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Homefires' Teleconference Speaker: Blake Boles

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College Without High School and Zero Tuition College!

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 holding chamber.

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 retreat).

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.

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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.