Blake Boles builds exciting alternatives to traditional school for self-directed young people. He directs the company Unschool Adventures and is the author of The Art of Self-Directed Learning, Better Than College, and College Without High School.
Blake and his work have appeared on TEDx, The Huffington Post, USA Today, The New York Times, BBC Travel, Fox Business, Ignite, NPR affiliate radio, and the blogs of The Wall Street Journal and Wired.com.
In 2003 Blake was studying astrophysics at UC Berkeley when he stumbled upon the works of John Taylor Gatto, Grace Llewellyn, and other alternative education pioneers. Deeply inspired by the philosophies of unschooling, Blake custom-designed his final two years of college to study education full-time. After graduating he joined the Not Back to School Camp community and began writing and speaking widely on the subject of self-directed learning.
In his previous lives, he has worked as a high-volume cook, Aurora Borealis physics researcher, delivery truck driver, math tutor, outdoor science teacher, EMT medic, summer camp director, market researcher, web designer, and windsurfing and tree climbing instructor. He keeps a running goal (and failure) list. His biggest passion is sharing his enthusiasm and experience with young adults who are blazing their own trails through life. He is 32 years old.
A Few Passions
- Trail running and ultralight backpacking
- Seeking the perfect cappuccino
- Meditating on how I spend my time and money
- Frisbee, slacklining, and Settlers of Catan
- Long-term international travel
- Economics, entrepreneurship, psychology, history, and health
A Few People I Admire
- Russ Roberts – host of my all-time favorite podcast
- Deirdre McCloskey – author of eloquent books about economic history
- Bryan Caplan – spreader of provocative educational ideas from an econ viewpoint
- Anton Krupicka – mountain runner and ultra marathon runner
- Scott Williamson – long-distance hiker
- Andrew Skurka – jack-of-all trades adventurer
- Dean Potter – climber and slackliner extraordinaire
- John Taylor Gatto – New York teacher-of-the-year-turned-education-reformer
- Grace Llewellyn – Author and founder/director of Not Back to School Camp
- Jim Wiltens – Leadership trainer, author, and founder/director of Deer Crossing Camp
- Ken Danford – Co-founder of North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens
- Dev Carey – Outdoor educator, big-systems thinker, and paragon of simple living
A Few People To Whom I’m Indebted
- My smart, supportive parents.
- Grace and Jim for guiding my young-adult career path.
- My college, summer camp, and outdoor education co-workers.
- The Not Back to School Camp and Deer Crossing Camp communities.
- Every parent who ever sent their child on an Unschool Adventures program.
- The incredible community of people on the Internet who I’ve never met and who generously support and promote my work.
(These are by no means exhaustive lists.)