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Welcome to my DIY master's program: an exploration into the nuts and bolts of self-directed learning.

A Do-It-Yourself Master’s

In late 2015 / early 2016, I’m launching a semester program that will help teens become better self-directed learners. To prepare for this, I’m undertaking a Master’s-level study of meta-learning and small school management.

I call this my DIY Master’s, because I’m designing with the scope and rigor of a real master’s degree program, but I’m not going through a university and won’t receive a degree.

To organize my efforts, I’m following the Open Master’s framework developed by my friend Alan Webb. Here’s what I’ve done so far:

  • outlined a big-picture plan and a few concrete projects
  • recruited a team of advisors to guide and assess my work
  • started developing a supportive peer learning community
  • began blogging about my process

Browse the links above to learn more, and read below to find my latest blog update. Thanks for visiting.

Latest Blog Post

February Update

I recently updated my plan, summarizing my two big projects at the moment:


I’m developing a podcast that will let me interview inspiring people in the world of alternative education who have undertaken similar projects to my own. Here’s the current vision:

What does it mean to get a “real education”—one that prepares you for the most important parts of life, instead of just academic achievement? In this talk show, Blake Boles interviews the founders of innovative summer camps, learning centers, semester schools, and adventure programs, as well as authors, bloggers, parents, and young people (ages 13-21). Topics include self-directed learning, leadership, 21st-century skills, entrepreneurship, college, unschooling, school reform, motivation, and parenting.

Meta-Learning Workshops

I’m building and testing (March 2015 in Chicago and LA) a set of workshops that will teach the foundational skills of self-directed learning to teenagers in a highly engaging fashion. (Read more)