"The concept of bringing people together to design things and grow their products or ideas collectively betters everyone." - Cyrus Merrill

Are you a parent feeling uncertain about the future of your child's education?

Or maybe you are an educator feeling disillusioned with the current system?

For so many people, these feelings of doubt about the traditional school system are not new.

The worry that our current education model doesn't prepare our kids for the future didn’t appear overnight.

But covid has shed new light on old problems, old concerns, and more people are looking at education through a new lens.

Talking with Cyrus Merrill, the brain behind Educ8 (the Global Education Conference), you get a sense that education is not a one-size-fits-all.

Cyrus is a history teacher and passionate about his job in the traditional teaching sphere.

But wait!

You thought this would be all about self-directed education and life without school, right?

And it is, but more than that, it is about educational freedom, however that looks for you and your family.

It is so easy to get sucked into the idea that one form of education is better than another. But really, this is a conversation about our kids and their right to have more autonomy over their learning journey.

Rather than creating conflict over different approaches to education, we should be talking about how to offer more kids educational freedom and independence.

And that is what made this conversation with Cyrus so engaging.

He challenges the way we approach conversations about education through Educ8, saying that "it's something to share and connect people with the premise that you can't have too many conversations and the more conversations, the better."

The global education conference and your child’s freedom to learn

Educ8 was started by educators for educators. But more importantly, for the future of learners and to revolutionize education paradigms.

Cyrus says, "the real power of Educ8 is that it is global," which makes it an inclusive space open to diverse conversation.

For an educator in the traditional system, Cyrus has views that align with a self-directed learning model. He says we should "let them do their own thing, let them design their own thing, and let them meet people that are not in their current ecosystem."

This is precisely the thinking behind schools like Galileo, who believe that children are natural learners who should be allowed to craft their learning journey.

Covid has changed the way teaching and learning happens

Cyrus says, "every teacher has had to go back to being a first-year teacher, a first-year educator, learning new systems, and my greatest fear is that that's going to be lost."

Teachers have had to embrace technology and the online world while also creating more student-centered lessons.

So many teachers have realized that their restrictions in the classroom are negatively impacting their students. (Our kids!)

Daniel Prince says that the alternative education movement "is being driven by entrepreneurs, which is brilliant, but it is pulling in people from formal education, especially those looking to escape that system."

Cyrus doesn't want to escape the system, but he told us, "I like what I'm doing, but I want to shake things up and have an immediate impact, not just a long-term incremental one on a systemic level."

And that is the gift of alternative education!

Offering something different from the traditional school model, homeschooling, unschooling, micro-schools, and online schools have sparked conversations.

Getting people to talk about possible alternatives and ways to improve educational options for families is vital for real change. Events like the global education conference carve out space for these important conversations.

Why the world needs global education conferences: To spark global change

Education happens globally, and we live in such an interconnected world that not sharing knowledge and ideas about education could be harmful.

Galileo started as a global homeschooling summit, and Daniel says, "all we wanted to do was raise awareness for other parents that were stuck between a rock and a hard place of realizing there's something wrong with the education system."

Cyrus made an important point when he spoke about covid saying, "the biggest disruptor was what disrupted all of us. Yet the potential for that is seen as a positive and a first step in the widespread education and awareness of a whole new multitude of teachers."

Parents and educators are waking up to the fact that there are alternative ways of educating our kids!

Daniel and Cyrus are on opposite sides of the education fence, but they want the same thing: kids who feel empowered in their learning, are equipped for real life, and care about people.

Cyrus says, "I absolutely celebrate education in whatever field and manner it comes, and there are good and bad versions of all models."

And isn't that the truth?

The goal should be to offer our kids the education that best suits them, rather than worrying about what that looks like.

Cyrus is a passionate educator committed to helping his students grow into the best people they can be. He encourages them to think about the world and their place in it.

But he is one person.

We need educators globally to stand up for students' learning freedom and create a more equitable education system.

That is why the global education conference 2021 is so important. We should be having conversations about alternative education paths and how to bring a more autonomous way of learning into schools.

Maybe you are a parent who wants to homeschool or unschool with your kids?

But this isn't necessarily an option for everyone, and that is why the traditional school system needs some revolutionary changes.

How you can impact your child's educational future

Cyrus and the Educ8 team use Clubhouse for their education conference, and he said that "2 things are missing on this platform in large numbers, actual teachers and conversations from parents".

Both of these groups of people are vital in any discussions we have about the future of education.

Cyrus says parenting is a "huge education component that I've not seen nearly enough discussed."

And yet, it is parents who need help, who need reassurance, and who need confidence. Our kids will dive into a way of learning that best suits them, but we need some hand-holding as parents.

Choosing an alternative education journey can be overwhelming, particularly if you don't have a supportive community around you.

Going against the status quo is never easy, but it is necessary if you and your family feel trapped in a system that no longer works for you.

Nadine Ziegeldorf, a Galileo parent, was forced to take a hard look at the education choices their family had made through the lockdown. She says, "I was brainwashed, conditioned to believe that a bricks and mortar school was the only choice for my child."

Daniel mentioned that for Galileo co-founder Kelly Davis, "it was the school she wishes she had gone to as a kid, and Vlad was building the school that he wanted for his own kids."

That is the beauty of the current trend in education.

Parents and educators are speaking up and offering alternative options for kids. They are seeing the limitations in the current system and creating other opportunities for learning independence.

Cyrus said, "I'm not against homeschooling; I'm in favor of thought-provoking education that makes students think."

So you see, for a new kind of education to emerge, collaboration, innovation, creativity, and cooperation will be key!

The future of education is dynamic and constantly evolving - how is your family adapting?

Our world is changing at an alarming rate, and our education systems need to adapt and evolve along with it.

We believe self-directed education allows our kids to develop the skills they need to thrive in even the most uncertain times.

But this might not be the best fit for your family.

Perhaps homeschooling or a micro-school works better for you? Or maybe elements of traditional school are what your family needs?

Whatever your educational choice, there is no denying that the traditional way of learning will not give our kids the best chance at success.

It is up to parents and educators to fight for a more learner-centered approach that allows kids to explore and create.

As Cyrus so beautifully explains, "my challenge would be to have students be more involved in designing what they're learning and challenging what they're being taught. Because when you hear their voices, and you give them the power to upend what is supposed to be happening, what they're supposed to be learning, and when you give them a voice to critique and challenge: they grow infinitely".

What it ultimately comes down to is choice! And what a fantastic thing that is to have the freedom to choose the best learning journey with your kids.

If any of this resonated with you, then join one of our next events at InspirEd. They are full of meaningful conversations that will spark your curiosity and maybe even change your life.