Learning By Living Podcast

Learning By Living Podcast

Learning by Living is a podcast about people who learn outside of conventional schools. Gina Riley and Kevin Currie-Knight talk to unschoolers, homeschoolers, world-schoolers, staff at alternative schools, etc, all with an eye toward how learning (and living!) takes place outside of conventional school settings.

Episodes

December 5, 2020 37 min
Listeners know today’s guest well. She’s Gina Riley, the co-host of this podcast. Gina is an educational psychologist, a Clinical Professor in the Adolescent Special Education Program at CUNY – Hunter College and, of course, she has a big interest in unschooling, even having written a book called Unschooling: Learning Beyond the Classroom. Today, we’re talking about a 2018 study she did, appropriately titled Exploring Unschoolers E...
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On this episode, Gina interviews the show's co-host, Kevin Currie-Knight, about his experience with self-directed learning. Kevin is a professor in East Carolina University's College of Education where he teaches future teachers. But he teaches in a way that leans heavily on self-directed learning where students have control over what to learn, how to learn it, and even how to evaluate themselves. He's written a recent...
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In this episode, we talk to Xaq Rzetelny. Xaq is a grown unschooler, science writer, and communicator of science focusing on astrophysics. He's also been a radio host and most recently, a performer at Liberty Science Center's Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium, the largest in the Western Hemisphere. Gina and Kevin sat down with Xaq to talk about the transition from unschooling to college to career, how unschooling and college led...
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Today’s guest, Dr. Kate Green, has five very successful, alternatively educated young adult and teen children of her own. She also loves working as an educational consultant, to help other families make decisions that enable their children to joyfully excel. Kate, Gina, and I talked about what it is like to raise FIVE unschooled - or maybe worldschooled - kids, how each found their own unique path, balancing work and parenting, and...
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August 30, 2020 41 min
Since doing this podcast, one thing Gina and I have noticed about self-directed learning is that people who undertake it in their formative years develop a really strong sense of self - the kind of sense of self that is unafraid to take on any limits around them. That's definitely true of today's guest, Ki Aoaygi. Ki discovered self-directed learning around the high school years and has gone on, among other things, to work ...
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This episode’s guest has been advising teens to opt out of school for over two decades now. Ken Danford used to be a middle school teacher, but once he discovered self-directed learning, he co-founded the North Star Learning Center for Teens, a space where teenagers have control of their time and learning. Twenty some years later, North Star is thriving and has given way to the Liberated Learner network of Learning Centers. Ken eve...
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What happens when kids rule the school? Well, that - When Kids Rule the School - is the title of a recent book by today’s guest, Jim Rietmulder. Jim is is a founding staff member at The Circle School in Pennsylvania, which is among the oldest self-directed democratic schools, where kids really do rule the school. They choose what they want to do with their time as well as create and uphold school rules. Kevin, Jim, and Gina sat dow...
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On this episode, we are joined by Robin Alpern, a 65-year-old white woman who narrowly missed a career as an elementary school teacher. Instead, she and her former husband unschooled their four children to college. This was largely in the 1990’s, and since there weren’t many resources for unschoolers, Robin co-founded the Tri-County Homeschoolers network, which, as we’ll hear, helped Gina when her own family unschooled. Robin, Gina...
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Our guest for this episode has worked as a research fellow at the Environmental Protection Agency, and will soon be working toward her PhD in microbiology at Dartmouth College. But her first day of school was at the age of 14, when she decided to attend a public high school after being homeschooled without any formal curriculum. Today, we talk with Alice Goldstein-Plesser about her unique educational path from homeschool to high sc...
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Our guest today, Hope Wilder is the founder of Pathfinder Community School, a learning community where kids truly learn by living. A lifelong learner herself, Hope had an accelerated experience of the public school system, graduating from the University of South Carolina at the age of 19 with degrees in Biology and German. For the dozen years before starting Pathfinder, she worked and played as an alternative outdoor educator and ...
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Our guest on this episode, Bria Bloom, has seen self-directed learning from two perspectives. Bria is a born and raised unschooler who now has the daily joy of parenting a self-directed learner. She is also a passionate advocate for self-directed education and young people's rights, and channels this into her work with various organizations including the Alliance for Self-Directed Education, where she is the executive director....
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How do self-directed teens prepare for adult life? What is the value of allowing teens to “do nothing” with their time? Today, we talk with Katy Burke, a former public school teacher of 11 years who, frustrated with standardized testing, gave up teaching in a conventional school and found work in the Princeton Learning Cooperative. There, she helps teens learn what and live how they want. On this episode, we talk about her journey ...
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Entrepreneur, disability rights activist, and advocate of self-directed learning. Our guest today, Jim Flannery, is all of these. Jim is a former high school physics teacher who now advocates for self-directed learning and is the creator of the Peer Unschooling Network, a digital community for young self-directed learners. His latest project is an app that teaches young people how to thrive without school called, Curricu-Dumb: wha...
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Current studies report that around 50% of public school teachers leave the profession entirely within their first five years. Our guest today, Cassidy Younghans, taught 7th grade English in a public school for 5 years before leaving school teaching and finding a more fulfilling, way to work with young people, shifting her path towards Self-Directed Education. Gina sat down with Cassidy to talk about Cassidy’s journey from conventio...
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While teaching in a conventional school, David Lane has found ways to bring the power of self-directed learning to learners both in and out of school settings. Years ago, he co-created the now defunct Ingenuity Hub, an self-directed alternative to school. He has also taught a self-directed high school class where students decided what and how they wanted to learn. Kevin, David, and Gina about how self-directed learning can look ins...
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n this episode, Gina and Kevin sit down with author, podcaster, and unschooler of two, Akilah Richards. We have a wide-ranging conversation about what motivated Akilah and her family to unschool, what learning looks like when decoupled from compulsory school, the promise of unschooling for people-of-color communities, and much more.



2:58 - How Akilah and her Family Discovered Unschooling: “Over time, Chris and I decided that what t...
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Over a recent holiday vacation, Kevin caught up with relatives of his about their experience unschooling. This family, with kids ranging in age from 7 months to twelve years, came upon unschooling almost by accident. They originally set out to homeschool their children, but noticed that the children learned much more by following their passions. Wishing to remain anonymous, the family sat down with Kevin for a face-to-face discussi...
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DESCRIPTION: Lainie Liberti and her son Miro Siegel join us on this episode to talk about worldschooling. 11 years ago, Lainie and Miro hit the road for what was supposed to be a one year adventure. Ever since, Lainie and Miro have been traveling slowly around the globe and learning from the world rather than from school. They join us to talk about what it looks like to learn freely from the world as well as Project World School, a...
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What does it look like when teens get the freedom to direct their own learning in a conventional school? On this episode, we find out by talking to Mike Powell, a guidance counselor at Monument Mountain High School in Western Massachusetts. Mike has served as a long-time faculty advisory to the Independent Project, a student-run program that allows teens to choose what and how they want to learn. We talk about the types of things s...
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Matthew Gioia is a long-time staff member at the Hudson Valley Sudbury School, and before that, was a middle school teacher. On this episode, we talk to Matthew about the kinds of learning by living he sees at HVSS, how the school works, and the different experiences of teaching middle school and supporting students at HVSS.

1:42 - Matt’s Experience as a Middle School Teacher: “The principal was patting me on the back saying ‘Good ...
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