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My podcast is called Off-Trail Learning (2016-current), previously called The Real Education Podcast (2015-2016). I interview self-directed learning advocates, innovative educators, and young people blazing their own paths through life. All episodes are available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Soundcloud.


“Really Good Reasons to Skip College” – Reason TV 2012

“What Could You Do With $20,000?” – Ignite Asheville 2012 (I took first place!)

Excerpt from the documentary Class Dismissed

“The Art of Self-Directed Learning” – Princeton Learning Cooperative 2015 (view all 4 videos)

Interview with 16-year-old Emma Bogush on getting into a Yale class as a homeschooler

Presentations & Workshops

Since 2009, I’ve given presentations and workshops for alternative schools, teen groups, parent groups, and conferences. (Here are a few examples.) If you’re interested in arranging a date, email me for pricing and specifics.

Teen workshops at Urban Homeschoolers, 2015
Keynote speak, VaHomeschoolers Conference 2015

Blake Boles’ energy is infectious. What a role model! Enthusiastic, empowering, and filled with entrepreneurial spirit.


Krystal McDonald

Chairman, VaHomeschoolers Conference and Resource Fair


Blake Boles, a guru of self-directed learning, inspired my community and challenged our thinking as it pertains to parenting and education. I find myself contemplating his questions and wisdom in hopes to discover new ways to effectuate change in our educational system. Simply put, Blake is a terrific speaker with a tenacious mind and spirit.

– Gabriel Cooper, Founder, Unschool @ San Juan Unified School District (2018)

It was a joy to have Blake come visit and speak with our extended community at Wayfinding Academy. He is a natural storyteller and has a knack for connecting with everyone in the audience in a personal way while also giving them resources and tools to achieve their goals.

– Michelle Jones, Founder, Wayfinding Academy (2018)

I witnessed Blake Boles captivate two very distinct audiences in the Bay Area this week – one at our QuantumCamp Berkeley micro-school site and the other at our Palo Alto site. Diametrically opposite poles of the Bay Area! For the bewilderingly infinite array of concerns and anxieties parents have on raising kids and what it means to be successful parents, Blake comes with good news. There are many ways to go, including the inside-the-box approach. But Blake’s real focus is on how easy and accessible the outside-the-box approaches, which may be precisely what your kid is yearning for, are. He leaves you with a you-can-do-it mindset!

– Michael P. Finnegan, Ph.D., Executive Director, QuantumCamp Inc. (2018)

Blake’s talk was delightful, inspiring, and informative. He shared his most personal and meaningful education experiences from his life and spoke to the different strategies adults can use to support children as they develop their own senses of self and purpose. Sunnyside parents loved getting to know Blake and left his talk empowered to let go of conventional educational and parenting tactics that keep kids from thriving independently.

– Jade Rivera, Founder, Sunnyside Microschool (2018)

Blake is an extraordinary figure and his presentation at Community Night was not only hilarious but exceptionally motivating for our students. Several of them have been reading Blake’s book. I’ve also talked to kids in advising meetings who were really impacted by Blake’s message and have taken steps to build some of his ideas into their own self-directed learning path.

– George Popham, Executive Director, Bay State Learning Center (2016)

Blake Boles’ energy is infectious. What a role model! Enthusiastic, empowering, and filled with entrepreneurial spirit.

– Krystal McDonald, Chairman, VaHomeschoolers Conference and Resource Fair (2015)

We have organized many public events over the past 5 years, but Blake’s talk on The Art of Self-Directed Learning was easily my favorite. He was funny, insightful and engaging. All of the feedback we received from attendees was overwhelmingly positive.

– Joel Hammon, Co-Founder, Princeton Learning Cooperative (2015)

Blake Boles came to Los Angeles to do a series of three teen workshops for us.  It was a wonderful success.  Teenagers from all over LA came out of the woodwork to be a part of that week, and left happy, inspired, and energized.  Parents immediately started asking for him to come back to do workshops for them.  We started plotting his return before he left.

– Anna & Brenna, Urban Homeschoolers (2015)

Blake gave a wonderful talk – recounting his compelling stories to inspire and guide anyone who is traveling life’s learning adventure. He reminds us that, self-directed learning does not mean learning entirely alone, and he encourages learners to engage boldly with the world around them to fire up their minds.

– Elisabeth Kennedy, Co-Director, Beacon Self-Directed Learning (2014)

Blake Boles came to our wide-ranging homeschool group and generated a record turnout! He was an excellent resource on a wide range of topics. Blake’s wisdom is beyond his years and it shows in the way he holds an audience’s attention and is quick to honestly answer all questions. Our organization completely endorses Blake for speaker engagements as well as his fantastic camps and adventures.

– Julie Valvano, President, Teaching Parents Association of Eastside Seattle (2010)

My wife Kelly and I coordinated the Chicago Teen workshop with Blake. The idea can from the fact that our local annual InHome conference was cancelled this year, and our teens were really disappointed. We began researching other conferences and came to the conclusion that what was really needed was a conference / series of workshops focused solely on homeschooled teens to think about their “high school days” and beyond. We engaged Blake with the idea, and he immediately began to help pull an itinerary together. From the end of the first day, we knew this was a great idea. Our 16 and 14 year olds were so excited at the end of that day – talking and researching so many new things that evening. All the apprehension about “what are we going to do for 3 days” was completely gone. They woke up excited to get going each of the following mornings. In the end, they learned a lot about themselves, more about the world and renewed and made some new friends along the way – they have also expressed interest in a follow up workshop series too! Thank you Blake for turning this idea last into an amazing growth experience for our teens!

– Craig Shultz, Chicago (2015)

Blake is a refreshing combination of down-to-earth and charismatic. The honesty with which he engages the world around him really resonates with the teenagers he so obviously enjoys working with.

– anonymous in L.A. (2015)

Blake Boles is one of the most significant voices in the self-directed learning movement today. He’s also one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met.

– anonymous in L.A. (2015)

[A whole bunch of nice things people said about me]

– Various contributors, Virginia (2015)

Previous Speaking Appearances

Podcast, Radio, Video

School Sucks podcast (March 20, 2018) / part two

NatChat podcast (Oct 26, 2017)

Successful Dropout podcast (May 29, 2017)

The World Wanderers podcast (Dec 1, 2016)

Driven 2 Educate podcast (Nov 24, 2016)

Raising Rebellion podcast (Nov 13, 2016)

Zero to Travel podcast (Oct 13, 2016)

The Luminous Mind podcast (Mar 23, 2016)

We Turned Out Okay podcast (Dec 14, 2015)

Isaac Morehouse podcast (July 20, 2015) – a favorite of mine

Unschooling webinar with The Optimist (June 24, 2015)

Meet Education Project podcast (February 20, 2015)

The Unschooling Life podcast (December 9, 2014)

Interview with Carlos Miceli –  Is Traditional Education for You? (Feb 25, 2014)

Wall Street Journal “Digits” – How to Get Strangers to Pay for Your Travel (Dec 18, 2013)

Ask Howie podcast interview: Does School Kill Entrepreneurship? (May 16, 2013)

Minnesota Public Radio (Dec 28th, 2012)

Future of Education podcast (Oct 11, 2012)

Reason TV (Oct 7, 2012)

Imus in the Morning (Sep 17, 2012)

Moneywise Guys Radio Show – Bakersfield, CA (Sep 13, 2012)

KPCC 89.3 (Southern California NPR) (July 5, 2012)

WFAE “Charlotte Talks” radio program (audio) (May 10, 2012)

Whatever Whatever Amen podcast (March 7, 2012)

Ignite Asheville (1st place!) (February 21, 2012) podcast interview (and follow-up)  (April 18, 2011)

TEDx (Nov 20, 2010 in Palo Alto, CA)

Roy Green Show radio interview (October 25, 2009)

Dave Rutherford Show radio interview — 750,000 listeners in Canada (October 22, 2009)


Self-Directed Voices (June 9, 2018 in Barcelona, Spain)

HSC Conference featured speaker (July 27-30, 2017 in San Francisco, CA)

AltPath keynote in Dallas/Fort Worth, TX (April 29, 2017)

Bay Area Homeschool Fair keynote (May 19, 2016)

VaHomeschoolers Conference & Resource Fair keynote (March 20-21, 2015 in Richmond, VA)

Hogwarts for Unschoolers” at Homeschool+ Conference (August 7, 2014, online)

HSC Conference (August 2-3, 2014 in Santa Clara, CA)

CHN Family Expo commencement speaker (June 19-22, 2014 in Los Angeles, CA)

InHome Conference (Mar 14-16, 2014 in Chicago, IL)

HSC Conference (August 1-3, 2013 in Sacramento, CA)

AERO Conference (May 23-26, 2013 in Long Island, NY)

True Colors Conference (March 21-22, 2013 in Hartford, CT)

Wide Sky Days Conference (Sept 5-9, 2012 in San Diego, CA)

CHN Family Expo Graduation Host (July 19-22, 2012 in Los Angeles, CA)

InHome Conference (March 15-17, 2012 in Chicago, IL)

Good Vibrations Conference  (Sept 8-12, 2011 in San Diego, CA)

HSC Conference (August 6, 2011 in Sacramento, CA)

InHome Conference Keynote (March 24-26, 2011 in Chicago, IL)

HSC Conference (Aug 19-22, 2010 in Sacramento, CA)

UHEA Convention Teen Keynote (June 12, 2010 in Salt Lake City, UT)

Life is Good Conference (May 27-30, 2010 in Vancouver, WA)

InHome Conference (March 18-20, 2010 in Chicago, IL)

The Autodidact Symposium (March 12-14, 2010 in Columbia, SC)

SHEA Conference (Sep 14-16, 2009 in Anaheim, CA)

HSC Conference (Aug 6-9, 2009 in Sacramento, CA)

Group Presentations

Education Outside School (May 5, 2017 in Peterborough, U.K.)

The Future of Education (March 25, 2017 in Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Lucchesi Community Center (Dec 13, 2016 in Petaluma, CA)

Philly Free School (Nov 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, PA)

Bay State Learning Center (Nov 17, 2016 in Dedham, MA)

Macomber Center (November 30, 2015 in Framingham, MA)

Princeton Learning Cooperative (December 10, 2015 in Princeton, NJ)

Open Road teen workshops (Aug 12-13, 2015 in Portland, OR)

Urban Homeschoolers teen workshops (March 23-24, 2015 in Los Angeles)

Private teen workshop series (March 16-18, 2015 in Chicago)

Greenfields Academy (March 15, 2015 in Chicago)

Beacon Self-Directed Learning (Dec 20, 2014 in New Haven, CT)

Knowmads (Feb 14, 2014 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Good Reasons to Quit School—And What to Do Instead (July 3, 2013 in Asheville, NC)

Firestorm Cafe & Books (Dec 14, 2010 in Asheville, NC)

Unschool Your Teen Seminar (Oct 2, 2010 in Palo Alto, CA)

Teaching Parents Association (Sep 9, 2010 in Woodinville, WA)

Jordan Lake Sudbury School (March 16, 2010 in Raleigh, NC)

Trestle Homeschool Group (Oct 27, 2009 in Everett, WA)

Nanaimo Public Library (Oct 26, 2009 in Nanaimo, BC, Canada)

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens (Oct 8, 2009 in Hadley, MA)

Village Home Education Resource Center. (Feb 25, 2009 in Beaverton, OR)

Spring 2018 Speaking Tour

Urban Homeschoolers (April 9 & 10, 2018, in Los Angeles, CA)

OC Gifted Groupevent page (April 8, 2018 in Newport Beach, CA)

QuantumCamp – event page (March 22, 2018 in Palo Alto, CA)

Sunnyside Micro-Schoolevent page (March 21, 2018 in Berkeley, CA)

QuantumCampevent page (March 20, 2018 in Berkeley, CA)

Unschool – event page (March 19, 2018 in Sacramento, CA)

NOMAD – event page (Mar 15, 2018 in San Francisco, CA)

Wayfinding Academyevent page (Feb 24, 2018 in Portland, OR)

Marrow PDX – event page (Feb 23, 2018 in Portland, OR)

Fall 2018 Speaking Tour

Aug 10 – South Lake Tahoe, CA – Tahoe Mountain Lab

Sept 5 – Eugene, OR – The Hiveevent page

Sept 14 – Minneapolis, MN – Gaia Democratic Schoolevent page

Sept 17 – Chicago, IL – Greenfields Academyevent page

Sept 20 – Ann Arbor, MI – Clonlara School – event page

Sept 25 – New Haven, CT – Beaconevent page

Sept 27 – Dover, NH – Big Fish Learning Communityevent page

Oct 1 – Watertown, MA – Bay State Learning Center – event page

Oct 3 – Framingham, MA – Macomber Center – event page

Oct 29 – Sunderland, MA – North Starevent page

Nov 6 – Brooklyn, NY – private audience (email if interested)

Nov 8 – Princeton, NJ – The Learning Cooperativesevent page

Nov 9 – Staunton, VA – Raw Learningevent page

Nov 14 – Charlotte, NC – ALC Mosaic – event page

Nov 17 – Leesburg, VA – Embark Center – event page