I’d love to see a draft curriculum for such a program. It’s exciting to think about making school so much more useful. I know Olivia would be way more engaged. Even in 4th grade she questions why she has to be in school for so long every day.

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Radical- in all the best ways

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I appreciate this mashup of education alternatives. You made me think more about adventure as learning.

Something to consider: adventure is just as oppressive as common school curriculum, it’s just oppressive to a different set of kids. Some kids like the Trivial Pursuit motif of today’s school - those kids are externally motivated. Even if you take them out of school, they are not going to want novelty and serendipity. They are dependable, loyal kids who are probably the first to have children of their own.

Adventure is crushing to specialists as well. Think of the person who has been trying to answer the same question for their whole academic career. Or the artist most happy in their studio. These people are sidetracked by the type of adventure you talk about.

I bet when you were a kid you hated being boxed in and it’s the same for adult you. When I was a kid I hated being interrupted by the teacher or students - I wanted to just focus on what I was doing by myself, at my desk. I loved sitting at my desk. I still do.

We hold on to school because it’s a way to have one teacher care for lots of kids. But kids have too many differing needs to be learning how they learn best in that scenario. I noticed when I was homeschooling my kids I’d assumed they’d like what I like. It’s a real wake up call to see how widely they diverged from me. The wouldn’t like adventure, either. They each wanted totally different learning experiences. I could only barely handle two customized learning experiences. There’s no way one person could handle 30.

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Thanks for this thoughtful response, Penelope. Honestly, I was waiting for someone to say "you're just replacing one curriculum with another!" And it's true. It wouldn't work for everyone, and perhaps not even for most. I do enjoy imagining how equity concerns would shift in a world where adventure replaced academics. And I do think adventure (writ large) is more accessible and relevant for many kids. But yeah, the specialists and budding academics and Trivial Pursuit box-checkers would be left behind.

Makes me think of the Finnish schoolteacher who I met at a dance event years ago. I said, "Your public school system is the envy of the world. How well do you think it works?" She replied, "It's very good. Short school days, lots of play, almost no homework. But the problem is that all Finnish schools are good in the same way. There's little diversity. So there are still kids who don't match with it."

As I was writing this piece, I told myself, "this is really an argument for creating bigger and better-resourced self-directed learning centers." Sort of like Sudbury Valley and North Star and Agile Learning Centers. Where kids can really, truly opt-out of most activities, and adults are purely there to support and encourage, not force or judge. (More about these models: https://www.self-directed.org/tp/three-popular-models/) They still accomplish the childcare function, sans curriculum. Lots of play and adventure takes happens at these kind of centers, but also quiet focus, desk-sitting, and "doing nothing."

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I love this with all my heart ❤️

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