Quitting school (and starting self-directed education) could be the best decision you ever make
What would your life look like if you could have done anything you wanted?
Tricky question isn’t it?
Most of us grew up in a time when going to school was what we did. It is what everyone did.
We sat in a classroom, absently doodling while someone spewed facts about…...what? I can’t even remember, can you?
And yet sometimes, we got to learn about something that sparked our interest and our imaginations would run riot….until the bell rang.
I sometimes wonder how many people used those moments of magic to build a career or a business. And then I think about all the people who were told that those dreams weren’t realistic and that they needed to get a “real” job.
We are so privileged to live in a world where we can offer our children an alternative to our lived experiences. We can allow them to pursue their dreams and passions.
Self-directed education offers children the chance to explore the world and their place in it.
Cody McLain took control of his learning at a young age and has built 3 multi-million dollar companies. He is a serial entrepreneur who has an insatiable thirst for learning. But not just learning for the sake of it.
He is a huge believer in the importance of self-guided learning with an emphasis on practically applying new knowledge.
He shares the important life skills for self-directed learning that allowed him to succeed and can help us facilitate a self-directed journey with our children.
Quitting school can transform your learning
Yes, you read that right.
Going to school doesn’t equate to learning. Education can look so different from the traditional model we grew up with. By thinking that learning only happens in a classroom, we deny ourselves, and our kids, the chance to explore a world rich in opportunity and knowledge.
Cody lost his parents when he was young and self-managed his education from an early age. This was important for him as he was already running his first high-earning company.
“I didn’t miss school.”
Cody found his priorities shifting as his business demanded more from him. He battled to juggle the demands of school and those of his company. He found the idea of learning on someone else’s terms a struggle.
As Cody discovered, we remember things better when we have initiated the learning and have also had to apply the knowledge. That is why we can’t remember half the things they taught us in school! They were bland facts presented to us, rather than activities that engaged us.
Cody recalls he knew nothing about business, marketing, SEO, or other skills that he needed to run a successful business. But he learned them over time because he needed them to achieve his goals and create the vision he had in his head.
There are so many options available for learning and many of them involve self-directed study. Online courses, books, YouTube, and of course, Google! These are easily accessible and allow us to learn the skills we need to reach our goals.
Galileo is one of these options that offers children the chance to learn a wide range of skills through a variety of clubs. Exposing our children to experiences they would not have had access to in traditional school means they can learn the skills needed for our ever-evolving world.
The project-based approach to learning means that students engage with the information and use it in practical ways.
Just start… you already have everything you need to become self-directed!
If you are wondering where to start, then you're not alone!
Do you have a hobby? Something you are interested in that sparks your imagination?
Then you have everything you need to start a self-guided learning journey. And the same is true for your kids.
We have just seen that learning happens when we are actively engaged with the content and have a specific goal in mind.
Our kids need the freedom to discover what inspires them so that they can learn the skills they need to pursue that inspiration.
“Going to school made me hate learning.”
- Cody McLain
When we force anyone, but particularly our kids, to learn for the learning’s sake, we are stealing their opportunity to become informed thinkers.
They miss out on engaging critically with the information being presented to them and the opportunity for creative thinking disappears.
We want to radically change traditional education, helping kids to become self-directed learners who actively engage with the world around them. Kids who take responsibility for their learning and connect with like-minded friends globally.
Learning should also be fun!
If we are allowing our kids to live a life authentic to them and their dreams, then the learning will happen, incidentally. It will become a part of their lives, and not something they do at a set time, in a set place, every day.
Educational goals should inspire creativity and curiosity, helping students to become lifelong learners.
A supportive parent is all your child needs to start their self-directed education
The seeds of doubt and uncertainty find fertile ground easily, yet our belief in our children’s innate ability to learn rarely takes root the same way.
Cody explains he suffered from low self-esteem from school, where he didn’t fit in. He had to fight to step outside his comfort zone, try new things, and trust in his abilities.
Working on his self-limiting belief, Cody taught himself photography, writing and even got his pilot’s license. It was discovering these passions that made him question his capabilities and how he viewed himself.
By offering our children the freedom to discover themselves, we validate their feelings and provide a springboard for them to confidently tackle new things.
Kids have their own interests but traditional school keeps them so busy that they don’t have time to explore them.
How you can help your child stay motivated and organized with self-directed education
Self-Determination Theory explains that competence, connection, and autonomy are vital factors for intrinsic motivation. Simply put, when we are good at something, have community, and the ability to make our own choices, we are more likely to reach our goals.
As parents, we can help our children set goals and bridge the gap when they hit a plateau. This is not the role of a teacher, but rather a mentor or facilitator.
To stay motivated, they need to feel like they are making progress and we can provide the structure to help that happen.
I believe that children are born natural learners and independent thinkers. However, I also understand that providing students with structure and accountability is important for self-directed study.
At Galileo, we designed clubs to be interactive and self-directed but with a facilitator to support the students. We've got to make sure kids are staying on track while they develop their interests and goals.
But will they actually be learning?
There are daily check-ins that allow students to connect with each other while also keeping them on track to reach their goals. The aim is to help students develop the skills to be independent and self-organized learners.
Cody made a great point, that learning sticks better when it can be recalled and applied. When students do their weekly presentations during check-ins, they share their knowledge and interests with other students. They have carte blanche here and can choose the topic and the medium they use.
Applying skills they have learned to share information means it has come alive for them. It is not just a series of dry, recited facts, but a way of sharing passion and excitement.
So, can you picture a new life with self-directed education?
Our world is changing rapidly, and it will look even more different when our children are adults. The traditional education model no longer works for a world that values skills, creativity, and independent thinkers. Technology has transformed our ability to connect and learn while offering exciting new opportunities.
Online learning and self-directed education allow our kids to embrace the changes we are seeing. This will equip them with the skills they need to confidently become the people they want to be.
Giving them the freedom to learn, but also to become good people. Education should be looked at holistically, and tailored to suit each individual child.
We are reimagining education, leaving behind what was, and forging a new and exciting path forward. The benefit of online learning is that your family could travel the world. You could connect with each other, other cultures, and reimagine what life looks like for your family.
Does the idea of freedom and autonomy for your child but also your family, sound appealing?
If so, we hope you will join us as we grow the next generation of entrepreneurs, leaders, and innovators.
Click or tap here to browse our Free Events, chatting about how to revolutionize education and better prepare our kids for the world of tomorrow.