Thursday, February 07, 2013

Tonight - Laura Grace Weldon on "Free Range Learning"

Join me tonight, Thursday, February 7th, for a live and interactive conversation with Laura Grace Weldon on her book Free Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything. 

I've long argued that the homeschool movement has for decades now intellectually explored a lot of the same territory that the ed tech movement explores through constructivist and social software, particularly self-directed learning and student agency. As my interview series has been weighted lately toward these topics, I can tell by some diminished attendance at particular events that there is still discomfort for some (many?) exploring homeschooling's pedagogical insights because of strong beliefs around compulsory universal schooling, because of concerns about the quality of the homeschool experience, and perhaps because there is less tangible, practical application of these discussions to day-to-day teaching expectations.

However, I'm staying the course. I'm convinced that the larger cultural, business, and social shifts precipitated by the Internet are going to require more entrepreneurial, self-directing, and self-aware learning experiences. Student success today is largely a measure of having learned to meet others' expectations and to comply with institutionalized education, but as our students and children enter the changing worlds of work, civic responsibility, and cultural participation, these are likely to be less valuable and less personally-fulfilling traits. I believe, therefore, that including discussions about--and the awareness (and sometimes embracing) of--the lessons from the homeschool community are a critical part of building teaching and learning opportunities that match the challenges and opportunities of our time.

From the publisher's description:
Free Range Learning presents the simple choice to homeschool as something much more significant than a homespun method of education. Weldon asks us to consider this choice as participation in a cultural shift toward redefining success; and as a form of collective intelligence with major implications for the future of education...  
Studies indicate that adults who were homeschooled are: * More likely to vote, volunteer and be involved in their communities than graduates of conventional schools. * Read more books than average. * More likely to have taken college level courses than the population as a whole. * Tend to be independent and self-reliant.... Children are naturally "free range" learners, she says. They build knowledge and skills naturally, within the full spectrum of their daily lives, while observing, exploring and pursuing their interests. 
Please join us!

Date: Thursday, February 7th, 2013
Time: 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern (international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Blackboard Collaborate (formerly Elluminate). Log in at The Blackboard Collaborate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Blackboard Collaborate, please visit the support and configuration page.
Recording:  A full Blackboard Collaborate recording is at and an audio mp3 recording is available at and at
Mightybell:  A Mightybell space with interview resources and conversation is at

Laura Grace Weldon is a writer and editor, perhaps due to an English professor's scathing denunciation of her writing as "curious verbiage." Her recent book is "Free Range Learning" ( and she's working on her next, "Subversive Cooking" ( She lives on Bit of Earth Farm with her family where she is a barely useful farm wench. Although she has deadlines to meet she often wanders from the computer to preach hope, snort with laughter, cook subversively, observe chicken behavior, discuss life’s deeper meaning with her surprisingly tolerant offspring, sing to bees, hide in books, feed cows, walk dogs, concoct tinctures, watch foreign films and make messy art


  1. Okay - my black board is loaded but I can't log in - is that because it's not "live" yet?

  2. The room typically opens up 30 - 60 minutes before the show. See you soon!

  3. I am a teacher in a public school system but I have had relatives and friends who have home schooled their kids and I give this merit. The one major thing I want to say about homeschooling is that the teacher doesn't have the same discipline issues. I would imagine they have some but as a classroom teacher, I can say that we waste a lot of time on discipline. Imagine if we could get all the students to get their assignments done, participate in class, do not upset the class, and learn with hands on projects?!


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