Homefires' Teleconference Speaker: Blake Boles
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Quit Wasting Time In High School
And Find Adventure!
By Blake Boles
You're in high school, and it bores you to tears.
Maybe you're frustrated by poor teaching or a melodramatic social
scene. Maybe your eyes glaze over every time that you're treated
like a child (or worse, like cattle). Or maybe your teachers are
fantastic, your school brims with extracurricular activities, but
you nevertheless sense that the world is much bigger than high
school — and you don't want to spend another year in the
Let's propose that one way or another, high school doesn't challenge
you. And thus, you're bored.
Unlike other people, I'm not going to suggest tips for perking up,
trying harder or accepting the reality of high school. I assume
you've heard the argument that you simply need to change your
attitude toward school. Mine is a different approach. If you're
genuinely bored, frustrated or disappointed by school, then I have
only one suggestion: Stop wasting your time. Life is made of nothing
more than time, and if you are bored, then you are wasting your time
— and not really living.
What is the alternative to high school tedium? My answer is: adventure.
An adventure, specifically defined, is any challenge that requires a
lot of learning in a small amount of time. Traveling cross-country to
teach rock climbing at a summer camp is an adventure. Crafting an online
marketing plan for your friend's small business is an adventure. Spending
three months on an organic farm in Italy to learn permaculture and the
Italian language is an adventure. Walking into a physics professor's office
to get book recommendations, working nights as a veterinary assistant and
volunteering at a disaster relief site are all adventures. And going to
college, too, is an adventure.
Because the word adventure drums up many more images than what I've just
described, let me also tell you what adventure is not. An adventure is
not an escape — i.e., an excuse to give up something that you've
chosen to start but not yet finished. Adventure doesn't mean throwing
yourself headlong into danger. And an adventure is not necessarily a
physical challenge (like climbing Mount Everest); adventures come in
many flavors, including social (introducing yourself to a hero), mental
(writing a book) and spiritual (attempting a ten-day silent meditation
An adventure pushes your comfort zone, demands courage and requires determination.
It's centered around your interests, your dreams and your personality. And
most importantly, it must be chosen by you — not your parents, not your
teachers, but you.
To cure the disease of high school boredom, you need adventure. But adventure
cannot be boxed into after school activity slots or one-week winter breaks.
Real adventures take time — the time currently taken by high school. The
radical idea I'm proposing, in other words, is that you stop thinking of
school as your full-time occupation. If school does not challenge you, then
leave school and seek adventure.
About Blake Boles
Blake Boles is the author of "College Without High School",
the founder of Zero Tuition College, and the director of
Unschool Adventures. Blake blogs and offers
guidance services through his website, Edu-Hacker.
In 2003, Blake was studying astrophysics at UC Berkeley (after a very normal
California public school upbringing) when a friend handed him a fascinating
book, "A Different Kind of Teacher," by John Taylor Gatto, a former
schoolteacher. Inspired by Gatto's outside-the-box approach to education,
Blake immediately dove into the world of alternative education by designing
his own major to study the theories behind self-directed learning. He hasn't
looked back since.
Blake delivers presentations and workshops on unschooling, self-directed learning,
and other educational topics. He has spoken for homeschooling and unschooling
conferences, TED, radio shows, parent groups, and bookstore audiences. Blake is
an advisor to unschooling teens at "Not Back to School Camp," and the
former director of a wilderness summer camp.
When working with young people, Blake emphasizes that the point of life is not
school, it is adventure. Blake's own adventures include
travels in 20 different countries, starting multiple businesses, training as a
wilderness emergency medical technician, publishing a book at age 26, and endless
exploration of the American West. Blake's biggest passion is sharing his enthusiasm
and experience with young adults who are blazing their own trails through life. He
is 28 years old.