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Patrick Farenga on Self-Directed Learning

Patrick FarengaOn episode 19 of the Real Education Podcast I interview Patrick Farenga, the president of HoltGWS and co-author of Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling.

Pat is a long-time—perhaps one of the longest-time!—advocates of homeschooling, unschooling, and self-directed learning, and we share a high-energy conversation about the legacy of John Holt (the educator and critic who coined the word “unschooling” and started Growing Without Schooling magazine), how Pat became involved with John Holt, and how self-directed learning connects to the modern world of work. Enjoy the show!


Tomis Parker and Nancy Tilton on Agile Learning Centers


On episode 18 of the Real Education Podcast I interview my friends Nancy Tilton and Tomis Parker, co-creators of a new and rapidly growing network of small alternative schools that emphasize self-directed learning assisted by organizational principles gleaned from Agile Software Development and other “lean management” techniques.

Nancy found me in Asheville a few years ago, and I met Tomis at the AERO conference in New York. Each is smart, driven, and passionate about education—and they’re recently married! (Congrats, you two.) Enjoy the show.

Links from the interview:


Liam Nilsen on the Endor Initiative

10349132_10103761336643023_7614542957778353679_nOn episode 17 of the Real Education Podcast I interview my good friend Liam Nilsen, founder of the Endor Initiative, an innovative program for self-directed teens that I helped him get off the ground in Asheville, North Carolina.

We discuss how Endor is different from a school, how the program has evolved with input from participants, the politics of video games in group spaces, and the mysterious origin of the name.



Japhy Dhungana on The Value of Global Education

Japhybwlr-200x300On episode #16 of the Real Education Podcast I interview a fellow international trip leader who I met in Nepal last year as we were both leading groups around the country. Japhy works for a well-established travel and gap year company—Where There Be Dragons—and has tons of experience as a leader of young adults and a global traveler and adventurer himself. Enjoy!


Japhy Dhungana, program director at Where There Be Dragons (, talks with host Blake Boles about international semester programs and what young people gain from them, his own path from growing up in Nepal to becoming a climbing bum in Yosemite to biking across the Americas, and how to gain a global perspective even if you’re not able to travel.