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Amy Milstein, Maya Milstein, and Maddy Platt on Unschooling in NYC

For episode #15 of the Real Education Podcast I interview Amy Milstein (founder of UnschoolingNYC), her 15-year-old daughter Maya (photo on right), and Maya’s friend Maddy (whom she met at Not Back to School Camp).

I discovered Amy online an stayed with her dynamic family in in New York City in 2012. So many unschooling families live in suburban or small-town environments; it’s refreshing to hear the perspective of a family living in the biggest of the big cities! Teenagers will also enjoy hearing about Maya and Maddy’s experiences at camp. Enjoy.

Amy and Maya Milstein, mother and 14-year-old daughter of a New York City unschooling family, and Maddy Platt, their 16-year-old friend from Canada, talk with host Blake Boles about their day-to-day lives as unschoolers, the advantages and disadvantages of unschooling in New York City, and Maya’s and Maddy’s transformative experiences attending Not Back to School Camp.

Visit Amy’s unschooling blag at


William Deresiewicz on Excellent Sheep

new_portrait_uncropped-207x300If you’re thinking about college, currently in college, a college graduate, or simply interested in the debate about college happening in this country—this episode is for you.

On episode #14 of the Real Education Podcast I interview my friend William Deresiewicz, who I discovered in 2011 when I read two of his bombshell articles criticizing the Ivy League. I mentioned him in my book Better Than College and mailed him a review copy, which he both enjoyed and criticized. The following summer we met in Portland and had a nice conversation, and then his new book (Excellent Sheep – read my review) came out and thrust him into the limelight. This month I finally had the chance to interview him for the podcast.

Enjoy the episode. It’s really, really great.


William Deresiewicz, author of Excellent Sheep and former English professor at Yale University, talks with host Blake Boles about the reaction to his controversial book, helicopter parenting and overindulgent parenting, the meaning of a “real education,” the benefits of a small liberal arts college experience, how someone who doesn’t go to college might replicate the experience (or not), two lesser-known colleges that are on the right track, and why reforming college admissions policies can improve K-12 schooling.


Lucas Isakowitz on Unschooling, High School, and Alaskan Fishing

Many life-long unschoolers wonder what high school is like; only a few take the plunge.

This week I interview a fascinating young guy who has experienced the worlds of unschooling, public high school, the Ivy League, New York City office life, and Alaskan salmon fishing.

Listeners: Thank for your feedback on my show; it’s been super helpful. Beginning today, I’m releasing episodes every other week, instead of weekly. That will help the podcast feel more sustainable for me.

Lucas Isakowitz, a 24-year-old grown unschooler, college graduate, and part-time Alaskan fisherman, talks with host Blake Boles about his young life as an unschooler, not learning to read until age 11, his decision to join a large public high school at age 14, the virtues of social adversity, going to college at Penn, and his recent experiences working on a salmon fishing boat in Alaska.


Ben Paul on Dropping Out of Law School in Germany

paul_ben-19On episode #12 of the Real Education Podcast I interview Ben Paul of (“Anti-University”, in German only), a 23-year-old higher education activist and self-directed learning advocate.

Ben and I met online first, and then in person at the World Domination Summit 2014 conference in Portland, Oregon. He’s a smart, passionate, and thoughtful guy at the forefront of a movement in Europe that’s questioning the supposedly unquestionable value of the college and graduate school (and his case, law school).

We talk about Ben’s decision to leave a prestigious law school at age 20 to travel in Latin America, his blog that encourages young people to build self-knowledge before starting college, the pluses and minuses of the free German higher education system, and building a social life without college.

(Oh, and friends who speak German: Don’t miss Ben’s new venture, Blogging University!)


Reflections on Podcasting

Last week I published the 10th episode of the Real Education Podcast, meeting my long-time goal of publishing 10 original audio or video episodes online. Now I’m asking myself: What’s working, what’s not, and should I keep going?

(If you’re not familiar, the Real Education Podcast is a weekly show in which I interview one person—or a small group/team—for 45 minutes. New episodes are released on Tuesdays on iTunes and Soundcloud. I launched it on March 10th, 2015.)

What I Like About Podcasting

Conversations: I love taking with people who have dedicated their lives to alternative education, outdoor/experiential education, or unschooling. The podcast has given me an excuse to have deep conversations with interesting people I already know and, more significantly, and an excuse to meet and interview new people. The interviews themselves are always fun and rewarding.

Positive feedback: A few people have taken the time to e-mail me, write a Facebook comment, or leave an iTunes review with some positive comments about the show. One guy—a fellow alternative educator—even sent me $100 (completely unsolicited) in gratitude for the Carsie Blanton episode, which deeply inspired his 18-year-old daughter. That felt nice!

Patronage: Also inspired by Carsie, I created a Patreon page where listeners who enjoy my show could set up a recurring donation (as low as $1)  for every episode I produced. Around episode #3 I jumped up to $15 in weekly patronage—$10 of which was thanks to one family member—and then it leveled off, sitting at $18 now. People are paying me to do this: that feels nice, too! Continue Reading