with people from school, so what else should I be looking forward to.


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