The Story Behind LaunchPad

Today I’m proud to announce LaunchPad: a 7-week online training and coaching program for young adults ready to launch into the world—without college.

Here’s the story behind LaunchPad, why I created it, and why now.

1) I enjoy (and miss) teaching 

Teaching—when done thoughtfully and consensually—is a beautiful thing. I enjoy the challenge and rewards of leading a program with structure, accountability, and clear goals. Between 2010 and 2012 I led four different Unschool Adventures leadership programs that let me flex my teacher muscles. Then, for the last two years, I focused more on international trips, conferences, and summer camps, and those muscles laid dormant.

Now I’m ready to teach again, and specifically, to guide groups of young people toward becoming highly effective self-directed learners. Much of this inspiration came from writing The Art of Self-Directed Learning and working with Dev Carey’s gap year group—but I feel like I’m a teacher at heart, too.

2) Videoconferencing has seriously improved

Google Hangouts was pretty awesome when it came out a few years ago—free videoconferencing for up to 10 people at the same time—but it was pretty spartan. Then Google progressively updated it with awesome new features including the ability to record meetings straight to YouTube, moderator controls, and funny hats (crucial). It’s a great tool for facilitating a small, personal, online community.

3) My coaching feels scalable

I’ve been doing private education coaching for long enough now to see patterns emerge. Some of the guidance, tools, and real-world challenges I provide to my clients overlaps, and I feel like I can become more efficient by sharing these core insights with a small group instead of just individuals.

4) I’m exploring new ways to pay the bills in 2015 as I build Hogwarts

I decided not to run any international trips in 2015 so that I could focus my efforts on building my Hogwarts for Unschoolers program. I’m confident in that decision, and…I also don’t want to deplete my savings cushion in the process. LaunchPad is an experiment in earning money in a way that doesn’t rip me away from my domestic life like an international Unschool Adventure does.


If you know any young adults (ages 17-19, flexible) who are eager to design their own challenging, fun, and engaging alternatives to college, please encourage them to apply by December 20th.  Thanks!




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