Off-Roading It

Ever wondered what people do in life without school or structured learning? Ever considered exiting from school or not bothering with university? Wondering what to do when university time approaches? People talk about these things, but you don't often hear about those who have actually done them and how it all comes out. And unless you operate in these types of circles, the opportunities to find out about it might not be knocking down your door.

Despite a seeming absence of information out there, a good number of people have experienced life outside of standard participation in the system. If you are an auto-didact, aren't settled with the status quo, don't feel you belong, or are the parent of someone fitting one of these categories, you can take comfort that you are actually in good company.

The Off-trail Learning Podcast is a series of interviews with people who have taken, or help provide, some of the numerous alternate learning paths out there. It opens up a surprising panorama of the possibilities which actually exist and provides real-world examples of how people went through them to be better-than-well-adjusted human beings.

Anyone considering options can find new alternatives here that they might not have realized exist and reassuring evidence to help face the void of uncertainty.

For homeschoolers, un-schoolers, internshippers (yes I know, "-ers" fits with the others), world-schoolers, backpackers and others walking an often lonely road, this podcast can offer a chance to identify with others of a similar weave and a vocabulary with which to consider their own path.

The episodes do take a time investment, as they range from 25 minutes to an hour, leaning toward the upper end of that. The format is mostly conversational question and answer. The podcast would probably serve more as a resource for parents, however, older kids heading toward young adulthood may find the discussions helpful to getting in greater touch with their learning process and ideas for the future.

To be clear that this podcast is not just fanboy news, you need to understand that it does not just offer the sunshiney perspectives that only bolster un-schooling and such paths. The dialogue includes realistic discussions with learners who have done things like returning to school, and wholly believe that the moves were what was most appropriate. The discourse is really about finding the best options, and even includes episodes addressing questions like "who should not be an un-schooler".

Regretfully, there was little or no opportunity to hear these things back in the day. Had there been, things might have been different. The great thing is that Off-trail Learning is helping to get the word out now. Blake has a number of suggestions about how you can help (emphasizing that it does not have to involve money), so if you find OTL interesting and helpful, please do so.

If you want an example of what to expect at OTL, try Blake Boles on What it Means to be Educated

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