Photo by James Adamson

I’ve decided to end the official academic year of reschooling this Saturday, June 20th. I’d been thinking June 15, because it’s closer to the real last day of school for most kids, but June 20th has more significance for me. It’s exactly ten months after the first day of kindergarten (August 20th, 2008), and it’s exactly one year after I left my full-time job as Spark Co-Director. It feels like the right time to step back and reflect on my first year that I’ve educated myself on my own terms.

I’ve been spending the last couple days processing the Reschool Yourself experience as a whole, as I write a long retrospective piece for Santa Clara Magazine, my university’s alumni publication. Sunday was the first time I opened up the two top-spiral notepads full of my observations from the classroom. It’s a lot to process: the memories I’d had while sitting in my old desks, the conversations I’d had with my old teachers, and the mixed feelings that arose (regret, joy, grief, peace, you name it). Part of me wants to close the door on the whole reschooling experience, because it’s so much information to synthesize, but another part feels compelled to share how I’ve changed so that other people can go through a similar process of letting go and moving on. Above all, I’m determined to change the way we “do school” so that other kids don’t have to reschool themselves as adults. Ideally, they’ll maintain their natural wonder and the joy they take in learning throughout their lives.

An official project end date is important to me, so I can have a milestone at which to shift gears. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, reschooling has become more of a lifestyle than a finite project, so the blog will continue beyond June 20th. That date, however, will be a good opportunity to revamp the website and involve other people more deeply in the project. One idea is to profile folks who are reschooling in different ways (getting scuba certified, pursuing a higher degree, or changing careers, for example). I also plan to feature other projects and books in the vein of Reschool Yourself, because I’ve come across many over this year. I’ll also be looking more broadly at different approaches in education, as I’ve begun to do with the Op/Education series, and asking your opinions on them.

I can tell you now that I’ve undergone some major changes over the past ten months. I’ve grown to understand the habits that make me unhappy, and the reasons why I developed those habits in the first place. I’ve seen firsthand how school can change kids, in ways that help them develop and others that hinder their growth. I can tell you that I’m a lot happier and more balanced than I was a year ago at this time, when I was on the verge of stepping into unknown territory, and I look forward to summing up how that change happened.

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